What's your favorite material for a phone/tablet?


Smartphones and tablets come in all forms and sizes, but once it comes to building materials choice seems to boil down to different shades of plastic. Not only, though - every once in a while, a company would experiment with a different material: was it Apple with the glass iPhone 4 (and later, the metal iPhone 5), or Sony with its all-glass Xperia, or Motorola with its bold foray into the world of phones with a wooden back plate, we finally have some diversity in the materials used to build a phone.

What we are wondering is whether or not this is really all that important to you, and do you have any particular preference for a build material.

Let us start you with some reasons to pick the most proliferate one - plastic. First, plastic is so widely used because of how practical it is - it does not interfere with signal and you can have the maximum reception your phone modem allows no matter where and how you hold your phone. And with recent experiments with polycarbonate (a variation of plastic that’s also extremely flexible), we've seen that it can feel good to the touch as well, with that softer feel of handsets like the Galaxy S5, or the textured feeling you get from the Note 3.

Then, you have metal, most commonly aluminum. Often touted as a premium material, metal has the advantage of better dissipating heat, so that your phone can run at higher clock speeds for longer periods of time. What it’s not so good at, though, is interference, as it does interfere with signal.

Also, you have glass as an elegant, but bristle solution for a phone. The ever-green looks of something made out of glass certainly have a following, and the design of the Xperia Z1/Z2 devices is definitely appreciated by Sony’s fashion-conscious fans.

Finally, new materials like wood are also making their way, with first attempts of bringing them to the masses with the Moto X and the Moto Maker.

Which one of those do you prefer and why? Let us know right below.

What's your favorite material for a phone/tablet?

Plastic
23.02%
Metal
51.55%
Glass
13.4%
I don't care / I want something even more exotic like wood
12.04%

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83 Comments

1. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

metal ofcourse but plastic like on nokia lumia 1520 or nexus 5 is not bad,

12. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, I really prefer the soft or rubbery material like on the N5 or N7. It feels nice and warmer than the other materials while also giving good grip. Plus it also doesn't distort connectivity like metal does. I really need a super phone to come out with that material with all the bells and whistles (camera on N5 was a huge downside).

56. sgodsell

Posts: 7425; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

What about a clothe back or canvas. Or a hemp back. Better not have that back. All the druggies and hippies will want that back. Hmm, then again that could be a good thing. ;-) lol, I just realized that if you get low on your supplies, then you could smoke your phone ;-)

65. HildyJ

Posts: 338; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

I agree. Plastic is radio transparent, lighter, and can be made grippier and deformable (so it absorbs some of the force of impacts). Metal and glass are no more tempting to me than Swarovski crystals. Now make the chassis and shell from pure carbon fiber and I'll reconsider.

29. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

I agree with that. any material is fine for me if that device feels and looks premium.

2. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Polycarbonate FTW until something better comes along. Because Nokia.

32. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Aluminum N8 is awesome. It was totally different kind of process with color and aluminum. Can't scratch.

38. SleepingOz unregistered

Nah, my N8 did get some bad scratches on its aluminium part.

47. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

You mean the balls?? :D

75. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

I used 2 years and not a single scratch. So its up to how u use. Or accident.

82. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Oh, those memories...

58. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

It can scratch. What they did was color the aluminum all the way through and then made it solid again. They used a series of dyes when the metal is soft. That way when it hardens, it si similar to plastic in where when you scratch it, its the same color. Here is the downside still. Its still metal. if you drop it and dent it, the case is forever ruined. With the Lumia, its a unibody design which prevents you from simply replacing the case yourself.

3. ibrahem7731

Posts: 44; Member since: Dec 17, 2013

Plastic is the best for the hand just like the s5

4. eggimage

Posts: 83; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

Liquid metal

11. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Mercury symbol Hg and atomic number 80 (a.k.a quicksilver) ?

13. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

That isn't what he's talking about lol, liquid metal for casing isn't mercury or any other liquid metal.

19. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Exactly!

28. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

i failed my chemistry test when i was in highschool, can you elaborate on that quicksilver thing ? lol

40. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

It's a metal which stays liquid in very low temperatures, like room temperature and so. It's used in thermometers. Well not in digital ones of course.

45. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Thanks, ArtSim98. :)

74. aksa123

Posts: 367; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Heavy Metal.

83. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

I see what you did there, let the upvotes be with you

5. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I don't know about "favorite," maybe "preferred." I prefer plastic, since good quality plastic is inexpensive and durable. Of course, the Kevlar on the Droids is pretty sweet too. It'd be really cool if Motorola offered Kevlar on the Moto X+1.

8. CyberFalcon

Posts: 223; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

yup same feelings...

24. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I picked metal...although I dont mind plastic. But if Kevlar was a choice....that woulda been my definite pick. Its almost scratch proof. And it offers enough friction to stop the phone from being too slippery.

31. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

I dont understand why they havent yet, kevlar is motorola's signature material... and I love it!

6. maherk

Posts: 6932; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Plastic. Why? Durable, light, isn't affected by the temperature around you, great for network signal, not a fingerprint/smudges/dents/scratches/scuffs prone, not slippery.

10. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Yeah, I gotta say, the One M7 would always get ridiculously hot if we used its transfer software to get customers' info out of their old phones. That aluminum is a great heat conductor.

7. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

I own a plastic phone, but I prefer metal.

9. buccob

Posts: 2973; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

This poll is very vague... There are many types of plastic, many type of metals and different qualities of glass... I like the Plastic of my current Xperia Acro S, but I dislike it in my old Moto Atrix... The ones on flagship Galaxies are also good. Metal is good too, but scratches show more... Also there should be an option for fibers such as Kevlar or Carbon fiber...

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