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Samsung Galaxy Alpha launches in US via AT&T

The metal-banded smartphone is now available exclusively through AT&T, both online and at the carrier's retail stores. It costs $200 under contract.

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Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has landed at AT&T. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Consumers in the US looking for Samsung's new metal-banded Galaxy Alpha can pick one up through AT&T.

As of Friday, the Alpha is up for grabs at AT&T via the carrier's website and retail outlets. The phone comes in three colors: black, white or gold.

Its price varies depending on how you want to buy it. Choose the usual two-year contract, and you'll shell out $200. Opt for AT&T's Next 18 installment plan, and you'll pay $25.55 per month for 24 months with an option to upgrade after 18 payments. Go for the carrier's Next 12 program instead, and the phone will cost you $30.65 per month for 20 months with an option to upgrade after 12 payments. Choose to go sans contract, and you'll pay the full retail price of $613.

Already available in the UK, the Alpha officially launches in the US today through AT&T only.

The Galaxy Alpha distinguishes itself from the rest of Samsung's Galaxy lineup mostly through a metal band around the edges. The back is still plastic.

AT&T's version of the Alpha comes with a 4.7-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a 2.5GHz quad-core processor and 32GB of onboard storage. The screen offers a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, which sounds like an underachiever compared with the 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution found on the Galaxy S5. The phone doesn't include a microSD card slot, so you're out of luck and out of space if you fill up the 32GB of storage.

A 12- megapixel camera is on the rear, while a 2.1-megapixel camera is in front. The Alpha uses real-time HDR (high-dynamic-range) to snap multiple pictures at different exposures in an attempt to capture the best one. There is a selective focus feature and an option to shoot panoramic pictures.

An Ultra Power Saving Mode changes the screen to black and white and turns off non-critical apps as a way to save power if you are running low on charge. The phone will remain alive with a 10 percent charge for up to 24 hours so it can still handle phone calls and text messages.