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Poll of the week: Glass, plastic or a metal back – what do you prefer?

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Our last poll of the week was about the material of mobile phone backs. Because in the NextPit editorial team and in our comment sections, there are always extensive discussions about this. As it turns out, most phone manufacturers are betting on the right horse!

Metal, glass or plastic: What material is the back of your smartphone made of? We started our poll of the week with this question last Friday, and now we have the results. On all four NextPit domains, we received a total of 1,781 votes on our three questions.

What material is the back of your smartphone made of?

To kick off my poll of the week, I admitted to using a smartphone with a glass back myself. The Pixel 3 XL was a true high-end smartphone at the time I bought it, and I signed a cell phone contract to afford it. Glass backs are often reserved for more expensive phones and apparently Brazil and Germany are the countries with the most premium phones.

Poll of the week material
Glass is the #1 phone back material right now! / © NextPit

Because here, glass backs are in the first place of the answers. Plastic is in second place in both countries, while in France and USA/India most people report a plastic back. Metal backs - a material that will only very rarely be found in mobile phones in 2021 - are in third place in both countries. Surprisingly, the proportion in the COM domain and in France is almost 30% in each case.

What material should a phone back be made of?

Our second survey is not aimed at the current state, but at your wishes. This shows that smartphone manufacturers do not quite meet the wishes of NextPit community. In France as well as in Germany, metal is the material of choice, not glass. This is closely followed by plastic, which is even in first place in the USA and India.

Poll of the week material 1
This is how NextPit readers around the world answered. / © NextPit

Only people in Brazil named glass as their favorite mobile phone back material. But even here, metal made it to second place. Reader Ohlib R from the German community spoke out in favor of metal, as glass is "too sensitive and not break-proof enough". One would therefore be forced to use a shell.

Another criticism of glass backs is its "slipperiness". Here, "der dude" writes on that his mobile phone starts to slip directly at every slope. This is also pointed out by the reader "Jerome69Paris" from the French community. In addition, he expresses criticism at the manufacturers of mobile phones:

In my opinion, manufacturers invest a lot of energy in designing the backs of smartphones, while most people use their smartphone with a cover. So to solve this problem, we would have to start at the design level.

These two surveys in particular show, in my opinion, that mobile phone manufacturers don't seem to be fully satisfying their customers needs. Because apparently many people are so annoyed by the slippery and fragile glass backs that they go straight for a phone case. Since I already anticipated this a bit, that's what a third poll was about.

Important, unimportant, or do you use phone cases?

In the third survey, I asked whether the material of the back cover is important to you at all. I gave the third option that it doesn't matter because you use phone cases anyway. This answer was predominant in Brazil and France, while it came in a close second in Germany. Unfortunately, this answer option has been omitted in the translation for the COM domain.

Poll of the week material 2
Many people use mobile phone cases and reveal in the comments why they do so. / © NextPit

Overall, however, the third question confirms in my eyes that mobile phone manufacturers respond to the wishes of customers. Because the question about the cover is in a way a chicken-and-egg problem: Do many people like to use mobile phone covers because mobile phones are too fragile, or do people put up with fragile mobile phones because they use a mobile phone cover anyway. Reader Rust H. from the English-speaking community sums it up well:

Glass backs are just for looking pretty. And 99.9% of people then use a cover for several reasons:
1. to protect the phone
2. to hold it easier, because glass is just very slippery.

So glass backs have a lot of disadvantages, aren't very popular, and require the purchase of a phone cover to make up for the disadvantages. This almost makes me cry out a protest to make plastic or metal cases the predominant material on smartphones again. What do you think, should we open a petition?

Original article

Glass, plastic, metal, ceramics, kevlar, vegan leather: Which particular material does the back of your smartphone feature? Just how important is it to you when it comes to the kind of material used on a smartphone? In the latest poll of the week, we at NextPit want to know exactly what you think about this matter.

The material used in smartphone backs has often caused heated discussions at the NextPit editorial team. According to Antoine, expensive smartphones should at least have a premium Gorilla Glass back, while I personally could almost find a fascination that is closely associated with Nintendo products with the plastic back used for the Pixel 4a 5G. At the same time, almost all of us agree that there should be more smartphones with metal backs.

Much like vibration motors, the material at the back of a smartphone can make it feel premium or cheap. After all, you would either hold it in your hand or place it on the table most of the time. Hence, the back of the smartphone does play a major role in determining how a handset feels. Unless, of course, you want to go the extra mile for your handset by protecting it in a solid smartphone case.

What material is the back of your smartphone made of?

First of all, I'd like to take this survey to obtain a glimpse of the bare facts. After all, as an international digital magazine, we are able to easily discover what the distribution of the answers is across different countries when it comes to the back of smartphones. Why not flip your smartphone over and share your answer with us?

What material is the back of your smartphone made of?
View results

By the way, as I compose this survey, I'm still using the Oppo Reno 6 that has a glass back. My personal smartphone is a Pixel 3 XL though, which also comes with a glass back as well. And the predecessor to my Pixel 3 XL came with something very special: The Motorola X Force with a back made can hardly believe it, fabric!

What's your favourite material for a smartphone back?

I think a fabric back would still be great in 2021! So I wouldn't say that the glass in my Pixel 3 XL is my preferred material for my smartphone's back. Here, I would like to find out just which is the material of choice that you would like to see in the back of smartphones:

What is your preferred material of choice for a smartphone back?
View results

Last but not least, I'll put forward a very simple question that I always ask in my beloved polls. This is because we often discuss various topics in the NextPit editorial team that we, as tech journalists, consider as particularly important. But in doing so, we may be so preoccupied with high-end smartphones that we have a somewhat skewed perception of reality. So, without much further ado:

Does the material used for a smartphone back matter to you?
View results

Perfect! So you now have the perhaps most important poll in September done and dusted with! That's nice, isn't it? I hope to read your detailed opinion about the preferred material of choice in smartphone backs in the comments. As always, there are always reasons for and against the use of fabric, metal, and plastic!

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Product Reviewer

Benjamin works as a freelance journalist and is always on the lookout for special features that make new cell phones, headphones and gadgets interesting for the reader. If he doesn't succeed, he comforts himself by writing short stories and using his digital camera.

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  • 20
    Reg Joo Sep 14, 2021 Link to comment

    Plastic, not even hard plastic, but with some give. As long as the frame is metal, plastic has the best give, when patterned. Hard plastic cracks easily. If the mfgrs took time with it, as much as they do with glass, I’m sure they could make the phone impervious to water, but they take the “pretty “ approach now. You should see my friend’s iPhone, supposedly unbreakable, what a joke!

  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. Sep 12, 2021 Link to comment

    I would prefer plastic, but, I'm sure the manufacturers would say it would inhibit the IP68 rating or some nonsense. Glass back are there for one thing and pretty much one thing only. To make it look "pretty". And 99.99% of people out there, put a case over their phones for a few reasons.
    1. To protect it
    2. To make it easier to hold, since glass is usually slippery
    I'd prefer plastic, oh, and putting a removable battery back in them. But, just as with the above comment, it would inhibit their ability to give it an IP68 rating. ;)

  • 11
    bill m Sep 11, 2021 Link to comment

    Material is not important because almost everyone puts a case on their phone.

  • 6
    DickB Sep 11, 2021 Link to comment

    So much of what passes for "premium" feel in phones negatively impacts function. For example, no chin or forehead bezels - loss of front facing speakers; thin - loss of battery capacity. Glass backs offer the same tradeoffs: pretty press release photos - slippery, fragile fingerprint magnet. Not a fan.

  • Simone Costi 21
    Simone Costi Sep 10, 2021 Link to comment

    Samsung seems to use glasstic on most of its smartphones. So, no more smartphones with a glass back for me...

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