Glass sandwiches - here are 7 smartphones made with beautiful metal and glass

Glass sandwiches - here are 7 smartphones made with beautiful metal and glass
Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about "premium design", but what exactly defines it? Is it determined by the type of materials used, the construction integrity, the weight, feel, or size of the device? Or is it a magical combination between all those factors, which could ultimately feel different from person to person?

Certainly, the definition of "premium" has changed throughout the years - back in the day before full touchscreen smartphones, a handset being small and light was considered to be a big deal. After the original iPhone stirred things up a little, and Samsung's Note series turned consumers around, nowadays, users prefer larger screens, even if it results in a bulkier handset.

So, it's trend-based. And the reality is that, these days, a smartphone needs to be made out of metal in order to be dubbed "premium". Well, in most cases, that is - LG, for example, chose to not jump on that bandwagon, and introduced a high-class version of its G4, which has a back made out of leather - certainly another material that winks at expensive commodities. It's worth noting that Motorola's Moto X (2014) can also have a leather back cover.

But back to the metal warriors - some manufacturers believe that having the whole chassis made out of the cold material is a bit too bland, so they mix things up a little. Namely - they put a glass panel on the back of their devices, mirroring and balancing with the glass slab at the front, giving their smartphone a whole different look and feel. A design choice, which became popular with the iPhone 4, but has since been abandoned by Apple, still lives on and adorns many other handsets. Lets check a few of them out!

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge


Of course we are going to start with these two. Back in 2014, Samsung finally realised that packing powerful hardware in plastic phones that feel like entry-level devices just doesn't cut it, so it started experimenting and introducing fancier looking handsets. The Galaxy Alpha was first, with its metal frame and sleek looks, the Note 4 and Note Edge were very highly praised, the metal unibody, mid-range Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 were well accepted, and this all led to this year's Galaxy S flagships, which are probably the most classy handsets that Samsung has produced to date. A metal frame, sandwiched between two glass panels houses some powerful hardware, and both phones certainly deserve the attention they are getting.



Sony Xperia Z3


Sony's current flagship - and we are not counting the Z4, as it's limited to Japan only - remains the Xperia Z3, as the company has obviously given up on the 6-month refresh cycle. That's not a bad thing at all, as the Z3 still has some fight left in it, with its still-potent Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3 GB of RAM, and extremely sleek looks. A unibody metal chassis and two glass sides is what you will feel in your hand as you are operating this sleek fellow.

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OPPO R1x


The international version of the Oppo R1C is a pretty solid midranger, equipped with a Snapdragon 615 and 2 GB of RAM. Not only does its hardware not disappoint, it has the looks to boot, with a metal frame and glass on both sides. Its back panel also has a diamond pattern, which reflects light differently under different angles, adding a certain amount of flare.



Huawei Ascend P7


Huawei's 2015 flagship - the P8 - unfortunately, cannot take part in our selection, due to the fact that it doesn't have a glass back (it still looks pretty sleek). Its predecessor, however, is still a potent handset and easily falls in the sandwich category. The Ascend P7 sports a home-made Kirin 910 SoC and 2 GB of RAM and understated, classy looks.


Xiaomi Mi Note and Mi Note Pro


Identical twins, one might say, but the Mi Note Pro is definitely the more future-proof of the two, as it sports a 64-bit Snapdragon 810 SoC and a whopping 4 GB of RAM. If you are one who doesn't like all that speak of overheating and throttling that shrouds the SD 810's fame - the regular Mi Note sports the still-potent SD 801 and 3 GB of RAM. As far as looks go - both handsets are stunners, with a curved glass panel on the back, adding for both ergonomics and style.


BLU Vivo IV


Also known as Gionee Elife S5.5, the BLU Vivo IV is a super-thin handset (0.22" / 5.5 mm) that sports adequate hardware. With a MediaTek 6592 humming under its hood, and 2 GB of RAM keeping those processes running, it's a decent handset that provides the sleek looks to boot - despite the fact that its profile is so svelte, the phone still manages to sport glass panels on both sides.


BLU Vivo Air


Another rebrand by BLU and again - of a Gionee smartphone. This one is known as the Gionee Elife S5.1 and is even thinner than the Vivo IV. Sporting a 0.2" / 5.15 mm profile, its still a decent midranger, with the same MT 6592 SoC, but just 1 GB of RAM. Of course, the handset keeps the classy design language, despite the profile shave.

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26 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The whole thing about being too bland, and having to change things up for the back is crap. If you go with an all metal back. Then wireless charging will not work, period. That's why you never see any fully metal phone offer wireless charging.

2. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

I'd take a well made plastic phone over any glass or metal frame any day of the week. Plastic = not cold to the touch, extremely durable, lighter, no fingerprints, also reduces cost... Glass is easily the worst, i don't get the obsession with it.

4. SamDH1

Posts: 419; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

Shinny. :3

7. TerryTerius unregistered

The way it looks. And it's included in the pantheon of luxury materials. Wood, Leather, Metal, Glass, Stone & Gemstones. Aesthetics. Pretty much the only reason.

8. AlikMalix unregistered

You posts sounds like: "I'll take a goat over any real girl any day of the week. Goats are soft and fuzzy to touch... Human skin is the worst, i dont get the obsession with it..." Most people are opposite than you, shocker huh? I like cold feel of metal, smooth hard glass, and premium of solid structure - plastic is complete opposite of that - this is why Samsung is doing so well with S6 - it's built with iPhone style...

23. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

You've obviously misunderstood my post. I'm not denying or even surprised that most people's opinion differ from mine. I've come to accept that a lot of people think differently than i do, and also that a lot of people are just idiots. Something can look as good as it likes, but if it doesn't function correctly or doesn't function well, it's a failure in my books. This of course reflects my opinion on the s6 too, since you mentioned it.

24. AlikMalix unregistered

Apple has more functions that I need that no android does to date. Find my friends, full OS level app permissions, iTunes Match, virtually instant updates for at least two or three years, background task management that doesn't kill battery overnight or processing speed. An ecosystem is still unmatched. And first to tech that matters - 64bit, Touch ID, retina (kinda pointless to go beyond retina - only slows the system). Exclusive and always first for apps and games. Third party support is still unmatched. Should I go on...? I know one android has one or two and the other android has something else, but with Apple I don't have to carry two, three phones.

27. cheetah2k

Posts: 2256; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Were you blowing your load all over your iphone writing these words?? :P Sure with Apple you might not need to carry 2 or 3 phones, but you do because your battery life is gone within a few hours.. I have friends who have to carry around hefty li-ion battery packs to get thru a day, or a 2nd phone to swap their sim card into it.. I'd choose Android over Apple any day purely just for the freedom. iTunes sucks a monkey's turd, as does the locked down ecosystem that's tighter than yo mumma's chastity belt

28. AlikMalix unregistered

I dont understand half the things you wrote, and why are you talking about my mom? iTunes helped me finally get organized before even the first iPhone... iTunes MATCH keeps my music with me anywhere in the world and it updated my music to highest quality automatically and does not against my iCloud storage. My iPhone 5s lasts me a day easy with heavy use (streaming music, games, spreadsheets for work, media, etc) day-and-a-half to two days with normal use - and I never have to manage my background tasks like I had to on SGS4 when the damn thing died from 20% battery overnight while DOING NOTHING!!! I see more Android users charging their phones than I do iPhones, commercials lie - get out of your basement. Carrying two phones for battery is Bulls**t and you know it - those that require longer life get a special case or get a battery pack - which I see seldom but for both iPhones and Android... I choose iOS over Android any day purely just for the features and a properly done OS vs a glorified ad delivery vehicle seeded as Freeware to manufacturers that cannot make their own OS (see Tizen - still struggling)... I dont hate Android, but asses like you make me hate users of Android that are JUST LIKE YOU. All I posted was a few features I need that Android doesnt have... You didnt have to make the 15-year-old remarks to make a point - I would have taken you seriously -- but you are extremely immature and you embarrass the Android community...

25. AlikMalix unregistered

Oh wait, I think you were talking about function of glass on the back. If so, I agree with u - I prefer metal over glass, but I have to disagree on the plastic thing - I don't care if it's super plastic it's ugly, and feels cheep like my daughter's toys. but it's a matter of opinion.

20. epdm2be

Posts: 822; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

21. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

Aluminium and glass disperse heat much better than the plastic phones. So there's that.

3. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

If I had to choose one off this list, it would have to be the Z3. I just love it's design, especially since they are able to retain features such as waterproofing and SD card slot.

5. AlikMalix unregistered

Apple did it before it was cool... but seriously, why is it when iPhone 4 came out - it was most horrible design according to haters, but now everyone's copying and it's considered great? same thing with fingerprint, voice assistant, applewatch crown, even the damn touch screen didnt catch up until the OG iPhone... Why cant we agree that Apple has just as many great ideas as the whole flock of android?

9. TerryTerius unregistered

Material usage and design are two completely separate things. Claiming that they're all copying Apple because they use the same materials is really far fetched. By that logic, every single car maker & fashion label have the same products. But yes, Apple does have many great ideas. They certainly don't get their credit from some people, but there's nothing you can do about that. Some act like Apple came into their house and personally assaulted their mother or something, I don't really understand the hate. Although I do understand why people get upset at their pricing and perceived lack of value. But that's mostly by those that directly equate specs and features to performance and ease/convenience of use, which Apple has proven is not the case.

11. AlikMalix unregistered

Great post, bro... but that's the point: it wasn't for using glass, (every phone has glass in front screen and photo lenses) but as you said - it's the design - and iPhone had sandwiched their phone between TWO glass sheets - just like these NEW designs...

14. TerryTerius unregistered

And nearly every car has four wheels in the same arrangement, it doesn't make them identical. The iPhone 4 may have had glass on the front and the back, but you would never mistake an iPhone 4 for a galaxy s6, z4, or any other phone on this list. Because they look distinctly different from one another. That's the difference between material use and the physical design of the phone. Similar elements, very different styling. Kind of like BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Lexus, Porsche, Tesla, Jaguar and Mercedes. They all basically use the same materials, but their cars look radically different from one another.

15. AlikMalix unregistered

Fair point... but once again, wasn't the design of the shapes of glass, it was the ridicule for adding glass to back that was "worst idea ever" but when their favorite android is doing it it's not "worst idea ever" all of a sudden... I'm pointing out the hypocrisy...

17. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

What? Do you have to be a fan of one side of the other? It is the worse design ever. Even though the S6 models have this design and they look really, good; it's still.a terrible idea. The only thing good is Samsung used gorilla glass on both sides while apple used it on one side. I don't care what OEM does this, it is a bad idea. It does feel cool and cold, but it also feels cheap. The iPhone 5/5S and the Galaxy Alpha all felt cheap to me. Though I am getting the S6 Wdgw, it isn't because of the glass being on the back. It's because I like the duel Edge. For me the S6 is a downgrade from the Note. But I plan to get the a Note 5 anyways and this is just a toy

18. Rhinoface

Posts: 179; Member since: Dec 05, 2014

Glass body came around the same basic time as the original Z. Fingerprint was started by Motorola. Voice Assistant; I can't remember who, but it wasn't Apple. The Apple Watch crown? Oh, that thing watches have. And there were numerous touch screens before the iPhone. Moron.

22. AlikMalix unregistered

And non of that s**t mattered until Apple did it properly!!! But I like how you signed that statement as a Moron. Very honest..

12. monoke

Posts: 1162; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Z3 to S6: "You wanna know what the difference is between me and you?.. I make this look good."

19. Rhinoface

Posts: 179; Member since: Dec 05, 2014

And make more functionality out of myself....

13. logicsdude

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

Nexus 4

16. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Nexus 4 !!!

26. gaming64 unregistered

I dont know why the 4s wasnt mentioned. I know it is old but this article is about the smartphones with the most beautiful metal and glass design.

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