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Hands on: Samsung’s iPhone 5 is absolutely beautiful

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:51PM EST
Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review

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Some hailed Samsung’s new Galaxy Alpha smartphone as an “iPhone killer” ahead of its debut last month. Since Samsung’s smartphones had all been made out of somewhat flimsy feeling plastics prior to the Alpha’s unveiling, it was understandable that some fans would get overly enthusiastic about what, at the time, was rumored to be the first Samsung smartphone to feature a beautiful aluminum housing.

Of course, now that the phone has been made official, we know that it’s most certainly not an iPhone killer. Instead, it’s a two-year-old iPhone.

While chatter has died down over the past year or so, Samsung had a huge image problem to overcome as it rose to the top of the smartphone market. The South Korea-based electronics giant was branded as an Apple copycat, and every mention of the ongoing patent lawsuits between the two companies included another round of copycat claims.

To some extent, whether or not Samsung indeed copies Apple’s smartphone and tablet designs as extensively as Apple claims remains a matter of opinion. Some similarities are unmistakable, however, and Samsung did create a top-secret 132-page document showing engineers how Galaxy phones should copy the iPhone pixel by pixel.

This type of thing is incredibly common among mobile device makers, though. If you don’t think Apple has meticulously copied aspects of other companies’ designs and software features, you’re flat-out wrong.

It’s safe to say that a number of Samsung phones bore some resemblance to iPhones in the past, but none have been quite as blatant as the new Galaxy Alpha.

In fact, Samsung apparently likes the two-year-old iPhone 5 so much, it decided to make one of its own.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Alpha is the first of several phones that begin to address repeated complaints of cheap-feeling plasticky smartphones, though the back is still plastic while the edges are metal. It is sadly ironic, of course, that the company’s first instinct when trying to build a more premium smartphone is to just copy the iPhone 5, but make it slightly taller and thinner.

As a matter of fact, the Galaxy Alpha is as blatant an iPhone 5 ripoff as Huawei’s sexy Ascend P7, but there’s a clear difference between Huawei and Samsung: Huawei hasn’t been sued repeatedly by Apple over the past few years over allegations of design and patent theft.

I’ll give Samsung this — the Galaxy Alpha is absolutely beautiful. Just like the iPhone 5 was beautiful. Apple’s iPhone 5 design is apparently timeless, because it works as well today as it did back in 2012.

The Galaxy Alpha launches on Friday, September 26th, and will initially be an AT&T exclusive in the United States. The phone will cost $199.99 on a standard two-year contract, $25.55 per month on AT&T Next 18, $30.65 per month on AT&T Next 12, or $612.99 off contract.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.