Samsung unveils 'new design' metal frame Galaxy Alpha

Samsung unveils 'new design' metal frame Galaxy Alpha

Summary: Samsung's new Galaxy Alpha offers a taste of what people can expect from its future Galaxy releases.

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Image: Samsung

Samsung has taken the wraps off its new high-end 4.7-inch display Galaxy Alpha, the device at the centre of a raft of rumours in recent weeks due to its full metal frame.

Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Alpha, the first in a series of new Galaxy devices that showcase the Korean company's "new design approach" to Galaxy, which departs from the signature shiny, rounded frame.

According to Samsung's mobile chief, JK Shin, the Alpha was designed give consumer what they want, which apparently is a sleeker looking device than past Galaxy phones with specs that sit somewhere between the Galaxy S5 and S5 mini.

"With an entirely new appearance, the Galaxy Alpha focuses on both beauty and functionality combining a stunning metal frame and slim, light weight design with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device," said Shin.

Images of the Alpha leaked ahead of today's launch, and drew comparisons between it and Apple's iPhone 5S due to their shared bevel-edged frame. Despite some similarities, the Alpha still looks very much like other members of the Galaxy family, carrying on the S5's perforated backplate, and oval hard home button.

Samsung is expected to be bring the same design to the forthcoming Note 4.

2014-08-13 02.02.52 pm
Galaxy Alpha. Credit: Samsung

 

Like the slightly smaller S5 mini, the Alpha has a Super AMOLED display at 1280 x 720, but instead of one quad-core processor, is equipped with an 'octacore' (consisting of a 1.8 GHz and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor). It also comes with a 12-megapixel main camera and 2.1-megapixel secondary camera.

Other specs include 4K video capture, 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. Unlike many of its devices, Samsung has ditched the microSD slot. The Alpha comes with a 1,860mAh capacity battery, which is less than the smaller S5 mini's 2000mAh battery.

Some of the software features packed into the Alpha include Samsung's Ultra Power Savings Mode, which limits the screen to black and white and winds down background processes, and helps extend battery life. Other features include Samsung's S Health, fingerprint scanner, file-hiding Private Mode and integration with its wearables, including the Samsung Gear Fit, Gear Live, and Gear 2 wearables.

Samsung expects to make the device available in September but hasn't announced prices or markets yet. The device will be available in black, white, gold, silver and blue.

Read more on Samsung

Topics: Mobility, Android, Samsung

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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Talkback

31 comments
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  • Cosmetic ....

    Sad they felt they had to respond to Apple fanboi taunts - existing Samsungs are fine phones that survive dropping better than a metal-framed phone.

    Also shows that new phones have little to add, currently, in terms of functionality. New blood needed.
    Heenan73
    • I Agree on the New Blood Note

      Both Samsung and Apple devices as of late have featured only incremental updates, in terms of both design and functionality. If mobile phones are going to remain interesting, we need true innovation to occur once again and I don't see that coming from any of the currently established players.
      ABR2195
      • Companies do what they have to do.

        There's an often muttered quote that we do our best work when we are at war, and this is very much the case. Dispute what fanboys like to argue, actually samsung and apple havnt been at war enough! Apple target their small market share whilst samsung decimate the android market.

        To my own mind the last time I was really impressed by samsung was the s3. My favourite phones since then have been the htc one, sony z1 and now the lg g3.

        I do find it very sad however that we have to loose the micro sd - I've thought a coue of times of paying the upgrade fee to go from an m7 to an m8!
        MarknWill
    • Evidence?

      I've dropped every one of my iPhones probably a hundred times and never had one break. (The iPad is a different story.) Plus they don't scratch like plastic. I'd love to know where you got your information that Samsungs survive drops better than iPhones. I would say Samsungs are decent phones despite the plastic case. If I'm going to spend hundreds on a phone, I want it to look as good as it works. The Alpha looks much better than their other phones. Unfortunately, the smaller battery cancels out the sleek design.

      I do agree that new phones are stagnating somewhat, but I'd say the iPhone has been stagnating worse than most. That's the biggest reason iPhone users are starting to consider other phones.
      BillDem
      • I'd say that while iPhone's design and iOS's interface have remained

        about the same since day one, the 5S was actually a pretty revolutionary phone in and of itself. Instead of going for cores, Apple went for bits, and you got a phone that still holds its own against this year's crop of smartphones.

        I'm just wondering what the 6 is going to hold, performance-wise.
        Champ_Kind
      • Crack !!

        Our office is full of iPhones with cracked screens and iPhones recently replaced due to cracked screens. You must live in a padded cell.

        I'm not saying other phones don't break too, just that iPhones aren't magical.
        Regulator1956
      • Not feeding the pro-Samsung coments but...

        " they don't scratch like plastic". The aluminum back scratches far easier then the plastic back of a Samsung. That is not a pro_Samsung comment, I think other then the weird stretched out aspect ratio that iPhones look nicer than Samsungs. But plastic is more shock absorbent and depending on the composition scratches show up less than on metal.
        Rann Xeroxx
      • "...the iPhone has been stagnating worse than most."

        Yeah. Guess that's why Samsung stopped copying it, eh?
        Oh, wait........
        Userama
  • No SD card, NO THANKS

    Really, what is this an iPhone? I was looking forward to upgrading to it until I saw that. No way I'm getting a phone without a microSD slot..
    worknstiff@...
    • No SD

      Normally I would agree with you, but I have lived without one for over a year in my S3. Why? Because they put the SD card slot too close to the battery apparently, so it gets hot under heavy phone use. When I would take video for more than a few minutes, it would get too hot and stop working. I had one SD card fry out, and after seeing similar things start to happen with the replacement I just took it out. I have been fine without one ever since.
      trybble1
      • That is a flaw in design...

        ...not a flaw in the philosophy of having a SD card or not. I have a Nexus 4 but I found I really missed the SD card when travelling and not having local copy of music or other media.
        Rann Xeroxx
    • The only reason you need an SD card slot

      is because you bought a cheap phone with nearly 0 internal memory. While Apple has no business selling an 8GB device (and really should not have since the 3GS became the cheap/free device almost 4 years ago), the only reason any Android phone needs an SD card is because it has 8GB or less internal memory.

      Everyone I know with an Android device sporting 16 or more GB of internal memory has no problems with storage.
      Champ_Kind
      • ....

        Champ you must not know many people. My phone and most people I know have 32GB of internal ram and most then still need anywhere from 32 to 64 GB of sd storage. Your thereory is not even in the same plane as being correct. No SD slot is a huge issue and not having one and having to buy the bigger internal setups adds tons to the cost. Id rather have a smaller internal like 32GB and an sd slot then pay for a 120 GB internal ram chipset.
        Fletchguy
  • Blah

    What is the point of this device? To say that Samsung can bend a thin piece of metal around plastic?
    DeathBecomesMe
    • "To say that Samsung can bend a thin piece of metal around plastic?"

      Doubtful.

      Back to the whining board?
      Heenan73
    • The point...

      ... is to win over iPhone users who appreciate a sleek design rather than a me-too block of plastic (even the plastic iPhones didn't sell.) Still, I see the Alpha as a fail because of the tiny battery. Unless they worked some extreme magic and this battery lasts twice as long despite being smaller, it seems like a really bad idea to shrink the battery. Since they removed the SD card, it's even more boggling that the battery shrunk. It should have grown by expanding into the area where the SD card was located.

      Style is cool, but not at the expense of substance.
      BillDem
      • ...

        Id like to have seen them keep the sd slot and keep the battery sized. The main thing here is batteries are cheap and with a samsung you can just pop a new one in on the run unlike the iphone which is limited to just the juice of its non removal battery setup so even though they hurt the phone by dropping an sd slot and reducing the battery it still wins over the iphone.
        Fletchguy
    • It looks like an iPhone

      With many, the iPhone is a status symbol. In that it looks like an iPhone it should sell well.
      KennyJr
  • Hasn't Samsung had enought trouble copying Applies iPad?

    Now they're copying the iPhone? This will go over nicely with Apple - I'm sure.
    GuntherGump
    • Ah dang - spelling!

      Dang. Need more coffee!
      GuntherGump