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Question of the Day: What’s Wrong With Plastic Smartphones?

Samsung Galaxy S4

I have a completely honest question to ask the DL community as we head into the weekend that has to do with smartphone build quality. Over the years, we’ve seen devices built from aluminum, fancy micro arc oxidation processes, glass, kevlar, and of course, plastic. All have clearly had their own sets of issues, but one in particular always gets more negative feedback than the others and that is plastic. I’m just curious, what exactly is your reasoning for not wanting a plastic phone? 

Whenever Samsung announces their new smartphone, since it is always made of plastic, we hear the same groans and complaints almost simultaneously:

  • “Nice internals, but it’s made of cheap plastic.”
  • “It just feels cheap because of the plastic.”
  • “Why can’t they use premium materials like aluminum or glass?”

I’m just not sure I understand the hatred here. Plastic, is probably more durable than most of the other materials I mentioned above, for one. It’s not like the all-aluminum iPhone 5 or HTC One can last through a drop test anymore than a Galaxy S3 (go search “iPhone 5 drop test” on YouTube). Sure, it might take an extra drop (if it’s lucky) before the screen spiderwebs, but it’ll still crack like none other should you drop it a certain way. And let’s not forget the chipping paint and finish issues since these fancy aluminum devices are also starting to get paint jobs.

Aluminum and glass also scratch just as easy as something made from plastic (maybe even easier). All you have to do is ask me and my opinion on the Optimus G and Nexus 4’s glass panels. After terrible experiences with both, I’ve had to wrap my entire new Nexus 4 in a plastic case to make sure it survives more than a week.

And that brings me to my next point – don’t most people put a plastic case on their phones anyway? Or are you aluminum and glass lovers finding cases made of the same materials?

I’m trying to wrap my brain around this idea as I sit here on a plane back to Portland and am struggling to fully understand it. Is it because you pay an arm and a leg for a smartphone that you expect it to be made of the finest materials? Do you want some sort of piece of mind, knowing that the most powerful device in your life isn’t made from the same material as your child’s Legos? Or is it simply an excuse to find fault?

Hit up the comments with your thoughts.

  • Alan Paone

    I’m going to live with a device for two years, I’m paying a lot for it. Its always in my field of view, hand or pocket. If I’m going to pick one device to splurge and go premium, it might as well be my phone. Especially when its the same price, it should be in the same league in terms of look and feel. It feels like Samsung is aggressively making the device feel as bad as possible, while selling it for the same price as an iPhone 5, it feels like Samsung is arrogantly trolling customers, while apple/htc is trying to please customers.

  • specialblend15

    For me, it all relates to having a “High End” Phone. Its the same principle as owning a ferrari. If someone owns a ferrari, they want it to feel as nice on the inside as it drives. They dont want it to have the same cheap feel as my friend’s toyota. the same applies to my phone. When playign several hundred dollars for a top of the line phone, I want it to feel as if it was worth that. I hated the GSIII purely because of build quality. I baby my devices, and while I have dropped them, Im not throwing them around without a case, or as hard as the ones in the drop test videos.While I do put my phone and laptop in “plastic” cases, its for protection, nothing more. I like to have my premium smartphone feel premium too. Just my take on things…thoughts?

  • binqker

    Look people, Who cares about the phone being plastic! People are going to be buying covers for them anyway! So whats the point of discussing it. haha.

    It should be FUNCTION first before FORM!

  • Ralph Basile

    Nothing is wrong with plastic. I have had anodized aluminum, plastic and now glass. The glass one is too soon to give real feedback, but compared to the metal body, the plastic show way less ware. Plastics can be incredibly strong and also lightweight. So I do not share the disdain for plastic phones. Way more important is performance.

  • I put a plastic or rubber case on my phone, not only to protect it, but because phones today are too tiny and thin. I need more bulk. If the phone was made of diamonds, i’d probably put a plastic case on it just to make it thicker

  • Well plastic isn’t wrong but I would like to see and feel a more sturdier device, I’m still with my outdated Droid Bionic and love the sturdy feel when I held the gs3 without the otterbox case I felt like the HULK ready to smash. Its a little disappointing for paying such a high price on a device that feel’s more like a toy. But what compensates that is the extended battery combo with the siedo case but many can’t afford these high priced add ons

  • Ryan Frankenstein

    thanks for using my suggestion as a story. should have made a bigger deal of….most people put their phones in cases so one can’t even see or feel the plastic. as it seems every comment people are just trying to make it about “shiny plastic”

  • mb1108

    I used to think aluminum and glass were better, but these phones are getting so thin you can hardly even hold them without a case. My Note 2 is slippery without the OtterBox on due to the thiness and rounded edges. I remember when I first activated it someone called and I tried to hold it between my shoulder and ear and it fell. Luckily I was leaning over the bed. Needless to say, I put the case on right away. Plus, nowadays you can resell your device later which I’ll be doing so it’s best to keep it in mint condition. That being said, I no longer care what it’s shell is made of but rather what specs does it come with.

  • batman

    I think the only reason why the HTC One is metal is because it’s expensive in big batches, but they knew they would never sell any so smaller batches is better.

  • burpootus

    I just sold my S3 and bought a Note 2 and I really like both phones. But what I hate is how slick they are, and I’m mainly talking about the plastic backs. I haven’t received the case for the Note 2 yet, and it requires concentration not to drop the phone when handling it due to how slick it is. Granted, most use a case and this is no big deal in the long run, but I really wish they weren’t so slick feeling in your hand.

  • bucho

    CHEAP plastic.

  • bionicwaffle

    Plastic is a great option. I think Moto has made the best choice with Kevlar. Like plastic it doesn’t interfere with signals, but it’s stronger. Given the choice between metal and plastic, I’d take plastic on my phone. I’d want good proof that a metal phone has great antenna design and will have excellent signal for cell, wifi, and gps.

    I actually think they should go back to plastic for screens. I’ll take a scratch over a break any day and I’m not sure how you’re going to scratch your screen. It would weigh less as well as being less likely to break.

    I wish they would at least stop putting glass on the back of phones. It at least makes it easier to pick a device to buy. I can cross off the Nexus 4, LG G, and Xperia Z.

  • Nothing is wrong with plastic, it’s just the plastic that samsung chooses. Moto never seemed to have a problem choosing quality plastics.

  • liderc

    I use a galaxy nexus so I don’t hate plastic devices, I just think we expect more from Samsung now that they’ve become the #1 Android dealer.

  • Marcel L.

    There’s just one thing I dislike about plastic: a glossy finish!For me it’s ugly, feels cheap, it doesn’t add any extra grip to the phone.
    Take a OneX(L; X+…etc.) and compare it to any Samsung…it’s just a totally different feeling while using the same material. Even Sony knows how to use plastic right. The back of a phone doesn’t need to be classy or anything special like the “holo”-glass of a nexus4, but should add a good grip to phones like LG did with the rubberised grip-plastic around the back. Take any NXT of Sony and try to drop it…ofc it works, but rubberized back feels somehow glued to your hands.

    And my opinion as a “hater”: it’s a Samsung-Thing. Samsung has a weird image. People never thinking about buying smartphones just pick it randomly…and it always is a samsung. The phones arent any special anymore since “everyone” has one > therefore any other material, company, whatever, shines. Weird right? But thats how I feel about it. Those phone looks like Fisherprice- or Lego-Toys with their shiny plastic. Samsung (and also Copycats like Huawei) really loves that image it seems even if they sometimes prove that they CAN do it “better”. But somehow a lot of people seem to love a simple Lego-Design…so why not producing it. Well, as a customer I might be a minority, but I will always pick a heavier, thicker phone with edges and some handy rubber on it that doesnt look like a samsung at all 😉
    So if you wanna sum it up: it looks cheap and isn’t really comfortable to hold, but it’s also the Samsung-Rep. people might be picky about.

  • Lane252

    i just like a heavy feeling phone, not ridiculously heavy but weighty. Oppo Find Five comes to mind. however plastic isnt bad, however take this into consideration: the Nokia “Tank/Hulk/NeverGonnaBreakIt” 3310 was made of plastic! so if samsung or any other phone creator can take a hint…make the phone of tougher plastic or more compact!

  • ron

    I have only have one problem with plastic. In my mind it should be cheaper. All things being on par with each other; such as processors, ram, storage, and screen resolution. I think the plastic phone should be a little bit cheaper. I love my note 2, and I worry about my nexus 4 (which has a rubber cover). I’m not expecting everyone to sell at a price like Googles,but why isn’t the phone with the cheaper body not cheaper over all?

  • its made of polycarbonate, they use it in Bulletproof Glass and now there using it in the f-22 raptor fighter jet’s cockpit. Polymers are no joke people, get this weak minded stuff out of your heads. you know whats also made out of polymers oh yea Kevlar. I could keep going. Yes there are some cheap polymer plastics, but polycarbonate is not one of them.

  • Rick Lopez

    Kellex likes the tacky plastic because it matches his tacky gold watch, LOL

  • feres13

    It wouldn’t be a problem in a low end phone, but for a high end phone it feels like a rip-off. What i wanted from the S4 was not an aluminium unibody construction (but it would be nice) but from Samsung to move away from the glossy shinny faux textured thin flexible cheap flimzy dirty fingerprint magnet “Hyperglaze” back covers, just make it MATTE, and SOLID!

  • john fragoulias

    I dress all my smartphones in a case, so I could care less how glossy the plastic is. My S3 is dressed in a black http://www.urbanarmorgear.com case.

  • Beka27

    I’ve only had two Android phones… original DX and the S3. I loved the quality of the build on the DX, but after having the S3, the weight makes it feel clunky IMO. The only thing that ever really worries me with the S3 is the battery back plate. On the RARE occasion I do a battery pull, I’m always imagining the back plate breaking in half. The DX battery door was totally solid. Of course, towards the end, I had to do battery pulls on the DX sometimes several times a day, so it’s a good thing it was resilient. Both phones have always had some type of case, just because I’m klutzy.

    And for how often I see completely shattered iPhones (both front and back), I don’t know how anyone can talk up their build over Samsung.

  • I think the plastic vs metal/glass in smartphones is analogous to plastic vs leather/suede/wood/metal/carbon fiber in cars. The interior materials on more luxurious cars on the market are typically commensurate with the price and niche of the vehicle. With that said, even Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Lexus, and other luxury brands use plastic. Get in any of those vehicles and tell me if the plastic on the dash, doors, or trim feels like the plastic used on a Hyundai, Mazda, or Chevy.

    I agree with many others that suggest that it’s not merely the use of plastic, but the grade. To keep the car analogy going, a number of cars use plastic on the dash and console, but some manufacturers use processes to make the texture or “grade” of plastic more attractive. Samsung seems quite unapologetic about using shiny, lightweight plastic. While Nokia used plastic in a better, more handsome way with the Lumias.

    Plastic vs polycarbonate may seem like to-may-to / to-mah-to some, but it’s more than just optics to me. It’s about fit and finish. I don’t think too many people, putting opinions about operating systems aside, would hold a Lumia and an S3 and come away with the same impression about materials. So, in the end, I think it’s really an issue of using plastic. It’s about HOW a company uses it.

    As for the issue of covering up the phone, anyway, with a plastic case — I have never put a case on my phones, so the fit, finish, and feel of the device is important. I’m concerned far less about my phone being made of metal, glass, or plastic; so long as it feels like the quality matches the price I’ve paid (or the price being asked). The S3 is a good device, but it still feels cheaper (in my hands) than other devices on the market.

  • Wagierek

    Well, compare a plastic used to produce SGS3 cover and, for example, plastic used for Lego bricks or just old Sony Ericsson K700, lying next to me. These are all plastic, but it doesn’t feel as cheap as SGS3’s. It’s not about it’s made of plastic – it’s all about it’s made of cheap plastic.

  • grammarmussolini

    *peace of mind

  • Michael Lewis

    I think that plastic is always a better idea in most cases, especially when you put it on for the screen. If you can make a shatterproof plastic front for a phone then I’m all for it. Glass will shatter. Let’s make plastic that won’t shatter or scratch!

  • bbcnyc

    Plastic cover better than glass such Nexus 4. I had replaced my Nexus4 3 times due to the cracked back glass and its really frustrating

  • JoshGroff

    I guess it depends on how you look at it. In the one hand, it feels cheap, on the other, it causes less signal distortion, absorbs impact fairly well, and is obviously lighter than many other higher quality materials. Plastic with a glossy well polished finish could also make it easier to drop a device.

  • Jim McClain

    If iphone are so durable, how come it cost 15 bucks a month to insure them,and everyone put a big clunky otter on them to protect them

  • Jim McClain

    I have no cover on my phone , putting an otter box on a phone just makes it feel like i have a brick in my pocket , incredibly ugly and bulky, my nexus is so thin and light i cant even feel it in my pocket

  • Jim McClain

    I have no problem with plastic , it is more durable than metal and glass, i have dropped my galaxy nexus on my concrete drive several times and only have one little scuff mark on one corner, I’ll take plastic everytime over metal and glass

  • angermeans

    Maybe it’s just me but once you’ve owned a high quality and solid built phone I will never go back. What Samsung is calling their phones these days are not high quality.

  • R2

    I passed up on the GS3 for this reason (also I don’t like TouchWiz). But unlike a lot of iPhoners, I did not immediately slap a hideous otter box on my RAZR. Sure there’s a risk, but Motorola went out of their way to design a stylish device… why hide it?

    I’m an aesthetic person, so in my opinion, it has nothing to do with durability or cost effectiveness… I like the kevlar and aluminum more than the plastic. Cheers

  • gp126904

    Dont have an issue with plastic, but it does seem that all plastic isn’t the same. For example the GNEX is an awesome sleek phone made out of plastic that is light yet feels incredibly durable.The SIII on the other hand is probably just as strong if not stronger and to me feels like it would be worse off if it were to hit the pavement. Dont really know why that is, but thats my thoughts.

  • Buckoman

    Plastic is amazing. It’s how the plastic LOOKS that’s the problem. Glossy? Fingerprint magnet. Thin? It’s most likely creaky and flimsy. I’d rather have a more type of matte plastic than glossy like my S3.

    • Jim McClain

      I have a nexus, have no idea what you mean by creaky

      • Pedro

        Haven’t you had a dozen of them?
        Though you never complained about creaky.

  • Ben S

    Plastic can feel rugged and luxurious like the HTC 8X (which is a great phone with a crap app store). Plastic can also feel cheap like a toy – like the Huawei Ascend P1 (which is otherwise actually a fantastic phone!)

  • darkl3ad3r

    I completely disagree with all the whining about the plastic Samsung uses. It’s durable, extremely light, and CHEAP. So easy to replace for next to nothing.

    Why in the world would you want your phone made of material that’s heavier and costlier? And anyone who gives a damn about “hur dur my metal is more durable” should know better than to leave a phone naked. If you are concerned about damage you get a case. Simple.

    Bottom line: people who complain about Samsung and plastic materials are petty people looking for something to shoot down these devices and cling to their “high class” materials on their current device (see: HTC and Apple.)

  • CapnShiner

    How many phones made with metal casing have NFC? I can’t think of any. Plastic serves a purpose beyond how it looks. Sure, metal won’t crack like plastic can but in many cases the plastic can be replaced, whereas the metal cannot. When it comes to protecting a phone, the functionality should be more important than the looks. The parts that need to be protected are the screen and the internals. Regardless of what it’s made from, if you drop your phone in a hard surface it could get scratched or the screen could crack. The shock of the impact damaging the internals can be even more devastating, though. If we’ve learned anything from developing safer cars it’s that rigid materials don’t absorb as much of the kinetic energy as materials that can flex or crumple. Plastic is much less rigid than metal or glass, so I would be willing to bet that plastic phones are actually better at surviving drops.

    Anyone who puts their phone in a case should not be offering their opinion on this subject as it negates the effects of the manufacturer’s choice of materials. Cases are made of plastic and/or rubber anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 3rd party phone case made of metal.

    The only valid argument I can think of against making phones out of plastic is a cosmetic one and there can be no right or wrong in such a a subjective argument. If you care more about how a phone looks or feels than how durable it is or how well it functions, then by all means go ahead and make your purchasing decision based on looks or textures; or just put it in an aftermarket case.

  • It is just silly for people to complain about plastic construction. The technology used to create the polymers used in modern plastic makes it stronger, lighter, and better for heat transfer than most other materials. I wouldn’t pass up a phone made of another material, but if the only thing that holds you back from getting a phone is plastic, well that is just silly. If you don’t like how it feels, put a case on it.

  • Tony Allen


  • For me, It’s not so much the looks of the cheap glossy plastic, but being able to hold on to the thing. The glossy finish is way to slick. A case is a must, cause it IS goin to slip out of your hand!

  • Harvey

    I have absolutely no problem with plastic. At least when you take the rear of the phone off, you don’t have to worry about bending it, oh wait you can’t take the back off a iPhone. To me it is easier to replace the back and paint the won’t chip off if it is plastic. I have no problems at all with it and the rest of the materials just suck people in thinking that their phone will last longer with a bullet proof case. The other materials are all gimmicks.

  • PopeFrancis

    I now can’t take this article seriously after hearing Kellen say that the Razr HD is cheap looking lol

  • shooter50

    Is plastic the best, no. Would I like a better design than the S4, yes. Am I buying an S4, yes. Would I ever buy another HTC product, NO. After owning a “well built” Thunderbolt and suffering through dozens of problems that HTC took forever to fix, I will never buy another HTC product. I doubt I’m alone as HTC sales have fallen ever since that piece of trash hit the market.
    My S3 and Note II have worked perfectly. No issues at all. So I’ll happily sacrifice some design compromises to have a phone that works as advertised.
    Samsung is on top so everyone wants to slam them now, but the S4 will slaughter the HTC One

  • joejoe5709

    I don’t mind the plastic as long as it feels like purposefully durable plastic with some sort of grip to it. I’ve dropped my Gnex more times than I would like to admit and I’m sure if it had a metal or glass chassis, it would have looked a lot worse.

  • PopeFrancis

    I have no issue with plastic phones.. I have issue with how cheaply made some of them feel.

  • Thers nothing wrong with it, the problem is if the phone feels to plastiky,like all samsung phones.. Htc always made better phones than samsung,all the galaxy phones are crappy,hardware wise people are blinded by the screen,my sister owns a note2 she tought it was good.. That thing is too slow,well what do u expect from an Android..the lumia 928 will come out at the same time s4 comes out i won’t be surprised if nokia and verizon eat the hell of that gimmick crappy plastic device..

  • DRaY

    i really dont care what its made out of, as long as the hardware is bleeding edge and the software has the features/apps i need.

  • Get a Case-Mate case. Who cares what the thing is made of as long as you like it. Keep it simple. I agree with this article.

  • Serpico

    Galaxy Nexus – The back cover was plastic BUT it had a quality look AND feel. Not shiny, it didn’t easily scratch, etc. – Oh, and it had a good coating on it IE it didn’t slip out of your hand easily.

  • Alexander Garcia

    Not hatin’ on plastic. Just hatin’ on hyper-glaze. Makes it look hyper-cheap. Besides, hyper-glaze reminds me of a donut.

  • gfacekilla01

    Plastic is fine by me. Every smart phone I’ve had goes into a case anyway. Plastic is slippery but again, when enclosed by a case, it becomes a non issue. My two cents……

  • mark j

    I couldnt care less. My phones always get a case.

    Maybe y’all missed that paragraph in the article?

  • Jerry Heald

    The first thing I do with a new cell phone is put it into a protective case so the material that the phone is made of is not important.

  • Jack

    nothing wrong with plastic but Samsung keep same desgin same corners and same desgin its like always done in 1 min copy past boring and cheap looking and fake also there plastic not hight quality like Nokia. why no one talks of nokia plastic? because its high quality and plastic it feel like metal in the hand.

  • I put mine in a case the day I buy it. So who cares if its plastic, kevlar, metal, or paper???

  • Anon

    I have no problem with the right plastic. Reinforced, high-impact plastic, preferably with a sort of pebbled, or textured finish meant to withstand the rigors of everyday use. Something that doesn’t feel like it will (or something that doesn’t) flex if you press on it with a finger. And finally, matte finished.

    High-gloss plastic scratches easily, and attracts fingerprints. It looks cheap, like consumer-grade laptops, meant to catch your eye temporarily in a retail store, and ugly forever after the purchase. It’s also slippery in feel (hence easier to drop).

  • Tom Cavey

    Two Words=Nothing.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke]

    Why do so many people call the plastic used by Samsung “cheap plastic?” This so called cheap plastic is actually some of the highest-quality plastic I’ve seen. And the build quality isn’t “cheap” by any means. The tolerances are amazing. All the various pieces are within micrometers of alignment. And the 3D textures are perfectly uniform — at least seen with the naked eye.

    I would call the material expensive plastic, if anything.

  • I prefer plastic, it doesn’t shatter like glass.

  • Dan Churco

    Most people have a plastic case one their metal phones. So who cares. My gs3 look like new because of the plastic. It has held up much better than metal. Can you say dents, or glass, with the scratches.

  • NexusMan

    It’s because Apple has brainwashed people with the iPhone, into thinking that plastic phones are bad. I, personally, like some other people, don’t mind a plastic phone, as long as it feels good in hand. The way a phone FEELS in hand is a big factor of this argument, and for example, I DO like the way the plastic Galaxy Nexus and the original Droid Incredible feel in hand, however, I do NOT like the way the plastic Galaxy S III feels in hand and since I NEVER use a case, that’s a problem. Kellen, you made very good points, particularly about people complaining about plastic phones and slapping plastic cases on them. The only material deal breaker for me is glass. I absolutely will NOT buy a phone with a glass back. It’s just dumb. And I’ve felt that since the iPhone. Why would you make a phone entirely out of glass, when it’s a small device that is always held in hand, used extremely frequently and pulled in and out of pockets and bags constantly, and often times used while on the run, or out in public…and is known to have a high rate of drops? It’s just dumb. And who cares about the “look” of that glass, when you have to cover it in an ugly, bulky, plastic case, so it doesn’t shatter when you place it on a table. It’s a classic case of looks over function and practicality, and I’d take plastic over glass any day.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke]


      But unlike NexusMan, I actually own a Nex4 (on the $30 per month prepaid unlimited T-Mobile plan that I read about here) as well as a GNex. My GNex (on VZW) is my daily phone. And I do NOT have it in a case. I like how sleek it is. And I also love how durable it is. I’ve dropped the sucker so many times, I’ve lost count. It has yet to crack, and sure, it’s got the scuff marks to prove it’s taken some hits, but I’m more concerned with it working and staying in one piece versus impressing my iPhone-carrying friends.

      I actually LOVE how the GNex dissipates impact forces by flying apart!!! The battery door pops off and the battery might go skidding across the pavement, but everything snaps back together, and all is good.

      I fly RC planes, and the same concept holds. During a crash, your plane has a much better chance of surviving if it flies apart (pun intended) when it hits the ground too hard.

      My Nex4, on the other hand, is in a thick rubbery plastic case.

  • fanboy1974

    This entire issue has been blown way out of proportion. I’m very happy with Samsung’s decision to use plastic because it still gives me 2 of the most important options; removable battery and sd card support.

    The only time I see my Note 2’s plastic body is when I take off my premium case to replace the battery. The one phone that had better quality would be the Droid X with it’s metal battery door. But again; I only saw the body when swapping the battery.
    If the HTC One had a removable battery door and sd card support then all off this crying would be relevant. As it stands Samsung sacrificed build material options for added functionality and I agree with them 110%.

    But lets face it. Android has 2 beautiful flagships to pick from with good devices from Sony and LG. I’m only upset that HTC does not have the muscle to put the HTC One out on Verizon at the same time (I don’t care about the DNA).

    This should not be a Samsung vs HTC issue guys. It’s Android vs (Apple+WP+BB).

  • well it’s cheap plastic that’s what’s wrong…

    • fanboy1974

      Do you currently have a case on your phone? If not get the HTC One so that you can look and feel the phone every time you use it. If you do use a case does it really matter?
      My wife’s iPhone 5 is so delicate it’s been in a otterbox commuter from day one. At that point does build material really matter? It blows my mind that the iPhone has tons and tons of cases on the market for people to hide/protect the premium body from wear and tear. Why even make a case for phones made from quality material? Otterbox has the most cases for the iPhone in a range of different styles and colors. It just blows my mind how people think.

  • nothing wrong with cheap plastic. Just don’t ask for premium price for it!

  • Kerry Davies

    I think the problem is that people want to feel like the device is worth the money. I can’t see the inside of my phone, as much as I might like to see all those beautiful chips. So the price of the phone directly reflects the fit and finish. Have been paying full price for phone as to keep my unlimited data, I use about 10g a month and I’m never stepping away from my 90$ plan. When I spend #600+ on something I use almost as much as water, I want to feel like my money was well spent. The way my phone looks in my hands is almost as important as the function. Looking at my DNA and Nexus make me happy. I don’t want to look like the kid who had the knock off Nike’s. Plastic doesn’t reflect this at all, why do you think $1000+ with gold keys exist. Welth, power, and status are massively important to a huge number of people, apple made a killing off people not wanting to be out shown. Google can produce one of the best phones on the market with wonderful high end materials, and it only cost $350. This is why plastic gets a bad name and has no appeal.

  • Wow Kellex, its not like you to post trolling posts (I don’t buy for a second that you can’t wrap your MIMD around this)… People want a device that looks and feels high quality. That can be accomplished with plastic, but in many cases its not accomplished. I don’t care what my device is made of as long as it looks and feels high quality and solid.

    • aBabyPenguin

      I think that is what Kellex is saying. Everything seems great about the S4, but people are groaning about it being made of plastic. I think the S4 “looks and feels high quality,” (even though I have never held it) so why are people complaining?

  • Good question. It seems to be that most consumers are pretty vain when it comes to their phones; companies seem to feel that different materials would satisfy a wider range of needs

  • Scott Hartman

    Part of it is weight – we instinctively feel things are chintzy if they are too light for their size. But also there’s the issue of flex – my Galaxy Nexus simply was not a rigid device in the same way that my Droid X was. The Droid X probably also had plastic parts, but between the metal and the soft-touch covering it was a solid phone and I never once questioned its toughness like I did the Gnex.

    My Nexus 4 actually feels tougher than the Gnex. Given the glass back this may not actually prove to be true, and I imagine that there is plastic under the soft-touch coating around the edges, but in the hand it feels like a more solid product. Given all this I suspect that the problem isn’t really the act of using hydrocarbons in the body of your smartphone, but rather things like the tolerance of the body in production, and whether the engineering inspires confidence (and increases subjective valuation) in the device, or if it makes the device feel cheap.

  • TheRetroReplay

    Nothing is wrong with plastic, the GNex was made of plastic and I loved it, but the S3 and by the looks of the S4, use really thin, glossy and shiny plastic, giving it a cheap and fragile feel.

    The GNex and Samsung devices before the S3 used thicker and harder plastic, so it still had that premium feel. I dropped my GNex several times on pavement and not a scratch happened. Dropped the S3 from a height of about 10 inches into soft dirt and the back cover shattered to pieces.

    No one has a problem with plastic, but no one wants thin flimsy plastic that feels like it will snap in half if you look at it wrong.

  • ds

    It doesn’t matter. Everyone has some kind of cover around ANY phone I see. Doesn’t matter it looks cheap or good. I don’t know why people here think Samsung plastic looks so cheap if they are going to cover it anyway.

  • N8shon

    No complaints here. I love the look of my Note 2.

  • I have no issue with it whatsoever.

  • Dick

    Plastic by itself isn’t really the problem, it’s the kind of plastic that I don’t care for. There may be more opportunity to see it because of market share, but I see a lot more people with cracked/cracking Samsung phones than, say, HTC or Motorola. Same goes for the glass they use.

    Frankly, if I’m going to buy an expensive toy, I want them to at least seem like they’re going to last. This is not something I can say of many of my previous Samsung products of ANY type, including phones.

  • I prefer plastic, these days there are so many different types and formulas of plastics available I feel plastic is much more durable. I myself don’t understand why people have such hatred for plastic on their phones either.

  • Tim242

    People seem so worried about what the back of the phone is made of…IT’S THE FRAGILE GLASS ON THE FRONT THAT SHATTERS

  • austin

    At this point Samsung is the only android OEM the uses plastic, it comes down to a nicer looking smart phone. Owned an optimus g for 3 months and it was a nice looking phone, not to mention plastic doesn’t have the same “complete or solid ” feel as other materials.

    • Tim242

      Did you fall and hit your head? Every single OEM uses plastic.

  • cphilano

    I feel you Kel. The comment section is acting like you’re crazy and it doesn’t get mentioned none stop by Android and iPhone users that Samsung makes plastic phones instead of the other materials you mentioned. The iPhone is a rectangle with rounded corners and people fawn over it like a beautiful woman.

    I’ve been asking that same question for a while now though. The GNex looks food to me and all you heard was that it was made of cheap plastic. I mean super cars are made out of the same stuff and no one complains.

  • rlarson_mn

    I have a SG3 and I am very happy with its performance as well as its build quality.

  • Dad

    Elitism. If cheeseburgers cost $100, everyone would be bragging how cool it was to go to McDonalds last night and how wonderfull the food was. Plastic is inexpensive- therefore not desireable.

  • BrionBrown

    I have a note 2 and I’m fine with the plastic. Yeah it’s a little flimsy but it looks ok and I feel much safer with it than I did with my glass nexus 4. It looked nicer but I was afraid to pull it out of my pocket.

  • Dropped my GNex the other day. Very glad it is plastic. If it wasn’t, it would have shattered like so many N4s.

  • Marcus Reid

    if you’re going to go with plastic go with the kevlar look like with the Razr. Samsung is not known for build quality and you can tell in hand. Samsung it’s time to bring something new not just some injected plastic crap.

  • Chris King

    this is funny kellex himself has made fun of samungs plastic phones

  • Brandon S.

    My Lumia 920 is made out of heavy durable plastic. Its fine, and feels like high quality, buts its kinda bulky. That’s being said I would prefer an aluminum build like on the Lumia 928 being release on Verizon. I will get over it, but my next phone WILL be made out of aluminum.

  • Aaron17Watson17

    People are shallow. ; (

  • Bionic

    Here is the TRUTH. There is nothing “wrong” with plastic on phones. But, when you compare against ceramic, kevlar, or metal, plastic finishes dead last in drop test and stress test.


  • rdoib

    Its a shame that this plastic will outsell HTC one aluminum unibody.

    • Bionic

      it really is, no joke

      • Tim242

        I’m surprised that someone who bought the Bionic still praises its maker.

  • rdoib

    They make a creaking sound reminding you how cheap plastic is every time you press hard any of the edges.

    • Bionic

      or try to take the back cover off to change batteries, feels like you’re gonna break it

  • I don’t think it’s so much the fact that the Galaxies are made of plastic, its the poor way they implement it, and build it (hence the term build quality). A $600+ device SHOULDN’T creak brand new. It shouldn’t flex either. It’s the flimsy way that Samsung makes their phones that upsets people (myself included). Plastic can be done right, but Samsung does not. And it’s disappointing that the top manufacturer in the Android game can’t invest in the manufacturing of it’s devices.

  • Andrew Weckstein

    I haven’t got any problem with plastic. I have a plastic phone and may buy one again. But the fact remains that the glass/aluminum/whatever the droid DNA is (soft touch something?) Is just way sexier. It’s not so much that plastic feels cheap as that metal feels expensive. And classy and futuristic. It feels more cohesive somehow. And more solid overall. I ahve a Samsung Series 9 Laptop and was super surprised when I took the bottom panel off that it was so thin. Even when metal is thin, it just feels real and solid and premium.

  • calum wilper

    well it’s really as simple as; “it feels cheap.”

  • JSIN

    Plastic feels cheap in hand for a device you pay a premium for. Not to mention that phones that are very light are easy to drop the heavier ones sit in my hand better.

  • Bionic

    X phone

  • nightscout13

    HTC is using metals for their devices, Samsung has no excuse why not to. Plastic makes a premium phone feel cheap, end of story.

    • Bionic


    • austin

      I agree, metal makes a phone feel more solid and looks better then plastic, why pay top dollar for plastic?

    • NexusMan

      Samsung’s excuse is durability, ease in manufacturing (let’s face it, they have to pump out a lot more units than HTC does), and easy removable battery door.

      • nightscout13

        I hate to do this, but HTC made aluminum phones with removable batteries, see attached photos. I’m not an HTC fan, but even THEY were able to use aluminum. It wasn’t pretty, but the point is that it’s doable if you sit down and think about it.

  • nightscout13

    Plastic feels cheap. It does not feel solid. In drop tests, GS3 lost to the iPhone 5, not sure if it’s cause of the plastic, but the majority of the time, iPhone 5 wins in drop tests. (bring on the downvotes) Aluminum feels more solid in the hand. FFS Samsung, at least give us SOME metal, like you did for the ATIV. Why does a windows phone get metal, but Android gets plastic again?

    • Tim242

      None of moto’s recent phones have been metal.

      • nightscout13

        Carbon Fiber they have been. better than plastic….

  • TheWenger

    I’m an engineer so I’ve always liked the plastic better. Naked G-Nex is a sexy piece of electronic goodness.

  • jrphillips10

    Plastic is slippery and can just look cheap. Also what’s with the design in the plastic that they used? I just don’t like that diamond type design. The phone still looks really good but it doesn’t hit that high quality mark. My favorite phones were the Droid 1 and Droid X for phone material. They metal with rubberish coating made it very durable and easy to hold on to and it looked great!

    • NexusMan

      Plastic is slippery and glass is not? Not all plastic is slippery. The plastic used on the Galaxy S III is. But the plastic on the Galaxy Nexus or the Droid Incredible are not.

      • jrphillips10

        Very true I like my Nexus better than other phones out right now. One of the best plastic phones. It has that soft touch to it. I hated my Samsung Droid Charge. I dropped it so many times.

  • Jwhap

    My galaxy nexus (purchased on release day) looks like the day I bought it. Occasionally I use a case but generally it is naked! Guess plastic is a horrible material to build phones with!

    • NexusMan

      Agreed! And when I drop it (which has happened frequently), guess what happens? It doesn’t shatter, break or scratch. Instead, the plastic back pops off, breaking the fall, and I just pop it right back on and keep moving.

  • David Weeden

    I’m not a huge fan of plastic phones that have no texture. The build up of oils and other grime can make the phone feel all slimy. Especially phones like the gs3. I love the textured back on the galaxy nexus. What did they call it again? Hyper skin?

  • It seems to be more about the look and feel than the actual durability. As phones have gotten larger again, they’ve also gotten much lighter. A bad finish on plastic and no weight at all gives the impression of low quality and potential for durability issues.

    My DInc is plastic, but it feels anything but cheap. It has a nice glossy finish on top and a textured, comfortable finish on the back. The pieces fit together snugly, there’s no flex, and it’s got just enough weight to it to make it feel like a sturdy, durable phone.

    When I first got it, I put a case on it because I was terrified of dropping it. After a year or so, I realized I hadn’t had any major issues with it, and the plastic case made it look and feel more cheap and flimsy than it ever did without it. I removed the case and haven’t looked back.

    • LionStone

      Same here, I took the cases off my Inc. and TB, they were study enough and with non slip backs, and haven’t bought any more cases since. The girl has just a screen protector on her Inc4G and that’s all that’s necessary really for that phone too. I just put a screen protector on my dna but I don’t like it, I’m looking for a better one I think?

      Anyway, plastic is fine if done right… Slippery, shiny no like.

  • Ibrick

    Personally, I don’t like the feel of cheap plastic. My DNA on the other hand feels great whatever the backing is made of..

    Not to mention my phone spends much more time in my hand than it does falling to the ground.

    • Tim242

      The back is soft touch plastic.

  • Kenneth Hung

    In a word: Nothing. In five words: It doesn’t “feel” as nice. Emphasis on “feeling,” both physically and emotionally. By itself there is nothing wrong with the Galaxy S3/S4. I love my GS3 and would probably today still take it over the HTC One (but for reasons other than materials). It’s only when we compare it to the glass and metal of the HTC One or iPhone that suddenly people start criticizing the materials in the Galaxy series. The problem is in our heads we have made an association between certain materials and value. Plastic “feels” cheap in our minds because that’s what phones have been made out of for decades. It wasn’t until a few years ago that people started using “premium” materials and that’s why it feels modern and valuable.

  • biberon

    Plastic itself doesn’t bother me, provided it doesn’t flex and creak under normal usage, it’s the feel of Samsung’s plastic I don’t like. If the phone were made of unobtainium, and had a slick lacquered finish, I’d still hate it. A textured soft touch finish would go a long way; even just the type of plastic found on the back of the Rezound feels much better in the hand.

  • forget glass, plastic and metals, i’m waiting for transparent aluminum! if it can hold whales, it can hold up to my daily use for sure.

  • bobzrag

    This goes beyond materials, every phone that comes out is critiqued to exhaustion; it’s too big or small; it’s metal and weighs too much; it’s light, but looks cheap. That’s why there is a choice, no one phone is going to make everyone happy. I’m not a fan of Apple (closed environment, same user experience for everyone, lack of choice in keyboards, form factor, etc) but my wife and a lot of colleagues (it folks) love it and works great for them. Like the phone and buy it or don’t but are the rants necessary?

  • michael centeno

    it feels cheap. its a very expensive device, but it feels like a cheap toy. thats what.

  • Nish R

    Aluminum scratches and the dents are quite real. Glass cracks and scratches as well. Both of the previously mentioned do have a slightly heavier weight than plastic. Plastic does scratch as well but it is also comes with plenty of advantages. 1. It is cheap. 2. Cheap to replace if it is a replaceable part. 3. Light. 4. Easier to allow radio transmission. 5. You won’t hurt yourself that bad if you’re using a broken piece of plastic(I see reactions already). Glossy plastic, certain colors more than the other, is a fingerprint magnet and can prove to be very slippery. If you’re like me and have very sweaty hands at all times, this can be an issue. Matte black versus matte white plastic finish, white hides the prints and black shows it all as smudges. More reason to complain than anything to be honest. We want cheaper phones, yet want a premium product. Samsung balances it out by giving super cool internal hardware but somehow minimizing cost on exterior appearance to make the phone somewhat reasonably priced. Think of a samsung internal hardware blended with an iphone exterior or heck, even a Vertu. LOL That’s one phone no one would want to buy even with a discounted contract price. Just my 2 cents. I rarely spend time admiring the back finish of my phone and usually just see the front that is covered in Corning. I guess that’s why I just have an opinion rather than a die-hard preference.

  • Eion

    Answer: Nothing. I don’t get people, most if not all users slap a case on the phone anyways.

  • oosagi

    No matter what phone i have…i always get an Otterbox Defender case due to working for and with the military…so what my phone is made of at the end if the day is meaningless to me. And that is something that i think is funny when i think about this subject. I very rarely see someone with a S3 naked…or an iphone naked…or even a lumia naked…they almost always have a case on them..at least covering the back…so i guess i am just curious with everyone having cases on the back of their phones is this really that big of a deal? And if it is why do i see so many people walking around with the cheapest case on their super expensive phone?

  • Austin Warren

    Xbox and PS3 are made of plastic. I guess those are a waste of money and built cheaply.

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    Nothing wrong with plastic… it’s just the result of the typical echo chamber of people unable to think for themselves. Pretty much all expensive electronics are in plastic shells… and so are the most expensive of cars, with their mix of plastics and carbon fibers.

    What do I use aluminum for? Containing my Coca Cola and other beverages.

  • Jon

    So let me compare the aluminum Motorola phones that had removable battery…like the Bionic, Droid X2…etc, to the plastic removable battery phones of Samsung. With samsung phones, you can very carelessly just peel the flexible plastic back cover off. It has a surprisingly good plastic tabbed method that holds the back case on amazingly well. I’ve never had my back fly off my Samsung phones when dropped. Now the Motorola phones have aluminum tabs that slide off. You have to be much more intentional to take the cover off, and the aluminum tabs can be bent and will give you problems if they are. Also, the back cover would fly off all the time on my Droid X and Bionic when dropped from a decent force.

    Motorola phones are like tanks, but Samsung phones are incredibly durable without the weight and feel of a tank like product.

  • Sean Wood

    Not a damn thing.. I just wish manufacturers would actually mold the plastic components from the intended color. One scuff an the back of your pretty blue GS3 looks like it has black tiger stripes. Also… If they’re going to continue to make phones out of cheaper materials why are the prices still so high? It’s part of the existing consumer capitalist paradigm. Make it cheaper not to better compete but for better returns to shareholders. Ultimately consumers need to voice their all mighty bucks and make a stand.

  • Aaron17Watson17

    Sammobile said that one of the prototypes of the gs4 was an all aluminium unibody but the production took way too long to meet the demand. I guess thats why

  • Austin Warren

    First world problems.

  • Rob

    Better question of the day: When will the sites address be http://www.samsung-life.com?

    • Austin Warren

      It’s an android device. Get over it.

  • Bionic

    Yanno what WONT be plastic? The X phone

    • Tim242

      Really, all other recent moto phones have had zero metal.

      • Bionic

        Kevlar is better than plastic you stupid fuckk

        • Tim242

          Only if you are shooting at it.

          • Bionic

            Or dropping it, you stupid fuckk

          • Tim242

            I work in a cell phone store. I see a lot of cracked screens, with no damage to the plastic. You have zero credibility here.

          • Bionic

            Shut the Fuckk up. You are not gonna convince anyone that plastic is better than metal or Kevlar.

          • Tim242

            Most of us already know. You must be off your meds again. Since you seem to be so bored, go make up some x phone rumors. If you can’t think of any, go steal some.

          • Bionic

            Tell us more about how motorola killed your dog. Go finger your mom or whatever it is you do on friday nights.

          • Tim242

            They put out terrible phones. All of their recent phones feel very cheap, have awful cameras, and awful displays. Contrary to popular belief, their radios aren’t the best. Last night, there were 4 Android phones here. My Note II, my BF’s Note II, one friend’s DNA, and another’s RAZR M. We all had solid 4G signal, the RAZR M was stuck on 3G. Only a restart fixed it, buta few minutes later, back to 3G. Might just Bethe RAZR M, but my point is, moto radios are not all mighty and superior. I know this is the internet, where you like to take out your crappy life on us. But, your trash talk does nothing but discredit your posts. You sound like an 8 year old.

          • Bionic

            and yet, everything i say to promote motorola build quality, which is still best in the business, you chime in and start giving me crap.

            I dont care where you work. You are not going to convince any educated person that plastic is better than ceramic or metal or kevlar in drop test or stress test, its simple physics.

          • Tim242

            Their build quality is not the best in the business. You are basing that on nothing but your own biased opinion. The fact is, the material on the back of the phone doesn’t really matter. It’s the front glass that shatters. There’s hardly ever much damage to the back of any phone, unless it’s glass. When moto puts out a phone with a kevlar display that is usable, then you can sing their praises.

  • Rodeojones000

    While my dislike for the S4 is well documented over the past 30 hours on this site, regarding plastic phones it’s actually not an issue for me. I have a Galaxy Nexus and one of the things I like most about it is the plastic material.

  • If you’re paying top dollar for a smarphone, you would expect high quality software and hardware. Saturn didn’t demand $50k for their fiberglass cars – no matter how luxurious their highest end might have been. Samsung shouldn’t demand premium prices either, unless they use premium materials like Apple, HTC, or LG in the smartphone world – or German car makers if using the car market analogy

  • Jeremy Edwards

    I thought most people wrap their phones in rubber, not plastic.

  • N

    I just don’t like the feel of plastic compared to alternatives. It does feel cheaper than glass or aluminum. And no, I don’t wrap my phones up in a case. But even if I did, I’d get an aluminum bumper or a textured matte case. Maybe it is like somebody else said, the glossy looks and feels cheap?

    • Aaron17Watson17

      Polycarbonate is cheap and feels cheap but durable, nuff said

  • Christopher Riner

    Eh, I understand why they use plastic. Its like Matias said when the n10 came out- “using plastic was the only way to make the tablet this strong, this light, this thin, and this cheap”. I think peoples gripes about plastic are based on the fact that yeah, its obviously a compromise. You are sacrificing things with finishes that are aesthetically pleasing, like aluminum or glass scratching and breaking easier. With plastic, the compromise comes in the looks department. I think OEMS could do a better job and get more creative with finding cool ways to tie in different materials for a mostly plastic phone with cool accents that still meets the guidelines necessary for a cheap, durable phone.

  • dannyWHITE

    I currently dont use a case on my N4 that I’ve had for about a month now. I consider myself a careful person when it comes to my smartphones. I really like the glass on the N4 and Optimus G, definitely feels like a premium device. I think a nice aluminum back like on the HTC One would be an option I’d like as well. Smartphones today are more about build then ever before. Plastic to me personally just seems blah and gets boring quick. I would like manufactures to surprise us in quality and design in future smart phones.

  • Dillon Brown

    Nothing really, purely aesthetic. As you hinted towards the end, our phones are not just a phone anymore are and are increasingly the most used and valued object in our daily lives. I feel a level of attachment to my phone, it’s part of my identity. Plastic, (not all plastic ex. Lumia phones) does not feel premium to me. It doesn’t feel “solid” as many plastic phones are bendy and creaky, and plastic is often lacking in aesthetically pleasing texture, glass and aluminum conduct heat in a way that can produce a comfortable cool feel as well as a unique smooth rigidness. When companies try to use plastic to mirror the other materials, there is nothing worse. They all drop and break just as easily so, If I’m going to spend at the premium price on a flagship device, I expect it to satisfy my aesthetic wants too. I have not and will not use a case simply for the aesthetic reasons, and I hope I never thought will.

  • I prefer metal. Not because it’s more durable (it’s not), but because it simply feels higher quality. This isn’t a concept inherent just to smartphones… laptops, TVs, watches, pretty much anything people prefer metal construction over plastics.

    I do prefer plastic over glass however. Glass is just too fragile for my tastes.

    As far as the plastic case goes.. I’d probably use one made out of TPU…or maybe a bumper. But, I’ve never actually owned a metal phone as I can’t think of one (that isn’t an iPhone) that has ever been available for Android on Verizon. I think it would only give off a premium feel up until it got scratched…then I’d hate it (OCD about scratches) Which is why I don’t think aluminum is the best metal to use for a phone…it’s simply the cheapest option manufactures have.

    So, in the end all else being equal I’d pick aluminum over plastic because if nothing else it does make it feel sturdier, and more solid. However, I’d pay out big time for a titanium phone. It does make me feel wasteful though, to use metals on sometime ill keep for a year or so.

  • 4n1m4L

    And what about the ceramic HTC one x?

    • Tim242

      The One X is polycarbonate plastic.

      • 4n1m4L

        Well then. I lose

  • jcorf

    I put my phone in a case so it doesn’t matter.

  • 4n1m4L

    I appreciate the plastic on the gnex. Its easy to replace and absorbs some falls. 3rd back shell. 0 digitizers

  • Aaron17Watson17

    Plastic just feels cheap. I wish Samsung would use rubberized plastic line the z10. It would be alot better. The htc one is just extremely gorgeous even if it took design cues from iphone 5 and the z10. I really think samsung would sell even more if they used premium materials

  • Manthas

    I think you’re unlikely to get a consensus on this issue; the problem is the majority of people who are commenting are saying things like, “It just looks cheap” or “It just feels cheap”. Both of these are immeasurably subjective statements. I, personally, like the look and feel of the Galaxy Nexus. I obviously haven’t touched the GS4, but I think it looks very nice. I am also, obviously, vastly in the minority of folks here.

    The better question is something along the lines of, “What makes a good looking / feeling device?” What is it about a glass, or aluminum, or other form of polycarbonate device that feels better to you? Is it the weight? Is it the texture? Someone else brought up the OG Moto Droid – that thing weighed a ton, and was a freaking brick, but most people agree that it “felt good in the hand”.

  • motatoe

    Plastic is great! it’s durable and removable.

  • “Peace of mind” – FTFY

  • Neomastermind

    I don’t have much of a problem with plastic phones now that I think about it. However, my GNex did feel a bit hollow when I first unboxed it. The Nexus 4 has a heft to it that I like.

  • Drew Chapman

    I thought I was the only one with this question. Every phone I’ve ever owned is plastic. I feel half the people who complain about the galaxy s4 being plastic have a plastic phone in their pocket. I think HTC got to their heads.

  • Bowen9284

    I had a GS3 and I think it was the combination of the white color and the plastic that makes it feel cheap. I love white phones, but I wished I had purchased the grey or blue. Most of the other colors have the brushed effect making it more aesthetically pleasing. The trim around the phone also appears extremely cheap when up close. I understand it’s durable, but personally I handle my next phone far better than the last, and I am less worried about drops than I once was. I will gladly take a more “premium” feeling device.

  • I wonder if the manufacturing process is greener for these plastics as opposed to the metal approach. While I understand people might like the cool feel of metal and glass, Samsung could try marketing to their strengths when they choose plastic (i.e. greater flexibility, durability, less wasteful?, etc.)

  • CIFchamp24

    It’s just the look. Plain and simple

  • carlisimo

    There’s no denying that plastic is perfectly functional, probably more so than aluminum. But imagine if everything we did was form over function. We’d have gray, cubical buildings. We would all wear sweats. Cars would be undecorated boxes with cheap plastic interiors.

    No thanks. It turns out I like shiny baubles; there’s something pleasing about holding a device that looks and feels subjectively nice. For me that means a rigid chassis, among other things – that’s something you can feel through certain cases (though I don’t use one on my HTC One S).

    I’ll never say that a phone is bad because it uses cheap, flimsy plastic. I might even buy one despite it (I did have a Nexus S at one point). But I value design and feel a lot.

  • i dont think anything is wrong with plastic phones

  • samsuck

    we should change droid-life to samsung-life. practically a samsung blog that hates on Moto, HTC, and LG

    • These posts are the opinions of the writers. You can post your own in the comments.

    • Rodeojones000

      Funny. Similar comments were all over this site following the release of the Droid X, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 4. I don’t like the S4, but I have no problem with the coverage it’s receiving here or anywhere else. And no one is putting a gun to your head making you come to this site.

  • paul_cus

    I don’t use a case on any phone I have, so it’s nice when the premium materials are used. Mostly because of the price I pay for my unlocked phones. However, design is the most important thing. If it’s a plastic phone with a great design I don’t mind it.

  • Weighing in: I’m a mechanical engineer, and I fully understand the give-and-take in material selection. I believe that your question is much too broad, and in fact the very wrong question to ask.

    The answer to your question is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with plastic. The problem is that there is a right way and a wrong way to implement the design of plastic bodies. Polycarbonate, the material that Samsung uses, has some excellent characteristics that make it fitting for a mobile device. In fact, HTC and Nokia have both used polycarbonate in their devices in the past. The difference in perception is a difference in rigidity and surface finish, and therefore the feel of the device is vastly different. Samsung loses a great deal of the device’s rigidity by using thin plastic sheets and internal framework in addition to the specific design of their removable backs. By simply making it able to be removed, they must add “slop” to the design that is not present in other manufacturer’s designs, and that slop is felt in the hand by a slight variance in feel along the surface that while not consciously noticed, is registered by the user as a lower quality build. Secondly, by creating thin devices, they must use a more pliable form of polycarbonate in order to keep it from cracking under internal stresses. That is a manufacturing restriction, but does affect the overall perception of the device. As for the surface finish, attempting to make a plastic look more sophisticated by making it glossy also reduces the amount of grip that the material has against the hand. This generates a feeling of danger of dropping said device, and a lack of security while holding it combined with a perception of its fragility combines to make the device seem of lower quality than it may or may not be.

    So, Samsung made design choices that make their device look more attractive, but reduce the positive feel of the device in the hand, which ultimately results in their perceived build quality being less that of other devices.

    • Joe

      We also don’t know which PC they use or any additives they put into the injection molding process. Don’t forget that PC absorbs a ton of energy and deflects a lot before fracture. Obviously very durable, but I personally don’t care because I’m always going to put a thin rubber case on mine. I can’t stand seeing scuffs or dings in a phone.

  • Aaron K.

    For me it’s all bout feel. I don’t mind plastic as long it feels solid and has some grip to it. Hate the glossy slippery phones.

  • in truth nothing. but I, like I am sure others we appreciate the OG’s strong metal framework which heralded a durability that hasnt been seen since. one smashed OG to 10+ smashed iphones says something. My only OG casualty was a death by freeway sacrifice. an S3/S4 cant say the same with the plastic construction. But they are nice phones and still durable.

  • Glossy plastic = creaking, flexing, slip’n’sliding, cracking and overall the physical appearance of all plastic just seems really really cheap.

  • RWW

    My Galaxy Nexus is as shiny and scratch free as the day I took it out of the box, unlike my OG Droid, which was full of chips in the aluminum/paint by the 1 year mark. No problem with plastic here!

    • Rodeojones000

      Indeed. My still fully-functional OG Droid looks like it’s been through a war and I never dropped the thing. Just wear and tear from two years of normal use. My Galaxy Nexus, bought on launch day, still looks brand new.

  • For me, it’s not what it’s made out of. It’s what’s inside that counts. End of story.

  • I recently stopped putting a case on my S3. Why? Because that shiny plastic looks so damn good! I’m over the industrial design of my friends’ iPhones. As long as it looks good, who cares if it’s plastic? The reason people want non-plastic materials is because they look good in almost any design.

  • Go out to your multi thousand dollar car and see how much of it is made of plastic. Who cares what it’s made of as long as it feels good and works great.

  • AvidAndroidFan

    I’ve already been an avid reader of Droid-Life. The news here has always been entertaining, although not always accurate, but nonetheless it’s one of the first RSS feeds I read throughout the day. However, the fanboyism towards Samsung lately has been kind of overwhelming. Since the initial report of Samsung owning a majority of the Android ecosystem, the fanboyism towards Samsung at Droid-Life has been evident. The staff (don’t even remember who wrote the original article) has even gone as far to say that Android would greatly suffer without Samsung, which I highly doubt is true (look at the Android trends, Samsung hasn’t always been on top and they won’t always be on top). People aren’t buying phones because they’re Samsung (like people buy Apple products because they’re Apple). People buy the Galaxy phones because of the branding, and because they’re generally quality products. Samsung has done an amazing job the past two years making the success it has, I absolutely love my Galaxy Note 2 and have no desire to upgrade in the future (that’s a first!), but you seem to be avoiding the main problem of plastic. It. Feels. Cheap.

    You even said it in the article, but you avoided it by only focusing on durability. These fantastic pieces of technology we hold probably 75% of the waking day, I don’t want my phone to feel cheap. The plastic is my only complaint about my Note 2. The case I have on it (that isn’t plastic, by the way) alleviates that problem somewhat, but really the only reason I have a case on it is because it feels cheap. It’s not about the durability (hence why I don’t really want a case) it’s about how the phone feels in my hand. Plastic doesn’t grip as well, either, in my opinion.

    Droid-Life is just starting to feel like Samsung-Life lately, and your direct attacks at HTC for their comments when Samsung has done the exact same is just immature and childish on Droid-Life’s part. I’ve always loved Android life because of the variety and competition, and the lack of absolutely fanboyism (We all favor certain manufacturers). Please don’t continue to pollute Droid-Life news with the bias that has been written the past few weeks.

    Frustrated Droid-Life reader.

    • dave


    • hashtagtroll


    • Joe

      If you hadn’t hear, the GS3 was a big deal. Therefore, DL has covered the GS4 as such. But thanks for your rant.

    • Austin Warren

      So because they like a device that’s clearly better, they are fan boys? That logic is so flawed and ridiculous.

  • Ahku Droid

    It could have to do with toy quality growing up. The metal toys were rugged and could survive if you stepped on them, where a plastic toy would be easier to break, We learned to associate weight with quality that way. Early Transformers were metal and could survive a firecracker strapped to it. GoBots were plastic, felt light and cheap, and would lose an arm easily.

    Take that same mentality to those same kids now being adults with a new kind of toy…smartphones. Light plastic phones bring up the feeling of being less durable. Some pieces flex more, such as battery covers, and don’t seal up flush or pop up in your pocket.

    My RAZR MAXX has good weight distribution with its steal frame and the rugged Kevlar back. It makes it feel like you are getting more for your money. I also have to admit though, I am tough on phones. I used to replace them a couple times on warranty during my 2 year contract. I haven’t had one durability issue with my MAXX (not the newer HD) since I bought it. So this proves the quality to me. Now if I could only get an official JB update…

  • Stevedub40

    Kellen, I am completely with you on this. I also thought about this for a while the other day. For something so portable, plastic is quite durable and can take a beating. Everyone I see with these so-called “premium” build phones has the most gaudy plastic case on the damn thing. One other plus to the S4 is that the back is removable, so if you do damage it, you can replace it fairly easy. You can’t do this with a unibody phone.

  • Tyler Casilio

    I just think of it as I’m spending over $200 because I don’t want a 2 year contract. Most times I spend in the $400 range and I don’t want to get a phone for that much and it’s only made out of plastic. It should feel somewhat “Premium” I guess

  • Tim242

    The ironic thing is that aluminum is cheap metal.

    • Aluminum by weight is exceedingly expensive compared to other materials, especially common plastics like polycarbonate. It costs roughly 3x the bulk price of an average carbon steel, and about 10x the same volume of plastic. Make no mistake, a Galaxy S4 frame in cast/machined aluminum would be easily 10x times the cost of the plastic frame just in materials, not counting that its is more costly to machine and cast.

      To echo the article: Samsung uses plastic because plastic is cheap.

    • JMonkeYJ

      i think it’s mostly the machining/manufacturing process for metals and glass that is expensive. plastic can be molded easily.

  • My problem is with any material made out of anything BUT plastic seems to destroy the signal, every asus product tried the premium aluminum now they went back to plastic because every aluminum product acted funny with signal

  • nav525

    It has nothing to do with functionality. You sort of hit the nail on the head with the last paragraph. People want the product that they just spent a few hundred dollars on to have a premium feel. A phone is something that you are touching and holding constantly throughout the day. A unibody aluminum body is just going to feel and look a lot better than the plastic that Samsung uses. I personally don’t use cases for that reason. I like to feel the actual phone..not a rubber/plastic case.

    • Joe

      I agree with you, but what happens when you drop the One? My initial guess is that they will actually dent and scratch very easily. Hopefully I’m wrong though.

  • Nothing at all, so long as its not creaky.

  • I’ll be completely honest with you – I have no problem with plastic phones. I have the Galaxy Nexus and I love it. It’s not the materials you use – it’s the execution. Take a look at the textured back of the Galaxy Nexus. I have a thing for premium materials, but I like the feel of that back more than I like the feel of my old Droid X. The texture does it for me. What bothers me is when you get a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4. They are very nice devices. Fast and a pleasure to look at. But the slick plastic just kills it. There’s no texture, no sense of grip. The gloss is a nightmare fingerprint magnet. And without any texture, it just slides all over the place from my experience. Plastic isn’t a killer in my opinion – it’s how you use it.

  • JoeTi

    Oh how many times I chucked my nentendo controllers across the room without any broken…..I’ll take plastic, tyvm.

  • bombhills

    It’s not plastic itself, it’s the way Samsung use plastic (haven’t felt the s4 though) but just compare Htc plastic phones, let’s say the Desire with the feel and look of the s3. Of course it all comes down to personal opinion.. I don’t mind other people liking the feel of Samsung plastic over materials like aluminium, but it is not for me. Also I never understood the point of making a phone as light as possible, that’s also a quality I don’t like.

  • Samsung’s plastic seems to scratch easily. Also, mainly with the note 2, it gives the phone more “flex.” I don’t like it when my phone bends a little when I’m swapping batteries. Is the note 2 my favorite phone ever? Yes. Would I like it better if it were made with materials similar to Motorola or HTC phones? Yes. A little. It’s a minor issue at best.

    Not like the reception and battery life issues of previous Samsung phones.

  • popeye

    “is it because you pay an arm and a leg for a smartphone that you expect it to be made of the finest materials?”

    That’s basically it! These toys are expensive, so they better LOOK expensive!

  • Mr. Snrub

    Aluminum and glass are much more aesthetically pleasing. As someone who rocks a rubberized case with a giant pink unicorn, this isn’t really a concern of mine.

  • Wilmer Fernandez

    Yes it is because of the ridiculous phone prices that I expect the phone I’m going to pay 300 to 600 outright to at LEAST mimic the look of high end materials. Plastic is plastic and it is the most durable, but something needs to be done to finish off the phones overall appearance. You look at the front and think “wow that looks nice” then the back looks mediocre. Very disappointing. Take my galaxy nexus for example…. what the heck is that snapping back cover all about? The plastic “teeth” have broken off so many times.

    • Tirionfive

      Never had a problem with those plastic teeth. I love the plastic the body is made from though.

    • Kat Meredith

      What did you do? I have 3 spare batteries and use them. I remove my back every day and nothing has every come close to breaking. It’s actually one of my favorite things about my GNex. Much easier and more practical, also grippy.

      • Tyler Cameron

        Yeah the Galaxy Nexus felt GREAT because of the texture they used!

      • kidtronic

        I’m curious, why on earth would you need to swap out your battery 3 times? How do you drain your phone so many times in a day? And if you’re lugging around 3 extra batteries, why not use an external battery or something?

        • ERIC REED

          Did you ever use a Gnex? A damn generator couldn’t power it through a day!!

  • S2556

    I personally own an S3 and use a 6 dollar case I grabbed off Amazon haha. solid case for 6 bucks though

  • Pedro

    I’m far more concerned with the software than the build materials.
    If you can’t
    fastboot oem unlock

    then it’s not an option.

  • I personally don’t like plastic not because of bad build quality nor something technical. But just how it looks, feels on my hand, and how people see it.

    I really really care about design. And in my opinion, Plastic material that is used on Galaxy phones look simply ordinary and it’s slippery on my hand. Though I’m okay with plastic like the OneX’s polycarbonate, because it looks fancy.

    But if I have to compare between how GS4 looks with HTC One, I definitely choose HTC One, because it looks stunning to me.

    Actually I don’t understand why Samsung made GS4 looks exactly the same with GS3 or Note II. Perhaps they’re following Apple’s strategy in that “same design” marketing, why not named it with Galaxy SIIIS instead? While one of many reasons why I don’t use iPhone is its lacking of change.

    • bombhills

      When it comes to design and build quality you should also check out Oppo find 5. I think it looks amazing! ( haven’t tried it though, but I’m considering it if the next Nexus don’t live up)

  • JakeS41

    I suppose there is nothing “wrong” with it. I just don’t like it. I prefer my devices to have a little bit of weight to them and a “quality” feel. To me “quality” might mean something different than it does to somebody else. I like the feel of an aluminum phone. I do not like the feel of Samsung phones. To me, they do feel cheap and I don’t care for it. I’ll also say – to their credit – that the materials they use (the same ones I don’t like) are quite strong and hold up better than others. It doesn’t change my decision to avoid them. I also don’t like the high-gloss that they finish their products in. It’s not for me. I’m happy that there is options for others though.

  • dave

    Another Samsung-Life post, so when Tizen comes out will this be Tizen-Life?

    • Trevor

      I was also slightly annoyed about all the GS4 posts, but then I realized there’s really nothing else worth discussing in the mobile world right now anyway. I’m just glad Droid-Life is giving us the scoop!

    • hashtagtroll


  • ImmaDroid

    The way HTC and MOTO have been making their phones make people feel like they’re quality, better made products. But I’ve seen Razrs broken more than any other phone. My GS3 is the cheap plastic that everyone says, but its been good. Survives drops, makes the phone light. I see metal and kevlar blocking signals, and making phones heavier. Im fine with good plastic

  • Baron Northrop

    Seriously, my Galaxy Nexus, I have dropped it twice on my concrete patio, it hit hard enough the first drop that the easel backed holster case flew off as did the back and the battery fell out. Not a so much as a scratch on the screen or any of the plastic parts. The metal bezel got a tiny dent and a minuscule bit of black paint chipped off. If it had been an iPhone dropped like that, hitting the concrete corner first the screen would have been a mosaic tile mess.

    I write it off as jealousy,I have friends who have iPhones that keep losing wifi conection, if my Nexus is near a wifi that I have logged into before, all I have to do is turn wifi on and I’m instantly online.

    • Tirionfive


  • JMonkeYJ

    i’m totally fine with plastic phones. the GNex showed how great a plastic phone can look. now that i have the N4 i understand the “premium feel” people talk about with non-plastic materials, but i still have no problem with, and in fact think i prefer, well-done plastic. plastic has the HUUUUUUGE benefit of allowing removable batteries, as well as better durability (i’m a dropper).

  • Maybe because Samsung’s plastic feels cheaper than other OEMs.

    Example: Nexus 10 Vs Nexus 7

    • Austin Warren

      Nexus 10 feels much better.

      • I can hold my Nexus 7 on my palm at 70 degrees and it doesnt fall out of my hand. Press on its back and it does not give a millimeter. And it was $200.

  • Alix8821

    I had the RAZR for a week before switching to GNex, and then the S3… The metal/kevlar BS was unique. Pple always wanted to “shoot the kevlar”… But my” cheap plastic” Nexus lived thru months will a friend it sold it to. He’s Mr Premium. Loves nice things.. . He now has a Note 2!
    Pple want performance. Reliability… Kellen is right. Plastic is just as “premium” as metal or the other BS. Plus it’s not “cheap plastic”. It’s much stronger.

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Why complain about something you don’t have?? Apparently Some pple like it… Over 100 million pple actually

    • People.

      • Alix8821

        OH! I’m Terribly sorry professor! I thought this was an online chat for Android Lovers. Not a final exam at Harvard!!


  • Plastic is inherently cheap, in look and feel. While it may be strong, it gives off the impression of “cheap”. It’s not plastic that bothers me, it’s Samsung’s use of plastic. Plenty of other phone manufacturers use plastic and it looks great. Samsung though. It seems like they try real hard to make things as cheap and ugly as possible with their glossy sparkly slick plastic shells.

    So no, it’s not just the plastic. It’s the way Samsung makes it look. /rant.

  • My coworker was just complaining to me about the S3 (plastic) back the other day. I was saying how I pry it to switch the battery on mine almost daily, and never had a problem. It seems very durable and generally serves its purpose perfectly in my opinion. And I’m sure Samsung engineered it that way.

    And yeah, I cover it with a plastic/rubberized case anyway. (The Rock case rocks.)

  • jim

    Well written. My Galaxy Nexus was the best looking and best feeling device I ever owned. It always bothered me when bloggers said it looked cheap. The only thing that bothers me is plastic can be harder to grip. The biggest advantage besides those already mentioned is the easily removable back which means one never need worry about running out of juice.

  • Carlos Calvillo

    I have no problem with plastic, I love the look and feel of my One X, but I do have a problem with cheap plastic, I normally pay full price for my phones and for that kind of money I expect that my gadget does not feel like a 5 dollar chinese toy. (I have nothing against Chinese people… you all know what I meant)

  • Warwick

    Nothing against plastic or the Galaxy series. I just like my phones to have some more weight to it.

    • Jeremy Bryant

      Interesting- one reason I liked my SGS1 is that it was soooo light. I never got tired of holding it. I love the design and feel of HTC stuff, but wow are they significantly heavier. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  • skylordusa1

    Wow you read my mind. I just had this argument last night with an apple lover who always says this exact thing. Android is crap the phones are cheap and made of plastic. Apple is all about the build quality. Apple uses real materials thats why its a superior product. I said what is the point of the build quality when you put a plastic case on your phone to keep it from getting messed up. When was the last time you had the case off and enjoyed the superior build quality of the iphone. The argument ended there cause he had no response hahahahha. The day someone makes a phone that is scratch proof and shatter free is the day we can start judging phones by build quality. I have no problem with phones made of plastic as mine is always in a case.

    • Austin Warren

      It’s also funny because Samsung provides parts for Apples iPhone.

  • The Sancho

    For what you pay for a smartphone these days you want something that feels premium and not plastic. Phones now are more than just a way to make calls and text but also a fashion accessory people like to show off. Plastic may be durable but it looks cheap.

  • Chuck

    I couldn’t care less what my phone is made out of. The dashboard of my Mercedes is made of plastic and the jar of pickles in my refrigerator is made of glass and aluminum.

    • Stevedub40

      Not to mention, the stuff I wrap my baked potato in is aluminum.

      • ERIC REED

        Baked potatoes are delicious!!!

    • The lid on a pickle jar is usually powder coated steel 😀 But pickles are delicious regardless!

  • Daniel Russell

    Absolutely nothing wrong with plastic phones. I hate the feel of metal for my phones/tablets as they can often get cold and can be difficult to hold one handed (try holding an asus transformer prime with one hand). I prefer plastic as it can absorb a drop really well (my bionic is still trucking along after numerous drops) and they have a certain stick to them while holding in hand.

    • bonk

      Completely agree but to add to your statement, depends on the kind of plastic used. IMO, the plastic of the bionic feels far superior to the plastic used on the gs3. If Sammy went with a nice soft touch instead of the glossy plastic they use it would feel much better in hand.

  • It feels bad and collects skin oils to feel even worse. After awhile of use it feels disgusting.

  • Tyler Hills

    I have nothing against plastic except for the sometimes slippery backside (Note 2 i.e.) but I love how durable the back of my gnex is. Pretty sure the Nexus 4 can’t say the same. The smartphone world is all about tradeoffs. 1080p screen looks great, but sucks battery. New ultrafast quad core processor is great, but sucks battery. Amoleds have great saturation and viewing angles but LCD’s have truer colors and better whites. In this case, aluminum/glass looks and feels better, but isn’t as durable. I don’t think plastic should be knocked as bad, it should be discussed as merely another option. Because isn’t choice/options/customizations what Android is all about?

  • John Hegberg

    Agreed with post. While I do like a nice sexy looking phone, it usually ends up in some sort of case anyway that completely negates its style. It’s not like I take it out of its case every time I want to show somebody it. As long as the device functions well, the looks can come second.

  • i just don’t like flex and creakiness in my products and my aluminum/metal gadgets dont flex nor creak

  • EvanTheGamer

    There is nothing wrong with cheap plastic…just as long as it doesn’t break easily.

    • Austin Warren

      Dropped my note 2 a few times on accident. No scratch or dent.
      IPhones first drop. Shattered.

  • Trevor

    Plastic on phones = slippery, creaky, flimsy (sometimes, not always) and just doesn’t feel premium, though that might be more from the weight than the specific materials.

    I don’t mind plastic as much if it at least has a soft touch coating for added grip; I also think this cab add a more high-quality feeling to a phone too.

  • Havoc70

    I dont think there is anything wrong with plastic phones per say but when you pay good money for a phone you don’t want it to feel cheap. The back on my wifes S3 feels cheap, but the back on my Note 2 doesnt. I know they are both plastic but there is something about the difference in the feel of the two.

    • Would have to agree, the Note 2 feels pretty premium when compared to other Samsung devices. Has a good weight to it.

      • Tim242

        Because it has a nice metal rim around it, underneath the plastic haha
        I liked the GNex’s plastic build. The other Galaxies, not so much. It’s the shine and slipperyness that bothers me. Also, I NEVER use cases.

  • Jordan Webb

    I dislike plastic, I don’t use a case or even a screen protector. I love textures, and Aluminum > Glass > Textured/Treated Plastic > Glossy Plastic in my hands. That’s just how good they feel, not necessarily optimal materials (Glass back = dumb).

    I wouldn’t dislike Sammy so much if they used soft stuff like HTC used to or textured like the back of the GNex case. It’s that glossy hard stuff that just feels yucky in my hands relative to the rest.

  • InvaderDJ

    The problem is not that Samsung uses plastic. Nokia uses plastic for its Lumia line and HTC used it for the One X and 8X. Plastic can be done great. Aluminum and glass aren’t universally great either. Aluminum can scratch and bend easily and cause issues with reception. Glass can shatter.

    The problem is with companies like Samsubg that don’t just use plastic, they use cheap feeling ugly plastic as a way to save costs and to easily make the phone lighter. You can just tell looking at phones like the S4 that maybe 5 minutes went into making the phone look and feel good.

    Looks aren’t the only thing that matters in a phone though. At the end of the day functionality trumps all. It just sucks that Samsung can’t put even a portion of the effort they put into gimmicky features into making their phone look good.

    • I can feel that. If a company at least uses decent plastic, like the One X, or doesn’t gloss it all up to appear as some other material, it can be OK.

      • My feelings exactly. That stuff that Samsung is using is just plain ugly. The nice thing about plastic is that you can make it look any way you want. Samsung just needs to make it look better.

      • kidtronic

        It’s not just that they used plastic. It’s the overall build. The Lumia 920 and One X both feel solid. There’s no give when you squeeze them. Even the glossy 920 feels good in the hand. Those phones feel sturdy. Samsung, on the other hand, uses extremely thin, glossy, somewhat tacky feeling backplates. There’s no heft to their phones. They creak when you squeeze them. They paint plastic to look like metal. In terms of construction, they pay very little attention to detail. All together, it makes for a product that feels relatively cheap and unabashedly mass produced. It’s something you expect from a knock off, not a flagship.

        The fact that they rake in billions of dollars in profits month after month makes it especially unforgivable. Specs and performance are one thing, but it’s clear that Samsung doesn’t care about competing with build quality. I personally want the complete package.

    • daveloft

      I disagree. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with the Galaxy S3 and the LG Optimus 4X and The S3 feels like a completely premium product in comparison. If you want to see cheap feeling ugly plastic I suggest taking a look at the 4X.

      I’ve spent a lot of time with most phones as I’m in the mobile industry and no phone feels as nice in the hand as the S3. The smooth glossy plastic and rounded corners fits in my hand perfectly. Better than any other phone I’ve used.

      • Dan

        personally I can’t stand the feel of the smooth glossy plastic on my note 2. So I spent $10 on ebay and got a matte finish back cover that I like the feel of much better, not a case, just the removable cover, and yes it has nfc in it. Try to do that with your fancy glass and aluminum phones!

    • MicroNix

      I’m sorry but I disagree. The back of the pebble blue GS3 is not ugly looking at all. Almost has that brushed aluminum look to it. Maybe the bright white stuff, but don’t generalize Samsung.

  • Who cares if it is “cheap” plastic. Many things are made of plastic. I have had my GS3 for a while. I have taken off my back many times. It never once felt like it was going to break. People will always find something to complain about.

    If they ever do decide to go with another material besides plastic, then people will be complaining about it being to heavy or complaining about how it costs more now. Or how it doesn’t get as good of reception cause of the aluminum casing.

    Just shut up and enjoy the amazingness that is the GS4. Stop being jealous cause you were impatient and couldn’t wait to upgrade. SUCKA!. Maybe when the GS6 comes out you’ll be ready for an upgrade. Or smart enough not to go with crApple.

  • blakjakdavy

    I think iPhone users have just been saying it for so long that we started to believe it (it would have been heresy to knock plastic before the iPhone 4, of course). That said, I think it’s easier to make an ugly phone from plastic, and from a strictly aesthetic point of view the iPhone 5 and HTC one are prettier than the s4. This is not to say you can’t make a pretty phone from plastic. And as you say, we all know what happens when you drop an iPhone 5.

  • JoYu

    Personally I want a phone has has rubber around the outside, I don’t need edge to edge glass I need a phone that can handle torture testing performed by my kids.

  • aznmode1

    There’s nothing wrong with plastic. But you can make plastic not look so cheap. It’s really mainly the back cover I think that stands out as cheap. I see a lot of back cover for s3 on ebay that are made of plastic but actually look quite nice and doesn’t look cheap like the OEM back cover. And regarding covers, most iphone users I know use cases made of plastic so in the end the phone looks plastic overall. So I really dont get all the hate either.

  • My OG Droid didn’t need a plastic case. That should be the benchmark of build quality.

    • DroidFTW

      Its hiliarious when the OG droid was the flagship phone everyone loooooved metal phones and the amazing build quality. When the new android flagship phone is plastic then all of a sudden its “whats so bad about plastic”

    • JakeS41

      LOVED my OG. What a beast that phone was. Many fond memories there.

    • Joe

      Build quality was fine, but nothing else worked lol. I had 5 of those phones: GPS didn’t work, proximity sensor didn’t work, etc, etc, etc.

    • MicroNix

      Except for the sticky keys, digitizers that went out after a year, the earbud jacks that were loose, etc. I’m into my SG3 longer than I was when I had already replaced my OG Droid once and then had problems after that and my GS3 has had ZERO (0) problems with hardware….despite the “cheap”, “ugly”, “plastic” back.

      Motorola is by no means a benchmark on any quality in my book. We just all loved our OG Droids because they were the bomb *back then*.

  • sean.yesmunt

    I don’t know either. I love the feel of the note 2/s3

  • wh1te_mag1c

    I have the Galaxy Nexus, which is made of plastic, and I think it looks and feels great.

  • boballistic

    It depends on the kind of plastic. Flimsy cheap holo feeling isn’t good the htc one x, nokia lumia, and htc 8x are plastic, but feel premium.

  • john

    Plastic connotes cheapness. Plastic eating utensils vs. metal utensils. Metal coffee tables vs plastic coffee tables. Metal jewelry vs plastic jewelry. Aluminum MacBooks vs plastic MacBooks Is this a serious question?

    • Tirionfive

      While I tend to agree, those are usaually made with Nylon or Vinyl or other plastic materials. Polycarbonate is quite different. It’s like comparing Tin to steel.

    • Tim242

      A jar of pickles made of metal and glass are so premium, yet my plastic bottle of ranch feels sooooo cheap.

      • john

        terrible comparison you tried to draw. I compared identical products with different materials. You compared two different products. Try again.

        • Tim242

          They’re both condiments. I have two jars of mayo. One is light, the other is not. I use the light when I need to use it in larger quantities, the regular for sandwiches. The light is in a plastic jar, since it is a different brand. Every time I pick up that plastic jar, I just cringe. But, then I think about something. If I drop the plastic jar, nothing will happen. If I drop the glass jar, the glass will probably break and the aluminum lid will dent. How’s that?

      • Joe

        You’re talking purely about perception, not functionality.

  • shawn

    its simply an excuse to hate…yet since the s2 samsung has kept on defeating the likes of HTC design oriented flagships….last year was to be the year of the one x…then a few months later one x +…..same old will occur this year.

  • I used to be SOOOOO anti-plastic… Until I owned both. Plastic weighs less, more durable, replaceable parts. Glass=never. The Aluminum, yes it’s freaking gorgeous. So gorgeous I don’t wanna touch it. So plastic is the way for me until some other awesome material comes out 🙂

  • Butters619

    Nothing is wrong with plastic. It’s strong and light. It allows signals to pass with ease. It is perfect for mobile devices. And it can be done right. Old Treos used to have this beautiful soft touch. The One X looks gorgeous. However, glossy plastic just looks cheap. It looks like the knock off toys sold in dollar stores, regardless of the actual quality.

    • S2556

      So is it more of a glossy vs matte thing?

      • Butters619

        In my opinion, yes. It makes a big difference. But I have definitely heard iPhone people use the plastic argument against matte phones as well, but far less.

        • Tirionfive

          funny thing is: these people go and get plastic cases for their metal iPhones.

          • Butters619

            I am quick to point that out. I had a friend criticize my One X for being cheap, bulky, and plastic and then pulled out his iPhone in an Otterbox. I still bring it up all the time to him.

            Btw, I don’t case my phones.

          • Tirionfive


          • Stevedub40

            Amen to that. I also never case my phones. It seems like such a waste and totally defeats the purpose of having a nice looking phone. I also prefer the matte finish as well, like on my DNA. It’s just a damn finger print magnet though, lol.

          • Emmanuel Mebasser

            I don’t need a case for may Galaxy Nexus because the plastic is durable and since the screen takes so much realestate I don’t even notice the plastic.

          • Jordan Harrell

            I dropped my Galaxy Nexus a couple days ago for the first time. Screen cracked. Just a few feet drop, was in a hurry & missed my pocket.

      • Alex Seibz

        I’d have to agree on that. It IS more of a glossy vs matte thing

        • Austin Warren

          Some cares have glossy plastic. Nothing wrong with them.

      • bitch_please
        • Jordan Harrell

          The S4 has a removable back right? I wonder if anybody will make a new matted back piece?

          • NicholasMicallef

            I believe there were custom backs for the S III, even metal ones. Considering the S 4 will probably sell even more, I bet it will too.

          • S2556

            I got a metal back and bumper case thinking it would make it feel unreal which it did but also cut my signal in half lol

          • NicholasMicallef

            Yeah, metal does that, but it’s there if you want to xD.

          • Kevin J.

            If only you could replace the front textured bezel too.

          • Just paint it with plasti-dip. I did that with the back of my Nexus 4 and my GF’s iPhone 4s, protects it from scratches and when the time comes, peel it off.

      • NicholasMicallef

        Definitely, and it’s not just about phones. I especially HATE glossy monitor/TV bezels and they’re everywhere,

    • Dave

      All comments should be deleted but yours. Thanks for the common sense many lack.

    • clbarker

      Right, glossy vs flat for sure. I never really liked too many Samsung phones due to an overwhelming number if glossy cheap exteriors. There are some good ones but overall the whole glossy cheap look seems to be dominated by Samsung. To add to that, the more round the phone the more it looks like a toy in my opinion…add to that large bezels…okay I’m done complaining lol.

    • Mitch

      Kellex didn’t seem to quote the other more meaningful comments about how it’s not the plastic but how the plastic looks. Examples of bad plastic usage (doesn’t necessarily have to be plastic actually): the rhinestone look of the S4, fake metal look of the S3, cheap looking chrome trim of the S4). Apparrently, other blog sites have made the same incorrect assumption as Kellex and posted the same plastic as a build material instead of the more important look question.

      A simple solid matte color maybe with some soft touch feeling coating would make the Galaxy phones a lot less crappy looking.

      • Austin Warren

        Pretty sure it’s real metal on the S4

        • Alan

          Wow, that just makes the whole plastic question Kellex asked even more pointless. Whether it’s plastic or not, the Samsung will always make a cheap looking phone.

          • Austin Warren

            Now I’m lost

          • Tanner

            “the” samsung?

          • Kevin J.

            You don’t what typos are?

        • Diablo81588

          No, its painted plastic.

      • Mike D.

        Apparently, Kellex doesn’t read the comments that are the most voted up.

        • emeldastarr79ma

          my classmate’s step-sister makes $76/hr on the internet. She has been without a job for ten months but last month her paycheck was $13699 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on  Ask25.c­om

        • emeldastarr79ma

          A simple solid matte color maybe with some soft touch feeling coating would make the Galaxy phones a lot less crappy looking.

      • Joseph

        Looks like Kellex did what many commenters do. Skimmed, made an incorrect assumption and then posted.

      • Gizman

        Exactly. What did Samsung do to the screen’s bezel. It looks like crystals or maybe duct tape. Looks like it got ghettoized.


        • Luis Q.

          Ya, it looked like crystals at first and then I zoomed in. Definitely looks like duct tape up close. Bad either way.

          Oh Samsung, doesn’t matter what material you use, your phones will still look like crap.

          • zbx

            It’s called brushed aluminium

        • Kevin J.

          Ya, Kellex definitely got it all wrong as to why most people are complaining about the S4’s LOOKS and NOT what it’s made out of.

          For example, even if that trim around the phone was real metal, it’ll still look ugly. Shiny chrome is ugly.

          The texture on the screen bezel looks like duct tape on the black version and and just looks like crap on both versions.

          The S4 could have looked A LOT better if they got rid of the texture on both sides, the metal trim and went with a solid matte color with a soft touch coating on the back. They tried too hard to bling the phone and now it looks ghetto.

          • Patel

            Exactly, if Samsung did what others have said, the S4 would have actually looked like a high end phone. Build material doesn’t matter as much when it comes to looks. The stuff you add on top of it matters more like the cheap glossy surface, the crystal/duct tape texture design and the tacky shiny chrome border is what makes the S4 look extremely cheap.

            The plastic smartphones 3-4 years ago look more high-end than the S4.

        • Kevin

          Come on. For all we know, it could be a Nexus 4-like shimmer effect that looks crazy in pictures, but is very subdued in real-life.

      • David Weeden

        Oh, I completely agree. That soft touch “rubberized” coating is great. Especially on the nexus 7. Its functional and comfortable. I’ll take that over the iPad mini’s aluminum unibody any day.

        • But I recalled seeing comments saying the back of Nexus 7 was cheap because it’s plastic. Look, I think you guys are right that plastic can be made to look great. But you guys are the “reasonable” fews. Look around the web, and you will find people who complaining about plastic materials w/o reasons. Those people aren’t as reasonable as you all — they just jump to your conclusion.

          • Joseph

            It seems the people who are attacking plastic because it’s plastic are Android, Samsung, non-Nexus phone haters, etc. They would have made fun of something about the S4 even if it was made out of titanium.

            However, the S4 really does look like a knockoff phone and would have looked much better had Samsung tried less to make it look “nice” and did what the other comments have said.

          • Martin

            Ya, the plastic haters were just trolls and Kellex fed them with this blog post. I guess the trolls won this one.

        • Raven

          I agree. I love the back of my Nexus 7. I also love the rubberized metal of the Droid line. I have had the Droid, Droid 2, and Droid 4, and they have all had great build and feel with their rubberized backs. I also love the feel of the Razr HD’s with their soft touch Kevlar backs. I never case my phones and I have never broke one.

      • NicholasMicallef

        Exactly, A matte SGS 3/4 would be gorgeous. I actually prefer plastic because it weathers a couple of years of use much better, scratches are usually less visible, there is no paint to chip and, in the case of the SGS series, the back can be replaced easily anyway. Using glass or aluminium would be putting form over function and using plastic can look good, as you mentioned.

      • George264

        Honestly, it might be my OCD but I can NOT stand phones that are built cheap. Or any tech device that is built in a cheap manor. And I have absolute no problem with plastic, I just HATE how Samsung uses plastic. Honestly it is the one of the two things holding me back from buying Samsung’s and continuing to buy HTC. The Galaxy S3 felt so flimsy and oily and has that glossy piano feel, but so much less luxurious It reflected the light in this gross way that made the curves looks downright disgusting. If I had that phone, I will have to keep it covered 24/7. Honestly, my last three phones were Rezound and Droid DNA, 8X and I loved them. The 8X and DNA felt so luxurious and smooth. It had these soft touch coatings that just make me want to hold it just to hold it. Why can’t Samsung learn this? They are willing to spend hundreds of millions on stupid shows and ads, but can’t spend the extra 5$ for each phone to make it matte with soft touch? Shame. Was at One event, buying the One, now, for sure.

        • meijin3

          How do you know where they made them?

          • George264

            What are you talking about? If you are referring to my 5$ comment, it’s because companies that produce phones in such mass makes the matte part so much cheaper. In reality it will be like 2$ extra for each phone to have a matte/soft touch coat

          • meijin3

            It was a joke. You(?) said that they were built in a cheap MANOR, which is a building.

        • TechAce01

          Um…. I don’t want a matte phone. If you don’t want this phone due to it looking cheap, don’t buy it.

      • Lol its a phone guys relax it makes calls and does what its supposed to its not a beauty contest and your all men i assume stop bitching

        • Matthew Merrick

          Yeah, but who phone calls anyone? 😛

      • Tman

        shut up, you probably don’t even have a smartphone, poor f***

    • It’s analogous to cheap, hard plastic in automobiles too, which also get knocked on by journalists and consumers alike. There are so many different types of plastic these days that you can make a phone that doesn’t feel cheap. Samsung likes to build phones to a low-cost for high-profit (nothing wrong with that; good business model). If you lean on your plastic supplier to give you a plastic for a certain cost, you’re not going to get the highest grade plastic. That’s just how it is.

      Automakers do the same thing to their suppliers of plastic parts. You can save $1 per part by going to a slightly cheaper plastic, but it’ll be harder, sound hollow, and feel like a cheap Chinese toy. $1 x 300,000 vehicles is $300,000 per part, which can quickly add up. The only way to recoup that is to charge more for the product you are producing.

      So say, it’s $0.50 for Samsung to use a high quality plastic x 35 million phones …

    • John Ippolito

      How could something people know you spent a lot of money on look cheap? Good luck when someone drops their Nexus and shatters the back. i’m cool with the 12 dollar replacement for the back of the s4. But, to each their own and I think it is a beautiful thing that we have the options to pick great phones that have the qualities each person likes.

    • Because it’s expensive, people doesn’t want to spend $600+ on plastic things, they want a thing that represents the price, like what you get what you pay for thingy, because plastic is somewhat known for cheap things.

      • Austin Warren

        people spend $400 on a plastic xbox or ps3

        • xbox or ps3 doesn’t cost nearly $600, and barely you will use it everytime as much as smartphone.

          • Jordan Harrell

            People spend $600 on glossy plastic TVs. Cars are full of plastic that you spent thousands on.

          • yeah i would’t argue with that, but lets face it, i’m not fashionist or anything, but most people, i mean most, not tech minded person who actually knows what they’re buying, take smartphone as kind of jewelry, like an accessory, people buy gems, not plastic gems.

    • White, Yellow and Red Lumias are glossy plastics but people still call them “Premium looking”

      I think a unibody shell will always look more “premium” no matter the materials used

      • zurginator

        This is where Samsung’s stance kills them: Removable battery + SD = tech crowd loving them, but it means plastic back which means tech crowd giving them hell over it.

        You can’t win.

  • chris125

    Nothing and in most cases better when dropped compared to metal/glass. People just like to complain

  • WAldenIV

    Plastic looks and feels cheap so it’s equated with low quality. However true or untrue that may actually be is irrelevant if the user puts a case on the phone. Anyone using a case loses the right to complain about the build material.

    • Thank you, completely agree with the case statement. Plastic haters, better take off those cases!

      • To be fair, Otterboxes and the like are rubber.. designed to absorb shock rather than pass-through, which most standard phone designs tend to do since the stock covers tends to be so thin. Still a petroleum product yes, but not quite the same material as ‘plastic’, which can crack in much the same way as glass.

        That said, I see no problem with plastic, just so long as it was designed with durability in mind.

      • jasaero

        I agree plastic is just fine. Even HTC seems to agree as the metal on the One seems to be more for aesthetic and plastic provides the real shell everything is actually stuck too. I would probably appreciate metal devices more if it was less about marketing and aesthetic and more about making a more robust and repairable structure for the eventual device with more real screws and such. Fancy alloys for specific reasons and the like.

        There’s gotta be some nifty back cover you could make from a memory alloy metal?? Gotta think outside the box to get my attention.

        • kidtronic

          The plastic on the HTC One is injected into grooves in the aluminum. It’s not the shell. It’s a buffer to prevent attenuation.

      • New_Guy

        And since when did aluminum get to be considered “fine material” =D?

      • MicroNix

        And I’d rather have a glossy plastic back than half of the ugly brute force cases like Otterboxes. You can’t complain about ugly when you have one of those beasts attached. Sorry, it may break a fall, but it can also break mirrors!

      • Aaron K.

        I don’t know about everyone else but the only time I rock a case on the ole Gnex is when I’m about to do some serious drinking and I know my phone will be in danger.

      • Which is why I buy motorola most of the time. I have NEVER used a case on my phone for an extended period. I had one for my blackberry storm back in the day but promptly removed it within a couple days because i hated the added bulk. The kevlar backing is actually an exceptional material to use because it’s nearly impossible to scratch/mar in my experience. The face and edges can obviously take damage but those are less noticeable than the giant flat back which is often glossy and shows those marks on other brands very easily.

      • Joe B.

        Why are you assuming plastic haters are even using plastic cases?

      • eh

        Way to incorrectly select quotes. If you read the highly rated comments most aren’t complaining about the build quality of plastic components about how the the phones (ie. S4) looks cheap no matter what it’s made out of.

        Fake brushed metal, glittery textures and fake chrome trim make the Galaxy phones look horrible. Samsung would get the same results if the phone was made out of metal and then painted with glitter paint. Doesn’t matter what it’s made out of.

        • r0lct

          If a case is on your also alerting the look. Same argument.

          • eh

            Can you rephrase that?

          • r0lct

            Lol, didn’t realize how bad auto correct worked.

            I meant most cases block/alter the entire look of the phone. So those who use one don’t even notice the “cheap look”.

          • eh

            That’s true but most cases look like crap so I’m going to assume that people who use them don’t care that their phone also looks like crap.

          • r0lct

            Good point. But there’s people like me who are in the middle. I have a clear tpu case because I like the look but need the resale value to support my new phone a year habit

      • nightscout13

        HTC made an aluminum body, why can’t Samsung? *crickets*

      • CJ Vanilla

        Im not a plastic hater but i do have a thought on this. Even if its metal, glass whatever, putting a case on it protects it. Regardless of a plastic case on a metal phone it is only 20 bucks to replace it if you screw it up. Then you only need to buy a new case again. However if you rock your phone without a case then any damage will be permanent for the life of phone.

      • Cases are dumb. I buy my phones partially for how they look, no way I’m covering them with cases.

    • Stevedub40

      Plus 1 to that.

    • Austin Warren

      So Xboxes and PS3 are cheap and built cheaply?

    • Bionic

      this is true, but there are people who enjoy a naked phone, like me.

  • They just dont feel as nice to hold in the hand. When you are paying 500 dollars for a phone you want it to FEEL like you paid 500 dollars.

    • daveloft

      The smooth rounded soft plastic S3 feels much better in the hand than the hard sharped edge iPhone 45.

      • Im not talking about the iPhone.

        • Some recent phones that feel nice in the hand to me are, the HTC one S. and Droid DNA, and the nexus 4 feels quite nice as well. The GS3 conforms to the hand quite nicely, but I was speaking more of the actual feel of the phone’s build. It doesnt feel as sturdy or rigid as the others I listed above. (I know that plastic is more durable and less prone to breakage, etc)

    • Tirionfive

      Then you go and put a $20 plastic case on your preferred phone, and it feels the same as any other plastic phone.

  • My issue with plastic phones seems to be the oil accumulation from my hands.

    • KleenDroid

      Good grief, wash your hands

      • Aaron17Watson17

        Your rude and what you said is unecessary. Even after i wash my hands, somehow my gs3 gets smudges

        • ShutUp

          BOo frickin hoo. Cry me a river dude.

          • Aaron17Watson17

            Who even invited you to the convo??! Shoo

        • KleenDroid

          In sorry, I didn’t intend to be rude but I guess I was.

          But it is strange that even after washing your hands you would still be so greasy.

          • Aaron17Watson17

            Im the one whos sorry, I shouldnt have responded that way. 🙁

  • skinja

    plastic can be ok. but the galaxy line tends to feel cheap. some plastic phones feel fine. the galaxy line doesnt feel solid.

    • Aaron17Watson17

      Go look up cnet galaxy s3 torture test. It will prove to you that its a quality product

  • Marcus Schoen

    Plastic doesn’t have to be bad, just look at the Droid X. I actually prefer soft touch plastic over glass and glossy plastic because its easier to grip and more durable. I like the feel of a metal phone, but just one look at my friend’s iPhone 5 is enough to turn me off.

  • me

    I don’t like plastic that is supposed to look like metal. Plastic chrome is tacky and ugly.

    • Austin Warren

      People won’t notice it unless they are breathing down your neck.

  • Kane Stapler

    I don’t know what my RAZR HD is made of. But it feels more sturdy than anything else mentioned above. I don’t use a case just because of that.

  • fartbubbler

    my triathlon bike is made of “cheap plastic”. so are fighter jets and other cool stuff.

    I love my Note 2 made of “cheap plastic”

    • john

      isn’t your triathlon bike made from carbon fiber which is not what samsung uses

      • New_Guy

        It’s polycarbonate. High impact resistance and temperature resistance are not bad things when it comes to a mobile device. Also very flexible. It’s actually a great technology (whether people like it on their phones or not).

        • nightscout13

          Impact resistant my ass…. My S3 has a web crack on the back, never dropped before.

          • New_Guy

            Might need too keep it out of your back pocket 🙂

          • nightscout13

            It’s crap. Polycarbonate is a fancy word for plastic. I HATE my S3 body.

          • New_Guy

            Okay.,. try something else. HTC One perhaps

          • nightscout13

            Yes, either that, or wait for Nexus 5. I’m confident the Nexus 5 will NOT be plastic

          • New_Guy

            Sounds like you should hope it’s not glass again, either 🙂

          • Polycarbonate is a type of plastic, like PVC, UHMW, and Nylon. If a part is designed properly to its material, then you wouldn’t have an issue. It is most likely that the ID’s at Samsung have more say over the product than the engineers.

    • Richard Yarrell

      The Galaxy Note 2 is the industry GOLD STANDARD the device everyone is trying to catch up too and copy. I will be looking forward to my plastic Galaxy Note 3 in September or October 2013. After what the Galaxy S4 proved to us yesterday you have to know the Galaxy Note 3 will be the grandest device ever. Nothing else in 2013 matters especially no crappy Motorola X phone or silly Nexus 5..

      • Tirionfive

        How many times and on how many tech sites are you going to spew this garbage? Gold standard in terms of design is iphone/nexus. Software is nothing to me, I prefer a WORKING experience. Not a “sometimes works” as seen with some of samsung’s software.

        And you don’t know jack about the Xphone, so how can you judge it as crappy?

        • Aaron

          But he has the Note 2 so he has to defend it to the death. If something comes out that’s better he can’t admit it or it makes him less of a person somehow. (mindset of waaaay too many people)

          • Dave

            I have the same phone, and I agree with you.

        • MicroNix

          I’m sorry, but though I love the Nexus, it is NOT a gold standard in design. There’s a reason why Samsung sells more Galaxys than all other Android phone manufacturers combined.

          • Diablo81588

            Yeah, its called marketing.

          • r0lct

            Look at the Microsoft surface. Marketing doesn’t guarantee success.

          • Jwhap

            ^^^ this!

          • Austin Warren

            That thing was doomed from the start.

          • Austin Warren

            Because their phones are better, and they market it good. HTC proved once again that they don’t listen to consumers.

      • kidtronic

        Why so you do this every damn post. We get it. Why don’t you go post on a few apple forums and evangelize your smartphone. They need more convincing than we do. SPREAD THE WORD ON MACWORLD! THEY ARE IGNORANT OF YOUR GOD PHONE!

        • New_Guy

          He always has me until he gets to that last sentence =D…

        • Dave

          I have the same device and near the same opinion, but I can’t pull off that speech like he does….LoL.

      • Mike

        “Silly” Nexus, wow you sir are retarded..

    • hashtagtroll


      • EvanTheGamer


        • TheCheapGamer


    • Nicholassss

      My note 2 doesn’t feel cheap either. I think this misconception of plastic being cheap is crazy.

      I like the heft of a metal phone, but most people want light and thin and durable, thats what plastic does.

      besides, like the article says glass and aluminum isn’t any more tough, and as far as carbon fiber goes, the razrs are all plastic with a carbon fiber back, so they’re really not any tougher.

      • Brandon Golway

        I like the weight of a metal phone because out doesn’t make it feel like a toy.

        • iphone is a toy no matter what material is built of, do you need someting to stop feeling a kid?

          • Brandon Golway

            No, I just don’t like the feeling of my phone possibly breaking in my hand or that it feels cheap.

      • The Razr’s have plastic or metal trim, and a Kevlar fiber backing, which incidentally is a fantastic material, even if it does look odd. The internal structure is machined stainless steel, which is where its strength and weight balance come from.

    • New_Guy

      I’min the same camp. The outer-casing of the Galaxy line of phones is actually very resistant to impact. People love to associate plastic with cheap. Actually it’s more practical than aluminum (HTC One) and glass (N4 or iPhone 4/4s). Aluminum can dent very easily, Iodized or not. glass…well, we all know what happens there :).

      The polycarbonate used on the galaxy line neither dents nor breaks very easily at all. In fact, you can nearly fold the back cover in half without even leaving a crease.

    • I think DL has nothing to do bc always posting dumb articles. Next one will be about if barbie will have a samsung or motorola please vote

      • You’re wrong. She’d have an LG I think.

    • kidtronic

      …who is upvoting this comment? Your triathalon bike is probably made of very expensive plastic. Fighter jets are made of carbon fiber and titanium. The plastic on your Note 2 is made of a much, much lower grade of plastic and is relatively “cheap”.

      • Dave

        I think his point is that it’s 2013 plastic (which comes in many varieties) is way better than past plastics.

        • kidtronic

          He likened his Note 2 to a fighter jet : They’re not even close to the same grade of materials. It’s an absurd thing to say. And they aren’t using some special “2013” grade of plastic on their smartphone. They’re haven’t revolutionized polycarbonate design. The same grade of plastic was available years ago. All they’ve done was coat it, but that was purely cosmetic.

    • SkunkWorx

      Wow, I build F35’s and also built F22’s for Lockheed in Fort Worth TX. I can’t believe you could say something so silly, there is no PLASTIC on our 250 Million dollar Fighter Jets. Idiot! On the Other hand I love my Note 2 as well.

      • Austin Warren

        Might as well be plastic. They Are a waste of money

    • Bionic

      fighter jets are made of carbon fiber, try again

      • Well, the canopy’s are Lexan, and several of the instrument displays utilize plastics for weight savings. But you’re right, newer jets utilize specially coated carbon-fiber skins, honeycomb aluminum structural members, and titanium for certain critical pieces.

        • Austin Warren

          and it cost $400 million? Doesn’t sound right.

  • I hate the feel of plastic phones. They feel like toys. Also the S4’s plastic gets smudged so badly by fingerprints. I also think that a phone can be too light. I want to feel like I drop my phone the first thing I say isn’t, “Welp, there goes several hundred dollars down the drain.”

    • I’m with you on the weight thing. There are certainly times when a plastic phone feels too light. Then again, the iPhone 5 is the lightest on the market, but because it’s aluminum, all of a sudden iPhone lovers justify it. Weird.

      • john

        you are confusing lightness with plastic. people associate lightness with plastic so something light feels cheaper than something heavier but lightness and cheapness do not necessarily go hand in hand. Nobody picked up a macbook air and thought it felt cheap despite being lighter than plastic netbooks.

      • Like, plastic is justifiable if it doesn’t feel terrible and they want to meet demand which I know is the reason Samsung uses plastic, but I really wish that thinness and lightness would stop being a competition. “It’s a whole millimeter thinner now!” I’m starting to feel like if we keep getting thinner and thinner my phone is going to give me a paper cut. I also think Samsung just puts out too many devices and is too strong of an OEM, I wish OEMs would pour all their resources into one flagship phone a year.

    • JMonkeYJ

      this argument doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. the lighter a phone is, the LESS damage it should sustain on falling…

      • See, now I know that it’s less likely to take damage and that it’s plastic is actually durable, but I don’t FEEL like it is. If I don’t feel like it’s durable and sturdy, I’m going to always have that nagging thought in my head that I’m going to break it.

        • JMonkeYJ

          those dang voices in our heads 😉

  • Daniel

    Scratches and fingerprints are not something I want the back of my phone covered in at all times…I think Motorola’s kevlar backs feel the best and are still grippy unlike the lovely HTC One, which itself is way nicer feeling and looking than anything Samsung has dumped on us.

    • Austin Warren

      You just said you don’t like scratches or fingerprints .. Yet you like the One. I Don’t think you know what you said.

  • KleenDroid


    • sranger

      Agreed, Polycarbonate is a great material for anything that might dropped….

      • Joe

        Exactly. PC is damn tough, even without additives that can be added to increase the strength (i.e. glass fibers, etc). I have first hand experience with PC where I work and it’s hard as hell to break the stuff. It’s definitely more perception than reality.

    • Austin Warren