LG responds to G5 metal/plastic debate

LG responds to G5 metal/plastic debate
Last week, an interesting issue popped up with the LG G5 right smack in the middle of it. The story involved YouTuber JerryRigEverything, who used a knife to scratch through the phone's supposedly aluminum back plate. Surprise, surprise, what came out was a relatively thick layer of what he and everyone else thought was plastic on top of the aluminum chassis.

We reached out to LG to hear what they have to say about this, and the company was quick to respond. Here's the official answer:


Well, it appears that what came off when JerryRigEverything knifed the G5's backplate wasn't really plastic, but a thick layer of primer, with paint applied on top of it. In addition to hiding the antenna lines, this coating gives the G5 a warmer, slightly softer feel, which doesn't necessarily replicate the authentic feel of bare metal we've come to know from other smartphones. What do you say, guys, are you satisfied with LG's explanation? After all, at least we now know there's really no plastic involved with the G5's body!



source: LG

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48 Comments

3. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Painted metal is a tricky issue really, I've designed some products recently that are using a lot of aluminium but they're also painted metallic silver on top, bare metal, especially when extruded isn't always pretty unless expensive finishing processes are used.

25. vincelongman

Posts: 5623; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Correct me if I'm wrong (took a paper that briefly mentioned this stuff and that was back in first year) Die casting is cheaper than CNC machining unibodies when mass producing And die casting leads to weaker components due to imperfections/defects So seems to me like LG found a cheap way to try make their phone seem more "premium", than it actually is Personally, I'd prefer if they had stuck with the V10's stainless steel sides + plastic back

30. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Pretty much! CNC is quite expensive for mass production and casting is far cheaper (for high volumes the casting tool cost is amortized in and soon soaked up) but if it's an external surface it will need "tidying up" somehow - painting is an easy solution but in some cases there will still need to be additional finishing before paint (the paint on these products is very thin and doesn't hide much). The manufacturer has to factor all this in and make the overall decision on the best process vs cost vs quality control standards. I don't think LG are necessarily cheaping out on this, just finding the best balance for their requirements. iPhones use a lot of CNC milling and that no doubt factors some way into their relatively high cost vs on-paper component price which is often criticised.

44. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

CNC usually has weaker structural strenght ( Bend ) easier. Die casting need more finish and paint but has more structural strenght. All a question of need and design.

4. MINDoSOUL

Posts: 322; Member since: Feb 28, 2014

Well played LG.

6. AZNHA unregistered

" We weren't interested in doing what has already been done. " innovation ? LG ? //applause

26. Guaire

Posts: 855; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Meizu has already done that. http://news.mydrivers.com/1/453/453016.htm

29. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

What LG doing is just a compromise because they cant make proper metal phone with modular design.

45. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

a compromise thats give a phone with more strenght in its structure than any other aluminium phone ever made.. Got to love this compromise.

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

I'm really not sure what's so "premium" about feeling cold metal in your hand. Frankly. I'd rather have a comfortable grip on my device than have it adding to my chill during the winter.

10. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3944; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yeah, I prefer carbon fiber over metal and glass.

11. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I think of all the iPhones the 3G (plastic) felt by far the best in-hand and the 4 felt the most premium (glass + metal). The best practical material for a portable device has to be a sturdy plastic, though I guess the quest for "thinness", lightness and on-paper specs is metal. Form -> Function when it comes to creating desirable products it seems...

15. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Lumia's polycarbonate is the best

46. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Well for me the metal feel make it more premium yes. Still i agree its freaking cold in winter lol..

13. vuyonc

Posts: 1088; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

That's a LOT of primer for a smartphone to the point where the feel is compromised. Odd.

14. haikallp

Posts: 319; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

don't really matter. many people will slap on a case.

17. NoAllegiance unregistered

It is not about how something feels, but how you experience the feeling. - make sense of that

18. Raghavkumar

Posts: 20; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

Once again jerryrigeverything is making a chaos!

19. fancollo

Posts: 130; Member since: Dec 30, 2015

no because i'm also using all sorts of knifes and forks to find out how good i can cut my steak on my phone. i usually dump it into broiling oil and eat sushi on it. then i throw it into lemon juice and into the freezer to lick it as an ice cream...aren't you all doing this as well? when people don't know anymore what to do in their lives, they fxxk up their brain and start ridiculous "tests" with tools and gadgets!

20. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1195; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Does it honestly matter if it has a layer of primer and paint on top of aluminium unibody, if it feels better and not as cold and slick as for example an aluminium iPhone unibody does? Phones slipping out of people's hands is the primary cause of the most common phone breakage problem: a shattered screen. Just do what you feel is best, LG.

21. LittleGaGaKiller

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

Bla Bla Bla, so inin the end this painting will be easy to scratch and make the phone looks uglier, innovation to make a sh***y product isn't an innovation

40. JohanSteyn

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

Alluminium scratchvery easily as well by the way.

48. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

and the paint used on iphone chip away much easier as well. This type of primer + paint combo make it much harder to chip.

28. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Primer or plastic, the point is you dont touch the metal. Anodized aluminum is so you can still feel the metal and still looks metal too.

49. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Good point and i also prefer this for the feel. But this phone is still metal unibody thats reallity.

32. redmd

Posts: 1910; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Does it feel cold metal? If not, then there's no point calling it metal if you can't feel the metal part.

50. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Car are made of metal are they branded as car made of paint?

35. gotoAndDie

Posts: 81; Member since: Jun 13, 2015

Let's just say the G5 has a plastal/mestic finish and end the argument.

38. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I'd have to see that in person to form an actual opinion, but as a once certified BASF painter my first thought was that it was primer. It's still very thick for something as small as a phone. It's not supposed to be a high build primer.

41. JohanSteyn

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

Just remember that Jerry cut at a very sharp angle, which also makes the cut look deeper than it really is. The alluminium is still way thicker than the primer.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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