Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Buying a Premium Smartphone. The Plastic vs Aluminium Dilemma

Plastic vs Aluminium Smartphones

Many people in the mobile world have strong feelings about perceived build quality in their high end devices. When I moved from the HTC One X to the iPhone 5 less than a year ago, one of the main draws was the aluminium build quality.

Now less than a year on I find myself asking – is aluminium the right material for a phone?

I am the type of person that likes to keep my devices in pristine condition and the slightest scratch makes the device ruined to me. In an endeavour to keep the iPhone 5 in mint condition I have tested and invested in a multitude of cases, covers, screen protectors and pouches to protect my device and still I find a scratch on the beveled edge of the phone.

So what am I going to look for in the build quality of my next phone? Well looking at the new handsets out there at the moment we have the aluminium HTC One which looks and feels great. But will this be a scratch magnet like the iPhone? We have the galaxy s4 which is plastic so won’t suffer the same as the aluminium bodied phones but will it feel cheap? Then we have the Xperia Z glass front and back which should be more scratch resistant and easier to cover with thin screen protectors but how will it fair in drops?

Given my experience with the iPhone 5 and how easy it is to scratch, I will be thinking twice about another aluminium phone but will plastic be the way forward? I would have liked to see the Galaxy s4 feature a metal bezel where it is plastic now but retain the plastic back. Therefore the signal can penetrate the back panel while the metal bezel can be a more scratch resistant material.

What is your ideal phone? What’s it made of and does it matter if you're going to cover it in a case anyway. Please have your say in the comment section below.

Author: Dave Lindsay studied Business Studies at The University of Huddersfield until 2004 and worked in various organisations including the NHS in IT based roles. He wents through a lot of mobile phones as the development at that time was booming and have had handsets from all the major manufacturers including Palm, Symbian, Pocket PC/Windows Mobile, iOS and Android. He's now running his own blog.