LG: The G3 would have been $300 more expensive if it were made of metal

LG: The G3 would have been $300 more expensive if it were made of metal
LG's VP of mobile design, Chul Bae Lee, had an interesting thing or two to say about the LG G3's build materials and quality. According to him, shipping LG's new super-phone with an all-metal body like that of the HTC One M8 would have put an additional $300 on top of its current price tag - which already hovers anywhere between $600 and $900 depending on your location. Needless to say, not only are $900 smartphones difficult sellers, but manufacturing them isn't any easy, either. 

These weren't LG's only concerns, however. Mr. Lee claims that plastic is the only material that allowed him "to maintain the compactness of this phone". Indeed, the LG G3's screen-to-size ratio is quite impressive - the phone manages to squeeze a 5.5-inch QHD display in a body that isn't significantly larger than what competing phones with smaller displays, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Sony Xperia Z2, have to offer.

LG's design chief has some other reservations towards metal: “If I had applied metal to the G3, it would be much bulkier in the bezels and in all four directions. It would be very big and very heavy. It would be really slippery as well.” - he said. However, LG remains open for the inclusion of materials other than plastic: “In order to show off the luxurious nature of the phone, maybe we could have applied some high-end metal on the side or on the back.” - explained Lee. Well, maybe next time, then?



1. alex88ucv

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 05, 2014

Well look at Nokia and what they did to the lumia 930/925..the phone doesen't need to be fully made out of metal..just the frame and a great polycarbonate on the back

12. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Require best engineers for that...

28. Ashoaib

Posts: 3299; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Well he is crazy... may be he think only the gold is a metal thats why additional $300 is coming to his mind...

36. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

But why people are complaining bout the GS III/IV? they both have polycarbonate body also. still good too

2. adwienc

Posts: 136; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

If this doesn't collect fingerprints and also has metal feeling it's good for me.

3. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Metal body isn't a must, but it's definitely a plus. However, if you like the phone, you like the phone

4. Beijendorf unregistered

Well that sounds like absolute bull... Or is HTC selling their metal flagships at a loss? I mean, that would explain their finances, but still... We're not retarded, LG.

6. Desmortibus

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

I agree.

8. vandroid

Posts: 405; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

+1 I don't buy it, saying it would've been $300 more for less than $20 of material?

31. ryan5609

Posts: 107; Member since: Nov 01, 2011

Technically you are right, but the material is a small portion of the actual cost. First you have to set up tooling, and machining, Depending on their production run, they could purchase the equipment themselves, then they would need to hire people that know how to operate the machinery. Otherwise they would need to outsource the production to one or several manufacturing companies that can produce low tolerance parts in high volume, not an easy or cheap feat since the machining can take a while, especially if they are running from a solid block of aluminum, which I assume they would be. They may exaggerating a bit, but I could certainly see why they didn't use metal. It is the hidden costs that get you, not like you can just cast a phone body.

34. 3rdDegree

Posts: 218; Member since: Jul 13, 2013

No no no no. LG's manufacturing plants are multinational, that's a given. All those costs of production (which include factors of production eg capital, labor, land) are already applied to the retail costs of their smartphones so there's no need to discuss it here. It's already a given. LG utilises all of its major branches to create their high end models (batteries for LG Chem, display from LG Display, camera from LG Innotek) and in fact they're one of the only major smartphone vendors to do so. As for the aluminum, LG handsets are relatively more affordable than competitors handsets, so keeping that in mind, a 300 dollar increase would put it in line with the likes of the HTC One M8 when it debuted. HTC definitely outsources, LG tends not to.

13. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

HTC has serious pricing issues out of the US. Even if LG exagerated on the $300 cost, $200 is still a price difference to consider.


Posts: 399; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Htc did not have to spend on the camera this time so maybe they can afford it ;-)

15. Beijendorf unregistered

Shots fired! D:

33. 3rdDegree

Posts: 218; Member since: Jul 13, 2013

Remember, the first HTC One didn't use as much aluminum as the new version, therefore it was more affordable than it. Still, it's an unattractive device with bulky bezels.

38. Beijendorf unregistered

I think you're unattractive with bulky bezels! Also, the M7 was prices the same as the M8, so that argument doesn't stand.

39. 3rdDegree

Posts: 218; Member since: Jul 13, 2013

I don't have bezels :(

40. 3rdDegree

Posts: 218; Member since: Jul 13, 2013

And I meant cost as in production costs

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Sounds like Bullsh*t. I believe that part that it would be bulkier with metal, but it would't be 300 dollars more.

7. maherk

Posts: 6967; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Exactly, we are talking about aluminum, not titanium and gold.

19. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

It just means they have no competency in engineering an all-metal smartphone. It's not just a simple matter of turning plastic into metal. The internals have to be completely reworked for issues like heating and antenna-functionalty. Engineers need to get paid too. Then they'd need to set up a network of suppliers to provide thew new materials, and find an ODM capable of manufacturing the devices in massive amounts. All this adds up to more than just a few cents of aluminum.

22. Armchair_Commentator

Posts: 222; Member since: May 08, 2014

I really don't get it, Unless there's some crazy behind the scenes patents or something I don't see how metal could possibly cost that much when other phones clearly aren't seeing that much of a bump in cost

24. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Companies like Apple and HTC have spent years of development time and setting up supply lines to be able to manufacture metal-unibody devices. I may be wrong, but I don't believe LG has any history of producing full-metal cellular devices. And slapping a metal panel on the back (G-Pad) isn't the same thing.

25. Armchair_Commentator

Posts: 222; Member since: May 08, 2014

Good point, I didn't think of all the processes that would go into getting the actual metal body. What may be common knowledge to Chul Bae Lee most definitely isn't to us. Though once it would be up and running I wonder what the real, per unit cost, it would add.

26. maherk

Posts: 6967; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

As I remember when HTC went from the plastic One X to the aluminum One M7 the price didn't jump an extra $300. Same goes to Apple when they went from the glass iP4 to the iP5.

27. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Apple and HTC may have had different relationships with different suppliers than LG has, not to mention allocated their R&D budget differently.

32. marcski07

Posts: 600; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

the cost of how it was fabricated will be the factor, if you're thinking the metal it self, yes you're right but think of the chassis, remember how thin they made the bezel for screen ratio? and how many component they should place inside that compact (sort of) phone? if htc has the same design with lg g3, think about how it will be awesome to have boom sound + metal chassis, it'll be super expensive device. and one awesome device, so $300 dollars may be exaggerated but also plausible.

9. Johann

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

LG should ask Coca-Cola how they have managed to produce aluminium shells at the cost of a few cents per unit. It seems silly that LG needs to make excuses for their material choice. There's no reason to be ashamed of plastic if it makes the phone thinner and lighter.

21. Desmortibus

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Well said.

37. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

recyclable phone sounds really nice less expensive and saving the environment

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