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 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

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.

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