Bring back plastic smartphones

Google Pixel 3a and Xiaomi Pocophone F1 are two different phones, but they have one thing in common: they are made of plastic.

Somehow, imperceptibly, the idea has taken root in our heads that a glass phone is cool, and a plastic one is no longer a cake. Smartphones have become fashion accessories, proof of financial viability and impeccable taste. Every reviewer considers it their duty to mention the “amazing tactile sensation”, “premium feeling” that comes from a case made of impeccably smooth, sparkling glass in the sun.

But now, I think, many will agree that fragile chic has begun to tire. Everywhere you look there are people with broken phones (or maybe you are one of them?). There was too much glass. It looks amazing, but plastic is much more practical in everyday life.

The other day we were thinking about this topic. A long discussion of the merits of the Pixel 3a and Pocophone F1 has led us to the conclusion that in our glass age, there are still enough arguments in favor of the return of plastic phones.

They are light and durable

When I got my hands on the Google Pixel 3a, I was struck by its lightness. Without any exaggeration, it felt like a feather compared to the large-format OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The importance of this issue can be disputed: some people want to feel a solid weight in their hand. I, with my 20-kilogram backpack, have a sincere respect for lightweight technology.

By the way, its durability depends on the weight of the gadget. The Google Pixel 3a, which suffered several “unintentional” drops during testing, ended up looking the same as it did at the very beginning, although there was no case on it. While it was flying to the floor, my heart didn’t bleed, but the Galaxy S10 Plus, covered in glass, made me nervous.

In general, if manufacturers decide to equate smartphones with fashion attributes, they should take the issue of durability more seriously. Almost everyone today hides mobile phones in cases immediately after purchase. If you are neglected, instead of a beautiful glass gadget risks to be here:

They can offer more performance for less money

Premium design These days involves the use of two materials: metal and glass. This applies to all price categories. The problem is that manufacturers of cheap mobile phones give priority expensive buildings. And in order to compensate for the cost and not go beyond the budget segment, they refuse part of the hardware that is bad for the phone (it turns out frankly weak) and for the buyer (it is dissatisfied with productivity ).

But not everyone do. POCOPHONE F1, PIXEL 3A and some other devices turn this tendency to legs on the head, combining economical polycarbonate cases with top hardware stuffing.

At the time of release, Pocophone F1 was a good competition with the most expensive flagships, and cost about a third cheaper. The truth is that the service life of the smartphone is more determined by the performance (SOC characteristics, battery capacity, the number of RAM), and not beautifully rounded angles or a record fine design. Most people use covers, and this moment also makes think about how justified the costs of expensive design.

They are ideally combined with 5G

To harden the design, almost every glass smartphone has a metal frame. Unfortunately, the MMWAVE technology (Millimeter data range in networks 5G ) uses so low wavelength that the signal is practically not able to break through aluminum and other metals. Most 5G devices will be equipped with four different antennas - from above, bottom and sides. But that communication normally worked in a glass smartphone, you will need cunning non-standard solutions.


To give Galaxy S10 5G to send a signal, SAMSUNG engineers had to make a metal rim thinner than usual. This means that the composition of the smartphone is there even more glass, and the chances of damaging it increase at times.

5G - new and raw technology. While it is only available to the top class, but sooner or later it comes to the budget, and there it will be much easier to implement it in combination with plastic buildings.

This is comfort and convenience at high level

Wireless charging and waterproof is usually present in expensive smartphones with a glass coating. However, plastic does not interfere with the use of these technologies and in cheaper products. Here are two examples - the legendary Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5. The first had a function of wireless power, which perfectly worked through the rear panel with soft-touch coating. The second removable back cover did not prevent reliable protection against dust and water IP67. In both cases, the main material of the hull was plastic.


In general, plastic phones have serious advantages. Plastic is easier glass and aluminum. Many people will give preference precisely the lightweight devices, and not sore heavy. Plastic freely passes the signal from cellular tips, which means that 5G communication will be an order to work better precisely in the case of plastics. Pixel 3a proves that the plastic phone can be truly cool, and we would be glad to see on sale even more devices with polycarbonate corps.