Poll: Which is the best phone material? Poll results are in along with a surprise!

Poll: Which is the best phone material? Plastic vs Glass vs Metal vs Ceramic
UPDATE: Well, well, well. It turns out you guys think plastic is the best material for a smartphone. We expected the "Metal" option to obliterate all of the others (check out the YouTube poll). Nevertheless, there's some logic to choosing plastic. There is a wide variety of polycarbonates and they can be made to specific requirements - flexible, hard, scratch- resistant. Plastic also absorbs accidental hits and drops fairly well, and it can be made in any imaginable shape, form, and texture. That's that but to be honest... I really miss metal phones.

Remember the days when phones were these huge slabs with crazy shapes and sizes? Nowadays smartphones look very similar and it can’t be otherwise, the huge rectangular displays don’t leave much design freedom.

There’s one aspect where modern smartphones still differ and it’s the material they’re built from. Even though glass sandwich phones still rule the premium segment, you can still find metal phones (thePixel 5 has a metal body, albeit covered with polycarbonate and with a huge cutout for the wireless charging coil inside).

Plastic is all around us, and Samsung even invented some shady substance called Glastic that’s supposed to feel like glass but it really isn’t. Finally, ceramic phones are also present as a luxury option on some Far East models (not only), and if we want to be extremely inclusive, we should mention the LG G4 and its leather back too.

Each of these materials has its own pros and cons, and before making a decision, let’s quickly go through all of them.


Plastic is obviously the cheapest option, although some plastics are expensive to produce and can compete with glass and metal. Plastic is generally a petroleum-based product, some plastics can be recycled easier than others but let’s see what are the pros and cons when talking about smartphone materials.


  • Low cost - plastic is generally cheaper to produce than all other options on this list, and this translates to the final price of the smartphone you’re buying.
  • No reception/wireless charging issues - plastic doesn’t interfere with electromagnetic waves, so you can charge your phone wirelessly with no problems, and also the reception of all the antennas will generally be better.
  • Durability - this may sound counterintuitive but plastic can be very durable, tough to shatter and scratch, especially compared to glass.


  • Look/Feel - plastic looks and feels cheap. There are ways around this - some manufacturers etch the plastic, cover it with different layers, polish or matte it, and we’ve mentioned the Glastic Samsung thingy. In the end, though - you almost always can tell if you’re holding a plastic phone in your hand.
  • Heat dissipation - plastic is an insulator, and it can’t conduct heat effectively. This makes it problematic for gadgets that heat up from inside. Your plastic phone may not feel warm to the touch but that’s because all the internals are cooking while the plastic keeps your hand cool, insulating the heat.
  • Heat resistance - this one is a bit niche but if you expose your plastic phone to extreme heat, it will most certainly melt. Some plastics also show discoloration when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time.


Metal used to rule the flagship smartphone territory when wireless charging and 5G were both just a distant dream. Things change though, and nowadays metal phones are extremely rare.


  • Look/Feel - metal looks and feels premium, no matter how cheap it is in fact. The cheapest tin cover feels more premium than most plastic ones. It looks premium too, and people are used to seeing premium things built out of metal - watches, jewelry, cars even.
  • Heat dissipation - most metals are great conductors of heat. This means that the internals of your phone can dissipate the excess heat through the phone’s body. Unfortunately, this also means that you’re going to feel that heat. Feel the heat!
  • Durability - some metals are very durable, and won’t shatter to pieces if you drop your phone.


  • Radio interference - this is the big one. Metal back phones can’t be charged wirelessly because the metal in the construction interferes with the magnetic field of the charger. The wireless charger induces a current in most metals and they heat up when this current has nowhere to go. Metal phones can also act as a Faraday cage, blocking 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi and other signals from reaching the antennas inside.
  • Heat dissipation - confusingly, this is also a con, because in some rare cases metal phones can cause burns when they heat up above a certain temperature.
  • Durability - this is becoming more and more confusing. Metal phones won’t shatter to pieces when dropped but dings and scratches stay on and they’re easily visible.


Glass is the preferred smartphone material in the past couple of years, and for a good reason.
There are much more pros than cons to the so-called glass sandwiches. And here they are.


  • Look/Feel - Glass looks and feels premium, sometimes surpassing even some metal builds. Glass can be painted in different colors, and produced in every shape and form imaginable.
  • Radio interference - glass doesn’t interfere with radio frequencies. As simple as that. It’s as transparent to signals as plastic and you won’t get any reception issues or wireless charging problems with glass.
  • Scratch resistance - Nowadays manufacturers heat treat the glass used on smartphones to make it scratch-resistant and more durable. Corning Gorilla glass and Apple’s ceramic-infused glass fronts and back are extremely durable.


  • Durability - Well, as scratch-resistant it might be, glass breaks and when it does it’s not pretty. If you drop your phone on a hard surface, chances are the back or front (or both) shatter into million tiny pieces and trigger a costly replacement.
  • Fingerprint magnet - Glass is very smooth and it attracts fingerprints like no tomorrow. Of course, there are ways to treat glass to make this problem less pronounced but at the end of the day, if you rock a glass phone you better carry a microfiber with you.


Ceramic is a great glass alternative. It’s much harder, and won’t scratch - some ceramics are harder than any metal you’d use in your day-to-day activities, so they just can’t scratch. But ceramic phones have their issues.

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  • Look/Feel - Some people think that ceramic phones are the epitome of luxury. They feel great in the hand, with a satin glow to them.
  • Scratch resistance - As already mentioned, ceramic is extremely hard and can’t be scratched easily.
  • Radio interference - Ceramic doesn’t interfere with radio frequencies.


  • Shatter prone - The hardness of ceramic is also its main flaw - if you drop a ceramic phone it will almost certainly shatter.
  • Expensive - Ceramic is so hard that it’s tough to work on, and the manufacturing process is a nightmare. This is reflected in the final price, of course.
  • Limited flexibility - The pun here is intended - being so hard to work with, alternative designs are somewhat tough to pull off.

So there you have it. The pros and cons of all major smartphone materials. I know most of you use cases anyway, but maybe if you had your perfect material in your hand you wouldn’t do so? Vote in our poll and tell us what is your favorite material for building phones out of.

Which is the best phone material?

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