Build Materials For Smartphones

3 Different Types Of Build Materials For Smartphones

There was a time when all phones, no matter their size or form factor, were constructed entirely of plastic. There has been a shift in recent years, with phones being available in materials ranging from metal & leather to plastique and glass. The same is the thing with parts used for phone repair, they’re also made up of the same material we’re going to discuss here.

Many current high-end designs favor the latter, although not everyone is pleased with the narrower selection available now compared to a few years ago. From how it feels in your hand and how long it lasts to how well it can endure the occasional drop, every construction material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of both, as well as some examples of the best and worst smartphones for each category. Additionally, if you’re in need of services phone repair shop offers, it’s worth exploring options to ensure your device is properly maintained and repaired.

Metallic Material for Cell Phones

About five years ago, Huawei and HTC began using metal in their high-end smartphones for widespread use. In 2013, the HTC 1 series is likely to have been the catalyst for this movement.  Metal is used by other companies as well; nevertheless, it is currently more commonly associated with affordable high-end items or the high mid-tier than with the most expensive handsets.


  • Metal devices are popular because of their sleek design and satisfying weight in the hand. The most prevalent metals in smartphones (aluminum and magnesium) are quite bendable, giving designers a lot of freedom.
  • Metal is a good build material because it helps OEMs manage the heat produced by the device’s processor and other internal components, unlike plastic gadgets. Compared to its plastic equivalent, a metallic smartphone is more effective at dissipating heat into the air.
  • Metal’s ability to dissipate heat is both an advantage and a drawback, as it can lead to an unsafely hot device if the inside components of the phone overheat. Although it’s quite unlikely that you’ll actually get burned from the handset getting too hot, metal gadgets can get uncomfortable to grip if they get too hot.


  • Metal’s ability to dissipate heat is both an advantage and a drawback, as it can lead to an unsafely hot device if the inside components of the phone overheat. Although it’s quite unlikely that you’ll actually get burned from the handset getting too hot, metal gadgets can get uncomfortable to grip if they get too hot.
  • Plastic devices have the advantage of not showing marks and flaws, while metal ones do. Many modern cell phones are made of metal and can be purchased in a rainbow of anodized finishes. While attractive overall, flaws become visible when the treated metal is shown.
  • Metal may be an effective heat conductor, but it is also thermally conductive and is a strong radio wave shield. Because of this, it can’t be utilized for wireless charging and can reduce the efficiency of radio signals used by WiFi & Cellular data connections. Therefore, antenna lines need to be exposed to maintain a constant connection.

Glass In Mobile Phones

Most modern flagship gadgets employ ceramic glass for both the back and the screen. The metal and glass construction of the Galaxy S6 Edge along with the all-glass Xperia Z3 helped popularize the concept, and it has persisted in subsequent phones like the Galaxy S9, the Honor 20 Pro, and many more.


  • Gorilla Glass is tough and resistant to scratches because of its special construction. While other glass producers may be used by some phone makers, it’s hard to deny that the widespread use of Gorilla Glass on billions of smartphones is a significant factor in the industry’s increased interest in the material. 
  • It won’t become as damaged as a metal chassis and thus should keep your smartphone safe from the rare drop.
  • Though some companies, like Apple, have put money into alternatives like sapphire for their smartphones, OEMs can save money by using any form of glass because it can be mass-produced. 
  • It’s less expensive than plastic, but more expensive than machining out a metal block.
  • Glass is a much worse conductor of electricity than metal, making it suitable for wireless charging. As a result, it’s a great choice if you want to add wireless charging to your phone.


  • The fact that it can easily be broken is undoubtedly glass’s biggest drawback. Metal and plastic can also crack, and while toughened glass offers substantial protection, it can still shatter entirely if the phone is dropped or hit at the wrong angle. 
  • The primary drawback of glass is easily visible in the form of shattered smartphone screens.
  • When it comes to gathering fingerprint grease or dust, glass is the worst offender, turning an otherwise sleek and attractive device into an eyesore in no time. 
  • If you’d rather not constantly be washing your phone, then a glass one is probably not for you.
  • Glass can be more difficult to work with than metal or plastic when it comes to creating unique and interesting smartphone designs. However, unlike plastic, glass is typically used in flat gadgets, and designers have less leeway to create fascinating curved forms with it. 
  • However, HTC’s transparent back and Samsung’s curved edges also stand out as interesting design choices.

Plastic Use in Phones

The vast majority of cell phones, regardless of price point, are still made of plastic, with polycarbonate being the preferred variety for use in mobile devices. Polycarbonate was once utilized for the hard shell on high-end smartphones like the Galaxy Note series as well as the LG G ranges, as well as on the Nokia Lumia smartphones. Plastic is the most value-adding material for a smartphone’s exterior, although these days it’s only used for mid- and low-range models. Looking ahead, upcoming smartphone technologies may introduce new materials and design approaches, potentially shifting the landscape of smartphone construction once again.


  • Metal and glass handsets interfere with the inner antennae, causing call and signal issues. Polycarbonate exteriors rarely have network troubles and allow manufacturers to insert antennae inside the device.
  • Relative to metal or glass, plastic phones are relatively durable. Plastic is more impervious to cracks & dents due to its mild flexibility, which absorbs shock when dropped.
  • Polycarbonate is cheaper than metal and glass, which is important when the smartphone industry grows saturated. Plastic gets less appealing when other materials become cheaper.


  • Without texture and ergonomic design, most smartphone plastics feel cheap. The move away from plastic in flagship models implies that OEMs have finally realized the drawbacks of plastic-clad smartphones.
  • Polycarbonate (and plastic) is a weak heat conductor, which means worse air dissipation if all else is equal. Plastic smartphones can sometimes overheat, which is bad for battery life.
  • It really depends upon your mobile usage and preferences. Because of the different types of bodies present in the marketplace, consumers have started to segregate themselves by purchasing smartphones of their favorite materials.


Mobile Doctor, a phone repair shop in Ottawa, provides all sorts of smartphone repair solutions. So don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to get an idea about the types of smartphones and component replacements.