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What material do you wish smartphones were made out of?

The original Moto X
The original Moto X (Image credit: Android Central)

The debate of glass vs. plastic smartphones is one that we've had a lot over the years. Plastic isn't as premium but is cheaper and more durable, whereas glass has a more luxury feel but is prone to easily breaking.

It's a debate that'll likely continue for the foreseeable future, and every now and then, it becomes a more heated topic.

Recently, someone in our AC forums shared a picture of their Note 10 with a shattered back and brought up the point of glass being too fragile. As you might expect, that resulted in a lot of opinions from other forum members.

Need to start making these phones out of titanium.

egood71

But then no wireless charging. Phone manufacturers just have to get off their high horses and realize that there's nothing wrong or low class about plastic.

B. Diddy

This post is making me want to check the back of my phone. Sheesh . The funny thing is so many people complained about the plastic backs not being " premium" enough. Now the complaint is the glass is too fragile. This is a vicious cycle . Lol

sweetypie31

I held onto my Note 4 for so long because I've always disliked the glass sandwich form factor. I've had to learn how to be very careful handling my phones. I still prefer metallic phones.

adegbenroagoro

Rather than asking you for the 100th time if you like glass phones or not, we want to know — What material do you wish smartphones were made out of?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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

33 Comments
  • I would like to see titanium and ceramic or maybe Samsungs metal 12 for the frame and a carbon fibre back.
  • This! The ultimate would be a titanium frame with slightly raised corners to keep the sapphire screen from hitting first during drops. Add a real carbon fiber back and you are good to go. The only thing technically difficult would be the sapphire screen, because Apple, Samsung, and LG can't make those.
  • I got my Essential Phone shortly after release and just stopped using it 2 weeks ago. The Ceramic back still looks brand new, and it was out of a case 75% of the time I had it. I'd definitely be ok with another ceramic phone.
  • I'm honestly just fine with plastic. It's cheap and can be pretty tough.
  • Adamantium frame, Diamondium screen and a Saurium-Krellide power cell.
  • I like the polycarbonate build quality on my 3a XL. It's very durable. I also liked the metal build quality of my old HTC 10?
  • I'm fine with plastic. I don't care about wireless charging. Most people cover their phones with cases so what difference does it really make?
  • I think plastic is fine. I'v always used a case with my phone, anyways.
  • Plastics make things possible. Except wireless charging apparently. I'm fine with that.
  • whatever my 1020 was made out of.
  • That was a polycarbonate, like most of the Lumias. Works fine for wireless charging, Holds up well. The color is throughout so scratches and little chips don't show much. Feels good in the hand too, IMHO. Not slippery like glass. Never needed a case on my Lumias.
  • Plastic is probably the most friendly towards wireless charging. Lumia phones had plastic backs and wireless charging.
  • My plastic phones all look like they were dragged across the beach with a brick on them, with the exception of my Note 3. The Note still looks good on the back, but it's the plastic frame with the chrome coming off that makes it look bad now. Although plastic is flexible and less expensive, and metal more malleable, the phone that has stood the test of time for me has been glass. I'm still stunned that it has taken the hits that it has, including a chest-high drop onto a granite floor without a case. After more than a year of hard use, it has one scratch on the back so small that it takes me a couple minutes to find it. The frame was perfect until a couple days ago, and although she won't tell me how she did it, the girl who borrowed my phone put a nick in the frame by the SIM slot.
  • Plastic or silicone, just like cases. It's cheap, and saves having to redundantly add a grippy+fall-dampening case. I'm not sur why py phone needs to have a back, especially an expesively cute/spec'd one since I'm going to add a case. If my phone just had a "case-back" I wouldn't have to buy one extra (please make sure it has a lip to protect the screen in case of a fall and is grippy). It'd make it easy to change the case and access the internals too, take advantage of that to make the battery removable.
  • Hard rubberized plastic reminiscent of old blackberry phones. Or the carbon fibre material moto used to use on their phones. Like the RAZR and atrix
  • Give me a metal frame with a removable plastic back.
  • A textured polycarbonate back would be ideal for me. Should be easier to replace the back if it gets damaged and battery replacements should become easier.
  • Mahogany and Brass
  • Polycarbonate. What is the point of a nice shiny glass back if everybody puts their phone in a silicone case? But I did like the bamboo back cover of my previous Moto G4 Plus as it looks good and was surprisingly not slippy
  • There's no point in putting fragile glass on a phone when we're going to cover it up with a $10 case. Reviewers need to stop penalizing phones for not being "premium" if they use more durable materials.
  • I don't use a case on mine most of the time. You are right about the reviewers though. I remember several reviews that slammed a phone for not being glass, even though it looked good.
  • I've always thought that polycarbonate is a perfectly fine material to build a phone. It was the standard before everyone decided metal and glass should be the way forward. Going back to polycarbonate would also reduce the cost of making phones and in turn their consumer prices. It should make a lighter and more durable phone as well. While it was a complete tank; the Nokia 920 was a solid design and that poly body could handle being dropped and if you did it might scratch but that is all and because it isn't a painted coating you didn't have a black material exposed after scratching. The Pixel 3a also proves that the polycarbonate body is perfectly fine for modern phones. I'd imagine the 4a continues the legacy.
  • Polycarbonate. Nokia absolutely nailed it with the build quality, feel and durability of the Lumia. And if course it can easily be made in any colours
  • Metal Frame with plastic back is best. I never used to use a case on my phones until glass became the standard for the back of the phone.
  • Aerogel... In lieu of that, high quality polycarbonate/kevlar... It is robust, great for EM, looks amazing, feels great in the hand, light... It is the perfect smartphone material...
  • Metal frame and anything but glass on the back!! I don't even care about wireless charging. But for those that do, there are several backs that can be made beside glass that will still work.
  • Nice materials to use is bamboo and wood, both good hard sturdy materials that is easy to waterproof, have an enough mix of sturdiness and give to handle drops and easy to put a good surface on. Also polycarbonate like the Lumias of the old for that nice splash of color.
  • The old polycarbonate Lumias were awesome; durable, minimalistic and nice to the touch no matter the temperature.
    I've tried a leather back for my Lumia 950XL; it looked and felt great for a few months, but is simply too hard to keep clean and sanitized.
    Glass is too fragile, and metal is too unyielding for the display, besides connectivity issues.
  • How about all recyclable materials so I can throw away all my old phones.
  • Like lumias. Bold colors. Pretty Polycarbonate. But, not like other manufacturers who do polycarbonate which looks cheap.
  • Loool. Humans are so fickle! I remember when we were all here crying about how cheap and tacky plastic was. Glass was hailed as premium, sleek, beautiful etc etc like basically the best thing after sliced bread. Samsung especially got a lot of flak. Phone makers listened and gave us glass. Now it's glass is too fragile?? We knew that from the get go but we wanted "premium" lol.
    Sorry I had to go on this rant but we do sound like little children. What were we expecting? Unbreakable glass?! Come on!
  • Very very Lightweight plastic. My pinky is sore. I cant stand this!!
  • The polycarbonate in the HTC one series was really nice to the touch. You can make the back plastic and cover the glass with whatever you want. Now with cases and dbrand, no one knows what it's made out of our even cares. But if it was plastic I would not being using a case as often.