The new phone is the first from Samsung to forsake the plastic fantastic styling in favor of a premium metallic look and feel.
And the company promises that the Galaxy Alpha, launched Wednesday, represents the shape of things to come.
"The Galaxy Alpha was built and designed based on the specific desires of the consumer market," said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communication at Samsung Electronics. "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."
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Photo: AFP
And, to be fair the Alpha does look the part. It's thinner (just 7mm thick) and lighter, yet squarer than Galaxy handsets of old, even the current S5 flagship, and the initial choice of colors also represents a new-found subtlety. When it goes on sale in September, consumers will be able to get one in Black, White, Frosted Gold, Silver or Blue.
Unfortunately, the internal components don't quite live up to the standard of the external finish. This doesn't mean that they're in any way substandard, but they're not quite on the same level as those found in the Galaxy S5. Its 4.7-inch AMOLED display is 720p HD rather than 1080p HD. The battery is also smaller and the chipset isn't quite as potent as that powering the S5.
But specs alone do not a good smartphone make: good features that consumers want and are going to enjoy using are much more important, and in this respect the Alpha isn't bad at all. It's got a great 12-megapixel camera that can support UHD 4K video and when it comes to shooting stills, it offer high dynamic range, selective focus for creating depth of field and a panorama setting.
It also has the same heart rate sensor and suite of health apps found in the Galaxy S5 and can be locked and unlocked via a fingerprint scan.
One surprising omission is memory expansion. It will come with 32GB of internal storage but without a MicroSD slot so you'll have to either keep an eye on how many photos, apps, videos and music tracks are on the device or look to the cloud for extra space.