Our readers chime in on the plastic or glass smartphone debate

Samsung Galaxy S21 Purple
Samsung Galaxy S21 Purple (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • We asked our readers if they prefer smartphones with plastic or glass backs.
  • More than 50% voted for plastic backs while 35% voted for glass.
  • Some users expressed interest in metal or other materials.

The days of Moto Maker are unfortunately behind us, meaning we're largely at the mercy of smartphone OEMs when it comes to the materials on our phones. Generally, we're looking at smartphones with plastic or glass backs, and while glass is usually reserved for higher-end smartphones and plastic more commonly found on lower-end devices, it's not a rule that's set in stone. However, with rumors of the base Galaxy S22 returning to a glass back, we asked our readers if they preferred glass or plastic on their smartphones.

It's not too surprising that plastic was the most popular option amongst our readers, obtaining more than 56% of votes out of nearly 2400 responses. Glass is still a favorite, it seems, with 35% of votes. However, there were some that preferred other materials on their smartphones.

Glass Or Plastic Poll Responses

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

One reader, Playfully_Candid, was playfully candid about why they preferred plastic over glass.

Plastic, period. Glass--all glass used on phones--breaks infinitely more easily than plastic, even with a case. I find it completely laughable any time someone utters the ridiculous phrase "glass feels more premium". No, it doesn't. It feels MORE FRAGILE. Because it IS more fragile. And, quite frankly, you can do more with color on the plastic housings than you can glass, and you can avoid that horrific oily-fingerprinting that all glass bodies end up with.

This is a stance that many commenters seemed to agree with, highlighting the durability and lightweight of plastic over the heavy and more fragile nature of glass.

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Some readers didn't seem to care as long as there was a case on the phone to help protect it from any potential cracks. However, it could be argued that the added weight from a case would make the heavier glass less desirable.

Of course, you might not even need a case if you had a phone made of tougher and more durable materials, which you'll find on many of the best rugged Android phones. Still, for more consumer-friendly smartphones, it seems that plastic is the way to go for cheaper, more durable devices.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

  • I loved the leather back on my LG G3. But plastic would be my second choice.
  • This, plus it had a camera module that made sense. It was recessed so laying it down didn't even touch the camera. I miss my caseless days.
  • Plastic on the back of my 21fe doesn't take away from the experience or make it any lesser of a phone. I ran over it with a go-kart and know what broke? The glass over the camera. Plastic is durable as heck.
  • Glass backs are for people with sedentary lifestyles.
  • My "Ironman" DT2 with the red ballistic nylon and gold frame & accents was by far the best looking phone I've ever had. Also, may the Ghosts of Lumias Past visit all the tech writers who parroted "cheap-looking" in their reviews.
  • Your last sentence! Thank you for this. Tech writers convinced phone makers and users that plastic backs were tacky and cheap till everyone started parroting it. Of course ot helped that Apple wasn't using plastic which further fuelled the "cheap" moniker. Now we're debating plastic? Lol. So fickle! Long live "premium feel glass"
  • Yea! Didn't see the poll but would have voted plastic and made a comment about my Lumias. The polycarbonate they used was durable as heck and looked great. Never needed a case on those phones. They weren't as prone to being dropped as the bars of soap OEMs are turning out now, and if you did, tended to survive.
  • Anything but glass!
  • When the majority of people put their phones in a protective case, it brings to question the purpose of using a more expensive, heavier, and fragile material for a part of the phone that will neither be visible or tactilely felt. When that added fragility drives an even greater percentage towards adopting a case, this only compounds the obfuscation. I wonder how many people would desire to pay extra for a 'more premium' keyfob for their car if it were made from glass instead of plastic... or a stylus clad in glass for their phone...
  • I don't really care since I am always using a case which at the end is plastic...
  • Faux leather like the BlackBerry's