Hours after Samsung's head of mobile design was relieved of his position, an image of what could be the company's most premium smartphone to date has appeared online.

The Galaxy S5 Prime is set to be a metal version of its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone which launched to lukewarm reviews earlier this year. The Prime will also feature better hardware specs and will also cost more.

Samsung has so far denied all knowledge of the phone, but an image which has appeared on Reddit claims to show the brushed metal rear cover of the phone which is rumoured to be launched next month.

The Reddit user, called open1your1eyes0, says they "got a photo from a tipster claiming to have just played with a Galaxy S5 Prime test sample."

Metal design, better specs, higher price

The poster goes on to say: "[The tipster] refused to say anything other than confirming the rumoured metal design and claimed it is a bump up in all specs over the S5 but will be priced accordingly of course."

The photo shows a phone which looks a lot like the the original plastic Galaxy S5, with the heart-rate sensor located directly below the camera lens and above the Samsung logo.

The Galaxy S5 is selling well according to Samsung, but it has felt the need to defend the plastic construction of the phone in advertising campaigns, with many people saying the S5 compares poorly to the premium feel of the iPhone 5s or HTC One.

There were a lot of rumours circulating about the launch of a premium Galaxy S device earlier this year, but Samsung continued with its tradition of launching lightweight plastic smartphones with the Galaxy S5.