Metal at last: Samsung Galaxy Alpha ditches the plastic

New 4.7in phone takes on the iPhone 6 with premium metal design
Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung has come in for a lot of stick over its plastic smartphone and tablet designs – next to the HTC One (M8) and the iPhone 5s, its flagship Galaxy S5 looks a bit… cheap.

Now Samsung's caved to the demands for a metal smartphone, with today's launch of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Although it sports a plastic back, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S5, it's surrounded by a shiny metal frame with bevelled edges.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Samsung hasn't kicked off its new design direction with a plus-sized superphone. Instead, the Galaxy Alpha's metal surround is wrapped around a 4.7in display – placing it in direct competition with the iPhone 6, which will reportedly sport a similar-sized screen.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Inside, depending on which region you're in, you get an Octa Core (Quad 1.8GHz + Quad 1.3GHz) processor or a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, plus 2GB RAM, and 32GB internal memory. Disappointingly, that's all you get; there's no microSD slot to expand your memory.

Round the front, there's a 4.7in 720p Super AMOLED display – a bit low-res for our tastes, but possibly forced on Samsung by the Alpha's dinky 1850mAh battery. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, MIMO (2x2) and 4G LTE, plus Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.

You also get a 12MP rear camera that'll shoot 4K at 30fps, and a 2.1MP front snapper.

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

The Galaxy Alpha runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat – skinned with Samsung's TouchWiz interface, naturally. It packs the same array of features found on the Galaxy S5, including ultra power-saving mode and S Health – supplemented by a fingerprint scanner.

Interestingly, that metal build looks very similar to recent leaked images of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – lending credibility to those spy snaps.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha will be available from September in Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue finishes; pricing details have yet to be revealed.

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 preview – all the latest news