Trees died for Motorola's $1,000 wooden flagship: Why I wish my iPhone was made out of wood!

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Trees died for Motorola's $1,000 wooden flagship: Why I wish my iPhone was made out of wood!
Glass and Metal, meet Wood!

Motorola’s tradition of making “wooden” phones has been revived in the face of the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra - Lenovo’s latest $1,000 premium flagship phone.

While at first sight, the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra looks like any other smartphone you’ve ever seen, the wooden-looking back of the flagship is really made out of wood. Trees died for this, so you better believe it.

Of course, our nerdiest of readers remember that Motorola started offering phones with wooden backs over 10 years ago (!) via the legendary Moto X, and the Moto-maker - the section of Motorola’s website, which used to let you fully customize/dress up your Motorola phone with different back covers, including wood and genuine leather.

Speaking of leather, the other two colorways available with the Edge 50 Ultra are indeed made out of leather. Although, in true 2024 fashion, this is now vegan/fake leather, which is the way to go. In fact, wood and leather are the only varian of the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra, which makes me happy!

Motorola gets it but Apple and Samsung don’t! When it comes to phones, glass isn’t better than plastic, wood, or metal

Speaking of glass, I’ve shared my total disapproval of glass-back phones several times on the website, which is why the wooden Edge 50 Ultra gets an instant thumbs up from me.

Don’t get me wrong, glass-back phones look and feel premium, and that’s wonderful, but the disadvantages that come with having glass on the back of your phone are simply not worth any of the “benefits”, in my view.

  • Glass tends to… you know… crack and break
  • Glass backs are expensive to replace
  • Glass is heavier than alternative materials like wood, vegan leather, or the “good old” plastic

Phones made out of alternative materials shouldn’t be “niche”: More durable phones should be the first feature EU and US legislators should make mainstream

Now, would I buy the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra just because it has a less-likely-to-break wooden back? Absolutely not, and you shouldn’t either. You should buy the Edge 50 Pro based on how good of a phone it is as a whole, which is something we’ll find out soon - through our full review.

But the point I’ve been trying to make for years stands. Phone-makers should be making phones with alternative materials, not only because I said so, but because doing this is possible (as Lenovo has proven), more sustainable, and can save you hundreds of dollars for a glass back replacement.

But something’s telling me that if they don’t volunteer, phone-makers might eventually be forced to bring back more durable materials. EU legislation has been pushing towards a more sustainable, more easily repairable smartphone future for a while now, and has successfully pushed the likes of Apple and Samsung to make their flagship phones far more easily repairable.

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Hence, I totally see (and frankly, hope) EU and US legislators would eventually “kindly push” phone-makers towards the use of more durable material like faux leather, wood, and why not the good old metal, which is the most durable option from the bunch, and would (without a doubt) be the number one pick for my “ideal smartphone”.

Would you buy a Galaxy/iPhone with a wooden back, are alternative materials more fitting for Samsung and Apple’s “niche competitors”?

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