Poll results: Is metal becoming the new plastic?

Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung Galaxy J5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches

142.1 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.15 oz (146 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Xiaomi Redmi 3

Xiaomi Redmi 3

Dimensions

5.48 x 2.74 x 0.33 inches

139.3 x 69.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Dimensions

6.16 x 3.05 x 0.3 inches

156.4 x 77.4 x 7.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung Galaxy J5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches

142.1 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.15 oz (146 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Xiaomi Redmi 3

Xiaomi Redmi 3

Dimensions

5.48 x 2.74 x 0.33 inches

139.3 x 69.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Dimensions

6.16 x 3.05 x 0.3 inches

156.4 x 77.4 x 7.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Today, even budget handsets like Samsung's new J-series, or affordable phones from Xiaomi or Meizu, can be clad in some sort of an aluminum alloy, down to the sub-$200 ones. That is why we asked you last week whether you think that metal is slowly turning into the new plastic, and, given how ubiquitous it has become, can we really call it a "premium" design anymore? 

Well, it seems that our respondents are pretty split on the matter, although just 30% of you think that a metal phone is nothing to write home about these days. The rest are either liking the material, no matter how popular it is becoming, or are considering a well-done metal handset to have a premium design still.

Is metal becoming the new plastic?

Yes, a metal phone is totally unremarkable now
30.38%
It might be, but I like metal chassis, so I'm cool with that
35.82%
No, metal still makes for a premium phone design if done well
33.8%

FEATURED VIDEO

30 Comments

1. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

And still people don't know that polycarbonate can be more expensive than metal.

5. TerryTerius unregistered

Perception is reality. The actual cost of the material is irrelevant. What's important is whether or not it's perceived to be premium and the way it makes people feel. Someone wearing a $400 white T-shirt and some plain $900 jeans isn't going to get the same reactions as the guy in the $300 tailored suit.

9. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Great example!!!

10. sgodsell

Posts: 7377; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Great example or not. A metal casing around a phone doesn't allow wireless charging. So for me it is crap.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7377; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I should have added. Another major problem with metal casing on phones, is that metal is really bad for reception, period. That is why you see some metal phones with antenna lines (iPhones, HTC One's, ..). Or some that are metal, but have a thick coating of paint to hide the antenna lines (LG G5, ..). Who ever came up with this stupid trend to use metal was just that, stupid.

23. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I actually don't prefer a full meal phone, I like designs like the note 4 and galaxy alpha much more, they look and feel premium without any of the draw backs that a full metal jacket comes with. I would like to point out that some companies are working on wireless charging tech that works with full metal phones, of course they could be working on something more important, if having a full metal phone wasn't such a big deal to people.

11. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

I think its about time companies use more premium metal like titanium reserved for their flagships so they wont be used too common on low end phones because of the cost of material. Aluminium is tooo common even among low end phones which makes them not so special.

13. sgodsell

Posts: 7377; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You do know titanium is even worse for radio reception. That is why you see antenna lines on a lot of aluminum metal phones, or they will paint some of them. However titanium is a lot stronger and a lot more expensive. So you would not need a case at all, because it would resist scrapes and scuffs much better than soft aluminum. Personally people change their phones too often so, it wouldn't be worth the extra expense. Especially if they use a case on it. I have seen so many people still use a case on their metal phones. So then why even have a metal phone to begin with? Just put a casing on the phone that allows wireless charging. So that is no metal. Please scrap it.

26. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

All I meant is using a better metal than aluminium which is cheap material so it is to be reserved for 'cheap' phones. And I hope they fix antenna problem with metal phones. And I don't really care for current wireless charging tech. I'm more interested in a true wireless charging tech like next iphone rumoured to come up with. lets see If they can without any bad effect on body caused by electro magnetic waves.

3. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Make a metal phone, make sure its design isn't rubbish, mix it up with good marketing, good repair flexibility, and a dash of awesome after market sales support, and you'll get yourself some delicious profit.

8. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Yummy. :-)

17. EyeSea

Posts: 43; Member since: Jun 04, 2016

Mummy.:-)

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Gummy :-)

24. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You're dumb

31. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

You just killed us folks having a good time :(

6. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

If you put a silicone backing on it you can hardly tell whether it is plastic or metal. The advantage of plastic is that is is generally lighter than metal. I would like to see a plastic back with enough grip built in that there was no need for a silicone backing.

7. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Metals are getting quite a bit boring now. There are no plastic flagships and only a very few glass smartphones made this year. Most companies are using metal in their low end smartphones. It's not special anymore. I'm fine with "metals", I'm talking more about Aluminium. The IPhone, HTC 10, LG G5 all use an aluminium chassis. Aluminium- the stuff used for soft drink cans, the cheapest metal you can get. Not very premium nowadays, and I don't think it ever was. How about more metals? Steel? Magnesium? Titanium? Or maybe more materials all together. Like Glass, Ceramic or I dare say leather! I don't think LGs take on it was very good, but I've seen how good leather can look on a smartphone with that overpriced Solarin phone. Hell, I want a wooden smartphone! I know there are skins and cases but I want a real smartphone made from wood, with a thin layer of resin or glass on top. Or maybe, one day, Metallic glass? Pwease. I'll always pick aluminium over Plastic, and so will the general public. Why? Because plastic is everywhere, used in every part of our life. How could you call that premium?

14. mixedfish

Posts: 1556; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

The Beats headphones are more plastic than any other headphones on the market, yet dollar for spec it is the worst. So why is that a 'premium' brand? It's marketing, I don't think whether something is metal or plastic really matters.

27. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Not a good example at all. In some people mind something looks more premium than other. I'm one of those who like metal phones over plastic ones. And I'm not the only one either, Remember those who cried over Samsung galaxy S series using plastic body?? By using premium material we can differentiate low end metal phones from high end ones. So simple...:)

15. bighandssmallpockets

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Bigger question...Why glass? Oh yeah...so they crack and we have to buy replacement backs...THAT is something Samsung copied from Apple.

18. Shadocx4

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Most Sony Xperia Zs aren't glass?

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

No matter what the phone is made of, most people use cases. So it really doesn't matter if the back is glass or not.

32. bighandssmallpockets

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

I guess that's why you NEVER see a phone with a cracked glass back... ;-P

16. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

I don't see anything wrong with that, if all phones will be made of metal someday then so be it. I personally like it too, but I really hope manufacturers take an extra step by strengthening metals even further; I hate it when it dents and bends! Plastic is more durable and functional (if it has removable back cover and battery) but manufacturers needs more research on designing phone with plastic while still being looking premium. Ultimately most phones will be in their cases and covers so I think it boils down to which one is lighter.

19. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Metal and glass are fine, but I would like to see something that is a little more exotic and has the best properties of both: Carbon fiber. You could have a strong, lightweight phone that can still use wireless charging.

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The problem with Carbon Fiber casing is, it has to be made by hand. So it takes longer. Also basically it would be going back to plastic. Because the base is just a plastic and its wrapped in the carbon strands.

29. runzlord

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

If carbon fibre looks better and feels better than metal then it's worth the hand made for a true premium finishing

30. curiousDillan

Posts: 46; Member since: May 26, 2015

To me, carbon fibre feels no better than good quality plastic in the hand. I value it in things like a tripod (that I have to lug around) or a car, but for a phone, I'd be happier with other materials.

25. Bankz

Posts: 2548; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

How about steel? The material apple used in the 4/4s iphones. To my eyes, that's the most premium designed phone ever made, both in design and build quality.

28. Elfmonster unregistered

Sick of metal

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