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Why are some Android phones made of plastic?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Trackr, May 8, 2014.

  1. funpig

    funpig Android Enthusiast

    I still use my LG Shine Plus. Slider with physical keyboard and stainless steel battery cover. Great looking phone with solid quality feel. The first year of updates were extremely buggy, but the last one sorted it out. Dated now, but i only use it for calls and text. I carry a 7 inch tab (with the creaky back cover) for everything else.
     

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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Personally I don't watch drop tests. They are anecdotes, nothing more. As we all know a phone can survive a surprisingly high fall, and then break when dropped from 30cm - it's all a matter of exactly how it lands. So taking a single specimen and dropping once on its back, once on its front etc tells us very little indeed.

    When one of these "drop testers" buys at least 100 phones of the each model, drops them all in the same way, and then uses the data to provide an average survivability (with error estimates) for comparison with other phones I'll start taking note of them. Until then they are just a form of entertainment, and about as meaningful as a "will it blend" video ;)

    Why I included "redesign the antenna" in the costs of making a metal phone.

    The HTC One has very solid reception in my experience, but a lot of work went into the antenna design. If you just took a plastic phone and replaced the casing with a metal shell people would not like the result ;)

    The trouble with a lead phone is that you'd need a case - it scratches so easily ;)

    It's also toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. You could probably market it to people who are worried about phone radiation though... :evil:
     
  3. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    But then a hundred drop tests with similar results give a similar conclusion though.





    Samsung inked some sort of deal for supply of carbon fiber material last year. Here's to hoping. Lol.
     
  4. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    I spend all my time looking at the screen, so long as it's comfortable to hold I don't really care what the back of the phone looks like.

    But don't think aluminium is the best material, it's a soft metal and it's easy to scratch, once your through that top layer the scratches stand out a lot.

    On the other hand plastic is bit more forgiving as the material is the same colour right the way through and in many cases you can replace the back covers.

    The Galaxy S5 based on drop tests has great build quality because it durable, isn't that more important?
     
  5. johnnyl1111

    johnnyl1111 Android Expert

    Signal signal signal signal signal signal signal
     
  6. Guru82

    Guru82 Well-Known Member

    Well, my wife's cheap yet effective Chinese Huawei G510 took quite a few toddler smackdowns and while the screen is smashed like someone took to it with a hammer, it's still functional. Much like the iPhones I've seen with smashed screens. She's now got an LG phone that seems to be made of sturdier materials. She's bought two different phone cases off ebay and all have been for the wrong model, lol. She dropped it once the day after without a case and cracked the screen at the bottom (not over display). Luckily she was able to replace it. Thanks LG.

    Now here's a story about a little stupidity on my part with my G510. I was trying to drain the battery a little before recharging. You know, being sheeplike and believing all the info everywhere about clearing your battery stats...
    So I thought, OK, I'll just put it in the FREEZER! for a couple of minutes. I forgot about it...
    Backtracking. With the app I was using to monitor battery temps, it was displaying high 30's almost 40 degrees Celsius. After a good freezing session for something like half-hour or more, I remembered and "oh shit!" jumped and pulled it out. The thing was freezing! It was frozen, but I got to wiping it with a tea towel (after paper towel failed to defrost it). Continually wiping the screen and removed the back cover to check for condensation around battery terminals. I thought stuff it and powered it on after 10 minutes, thinking I was for sure going to have a dead phone. Guess what! It powered back on and was working per normal. I then out of curiosity started that app to read battery temp. 4 degrees Celsius and haven't had a problem :D
     
  7. Guru82

    Guru82 Well-Known Member

    Guess you've got a point. But they can create an external antenna using the back cover like my old HTC Desire S had. Though I hated it. Playing around rooting that thing with a quite a few battery pulls resulted in worn antenna terminals. And the paint scratched of it too. And one single drop to hard floor resulted in a corner of the black plastic that covered around the camera (which also contains an external antenna of some description) cause it to pop out a little and it was never the same (cosmetic) to me.
     
  8. Goodspike

    Goodspike Android Expert

    Um, no it's not. There are several other things that should be more important to anyone than what the exterior of the phone is made of, unless maybe the phone is being used as a paperweight. ;)
     
  9. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert

    I do understand the appeal of a really nice looking phone that feels good in your hand. I recently upgraded to an iPhone 5S for work. I do appreciate the design of the phone from its look and feel in the hand. (I'd be interested in how Apple would design a simple tool like a hammer.)

    Ultimately, I will no longer pay much attention to the external asthetics. As long as I can hold it properly and use it to do what I need, I don't really care much for how it looks on the table with the screen off.

    If all things are equal and one phone looks and feels better, then I would choose the better looking phone. If the better looking phone has anything lacking in terms of features and functionality, I would always choose the phone with the features and functionality that I need over the better looking phone.
     
  10. Slug

    Slug Check six!
    VIP Member

    Um, yes it is... because it's a personal opinion. That you, I, or Uncle Tom Cobley don't agree is immaterial.

    That's your personal opinion, and you're entitled to it. Don't however make the mistake of assuming that it's the only valid one.
     
    MLSS likes this.
  11. Goodspike

    Goodspike Android Expert

    If you only quote part of what I said, I'd agree. But that quote is out of context.

    So again: Um, no it's not. There are several other things that should be more important to anyone than what the exterior of the phone is made of, unless maybe the phone is being used as a paperweight.

    Stated differently, the exterior material of the phone would only be the most important factor to consider if you don't use the smartphone as a smartphone.

    I'm not saying everyone should prefer one material or another. Only that the material should not be that important to anyone.
     
  12. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Nothing wrong with the signal on my (almost) all metal phone. Frankly it's as good as anything else I've ever used, smartphone or otherwise, and very robust against how you hold it. A nice piece of RF engineering really.

    It does require more effort in the RF design to do this, but a metal case need not mean poor signal. Conversely, there are plastic phones with poor reception, even though it should be easier. But as I said earlier, you can't just take a plastic-shelled phone, swap to a metal case, and expect the signal performance to survive.

    Of course mainly metal cases with cut-outs for antennae have been used for a long time - that's the lazy (and somewhat inferior) solution.
     
  13. SulkyAndroid17

    SulkyAndroid17 Android Enthusiast

    If I was to walk into a store and buy the cheapest new smartphone, what would I get? Maybe something like:

    4 inch screen
    1.x ghz single core
    1 Gb ram
    5 mp camera
    Android OS 4.x.x

    I imagine that's the specs for most low-end phones. And I'd say that's good enough for a lot of people. Probably most people. The exterior might just be the only variable to some.

    So what should be more important to anyone?
     
  14. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    What is important to me is a phone that does not lag, crash, random reboot or have strange abnormal battery drain. I really couldn't care less what the darned thing looks like, with exception to pixel density. Low PPI hurts my eyes.
     
  15. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)

    ^yet you use touchwiz :p
     
  16. CafeKampuchia

    CafeKampuchia Android Expert

    I worked for 15 years at two major corporations that sell plastic raw materials so I know a lot about plastic part design and implementation. I can tell you that my entry-level HTC Wildfire S was a better built polycarbonate device than my Galaxy S3 or S4.

    The Wildfire S had a polycarbonate chassis painted with a metallic platinum color and a nice thin chromed rim around the screen. The battery cover was also PC with a soft-touch black paint like the Nexus 5. HTC's implementation was excellent, creak-free, and the seams were super tight. Other than being light and a little warm in-hand, it felt and looked like painted metal.

    By comparison, my S4 is built like a piece of junk -- big gaps, it creaks and groans a lot, rattles when on vibrate, the cheesy hyperglaze finish collects finger prints and it feels cheapo in hand.

    Shame on Sammy for giving plastic a bad name. The S4 will be my last Samsung handset until they get rid of Knox and do something about build quality.
     
  17. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    And your point is? Pixel density has nothing to do with TouchWiz. On my Note touchwiz icons are high resolution.
     
  18. CafeKampuchia

    CafeKampuchia Android Expert

    Funkylogik is referring to lag. Nickdalzell said that what's important to him is a phone that does not lag. That seems like a contradiction since TouchWiz is infamous for its lag, and Nickdalzell has an S3 and Galaxy Tab 3.
     
    funkylogik and chanchan05 like this.
  19. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    I have a Note and the only reason I don't use Touchwiz is because It doesn't lock the desktop. I don't find it laggy at all.
     
  20. Goodspike

    Goodspike Android Expert

    Maybe KitKat does help on low end phones as advertised--having never tried it I don't know. But ignoring that, I would argue that a slow processor and 1GB of ram are not "good enough" for anyone. They are a mistake made by people who don't do any research.

    But I'm not talking about what people actually do--I'm talking about what they should do. People buy cars all the time primarily because they like the exterior design. That doesn't mean it's what they should do.
     
  21. Goodspike

    Goodspike Android Expert

    I don't find my S4 laggy at all, but to get it that way I had to turn off of bunch of the Samsung heavily advertised features.

    My original Nexus 7 is much more "laggy." Annoyingly so.
     
  22. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Really? I didn't turn off anything. Maybe carrier bloating rears it ugly face again.
     
  23. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    I don't get any lag with my Galaxy S4 using the latest TW roms, everything I've tried with 4.4.2 has been really smooth.

    That wasn't the 4.2.2 though, that was laggy on my Galaxy S4, took them almost a year to fix it.
     
  24. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)

    I was just busting nick's nuts lol he understands :D
    Every sammy user must admit touchwiz is laggy compared to a closer-to-aosp rom on the same device though?
    @goodspike I've got my original nexus 7 nearly as fast as my phone now. Battery suffers a bit but it's tolerable and lag is gone :)
     
  25. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Depends. I don't consider 'animations' as lag. Default TouchWiz animation speeds is like the relaxed mode for animations in Nova. You may want to check it out and see for yourself. You can adjust TouchWiz anim speeds too.
     
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