Remember when Russian site Mobile-Review dropped an entire Pixel 3 XL early impressions review a few weeks ago, complete with unboxing photos and camera samples? There was a ton of information to unpack in the article, but in the hardware section specifically, the writer mentioned a rough plastic backing on the phone, to accommodate for the newly added wireless charging.
Plastic isn't necessarily ideal in an expensive flagship, but it wouldn't be the end of the world, either.
I'm doubtful that the Pixel 3 XL will actually ship with a plastic backing. Beyond the phone obviously being a pre-production unit that may or may not use the same materials as the final shipped product, let's not forget that the Pixel 2 felt a lot like plastic, despite having an all-aluminum body, thanks to the paint on top. The Pixel 3 XL is in all likelihood glass around the back.
Even still, would it be that bad if the Pixel 3 and 3 XL were made of plastic? It would certainly reduce manufacturing costs, and plastic is significantly more durable than glass. Let's not forget that plastic doesn't immediately have to mean a cheap, flimsy shell reminiscent of the Galaxy S3; the Nokia Lumia 920 was terrifically durable, and it was made entirely of polycarbonate — yep, that's plastic.
I get it, though. For the $850 or so we can expect the Pixel 3 XL to cost, a plastic back would be far from ideal given the premium materials used in similarly priced alternatives. So let's talk about a different phone.
The POCO F1 has gotten a lot of attention lately for being a mind-bogglingly affordable vessel for the Snapdragon 845 and other top-end specs. The upgraded Armored Edition model offers a kevlar backing, but the $300 variant utilizes polycarbonate to keep costs low and durability high. While I'm sure some people will opt for the kevlar version, which also includes better specs, the F1's driving selling point is its low price, and the plastic body won't stop the vast majority of customers from buying the $300 model.
I'm not trying to make the argument that plastic would be a better choice than metal or glass in a flagship phone — though I'm sure some would, given the rather vocal anti-glass crowd who don't appreciate the material's fragility. I just don't think a plastic body is enough reason on its own to completely write off a phone, especially since most people throw their phone into a case as soon as they get it anyway.
What about you? Would you buy a plastic phone in this day and age of curved glass and chamfered aluminum, even if the phone came at the same price? Would you actually prefer it? Let us know in the comments below!
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