1. Andruri's Avatar
    Beyond vanity I would love to understand the dynamics of how plastic became synonymous with inferior case material? I have read review after review over the years and it is taken as an obvious statement of fact that any phone with a plastic back is cheap, inferior, not drool worthy. That one might be embarrassed to use such phone in public because it shows you cannot afford a flagship phone. That higher end phones must be metal or glass or any material other than plastic. All the while ignoring that glass is so fragile that one has to immediately put their brand new phone into a case or that metal interferes with radio signal propagation requiring extra engineering for the antennas. The way many owners speak of their phones, it as if they stroke them like their pet cat or put them on a pedestal for display.

    If plastic was a modern material invented in this century instead of the last, I expect it would be getting a lot more appreciation and use. People would revel in its light weight, flexibility, shock absorption, radio signal transparency, ease of coloring, ease of modeling into different shapes, ease of adding texture to create different feels, etc. All of which are advantages for a mobile device in the real world. Providing a more premium build IMO, but obviously I am a in a very tiny minority.
    ateamlawn, Tim1954 and clickerman like this.
    10-24-2016 06:11 PM
  2. ateamlawn's Avatar
    I pretty much agree with you. But have you ever used one of these so called premium build phones? I have to say my Note 7 is just so pretty. I take it out of the case at home to use it sometimes. It is slippery though.
    10-24-2016 08:42 PM
  3. Mooncatt's Avatar
    There does seem to be an odd inverse relationship here. It seems the more fragile the materials, the less forgiving to bending, the more people love the phone. And what's the first thing they do? Go out and buy a case that hides any perceived beauty to protect it.

    To paraphrase what I saw another member post on another thread, I'd be ok if a company designed a phone with a bland appearance and non-premium materials if they came out and said, "yeah, we know you're just going to put a case on it anyway."
    Andruri likes this.
    10-25-2016 02:35 PM
  4. quelquehomme's Avatar
    The biggest advantage that "premium" materials like metal & glass have over plastic is that they can (theoretically at least) be kept out of landfills since they are relatively easy to re-use. Far as I know, the hard plastic that you need to use for phones is neither recyclable nor properly biodegradable--just like all of those old VHS tape shells and old & new vinyl LPs.

    Beyond that, though, I've had metal phones, plastic phones and phones like my Nexus 6 that are a mix of the two, and the material they were made of never made a difference to me in day-to-day use. And, for me at least, any aesthetic thrill I get from how cool my new phone looks lasts all of about a week until it becomes just another phone that I have to answer or whatever.
    edubb256 likes this.
    10-28-2016 11:47 AM
  5. ChrisS9938's Avatar
    Yep, my iPhone's silver. I can tell by the little ring around the home button. That's because it's been in a Speck Candy-shell case since I bought it. Biggest hold-back on a Samsung? The glass back! I could be perfectly happy with a metal frame and premium quality textured plastic back.
    10-28-2016 12:54 PM
  6. MDMcAtee's Avatar
    Yep, my iPhone's silver. I can tell by the little ring around the home button. That's because it's been in a Speck Candy-shell case since I bought it. Biggest hold-back on a Samsung? The glass back! I could be perfectly happy with a metal frame and premium quality textured plastic back.
    I'll try to answer your question...

    There are a few reasons actually so bear with me.

    1.. Tech sites like this have paying sponsors..

    2.. Manufacturers want to maximize profits.

    3..People are gullible.

    Glass in itself is not a premium substance.. It's different nothing more and when Apple started using it iPhones it became a status symbol that stuck because of the prices of the device. People want what they can't have, and the iPhone in the beginning wasn't widely available.. Corning has made millions off of their coatings.. and they want to continue doing so.

    People are always looking for different.. Hence the tech writers claiming plastic back phones are boring or claiming that they are inferior.. Tech writers get paid to promote what they are told to do so.

    Manufacturers want profit.. So designing a phone to have a removable back cost more than having it sealed.. Having it sealed means that they don't have to have a removable battery and cost less to produce.. and less inventory to have on parts.

    Plastic isn't premium but neither is glass since both are using recycled materials in them these days, but the benefits for the consumer are not being exploited for sake of profits.

    People are led to believe (think) that they are getting premium when comparing but in reality they are allowing themselves to be fooled.

    One day the gullible will wake up and the tech writers will tell the truth.
    10-31-2016 11:39 AM
  7. Andruri's Avatar
    I pretty much agree with you. But have you ever used one of these so called premium build phones? I have to say my Note 7 is just so pretty. I take it out of the case at home to use it sometimes. It is slippery though.
    Although it was a mid-range priced, I had a LG Nexus 4 which had a glass back. I enjoyed using that phone for a long time, but I always felt it was a bit heavy for its size and had to be kept inside a TPU case.

    I am currently upgrading from an Asus Zenfone 2 and was considering the Zenfone 3 due to specs like having snapdragon 625, dual SIM, micro-SD slot, but decided against that due to slow software updates and glass construction. I looked at a number of different phones, but decided to buy a Nexus 5x due to its balance of price and software and having a lighter weight plastic build. :-)
    11-01-2016 04:08 PM
  8. Morty2264's Avatar
    OP, I agree with you. I think it is societal mores and norms that make us "believe that some products, materials, etc are more" inferior" than others. It's sad and unfair, but it is true.

    Also, if you slapped a plastic- or glass-body phone down in front of me and said, "Pick one," I'd pick the plastic one every time. Glass is supee fragile and if I'm investing in a device, it has to be one that can be dropped a couple of times without me panicking that it will shatter because it's so vulnerable. Yes, no phone is immune from screen damage or damage in general, but I feel like people may put too much emphasis on "what's in" and "what's the most expensive;" and whatever ticks off those two boxes = "the best quality/the best experience."
    11-03-2016 08:34 PM
  9. Geodude074's Avatar
    Simple answer. Low end budget phones are all made from plastic (the hard Fisher Price kind of plastic) with terrible build quality. Whereas high end premium phones are made from metal and glass with superior build quality. Hence why people associate plastic with inferior build quality. Can high end phones be made from plastic with superior build quality? Of course. But consumers have now associated build quality with the construction of the material, so if the phone is made from plastic it's assumed to be inferior, and if the phone is made from metal and glass it's assumed to be superior.

    In the case of Samsung though, I hated their shiny cheap plastic look and feel, they only added to the "inferior plastic build quality" stigma.
    12-02-2016 01:43 PM
  10. Tim1954's Avatar
    And the back looks just as plastic anyway but now I have a class back and a glass front to worry about breaking.... There are amazing strong durable materials out there that they could use...
    03-05-2017 01:04 AM
  11. DecAway's Avatar
    I think the word "plastic" kind of gives it away. Plastic is synonymous with cheap, and doesn't appear much, or prominently in high end, quality products. Can it look nice? Yes... But it's not nearly as durable, doesn't have any real heft to it, which is also attributed to quality. It's not necessarily bad, but on an $800 phone, it's not really acceptable. However, in a $200 phone, it's more understandable and less subject to criticism. So, I guess it really depends on the product and price range on whether it's looked at poorly or not.
    03-26-2017 06:35 PM
  12. ateamlawn's Avatar
    Your high priced TV is made of plastic. Is it low end?
    03-26-2017 09:26 PM
  13. DecAway's Avatar
    My high priced tv is on a shelf and I interact with it using a remote. It's unrealistic to make a huge TV out of aluminum, and I'd imagine it's a bit more fragile than my phone. Not only would it weigh more, it would also cost considerably more money. It's also not intended to endure the wear and tear of being tossed around and carried every day.
    03-26-2017 10:51 PM
  14. BayK's Avatar
    If premium product will be build with plastic, marketing people will come with some fancy name for that. The word plastic is synonym to cheap. Premium is not cheap.
    So it is marketing, many premium products made from plastic and there is no problem with that.
    belodion likes this.
    04-17-2017 11:05 PM
  15. Luis Angulo's Avatar
    It's light. .. durable. ..hard to scratch. ..of course it won't give you that premium feel of glass or aluminium, but if you're prone to hitting your phone with everything, or you want a phone with easy to replace spare parts (not everybody wants that on a flagship) then plastic should have a shot on premium phones
    06-06-2017 11:52 PM
  16. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Plastic, if made properly, is absolutely NOT inferior. My Idol X+ has a plastic back and plastic siding that looks/feels like metal. The phone feels absolutely premium and I wish every phone was built like mine. It feels extremely sturdy and there is no squeaking or flexing of the plastic at all. The only reason I have a case is because the phone is a little slippery and is so thin that it can easily be dropped (the case also decreases the screen breakage risk if I accidentally drop it).
    06-19-2017 10:12 AM
  17. anon(10267111)'s Avatar
    Scratches easily. Also it doesn't have a good "heft" to it. Tends to deform too much, etc.
    06-26-2017 11:12 PM
  18. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    The scratching is not too big of problem, but easily deforming is not what I would call plastic (unless you are talking about cheap phones). I wonder why they don't make phones out of quality composites like the kind use on the vertical stabilizer ("tail") of most airplanes. Such composites are INSANELY sturdy. It would even be worth the extra money just to have such sturdy drop-resistant casing material... Glass backs are OK, but they are not for accident-prone people, and probably only last with owners that treat their phone like a baby (I am that careful with my devices ).
    06-27-2017 01:56 PM

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