Samsung has evolved into Apple's main rival in the smartphone world for good reason. The Korean manufacturer's high-end models are usually among the best in terms of both features and performance. However, there has been one constant point of criticism: the Galaxy devices' plastic shells tend to look a little cheap next to the metal and glass competition from HTC, Sony and Apple. 

To address that point, and no doubt with the upcoming iPhone 6 in mind, Samsung has today announced the Galaxy Alpha - the first Galaxy smartphone with a metal frame. With its 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED screen the Galaxy Alpha is similar in dimensions to the Galaxy S5 Mini but thinner. The metal front and edges are accompanied by a Galaxy S5-style faux-leather back.

In terms of camera Samsung's specification sheet is unfortunately not too informative. The device comes with a 12MP rear camera sensor which is unusual in so far than no other current high-end Samsung offers this megapixel-count. The lens has an F2.2 aperture and an equivalent focal length of 31mm but no information on sensor size and technology is currently available. We do know though that the Galaxy Alpha will offer the usual Dual camera, panorama and HDR camera features.

Under the metal hood Android 4.4 is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5430 octa-core SoC and 2GB of RAM. 32GB of memory is available for storing your apps and media.  A PayPal-certified fingerprint sensor is included as well. A slim 1860 mAh battery sounds little meager but we'll have to see what kind of battery life it can deliver in real-life conditions.

With the metal body and compact dimensions the Galaxy Alpha is clearly aimed at the iPhone 6 which is expected to be launched in mid-September. However, only time will tell if the Alpha offers enough to make design-conscious Apple-users switch brands or is too little too late.

Key Specification:

  • 12 MP rear camera sensor
  • F2.2 aperture
  • 31mm equivalent focal length
  • 2.1 MP front camera
  • 4K video
  • LED Flash
  • 720p Super AMOLED screen
  • Android 4.4
  • Exynos 5 Octa 5430 octa-core SoC 
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 32 GB storage 
  • 1860 mAh Li-Ion battery