Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha announced, with metal and uber-fast speeds

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We’ve long been complaining that Samsung’s take on the premium smartphone should be focused more on premium materials like metal, compared to the plastics Samsung uses, and it looks like the company has finally listened with a new handset.

Announced this week, Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha is a different beast from its S5, which from the looks of things, still sits at the top of the Galaxy family, with its high performance specs, Full HD screen, and water and dust resistance.

Instead, the Alpha will come to market sporting a 4.7 inch HD screen — 1280×720, for those taking note at home — as well as WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and a Samsung’s eight-core processor made from two quad-core chips working in tandem (quad 1.8GHz and quad 1.3GHz).

Google’s Android 4.4 “KitKat” will run natively, no doubt with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, and there’s even a 12 megapixel camera on the back capable of shooting 4K Ultra HD footage, but really, our attention is with the body, because that’s where the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is shaking up the Galaxy formula.

Unlike previous models, this one will come with a metal frame which offers straight edges for the phone to lie on, if you so choose, with a thickness of 6.7mm, thinner than the S5’s 8.1mm.

We’re not sure what the rest of the handset is, with the front likely glass — hey, it’s a touchscreen after all — while the back is probably plastic, but hey, a metal frame is a start.

The storage will, however, be fixed, with 32GB included with no microSD, which is a bit of a shame.

On the plus side, however, there is a feature that has sort of come out of left field, and that is support for something hyper fast that we don’t quite have access to.

While the CPU may not be as fast as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 gracing the Galaxy S5 locally, the mobile side of things will support Category 6 technology, meaning if you have a telco that supports it, you could see speeds of up to 300Mbps down and 50Mbps up.

That is truly impressive, and while no one in Australia will likely see Cat6 for some time — we’ve heard it might work in Melbourne on Optus, but that’s a loose “might” — it’s at least good to know that someone other than Huawei will be supporting a higher-end 4G LTE technology that will improve speeds even more than we already have.

As for pricing and availability, we are checking with Samsung Australia, but right now, it’s really anyone’s guess. We’ll let you know if/when we hear anything more.