Smartphone debate: Metal vs. Plastic


One of the hottest debates surrounding smartphones in the past few years have been whether phone manufacturers should have their devices come in metal or plastic. It all comes down to premium vs. cheap feel. Consumers pay hundreds of dollars for smartphones, and they want the biggest bang for their buck; which most people will say is a phone that comes with metal in the form factor.

As of late, it seemed as if this debate was all over. HTC, Samsung, and of course Apple, three of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, have been pushing devices with a premium feel and metal form-factor. Apple has long been the king of premium devices with their metal-framed iPhone series, leading the charge in premium design. HTC has been a strong proponent of premium devices, and they have done a wonderful job with the One series. Samsung has been the latest to jump on premium bandwagon, by first debuting the metal-framed Galaxy Alpha, and more recently the highly-anticipated metal-framed Galaxy Note 4.

This issue has been rekindled due to a problem some new iPhone users are posting about. It seems that the iPhone 6 Plus, being as big and thin as it is, is prone to bending slightly while in the users pocket. This was confirmed by Unbox Therapy as they put the iPhone 6 Plus through a bend test and compared it to the Galaxy Note 3. We will include the two videos for you to see below.

Since this is a newly reported problem, bend-tests haven’t thoroughly been done before; unlike drop-tests, scratch-tests, etc. With devices getting bigger and coming with more ‘premium’ materials as of late, we expect this to become a standard test.

With the Galaxy Note 3 holding up especially well to extensive force, it shows that while plastic may not be the most ‘premium’ material to go with, it is indeed more flexible, and up to the rigors of bending. It makes us wonder what results the upcoming Galaxy Note 4 will generate.

The Galaxy Note 4 has close to the same dimensions of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, however it is quite thicker. The Note 4 comes in at 8.5 mm whereas the 6 Plus comes in at 7.1 mm. We’ll have to wait for the release, but if Samsung’s new device holds up better than the iPhone 6 Plus, they will definitely market and exploit Apple’s ‘defect’.

So this brings up the age-old question. Plastic or metal? Does this video make you want to stay away from metal devices or is the premium feel worth the risk? Is the flexibility and strength of plastic worth the peace of mind, knowing your device is very unlikely to bend?  Let us know in the comment section below, on Twitter, or on Facebook!


About Author

I skateboard, listen to metal, write on my website FWNED, autocross, and love messing with new phones. Currently I'm using a Pixel XL running Pure Nexus with ElementalX as my daily driver.