Alloy there, matey

Legend has it that the first metal smartphone was the brainchild of two Stanford graduates in a garage...no, wait, wrong tech legend. It isn't hard to see metal's allure. Its versatile finish adds visual depth, physical gravitas, and an air of poshness that dress up a handset with a sense of sartorial importance associated with the upper echelons of personal electronics -- which is why smartphone-watchers seem to go mad for phones with metal rims and more.

Here are some (but not all) of the metal-wrought smartphones we've encountered over the years.

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is Samsung's first major metal-framed smartphone, and also its most premium-feeling yet. Although the metal just runs around the rim, a slightly rubberized backing helps keep it incredibly light and pleasant to hold.

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by: ,

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Both new iPhones (the 6 and 6 Plus) are dressed in aluminum along the sides and back, a material design now expected for iPhones. The furor this time is over the nature of the aluminum, which has led to an outcry -- Bendgate -- when it was discovered that the larger-size model was easy to accidentally bend.

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Motorola Moto X

We liked the original Motorola Moto X's ensemble of shaping and comfortable plastic finishes, but we love what Motorola's done with a little bit of metal trim and a dimple on back.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by: ,

HTC One and One M8

Gorgeous. Stunning. Those descriptors of  the HTC One's industrial design still apply today, whether you're talking about the original or 2014's HTC One M8 follow-up. Better yet, HTC managed to infuse the phones' graceful anodized aluminum lines with rich, matte color, such as red, blue, and gold like the Harman Kardon edition pictured here.

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by: ,

Nokia N8

Nokia is no stranger to making smartphones out of metal, and the N8 was one of my all-time favorites. Produced in Nokia's pre-Windows Phone days, the Nokia N8's Symbian OS was the phone's weakest link.

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50 shades of aluminum

Nevertheless, the Nokia N8 had a 12-megapixel camera to beat, and had a funky shape (vaguely like a flattened football) and came in equally funky colors (I'm especially fond of that lovably weird lime green).

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Nokia Lumia 930 and 925

In Nokia's Windows Phone era, Nokia Lumia phones mostly ditched metal in favor of screaming polycarbonate shades. That is, until the Nokia Lumia 925 appeared with sedate coloring and a metal rim. 2014's Nokia Lumia 930 was the first Nokia phone in a long time to repeat the trick, this time optionally pairing a silvery trim with those vibrant tones.

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Original Apple iPhone

Its metal backing was one of the physical features that wowed us most when the first iPhone burst onto the scene. The second-generation iPhone's plastic backing had a purpose -- to get better signal, which metal can obstruct -- but Apple's hugely popular phone lost some of its elite sheen. Since then, a metal frame has made an appearance in the line, complemented by ceramic or glass.

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HTC Hero

Before the One series, HTC experimented with alloys in the HTC Legend, the Hero (pictured here), and even the HD2.

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Huawei Ascend P6

Super-skinny with a metal back panel, Huawei's Ascend P6 was one of the outfit's best-looking phones, ever. Its successor, the P7, pulled back on the goods, leaving just a silvery band along the rim. Unfortunately, the rest of the phone felt cheap and sluggish.

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by: ,

Sony Xperia Zs

There's nothing snoozeworthy about the Sony Xperia Z1Z1 Compact, and Xperia Z2's solid aluminum frames, which accent the devices' glass fronts and backs.

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by: ,
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