We've recently highlighted the sumours about the Samsung SM-A500 and it's now been listed in China, but as the A5000. This is a metal framed Samsung handset that's very thin, about as thin as the Galaxy Alpha as it happens at 6.7mm. The SM-A500 uses a 5.0-inch, 720p AMOLED screen, which marks the device out as a mid-range handset rather than a high end unit. There's a 13 MP rear facing camera and a 5 MP front facing camera and 16 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card. The processor is reported to be a quad core 1.2 GHz unit but we don't know if this is a 64-bit Snapdragon 410, as is hoped or rumored or the older 32-bit 400 unit. We do know that it's supported by 2 GB of memory. The A500 also comes with LTE. You'll note above that we know the SM-A500 is a metal framed device but we don't yet know if the handset features a full metal body or not as Samsung have not said anything either way. It's also reported that the A500 will run Android 4.4.4 under a very similar interface to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and be powered by a 2,330 mAh battery.
Samsung have introduced smartphones at almost all price points over the last few years and the new Galaxy Alpha is a little disruptive to this. Before, you could have a small, inexpensive Galaxy all the way through to the bigger, expensive models. The Galaxy Alpha has 2014 mid-range hardware specifications but close to a high end price tag, presumable because the device is a more premium model. This is something of an Apple trick: make a lesser handset almost as expensive as the high end handset, presumably to encourage people to spend more on the expensive device. Still, it's interesting to see Samsung diversify the premium-focused Alpha range with a higher model (the Galaxy Alpha has a model designation of SM-A300 and presumably sits below this handset). To my mind, it is as though Samsung are designing the Alpha range to appeal to customers who want a combination of metal build with Samsung's interface and screen technology. My worry is that the SM-A500 will join Samsung's already bulging product range and be lost in the noise.
What do our readers think? Given the middling specification, would you still pick up the SM-A500? Or does last year's Galaxy S4 look a better bet? Yes, last year's flagship is thicker but has a higher capacity battery and higher resolution screen. It may also receive software updates for a little longer than the mid-range A500.