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Monday Poll: Does a Smartphone Design Need to Contain Metal?

I don’t know who we should put more of the blame on – Apple for their chamfered edges and metal design choices with the iPhone, or Samsung for using the cheapest feeling plastics on the planet to build their smartphones with, but people seem to refer to all plastic embodied phones as “cheap” these days. The Nexus 5 certainly doesn’t feel cheap, neither do the G3 or Moto X or OnePlus One, yet they are all made of plastic. But here we are today, talking about Samsung’s new Galaxy Alpha with its metal banding, chamfered edges, and “premium” design, because metal means premium, or something.

I can tell you one thing I know for sure about metal phones – they can be insanely slippery and frustrating to deal with. I spent more than enough time with HTC’s last two flagship phones, the One (M7) and One (M8), both of which were unusable at times because of their lack of grip. Apple could have worked some different metal magic with the iPhone to make it less slippery, but I sort of doubt it. iPhones just happen to be small smartphones that are easily held, whereas Android phones are all oversized and at times tough to hold anyway.

You also have to worry about radio issues with metal phones, wear and tear, weight, etc. In my opinion, metal isn’t exactly the greatest material available for building smartphones.

So I’m curious about this metal thing. Is a metal phone or design that includes metal a requirement when you buy a phone? Is this whole “metal is premium” thing overblown by Apple-leaning tech journos? Feel free to vote below, then hit up the comments.

Does a Smartphone Design Need to Contain Metal?

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  • Metal isn’t as durable as some people would like to believe. It dents and scratches fairly easily but isn’t as resilient as plastic or scratch resistant as glass or ceramics. And the big downside of making a phone case out of metal is that it functions like a giant faraday cage making antenna placement difficult and attenuating the radio signal, Metal can make a phone feel premium, but other materials can feel just as premium in my opinion. Motorola phones often feel very sturdy due to having rigid constructions and soft touch exteriors. I agree that kevlar coatings are underutilized. The Droid Razer MAXX HD is pretty much my ideal form factor phone. A Droid RAZR MAXX HD with a modern X8 computing system and a removable back cover would pretty much be my perfect phone.

  • HarvesterX

    Everyone needs to educate themselves some more and avoid “plastic is cheap” assumptions. You’re so wrong.

  • speed4evr

    I’m not concerned with it being metal or plastic, usually have a case protecting it. I think iPhones metal design is a justification to charge a higher premium for the device

  • Justin Latham

    I’m never going to not buy a phone because it doesn’t have metal but if it is made of metal it is definitely a plus.

  • 1966CAH

    For me it comes down to the question of “Do you want wireless charging?”

  • John Kitchen

    Metal bands should be a must. The Lumia Icon feels and looks amazing and its a metal band with a plastic back.

    As for radio issues with metal phones, my M8 beats out my wifes S5 every time we enter a low service area. No contest.

  • I vote that it needs to feel premium. Plastic is fine. The G2 feels great in hand. The s5 on the other hand feels plastic. The note 2 felt more premium than the more 3.

  • Droidrazr

    I always use either a bumper case (currently on a Droid maxx) or a clear gel case that’s slim (used it on htc one M7) which keeps the premium looks of the phone visible. BTW never used a case or screen protector on my RAZR Maxx and the Maxx HD which I owned for six months each prior to the M7 and barely any marks on either and screen always perfect as new. Never a problem with Motorola quality.

  • Lakerzz

    I like metal, but LG hit it out of the park with the G3. So as long as the plastic is implemented like it is on the G3, then I don’t mind it NOT being metal. Otherwise, (at least some) metal please. It is a tough one though. Not really a deal breaker.

  • TR1

    It’s all about the feel. Samsung phones feel (and even look) cheap. Nokia, 1+1, MotoX, plastic HTC look and feel awesome. I’d rather have good plastic but I don’t mind metal either

  • Chuck Peebles

    My Benz has many plastic parts and my beer comes in aluminum cans. I don’t give a rat’s ass what my phone is made of.

  • RaptorOO7

    Who cares if its metal or plastic I put every phone in a case and a metal phone is just more prone to damage and it will look like crap after a month of normal use. Plastic can achieve better form factors, allows for NFC, Wireless charging and better reception (Antenna Gate anyone).

  • Trevor

    I just want the phone to feel solid, be it plastic or metal. I also really like the rubbery/matte finish to the back of a phone. I prefer that over anything else material-wise.

  • needa

    whatever the material is protecting the glass of the gs2 should be on each and every phone produced. it is some sort of metal blend that has taken an extreme beating without ever failing. the thicker glass helps also.

  • BOB Dudek

    I use this (SUPCASE Hybrid Protective Bumper Case) on my M8 (and old M7) and leaves the metal device very un-slippery,easy to one hand(le), and well protected.


  • dizel123

    Don’t want metal, don’t want plastic…Kevlar or GTFO

  • SoCalPaul

    I love my Bamboo phone!!!

  • Chris

    Lots of samsung plastic fans here….. Shame…

  • Danny

    When I’m paying for a phone I rather it be premium than it have plastic I like how Iphones have always been premium and not cheap like gay galaxys

    • MicroNix

      You mean when daddy buys you an iPhone?

      • Danny

        Not really… I’m 18 and have a job I bought my HTC one and galaxy nexus… My Droid 2 was bought by my parents though oh and I’m buying myself the g3 this month thank you very much.

      • Danny

        No I mean when IM paying for a phone did you not read? Are you stupid or something or are you just trolling? I’m 17 and bought myself my galaxy s2, g-nexus, HTC one, nexus 7 and coming up the lg g3 once best buy ships home so I can keep my unlimited

  • Stang88

    When the rubber actually meets the road, a “good, high quality plastic” material would be more durable than most “metal” materials. When they want to make a space helmet what do they use, “plastic or in other words polycarbonate”, when they want to the best protective motorcycle helmet what do they use, “plastic or in other words polycarbonate”, when they want to protect our children’s heads in football, what do they use, “plastic or in other words polycarbonate”.

    Metal bends, plastic doesn’t; metal dents, plastic doesn’t, etc etc. I have had a “plastic” corvette for years and I don’t have the dings and dents I would have if it were metal. Besides, plastics do not have radio interference like some metals do. Not sure why people have gotten the Medal is good, plastics are bad feelings.

    Finale word; It’s how it’s made, NOT what it is made of!

  • HotInEER

    If a company uses plastic or poly-carbonate it just needs to feel solid in the hands. For example my Nexus 5 and LG G3 feel great in the hands. Even my G2 felt nice. It shouldn’t look cheap either like Samsung phones with that fake plastic metal going around the phone. If I’m paying $600 for a phone it better look like it and perform like it.

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    In my opinion the G3 looks better than the M8.

  • Higher_Ground

    I voted no, because I’m looking for a moto x+1 with wood back (and hoping it’s not trimmed in aluminum). I don’t think metal adds anything to the phone, but a generic metal body is probably nicer than a generic plastic body. The point is don’t be generic.

    • HarvesterX

      Your phone isn’t a wood phone because of that. The X is a mix of metals in certain areas and plastics in others. Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages depending on where and how it’s implemented. This is a pretty bad poll.

  • Al-Burrit0

    Its doesn’t matter really but if i had the option to have the m8 build quality onto my moto x i would!:D

  • ClickFire_

    Build quality is important but it doesn’t have to be metal. I for One think the Moto X, Nexus 5, LG G3, and Nexus 7 2013 are proof you can have good looking and feeling devices without having to have metal.

  • Kevin

    doesn’t have to be metal but i’d prefer no high gloss plastic

  • jmsbwmn

    Man, what’s up with the polls lately? You have two polarized extremes, plus an apathetic third option. I can’t participate because I very rarely find myself on the extreme side of an argument, but I always have some sort of opinion.

    I’d suggest 5 options. Extremely A, Moderately A, Neither, Moderately B, and Extremely B.

    • BOB Dudek

      What He said.

  • Dwayne Jordan

    Performance, camera, battery life and lite skin are what’s important to me – LG G3 is a good example.

    • guest

      LaG3 & Performance, lol

  • JBForum

    Why are you people looking at the back of your phone anyway. Is something on it I’m missing, besides a giant ass otterbox? Is the bottom of your keyboard ugly?
    The back of your fridge? The inside of your Skinny Jeans?

    So many people care too much about how other people see them I think. (People looking at you with your phone see the back).

  • Mark Aaron Collado

    Im happy with my G3. Got the best of both worlds.

  • Mikrobe

    Don’t forget about ceramics!

  • Jason B

    When you go to buy a car, the last thing you want to feel is cheap, hollow sounding, Fischer-Price plastics for the interior. The same is true for phones.

    There’s nothing wrong with metal or plastic, but if the phone creaks when pressed in certain areas or feels so brittle the plastic could break at any moment, well, it’s a cheaply built phone with cheap materials.

    The OG Droid was a metal phone. I swore you could break a window with that thing.

  • Dave

    After 14 years of composite mold manufacturing, I realize how many people don’t really know what “plastic” means. There are so many different types. Once metal gets down to a thin enough gauge (about the gauge of phone shells) equal gauge campsites are technically stronger and resist damage much better. Stranded HDPE is stronger than aluminum up to ⅛”, then the tables turn. You’ll never find a ⅛” thick casing for a mobile device.

  • Jason Kahn

    Thank you someone gets its, plastic does not mean cheap. Just the poor quality stuff Samsung has been using on its phones exteriors.

  • Sqube

    It doesn’t have to be metal. It just has to feel like I paid a decent amount of money for it.

    This has been the only thing keeping me from purchasing a Samsung smartphone. I don’t worry so much about their software because, for me, rooting and ROMing is a foregone conclusion.

  • James Steven Handshoe

    I’ve seen just my dry hands leave micro-scratches on cheap plastic phones (and they weren’t all THAT dry really). Metal does go a long way in my mind to protect a phone from some scratches, if nothing else.

  • Nikuliai

    Well I didn’t actually vote on this and the site voted for me rofl :S (not the option I wanted btw)

  • schoat333

    My phones are always in a case, so I don’t care what its made out of.

  • WestFiasco

    No, it just needs not be considerably cheap looking as compared to its flagship smartphone brethren.

  • Ahku Droid

    I think durability and feel are more important than composition. In my opinion, the Moto Droids have the best design under these points. I love the strong spread out weight of their metal frames, and the Kevlar backs give the right amount of durable friction. The Samsung Galaxies just feel flimsy and cheap to me.

    Unfortunately the Droid Dev Editions are never a reasonable price, so the X+1 hopefully will be durable enough.

  • RoadsterHD1

    My Droid Maxx is kevlar and has a uni-body design. I love the feel and weight. It feels very high quality and it is. Metal is not necessary. Besides if it falls on a hard surface, does it dent or bounce back like Kevlar does.

    • dizel123

      You, my friend, are wise beyond your years

  • Nathan Bryant

    The OS/Skin has the most impact in my opinion. It’s the most interactive part of the phone. That is the issue with Samsung phones. Not the material.

  • th3raid0r

    I feel that while metal is a fantastic material for smartphones, there are certainly other options for building a quality device. I have owned devices with most of the premium materials.

    1. Metal – HTC One M8/M7 – The metal is just fantastic. The M8 is a bit more slippery, but it still feels fantastically premium. One thing people don’t normally think of, though, is heat. The metal construction of the HTC One means that the internals have access to one gigantic heat sink, and in a cool environment throttling just doesn’t exist. However, in a hot environment, it could REALLY slow things down.

    2. Glass – Nexus 4 – Glass construction feels incredibly premium as well, however there is a sense of fragility that just doesn’t exist with metal. Additionally, glass doesn’t offer any other advantages other than aesthetics.

    3. Soft Touch Plastic – HTC Droid DNA – I owned the DNA for a while, and I loved the soft touch plastic. It doesn’t feel nearly as premium as Metal or Glass, but it comes close. The additional advantage here is that the phone is easy to grip and hold.

    4. Wood – Moto X – I have handled a Moto X with a wood back. My initial thoughts are that it feels REALLY nice to hold, better than Glass, but not as good as metal. Gripability is great. Although, I am a little concerned about the thermal aspects of wood. As it is an insulator, it could result in throttling after a short while.

    5. Kevlar – Motorola Droid Maxx – This one is a bit in the gray area. There is no doubting the durability of kevlar, however I am not sure if the properties of kevlar are good for protecting a phone. Additionally, it doesn’t really feel premium, but it is above glossy plastic.

    • Vanquishgc

      You make a fair point with metal. However, I would question the heat issue to some degree. Given any high temperature, phone internals aren’t gonna be happy. In the case of the M8, I have to question whether or not the casing is going to absorb more heat than normal, given that it’s an aluminum alloy, and they can typically withstand higher temperatures than many other metals. As far as Kevlar goes, I can take it or leave it. Feels good in the hand sure, but protection? Eh, I think it’s more a design thing, to separate those phones from the pack more than anything else. Looks good on the latest Maxx though, I’ll say that. Good points on the other materials though sir.

  • Stephen Lucas

    doesn’t matter to me, I always use a case on the phone so the phone is like brand new 2 years later. The only thing that would matter to me is the material used can’t hinder the phones communications.

  • inklenotrump

    I love the exterior of the black nexus 5 – more of that please

    • JSo

      Most of the devices I have owned have had the soft rubber coating. Palm Pre Plus, Droid X2, Nexus 5. I love the feel.

  • RoboCop

    MKBHD said in one of his videos that cases are idiotic because they hide the artistic design of devices. Samsung’s have always been the exception to me since they never felt premium enough. I couldn’t wait to get something better feeling on my S3 and S4. When I had my ONE and now with my X, I’d never get a case.

    • 213ninja

      i don’t picture MKBHD insulting more than half of his subscribers but okay.

      • RoboCop

        YouTube the video, its all about how cases shouldn’t be necessary and aren’t needed unless they’re covering up the cheapness of the phone. Also, he never uses a case unless he’s testing it like the dot-view for the M8

        • 213ninja

          i believe you, i know he prefers to go caseless…i just wouldn’t picture him calling his subscribers idiots.

        • Detonation

          So then what does he suggest using to protect your device from drops and scratches, which is what the vast majority of people buying cases are using them for.

        • NBMTX

          He does have a video “The Problem with Phone Cases” but he doesn’t say the’re idiotic and meant to cover up the cheapness of the phone.
          It’s a personal perspective video.
          MKBHD appreciates the original design more than he fears damage to a device. You should understand that these expensive devices hold a completely different value to MKBHD than to any other regular consumer. The potential of normal wear and tear and accidental damage affects us very differently than it does him. Especially if we’ve had devices that have been totaled in minor accidents and slip ups.

          There are ideas and things said in that video that are obviously not facts, such as:

          -a phone in a case can break, therefore cases don’t reduce risk of damage at all

          -[in addition] a case is only good for protecting surfaces from wear and tear

          -a case removes all beauty and thinness from a device

          -a case manufacturer only spends about a week coming up with a design

          -“if you drop a [device], it’s going to get damaged”]

          -a skin will protect your phone as much as a rubber case would

          -skins tend improve feel in hand

          -appreciating a device’s design means it doesn’t make sense to use a case

          I use a tempered glass screen protector along with a light shell on my Nexus 5, and have used a few thicker cases that have actually withstood several drops (and severely botched attempts to catch the falling device). My GF’s Moto X’s front glass shows a small chip up to the point where her screen protector starts. While I don’t have the exact physics of the events I’ve witnessed, I’ve dropped enough devices, enough times, to personally believe cases obviously can make a difference.
          I like the feel of a device without a case, but I also like the look of my device in it’s current case.

          Plus it should be common sense that cases can be designed to change or resemble the original device as well as be thin or less so, or have other ergonomic or protective purposes.

  • Suicide_Note

    Metal, plastic, ceramic, makes no difference to me which my phone is made of. I’m going to put a Cruzerlite case on it no matter what, so for me it’s the software, screen, and internals that matter the most.

  • 213ninja

    i’m somewhat shocked at this poll result…not that i disagree, but i get the impression round’here that folks are all about metal…..and if not…..wood.

  • RoboCop

    Between the Moto X and RAZR Maxx HD last year those are my two favorite devices to hold. The only reason I didn’t get the Maxx was because the bamboo X was $300 after a code for some holiday and they let me swap my “House Stark” inspired customer X for free. If the Maxx was $350 instead of $650 it would’ve been a done deal but I enjoy my unlimited data

  • Michael Quinlan

    Plastic and metal are too grossly broad material categories to make durability claims about either one. The specific material used and the overall design of the device is what contributes to “build quality”. Nextel phones had the best build quality of any phones I have ever owned, and they were all plastic – at least on the exterior.


    I have an M8 and have a case on it. I do really like the feel of the device.. maybe it’s the weight. Like everybody else, as long as it’s built well and feels good in hand, it can be built out of whatever

    • JSo

      Why does it matter what it is built out of if you just put a case on it?

  • hyperbeatser

    I’d say metal chassis/buttons and plastic exterior components

  • NotTheTodd

    It’s not a requirement, but it’s nice when done well (OG Droid). No cheap Samsung plastic for me.

  • Pratik Holla

    Metal…No metal… its all about perception. Don’t really care if the phone has metal or not so as long as the phone as a whole feels premium. This is where samsung failed with the s4/s5. The whole design just feels cheap even though the internals are high end. It is surprisng that a company that dabbles in so many different things in the phone market hasn’t bothred to test the effect of materials on consumers.

  • Kevin McClave

    The choices were a bit too restrictive to fit my own opnion. I would like a metal phone all things being equal, but it isn’t a “requirement.”

    I agree with others that the build quality is very important. I have a Droid Maxx and had a Droid Razr Maxx HD before it and both are fine qulaity phones without a metal body.

    My wife has a Galaxy S3 and from the moment I first picked it up it felt like it would fly out of my hand at the slightest movment. Lightweight in a cheap way, slippery, and not that ergonomic (even with my big hands). Even if it was metal I wouldn’t like it.

    • MicroNix

      Are you sure your wife has a Galaxy S3? Because besides being extremely light, there is nothing in the design that makes it seem like it will slip out of your hand. Owned one for well over a year without a case and not once did it ever slip out of my hand. As many other here pointed out, way too much is in the head when it comes to quality.

      • Kevin McClave

        Yes, I’m sure.

  • DRAF_Werd

    You forgot option D: Could be a nice touch if implemented correctly – Not a requirement.

  • JSo

    And I don’t get the whole “slippery” thing. Every time I read that, I picture an infomercial going…”Are you tired of not being able to hold onto your phone?” and some bad actor juggling a phone because they can’t grip it. What’s wrong with your hands?

  • ROR1997

    I like a phone that feels light, and I use a case 99% of the time, so i don’t mind if my phone is plastic or not. It doesn’t effect the performance. Does it look cool? Yeah but its not a deal breaker.

  • JSo

    Phones do not NEED metal because the Nexus 5

  • shooter50

    The thing I love are the ones who complain about bezel size and then slap on an otterbox case.

    • JSo

      Yes, that’s the other thing people LOVE to complain about. I don’t think anyone is happy with anything anymore.

    • ClickFire_

      or they brag about build quality and slap a plastic case on their iphone or htc one.

      • malcmilli

        don’t really think those are always the same people

  • subiedude85

    Satin finish plastic for the win. Shiny plastic is too slippery and shows fingerprints and scratches. I prefer the soft touch.

  • matt

    carbon fiber composite is probably better alternative

  • Droid Ronin

    I don’t really see the point of admiring a metal phone when 95% of smartphone owners will just slap on a case as soon as they get one.

  • Dane Carpenter

    Not all metals are good. I just think back to the day of my HTC Faraday. I dropped it 3 feet one time and the metal bent because it was unable to flex like plastic would have been able to. It’s the same reason auto makers use urethane body panels on the front and back of the car. It flexes for low speed collisions and causes almost no damage to the body of the car. Think about if you were to drop a can of soup versus a plastic bottle of shampoo. The soup can will dent versus the shampoo bottle will not. I’d like to see a phone made of Tungsten carbide. Good luck scratching, denting, or doing any damage to the outside of that phone.

  • No. Every one of my phones gets the Otter Box treatment. I’m more concerned about the guts inside then what it actually made of

  • Leif Sikorski

    I don’t like metal.

    1) It prevents the option of having wireless charing which might get much more important with the new version where the distance can be larger and the new wearables which hopefully will support it as well (Moto 360?)
    2) it feels cold and techy – something I don’t like
    3) I had with such devices more often issues with the connectivity – doesn’t matter if they implemented some plastic pieces as a workaround or not

    There are many great material options, so I wouldn’t buy one with a metal or glass back.

  • Cory

    I wouldn’t mind a plastic housing as long as it feels solid and doesn’t creak or make other noises when you’re holding it. If I squeeze or flex my GS4 even slightly you can hear the plastic making a bunch of noise, which to me just screams poor quality.

  • Stephen D

    I have always found metal to be very overrated. Metal devices are heavier, seem to have worse radio reception, and are very slippery, which is exactly what Kellex said. It’s no wonder there are so many cracked iPhones; they’re made of slippery metal.

    Plastic is lighter weight. Plastic is also better at absorbing impacts from drops, since it has some give. A phone like the G3 shows that plastic can feel just as “premium” as metal without the cons of metal and with the pros of plastic. Samsung is getting better. The back of the Note 3 and S5 feel very nice in hand. What makes their phones feel cheaper to me is the plastic band around the side. If this were just made of metal, or some other material besides plastic, Samsung phones would feel much nicer.

    • JMonkeYJ

      I don’t necessarily disagree with your first points, but I do disagree that plastic is more durable. In fact, one of the things I like about metal phones is that they are better able to withstand drops. The reason for this is that metal will almost always dent on impact, and usually with a very small dent, whereas plastic will often chip or crack. The chipping and cracking are usually more noticeable and worse for the integrity of the phone. This is purely based on my experience with several metal and plastic phones, but thinking about the material properties of metal and plastic (namely the malleability of metal) it makes sense. That being said, I don’t mind a well made plastic phone, but I do prefer a well made phone with some metal.

    • malcmilli

      I don’t think plastic is ever a bad way to go as long as it feels nice. However, i must comment on your 2nd sentence. I personally never thought any phone to ever be too heavy or too light, samsung actually has a worse track record than others in the radio quality department, so i don’t think metal is the main issue here; and the iphones thet were all cracked i believe were coated in glass. Plus its not exactly a fair ratio when in the US specifically its pretty much a one to one ratio of iphones to every other smartphone. So numbers wise they have higher odds of showing cracked screens. I’m not saying they’re super durable or anything, but again i dont think the metal plays a significant role. Their screens have been cracking for years.

  • Alec

    Metal is a great selling point and a big reason why I purchased the HTC One (M8), but that’s pretty much all it is. If its a requirement to you, you’re stubborn because there’s tons of great phones that are made of plastic. But again, it’s like asking if you need water resistance when you aren’t an outdoor enthusiast. Just a selling point, just marketing.

  • Jérôme Besnard

    Not to mention that most people use a plastic case anyway… Maybe not this community but most smartphone buyers.

  • NAM37

    I have yet to hold a phone that feels better in my hand than my (plastic) Moto X.

  • jmashis

    People insult plastic because it’s seen as a “value” material. It’s often their way of making validating their own worth through their possession of a needlessly more expensive item.

    • jmashis

      *way of validating

  • kev

    I love the metal on my M7 but what I really want is more front facing speakers on other phones. I hate casess too -_-

  • Ralph Bretz

    As long as the phone feels like a quality build materials don’t matter.
    The Droid RAZR HD is still one of my favorite built phones. It felt solid. I liked the Kevlar.

    • Open1Your1Eyes0

      Seriously, I think Kevlar is one of the most underrated device materials of all time.

    • Neil Fujiwara

      Considering that premium sports cars are made of composite or another type of carbon fiber, I am surprised that people don’t desire it more. Plastic is a very generic term. Carbon fiber with a resin compound could be used to create a durable and ultra light phone.

    • normmcgarry

      Except I need my wireless charging. Correct me if I’m wrong, but metal phones can’t do wireless charging.

  • tzoller

    The first thing most people do is put the phone in a protective case. I bet most people have no idea what their phone case looks like…

  • King of Nynex

    The major problem that I have with Apple’s iPhone design is that it pretty much requires a case, which ruins the aesthetic for me.

    • M3D1T8R

      Yup, they essentially sell an unfinished device, yet at a premium price. Sharp, heavy metal edges in your hand, yeah that makes a lot of sense.. Fortunately it looks like they may be starting to fix that with the next one. Rounded edges kind of like the Sony Z, looks like it will be better in hand.

  • Kayungjoo

    All phones have metal, the article should read. “Should the exterior body be housed in metal?”

    • cns2007

      I think that’s likely obvious to 99% of the people responding.

  • Daistaar

    I’d rather a light plastic than can take a drop. No one ever worried about dropping a blackberry or sidekick. Even the original flip Razr held up to some good dings. Give me a fiberglass screen while we’re at it.

  • David

    1st preference: Good quality plastic
    2nd preference: Good quality metal
    3rd preference: Mediocre plastic
    4th preference: Mediocre metal
    Plastic has the potential to better withstand wear and tear than metal while also being lighter. However, cheap or mediocre plastic just feels cheap in the hand.

  • Sure, a plastic phone might survive an impact better, but I like a solid feeling device in hand that doesn’t feel flimsy. Either a really hard plastic or metal like aluminium makes for a solid feeling phone in my hands that I know someone upside the head with when they try to take my awesome metal phone.

  • possomcrast1

    I consider it an added bonus- for example; the designs of the M7 and M8 were considerably influential in my decision to buy them, but weren’t my main reason.

  • Shane Redman

    Call me crazy, but the kevlar on the Droid Maxx has enough tact for me to grab it confidently. I feel like I’d drop a metal phone every time I touch it.

    • JasonS

      I love how it feels “grippy” without feeling sticky. It is also very rigid and sturdy feeling.

  • BoFiS

    I feel there should be metal SOMEWHERE, like inside at least, but the exterior can be either, as long as it’s still of good quality….HTC hit it out of the park on build quality and durability, but I don’t feel like the Moto X is so delicate since it’s plastic on the outside and just metal inside….

    • Droid Ronin

      True, I’ve dropped my Moto X plenty of times (I don’t have a case on it either) and it still doesn’t look half bad!

  • Open1Your1Eyes0

    I voted that it doesn’t affect my decision in WHAT materials they use but it does affect depending the quality of it. Samsung just needs to take notes from LG on how to make a proper plastic device. Seriously, that phone feels incredible! Everyone needs to go out and give it a try before they knock on plastic as being “cheap”. Not THAT’S how you make a proper plastic device.

    • ClickFire_

      People Complained about the Galaxy S5 backing but after using it in person at the store it actually feels really good in the hand.

      • Open1Your1Eyes0

        I have to agree with you here even after having my S5 as a daily driver and still choosing to avoid a sidegrade to the G3 for waterproofing reasons. My biggest complaint about the materials on the S5 is the border trim alone the entire edge of the device. It’s like shiny fake-metal looking plastic and I would say it’s almost 2 times as bad as the S4’s was (I actually didn’t mind the S4 border too much). They alone changed this to high quality plastic or metal it would basically be like night and day. I actually like the grippiness of the S5 back.

  • Mario Williams

    You can’t kill the metal.
    The metal will live on.

    • evan brown

      Samsung tried to kill the metal, the failed as they were STRICKEN TO THE GROUND

      • Guest

        Something like this…

      • JSo

        Metal!! It comes from hell

        • M3D1T8R

          It’s funny because it’s true.

      • TheWenger

        Awesome song. That movie was on TV last week.

  • Somebody needs to come out with a rubber/grippy-coated metal body. THAT would be nice! I tend to shy away from metal phones these days because they’re way too damned slippery!

    • David

      My OG Droid had this.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    People don’t necessarily complain about Metal vs Non Metal. The argument is solid feeling, high quality materials vs Chintzy plastic. Look at Nokia for an example of high quality materials that = plastic. Look at the HTC One X, look at the HTC 8X, another example of high quality/ solid feeling materials that aren’t metal.

    Samsung’s problem is that they always cheap out on the materials. I’ve owned the S3 and the S4 they skim on materials obviously to cut down on price. Same goes for the S5.

    • In a number of G3 reviews, it seems like I recall people referring to the build and plastic, as if it was a bad thing. G3 feels great to me. Not cheap. Not flimsy. I just think people lump plastic in with “cheap” far too often.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Yup and that’s a pretty bad habit by the tech industry. I’ve heard the reviews of “This is the best feeling non metal phone” . . .which doesn’t make sense to me because the G3 feels like a solid device with great materials. It doesn’t need to be metal.

      • Damian

        But doesn’t the G3 have a small percentage of metal in the back cover? 😛

    • Stephen D

      IMO, it is the fake chrome sides that make Samsung phones feel cheap. The backs on the Note 3 and S5 feel very nice, but that chrome rim feels cheap and is easy to ding up and scratch.

      • schlanz

        peoples association of a physical feel and “cheap” are basically inventions of the mind. there is no inherent quality of plastic that lends itself to our perception of it being cheap. its something we’ve been brainwashed into thinking. plastic can feel better than metal and vice versa. I’m at this moment rubbing the chrome around my note 3 and I can’t say with even a shred of sincerity that it has a cheap feeling.

        does it look cheap? maybe. I think cheap has more to do with looks and perception more than an actual physical feeling.

    • schlanz

      correct me if I’m wrong but samsung devices typically have one of the highest bill of goods cost to begin with. its at the very least higher than the almighty iphone and its premium materials. if they are going to skimp somewhere I’d rather ot not be the specs. cases, cases, cases. lets all stop pretending plastic is such a dirty word. the s5 has a very tight feel to it, people just like to perpetuate this myth that samsung plastic feels cheap when in fact it just feels like plastic.

      • malcmilli

        Well their phones/tablets often times feel different from their competitors, and not everyone is on board with that differentiating feel.

  • That1Guy

    Just going to put a case on it.

    • David

      I like my phones naked. The look of the phone is not the primary reason I choose one over the other, but aesthetics are a consideration. Also, I like to keep the phone sans case so it fits better in my pocket.

      • Chris Hannan

        Phones are already getting to be too big. I don’t want a case making it even bigger.

        And most cases are ugly anyway.

      • epyon

        I generally do, too. However, on my Developer Edition Moto X, I had to put a clear cover on it because the woven white back makes it incredibly slippery.

    • schlanz


      “oh but its a CRIME to cover up our beautiful devices with a case, it’s not the way it was meant to be seen and admired!”


  • Russell Sprague

    My Moto X doesn’t have metal, and it is imho one of the best phone designs of late.

    • abqnm

      Metal can be nice or an issue, just the same as plastic. I love my One M7 but if I were to upgrade now, I would rather have the plastic E8 than the metal M8.

      If the phone is solid, plastic is fine. Samsung hasn’t exactly had that part down. The Galaxy S line up through the S4 is flimsy and creaky. Just hold the phone in landscape and twist your hands in opposite directions. The phones creak and flex and just don’t feel solid. While I haven’t tried flexing the S5, I expect it is better than the previous versions, though I can’t say how much, if it really is any better at all.

    • simp1istic

      Your moto X contains quite a bit of metal. The entire subframe, connectors, heat shields, sim trays, screws…. https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/EYlUrbaAixoSkpCB.huge

      • maysider

        it is a talk about design, not about necessities of phones’ manufacturing 😉