Samsung's premium Galaxy Alpha packs a metal frame and octa-core chip

Samsung's finally launched the much-leaked Galaxy Alpha, a fancier-looking but stripped-down version of the Galaxy S5. As expected, it sports a substantially different, less rounded design than the GS5, with metal sides that gives it a glancing resemblance to an iPhone 5s. The Alpha is also much lighter and thinner than its big brother at a mere 6.7mm and 115 grams. Samsung said it took a "fresh approach" with the new handset's looks, something it vowed to do in the face of a steep downturn in sales. The new design could also give some clues about the look of the Galaxy Note 4, set to launch early next month.

However, Samsung also slimmed the specs a notch: The screen is 720p compared to full HD on the GS5 (or quad HD on the S5 LTE-A), while the CPU is an octa core model (an Exynos 5 with quad 1.8GHz + quad 1.3GHz) rather than the flagship's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 801 or 805. It also has a rather lackluster-sounding 1,860mAh battery, nearly 1,000mAh less than the GS5 -- meaning you might really need the available ultra-power saving mode. Other features include 2GB RAM, 4K video capture, 12- and 2.1-megapixel cameras, NFC, S Health, a fingerprint scanner, Gear wearable connectivity, and the usual array of Google apps. Curiously, Samsung will offer 32GB internal storage but the Alpha doesn't come with a microSD slot. There's no pricing yet, but it'll arrive in September in black, white, gold, silver and blue colors, depending on the market.

Update: We've confirmed that there will be a variant of the Galaxy Alpha that uses a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 chipset, which will likely be used in the US and other markets.