Glass Is Great, But I Want Metal Phones Back

Glass Is Great, But I Want Metal Phones Back

Today’s phones are far more fragile than I would like

Each calendar year we get a new design trend from manufacturers trying to make their phones more appealing to consumers. A year ago it was 18:9 displays, a year before that it was unibody aluminum phones, and this year its screen notches and glass backs. The switch to glass backs have allowed for stunningly beautiful phones, but from experience, they’re more fragile than phones released last year thanks to their glass panels.

We’ve realized this over the course of testing multiple phones with glass backs over the past few months: no matter the Gorilla Glass protection used on a phone, it’s still going to accumulate scratches like crazy if you run it naked. If you tend to put your naked, glass-backed phone in your pocket, you better make damn sure its empty of ANYTHING that is even remotely hard like coins, keys, and other things. Because sooner or later you’re going to pull that phone out of your pocket and will be horrified to find a nice, long scratch at the rear.

What about phone cases you say? Well, you can do that, but once you slap a case on the phone that beautiful, multi-colored glass rear, you can no longer see that glass design that you paid for in the first place. Clear cases solve that problem somewhat, but we’ve yet to see a clear case that doesn’t affect the coloration of phones like the P20 Pro and the Honor 10.

I’m personally biased towards unibody all-aluminum phones since they’re sturdier and resist scratches much better. They’re also a bit tougher – while they’re not drop-proof, the worst you can expect from a metal phone when it accidentally slips from your hand is a small dent (if the phone doesn’t land screen first). If that happens with a glass-backed phone, you either a) end up with a dented aluminum frame or b) shattered front or rear.

But I kinda understand why manufacturers had to go with glass designs over the sturdier aluminum option. Tech is like fashion – newer is always better, at least in the eyes of the masses. Glass backs allow for better RF transmission, so there’s no need for unsightly antenna cutouts or strips that are common on aluminum phones. It feels better to the touch and looks better overall than aluminum phones.

Ultimately it all boils down to user preference, and for a guy that’s a little careless about where he puts his phones on his person, I’d personally rather have an aluminum backed phone than a phone with a glass rear. That may change as technology evolves to the point of offering truly scratch-proof glass that can resist even my penchant for scratching up screens (and phone bodies). For now, I’ll have to be extremely careful with glass-backed phones and hide their awesome colored backs behind protective cases.

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