Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
A while ago, we asked you about your favorite phone stuff. I answered with a familiar list of glass, plastic, and metal, but there were some answers that hit the right note of nostalgia. Praise for the Pleather of the Galaxy Note 4 and the wood of the Moto X got me thinking how much fun the phone’s materials were. If fashion can come back every few years (or maybe decades), why can’t phone designs?
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Old sandwiches (glass)
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
One material has become more dominant in phones – or at least feature phones – than any other in recent years. Glass has become the go-to, and we’re eager to complain when the phone passes the latest Gorilla Glass. It is durable and efficient in terms of wireless charging and comes in several colors. For a while, it was fashionable to move to a flagship glass phone.
However, glass phones seem to end up in one of two categories: glossy and smooth eel in a grease factory, or satin and ready-made Powerpoint 300 slides in a conference room. The Google Pixel 6 falls into one camp (slippery), while the Samsung Galaxy S22 series falls into the other (business class). Both are among our favorite phones and they are well built, but once you see one fancy glass panel, you’ll see almost all of them.
Telephone materials are often either buttoned up and conference room ready or smooth as eels in a grease factory.
There are, of course, some exceptions to the glass roof – take OnePlus, for example. OnePlus 10 Pro offers a Gorilla Glass back panel, but it’s neither glossy nor satiny. Instead, it feels like it’s being sandblasted. It’s still glassy, but flirts with just enough texture to feel unique in his hand. The texture is a small victory, but a good reminder of the ghosts of OnePlus’ past. It’s hard to forget the original OnePlus One Sandstone, Wood, and Bamboo cases (pictured below).
OnePlus is perhaps the best example of OEMs still trying to have fun while living in a glass case. After all, Nord 2 Pac-Man’s release was a reminder that collaboration doesn’t always have to be professional. Nord 2’s own features a back panel that, although satin, pays homage to the classic arcade title in a clean and simple way.
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Living in a material world
David Amell / Android Authority
There are a number of reasons why OEMs choose glass as their preferred material, as defined above. It’s tough and often looks very good. In this scene, the glass phones are Richard Hammond’s Fords, but I’d prefer something like a Jeremy Clarkson’s Volkswagen — something like the Pixel 5, if you like it.
The Google Pixel 5 is a great example of how we can get rid of glass and make a phone that people – or at least some people – will love. Google went with an aluminum build, but it didn’t have to sacrifice wireless charging in favor of style. Instead, the engineering team cut a hole in the otherwise metallic body to allow the charging coil to collide directly with the puricine coating. This puricine paint felt (and looked) very different than glass, too. It wasn’t slippery, but it wasn’t rough either. It also doesn’t hurt that Sorta Sage was probably my favorite color on a smartphone ever.
Imagine it – Pixel 6 with Pixel 5 textures.
If I had gotten my way, I would have convinced the minds at Google to combine the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 designs into one. Get rid of the glass, cuddle the camera tape, and return the aluminum and puricin. If Google can make a metal phone that works well with wireless charging, why can’t we bring back the other fun stuff? As the six million dollar man said, “We have the technology.”
Maybe I’m alone in this. The leather and wood of the phone cases may have succumbed for some reason. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone repeat what Microsoft did with its Sonic the Hedgehog consoles. But perhaps, if for no other reason than to replace the glass, it is worth trying again. for antiquity.
Missing fun phone stuff?