Goodbye smartphones plastic – All phones switch to glass and metal




Hyperglaze, show of hands if you even know what that is. For years, metal and glass smartphones the exception, and smartphones plastic rule. There is, however, something changed in the past year. In mid-2016 we look crazy if we get a phone, how cheap too, the case is not made of metal or glass.

Hyperglaze was the marketing name of perhaps one of the most controversial designs in the smartphone recent history. The Samsung Galaxy S III was the first device that the manufacturer used that name. The S III came at a crucial time Apple had just Samsung sued in dozens of countries, because it found that resembled the Galaxy’s iPhones. The S III, with a curved design on the back, curved glass front and shiny plastic, was actually a kind of “anti-iPhone”.

That time is now long gone. Published last year with the Lumia 950 and 950 XL the latest plastic high-end phones and models include Meizu and Xiaomi smartphones metals we now see for under 200 and even 120 euros on the market appear. The ‘luxury’ material is now on cheap phones. Now is the time therefore come to say goodbye to the plastic smartphone; it will be a rarity.

A small overview

Let the equation once lay high-end smartphones from 2011 to 2016 alongside each other to see which development has occurred in the use of materials. Then you can see at a glance what has happened in recent years.

appliance 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Samsung Galaxy S II
Plastic Galaxy S III
Plastic Galaxy S IV
Plastic Galaxy S5
Plastic Galaxy S6
Glass Galaxy S7
Apple iPhone 4s
Glass iPhone 5
Metal iPhone 5s
Metal iPhone 6
Metal iPhone 6s
Metal ?
HTC Sensation
Metal One X
Plastic One M7
Metal One M8
Metal One M9
Metal 10
Sony Xperia Arc
Plastic Xperia S
Plastic Xperia Z1
Glass Xperia Z3
Glass Xperia Z5
Glass Xperia X
LG Optimus 2X
Plastic Optimus G
Glass G2
Plastic G3
Plastic G4
Plastic G5
Huawei Ideos X5
Plastic Ascend P1
Plastic Ascend P6
Metal Ascend P7
Glass P8
Metal P9
Xiaomi Mi1
Plastic Mi2
Plastic Mi3
Plastic Mi4
Plastic Mi Note
Glass 5 mi
Nokia / MS Lumia 800
Plastic lumia 920
Plastic lumia 925
Plastic lumia 930
Plastic lumia 950
Plastic ?
The word plastic appears less and less and is expected in 2016 have completely disappeared from this list. Little nuance is that we have looked at this material for the back of the unit. Sides are often made of metal, such as the Xperia Z Series from Sony and the Lumia 930 from Nokia.

This is only about the high-end models. For those models were metal and glass already finished years and then commonplace. Take the Nokia E71 in 2008 with a metal back, the HTC HD2 from 2009 or the Samsung Omnia 7 from 2010. Nokia made a lot of metal smartphones, but in 2011 went back to plastic, the N9 and Lumia 800.

Metal and glass are both advantages and disadvantages, and the same applies of course to plastic. The advantages of plastic is that it can in every conceivable shape, it bends but seldom breaks and does not take over the ambient temperature, making you phone can leave on a sunny terrace without you later need to pick up a hot croquette.

Metal and glass, however, win the battle mainly because of the look and feel. Those materials more luxurious feel and give the phone so a more expensive look. There may, for the time being, no plastic dread.

The one housing is not the other

It was a short notice, but it says so much; Xiaomi presented in June redmi 3s, converted from a smartphone currently 94 euros with a metal unibody. The Chinese manufacturer has in its cheapest smartphone chance to apply given metal, says everything about how the price of the manufacture of metal smartphones in recent years should be scuttled.

It is difficult to find there on publicly available information, but you need to have studied economics to understand why that is now possible. The question of manufacturers has increased the use of metal in smart phones and therefore will be more and more like factories equipped to make such enclosures. Xiaomi will not remain the only metal which makes budget smartphones. Lenovo is working hard on the road and appliances under 200 euros, as the K5 Note, also have a metal housing.

Species making of a metal casing, which made Xiaomi for the release of his first metal phone, the Mi 4

Moreover, one metal body is not the other. Just as with all the other materials, it is possible to scrape off some of the price, for example, by using less metal, and to make the housing thinner. So is there a difference between the metal of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s due to ‘ bend gate .

Lenovo chief said earlier that it is useless in China to bring out phones without metal housing. Chinese customers want simply no more. That side in Europe would sometimes can go on. Metal has a few advantages over plastic. The first benefit is subjective, but is endorsed by many; Metal gives a “premium impression. A smartphone seems more expensive if it is metal. That is to say, up to now is that the case. As well as its cheap and often inferior smartphones metal, the question is how long this image endures. The second advantage is that metal makes the structure more solid. The build quality of the phone is thereby quickly higher.

Another feature of metal, usually a disadvantage, is that it assumes the ambient temperature faster than many plastics. As a result, a phone faster cold on a winter and warm on a summer day.

The biggest disadvantage of metal is that it is unsuitable for the passage of mobile signals. Radiation of 3G, 4G, WiFi and NFC penetrate poorly through metal enclosures around. Therefore, manufacturers invent workarounds in the design. One of the best known is the method of aerial lines, we include encountered on the HTC One M7 and later on the iPhone 6. Another way is to apply other plastic elements, such as a portion of the back. LG took the G5 still another route; it brought antenna lines in the metal design, but there primer spray over it to make it invisible.

Glass is another favorite material. That is a logical choice, since almost all smartphones glass have also been in the front seating. In order to turn on the back side, manufacturers have therefore simply necessary.

The glass on smartphones is not a regular glass, as it is in your windows but strengthened glass. Usually it has a name, such as Dragon Trail AGC and Corning Gorilla Glass. Chemically strengthened glass is stronger because manufacturers put it in a “salt bath” with KNO 3, wherein larger potassium ions replace the smaller sodium ions. As a result, the glass pulls together, so that small fractures in the glass are reduced and the risk of damage if the glass is under pressure, is less high. In addition, Gorilla Glass and Dragon Trail-glass have their own recipe, intended to give the glass its reinforcing properties.

Promo video of Corning Gorilla Glass from 2012 to

Companies such as Corning and ACG put so much emphasis on how strong their glass is, says something about the main drawback. Even the strongest glass breaking at times when housings of plastic and metal effortlessly endure a situation. Both companies have also become cautious in their claims and focusing primarily on limiting the consequences of breaking the glass, rather than claiming that it never breaks.

The result is that many people to any phone of glass, whether it is a Nexus 4 from a few years ago, or a Galaxy S7 that came out recently, from day one will make a case. But, to be honest, covers you for all kinds of phones, not only that of glass.


The shift to metal and glass will take some time. When we set earlier this year, seven mid-range smartphones in a row, there were still only devices with a plastic back. In China, which cover all largely made by manufacturers like Xiaomi, Meizu and Lenovo, which provide virtually any model of a metal housing.

Is this an ongoing trend or a temporary fad? That question can you ask the first rumors doing the rounds that Apple is considering metal no longer deploy iPhone in 2017. According to one analyst feels metal in 2017 no more ” modern and fresh ” checkbox. It is, as you might say, by that time become too just to distinguish with a high-end phone.

It is difficult to say in advance what design trends in smartphones. Because smartphones now for a few years all consist of large touchscreens, the materials become one of the key differentiators and one of the ways for manufacturers to convince people to buy a new model. Without innovation there see smartphones soon not new. And ultimately therefore particularly involved; a new phone must be new and modern look, what material is there also needed.


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