Is metal really a better material than plastic on phones?

Nexus 5 was a beaut, too
Nexus 5 was a beaut, too (Image credit: Android Central)

As any follower of the smartphone industry knows, we're living in an age where OEMs are striving for all metal and glass designs in favor of cheaper materials, such as plastic. This is a trend we've seen from Samsung, LG, Google, and plenty others, and while glass and metal might subjectively be more attractive than plastic, are these materials really any better in day-to-day use?

One user on our forums shared his thoughts on how he wished Google had released an updated version of the Nexus 5 in favor of the Pixel 2 that we currently have, and this sparked a discussion of metal/glass vs. plastic when used on phones.

Here's what some people had to say:

The black Nexus 5 soft touch plastic was fantastic, we need to bring this back. So much better than aluminium. The 5 is a legend, the peak of the Nexus line IMO.


I hate that we have to have breakable phones now because people think plastic is cheap. Sure, it can be cheap--like the ugly shiny plastic that Samsung used to use--but it can also look very nice and be very practical.


I just don't get why people equate cheap with plastic? Some of the most beautiful and even high end products in the world are made out of plastic.


Plastic seems to be the favorable material for most people, but there are still some users that like the move to metal/glass.

Meh the Nexus 5 looked and felt cheap, I'm happy with current crop of flagships which have more modern and much better build than few years back.


Generally in engineering plastic is functional, not particularly stylish or high end. Whether it's headphones, cars, phones, or anything else, plastic is a very pedestrian (albeit necessary) material choice and no one really wants it on a $650+ phone


Now, we pass the question on to you – Do you prefer phones made out of plastic or metal/glass?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.