Last updated on June 4th, 2020 at 09:21 am
Smartphones come in several builds – metal, plastic and glass. Back in the days, it was mostly plastic with few phones being glass and metal phones being almost non-existent.
Currently, things have changed thanks to smartphone trends. Smartphones don’t look bland anymore but are more aesthetic.
Everyone likes to have beautiful things and this includes smartphones.
There are three main materials that are used for making smartphones: metal, plastic and glass. Here’s what you need to know about metal vs plastic vs glass body smartphones.
What Is A Unibody Smartphone?
Unibody smartphones are made out of a single block of material – mostly aluminium or plastic. They have fewer gaps giving them great protection against dust, dirt and humidity.
It also makes them very durable. All unibody smartphones have non-removable batteries because of their tight design. Like with every other design there are bound to be some advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Metal Unibody Smartphones
Better At Dissipating Heat
Metals are known to be good conductors of heat and able to get rid of heat much faster than other materials.
Heat is one of the major causes of reducing the battery quality and also causing performance problems (You device will experience thermal throttling). Internal components like the processor do not take kindly to heat at all.
Because metal unibody smartphones are able to dissipate heat much faster the lifespan of your battery and smartphone are not negatively impacted.
Metal unibody phones on the average are sleeker, tighter and premium looking than other smartphone builds.
Because they can be carved out of a single block they are able to thinner on average which is why they also have non-removable batteries. Metal unibody smartphones are just beautiful even if they are not flagship phones.
Get two phones: one metal unibody and plastic. Drop these two and see which one is stronger. This is a no-brainer. The unibody smartphone is more durable than plastic.
Worst case scenario, there will be a dent. There are also fewer gaps for dust, dirt and water to enter causing serious damage to the internal components.
Disadvantages of Metal Unibody Smartphones
Doesn’t Support Wireless Charging
Smartphones with metal unibodies have a hard time supporting wireless charging. The metal makes it difficult for waves to go through and it is also the same reason why they have antenna bands.
Because without them you won’t have access to Wi-Fi, telecommunication networks and Bluetooth signals. If you really like wireless charging don’t get a smartphone that has a metal or metal unibody design.
Can Get Uncomfortably Hot
Yeah, metals are good at getting rid of heat but that doesn’t mean they don’t get hot. It sometimes gets so hot they, it can become very uncomfortable to use it unless the smartphone is in a case.
These type of smartphones are entirely made of plastic. There are some which are made of polycarbonate – a type of plastic.
Plastic smartphones can be unibody or not.
The plastic unibody smartphones have non-removable batteries, are slimmer and have a more premium design. The ones that do not have the unibody design are removable batteries and are bulkier.
Plastics are all different so make sure you find out which smartphone manufacturer uses the best type for their phones.
Advantages of Plastic Smartphones.
Supports Wireless Charging
Plastic smartphones don’t interfere with the wireless signal coming from your charger. They also do not interfere with telecommunication signals, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signal.
Your phone can easily connect to these signals without the need of antenna bands running all over the body. A plastic phone supports wireless charging and has better reception.
Comes In Different Colours
Because of the way plastic is easily made. Plastic smartphones have a plethora of colours.
Red, green blue, etc. you name it. It is easier to make plastic in different colours than a metal or glass body. This makes things quite colourful.
Plastic phones may not be as durable as metal but they are still durable nonetheless. They are able to withstand drops and are more flexible.
The plastic unibody phones are even more durable than their non-unibody relatives. Because they are made from a single block of plastic they have tighter designer meaningless gaps and are very compact.
Metal smartphones are slippery but even if they fall out of your hands it will survive.
Have Removable Batteries
With the exception of a plastic unibody, all plastic smartphones have removable batteries. This somewhat makes life easier. If your battery is nearing its life expectancy you can easily swap it out with a new one at little or no cost to you.
Also, you could carry an extra battery with you in case your main one dies and there is no power supply close to you.
Disadvantages of Plastic Smartphones
Bad Conductors Of Heat
Plastic is a poor conductor of heat. They are not able to get rid of heat quickly and will cause thermal throttling or reduction in performance.
They Don’t Look Premium
Plastic smartphones are not premium looking. They look bland and cheap in terms of design. This can be off-putting to some people.
Compare a plastic smartphone to a metal phone or a glass phone and you will understand what we mean.
Moreover, most plastic phones are on the cheap side.
Plastic smartphones do get stained by cases especially if they are colourful.
Glass smartphones are beautiful. It’s like looking at a piece of crystal that has been shaped like a phone.
They have the most premium look and feel out of all the smartphones builds. You can even see your reflection on it.
Their aesthetic appeal is top-notch, it is understandable why smartphone companies are able to charge “top-notch” prices for these devices.
But, glass smartphones are not entirely glass.
They have a metallic frame with glass covering their whole phone. The glass are either tempered glass or Corning Gorilla glass which are much more durable than normal glass.
Advantages Of Glass Smartphones
Top-notch Aesthetic Appeal
Glass smartphones are the best-looking of all the phone builds. They look very premium and can look that way for a very long time.
Look at the iPhone X and Oneplus 7 Plus. They all have glass designs and look really good. They look really smooth thanks to their polished design. And if they have a gradient colour back that takes beauty to a whole other level.
Supports Wireless Charging
Glass doesn’t interfere with wireless signals and so wireless charging is possible. It also has better reception connecting to telecommunications signals, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
They are more scratch resistant than other phone builds.
Disadvantages of Glass Smartphones
Notice how if a smartphone has a glass design on the average costs more than other phones with plastic or metal designs.
Bad conductors of heat
Glass is not able to conduct heat as well as metal. Heavy usage will cause temperatures to rise.
And if the heat is not dissipated quickly it will cause performance drops and in the long run, reduce the longevity of your battery.
Whether you like it or not if the smartphone drops or hits something hard it will shatter. Glass is glass no matter how strong it is. Glass never bends under force, glass breaks or shatters.
Having a glass smartphone means you have to be extra careful. A glass phone is also slippery because it has been polished.
Getting a case will reduce the chances of it slipping out of your hands.
Glass smartphones are notoriously known for being fingerprint magnets and attracting smudges. You can wipe them off but it still reduces the aesthetic appeal of the phone.
Metal Vs Plastic Vs Glass – which is the best?
It all boils down to personal preferences. I, for one, do not really care about the design but what inside of the smartphone is what really counts to me.
You might like that metallic finish or that crystal glass look. It all boils down to what you like.