Here's why LG sticks to making plastic phones

Here's why LG sticks to making plastic phones
Back at MWC, we had the opportunity for some face-time with a few people from LG's R&D team, who were kind enough to reveal the major reason why the company sticks to producing devices made of plastic.

It's not that we can't stand some plastic in phones and tablets, but there are some occasions where it really gets too much. One such example recently was the LG Prada 3.0 phone, which used plastic even though it was a fashionable device, in which style and feel should basically be top-priority.

Because of that, we raised the question about LG's plastic builds during our meeting with the LG gang, and actually got a very interesting answer. It appears that the company is well-aware that plastic doesn't feel as cool as metal or glass, for example, but is doing this because of signal strength reasons. Apparently, LG wants to keep the antenna reception of its devices as strong as possible and that's why it is avoiding materials that could interfere with radio waves. What this ensures, according to the company, is better reliability in terms of reception, as well as call quality, due to the stronger signal.

We quickly looked through the call quality sections of our recent LG reviews and found out that in most cases (not always), we've rated the device's performance in this category relatively high. For comparison, we also checked our recent HTC reviews, and it appears as though we've found them a bit worse in this respect. Whether this is due to LG using plastic, instead of some kind of metal, however, we can't be 100% sure. Still, a fact is a fact.

Another benefit of having no materials that interfere with radio waves is that your phone doesn't have to work harder in order to maintain a decent connection, thus emitting less radiation. Of course, every manufacturer is keeping things under the established SAR limits, but according to the Korean company, they are actually trying to keep those radiation ratings as low as possible, which is a good thing, of course.

Now, tell us, folks – are you willing to sacrifice some premium materials for slightly better call quality and reception?

source: LG



1. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

It all depends how the plastic is formed,after all there are many examples of plastic material phones out there which feel nice and of very good quality The entire phone doesn't need to be plastic either. Its good on LG's part though that they are interested in keeping reception quality high and the antenna performance at top potential,unlike a certain other manufacturer using metal framework,awful antenna placements and tells its buyers to f**k off and stop using their phones wrong when dropped calls commence!!

9. Accent

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 08, 2012

LG can learn something from Nokia. Nokia's poly-carbonate plastic is great . They are really coming up with some innovations: 1.Nokia PureView technology 2.Nokia Rich Recording 3.Superhydrophobic coating. etc. Besides that Nokia's white papers on other materials like graphene, technologies like NFC are setting some industry standards.

10. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I'm all for poly-carbonate plastic over metal. More friendly to the internals.

31. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

You said it! They should then make sure to use plastic that looks and feels good! I own an LG P500 Optimus1 and one thing that i have absolutely love about it is the gr8 quality nonshiny rubberized plastic used, and that is no fingerprint magnet. The chrome accents at some places definitely adds a premium feel. But then yes, they ought not to stretch the signal reception argument too far as a tiny bit of signal reception can be compromised(presuming that the materials used do have a BIG impact on it) when you are asked to build a fashion device like the Prada 3.

2. plgladio

Posts: 314; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I'm okay with plastics, but when making a premimum device they can go for metal or glass. Its just my opinion.

3. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

yeap cause it also = longer battery life.

4. PimpStrong

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 25, 2011

I prefer plastic since I use a case 100% of the time on my $500+ devices anyway. The Sensation with its metal casing is slipperier than my GS2 with its plastic anyway.

5. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Motorola has 0 issues with signal strength and call quality while using premium materials in their phones. in fact Motorola is number 1 in this aspect.

8. rav405 unregistered

Same goes with nokia eg. nokia n8 which has a metal body but still gets good signal strength call quality

25. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

thank you King i was just going to say that... of course LG will say that... but they could become the next RIM if they dont innovate...

6. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

HTC has (mostly)plastic backings. It's a very nice rubberized plastic, but still. I can't imagine the antenna signal being affected that greatly. HTC's plastic feels and looks way better than the shiny, fingerprint-magnet back of the spectrum.

7. isproab

Posts: 20; Member since: May 27, 2010

I have no problem with plastic. As long as the phone feels good in the hand, I could care less. I do also like the fact that a phone is light weight and the last think I want is something that could dent.

11. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

My g2x is a plastic phone done right.

17. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

im right there with you squallz i hav a g2x also and lovin it

12. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Ok you found the reason for plastic. However, why not ask, why are they still building new devices with an old OS?

13. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Right where it hurts :p

14. edrich

Posts: 27; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

I'd have a plastic phone rather than other materials if it ENSURED better call quality and reception. It is a phone after all, and the main function is making and receiving calls.

15. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

I use a case. I don't care what it's made of as long as it works.

16. quryous

Posts: 106; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Obviously, they are just holding it wrong!

18. ecloguey

Posts: 7; Member since: Jan 17, 2012

Of course yes. LG has always been one of the trusted brands. And the reception and call quality is always up to expectations.

19. Alistair

Posts: 19; Member since: May 16, 2011

Being that I keep my phone in a plastic case 99.9 percent of the time anyways I figure a lighter phone as well as better reception is a plus. I have the nitro now and have no problems with reception at all and it doesn't feel any cheaper to me, and I would rather have better performance then shiny toy.

20. atheisticemetic

Posts: 377; Member since: Dec 18, 2011

one word as to why i prefer a different material over plastic... oil

21. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

So please Ray S, next time when you review a phone dont ever mantion the word PLASTIC, cos u luuuuuuurv saying the word PLASTIC whenever you review phones, and its kind of makes me sick, just my opinion, im sure im the onlybperson. To tell the truth i kinda knew it was yo article the moment i read the headline and i was right

24. handicrapguy

Posts: 30; Member since: Oct 29, 2011

As long as the phone is light and durable i dont really care what its made of.

26. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

stop it LG.. we all have seen you sales figure lately and doesn't look pretty.. next thing you will be cutting people and say that it was for their own good.. be creative like Samsung at least... they sale.. they can continue to use it, but you are not selling... I hear Rim calling on line one..

30. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

i don't see how explaining their choice of materials got to do with sales. just bcos sales figures are low it doesnt mean the company cant be trusted. and LG IS creative AND innovative. LG came up with glassesless 3D, touchscreens, IPS LCD, first with dual core. while some might not really be required, you cannot deny it is innovation/creativity. and what has Samsung really innovated? other than super amoled (and its variations), i really cant think of anything else. Samsung just copies whereas LG innovates. dont bring up how LG ''copies''Samsung for their UI cos tt aint true. it is the other way around. go by history, you will notice Samsung copied LG. it's the truth whether you like it or not

27. aoikemono27

Posts: 177; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

LG just sucks at making non-plastic phones with good reception. This would also be less of a problem if their plastic actually felt premium and not cheap. Other brands can do metal without problem, save for the occasional HTC phone, and have been doing them for years. There's no indication that LG phones have superior reception or battery life compared to other non-plastic competition. Their poster child, the G2x, was plagued with issues, with a class action lawsuit in tow.

28. Deicide

Posts: 82; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

Yes, as long it is made of high grade plastic like Samsung and LG do. I actually liek the feel and if it makes my phone run longer than I'm a happy person.

29. joey18

Posts: 693; Member since: Jul 20, 2010

Cheap phones

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless