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LG: 'We are experimenting with metal and ceramic phones'

Luke Johnson



The LG G3 might have missed out on a premium metal finish, but LG has confirmed it is already looking at the high-end material for its future smartphone offerings.

Speaking with TrustedReviews following the long awaited unveiling of the G3 this week, the Korean manufacturer has revealed that metal phones are already circling its design labs as it plans a continued assault on the industry’s big players.

“As a large corporation, we are doing everything,” Chul Bae Lee, Vice President of LG’s Mobile Communications Design Lab told us.

In terms of smartphones we are also preparing and experimenting with metal phones and doing some ceramic phones and we will see if they fit into our strategy.

Despite confirming that it is looking at manufacturing metal phones in the future, Lee offered no details on when we can expect to see such device’s hit retailer’s shelves.

Although the LG G3 had been widely expected to land with a brushed metal finish, the phone was announced earlier this week with a plastic build coated in a metallic effect finish.

Discussing the reasoning for avoiding a metal build for its latest flagship phone, Lee told us the company had no choice if it wanted to reach other hardware and design checkpoints.

“To maintain the compactness of this phone, there is no other choice than this material,” he said.

“If I had applied metal to the G3 is would be much bulkier in the bezels and in all four directions. It would be very big and very heavy.”

He added: “I decided to simulate the metallic material. We ordered a special, very thin metallic film that is laid inside a mould and injected.”

Read More: LG G3 vs LG G2


June 1, 2014, 9:05 am

If metal was the best material for the application, but was being displaced by poorer, cheaper alternatives on the grounds of cost, then I would understand the moniker "premium" being applied to metal. But, like the man says repeatedly, metal simply is not the optimum material for the job here. There are much better matierials, objectively better because they enable desireable outcomes like thinner bezels, lighter weight, thinner bodies.
The whole 'metal is premium' thing seems to be based on emotion and by association with other applications where perhaps metal is the optimum/premium choice. But it seems like a huge distraction here - why chase after using a sub-optimal material which entrains so many design compromises, especially when it costs more than better materials?


June 2, 2014, 4:59 pm

HTC M8 seems to get the metal thing and make it work albeit with huge bezels, much bigger then the Xperia Z2, but it has the best load speakers of all the phones. Same with the the iPhone though I don't understand why iPhone gets a pass on the Bezel Front. Its Bezels are huge relative to it's screen size.


June 2, 2014, 7:40 pm

So, apart from the huge bezels, how else does using metal improve the phone? What is it about metal that earns it this name of "premium"?


June 3, 2014, 3:08 pm

I guess you would be arguing with every dude that doesn't purchase a Plastic Casio Watch. Because those plastic watches tell time just as good as any high end Watch you would find at the jewelry store.


June 3, 2014, 4:16 pm

Actually, no, I wouldn't. In a phone metal seems to come at the cost of design compromises, like fat bezels, poor RF performance. No such compromise in a watch.


June 3, 2014, 5:11 pm

You asked me what makes it premium and now you go on about poor RF performance. If you don't understand why humans prize one material (ie gold, diamonds, rubies) over other materials regardless of what they actually worth or do then I give up. Please go ahead and wear those Casio Watches. Give your wife/girlfriend fake Gold/Diamonds/Purses etc, etc. Its all the same anyways and I'm sure they will prize them just the same.


June 3, 2014, 7:19 pm

But you never did answer "what makes metal premium" (in the context of mobile phones). You just went on about plastics in a different application entirely.You seem to miss the point again when you go on about fake jewellery - these precious materials have a role in jewellery, they are its essence, but a phone is not a jewel.
It is all about the application. Different applications, different materials are best suited. A gold ring, yes please, a gold mobile, er, no thanks.
Besides which, why even introduce gold and diamonds into the debate, nobody seriously ever suggested using them to make a phone chassis, which was the original application under discussion. Base metals were under review, and so far you haven't suggested how they improve a phone.


June 3, 2014, 9:45 pm

Yeah, I missed the point. Unbelievable!! Look I don't really care to convince you because you are one of those guys that can't see the forest from the trees. Apple, HTC, and Sony have spent billions of dollars on their products marketing them to be more of a "Premium" brand than the rest because of the materials they use and you still don't get it. LG takes the G3 plastic back painted to look like Brushed Metal in the hopes that people think its more premium and you don't get it. The Galaxy S5 gets knocked because it feels like cheap plastic and unbelievably you don't get it! Seriously the world gets it, but you don't. I really don't care to convince you other wise because you will never get it.


June 3, 2014, 10:03 pm

I'm just intrigued that you are so obviously wedded to your conviction and yet unable to support it. Your only justification is to keep repeating it as a self-evident truth, all the while never giving any rationale. And it's all my fault for being 'one of those guys'.


June 3, 2014, 10:11 pm

I really don't care to support it because you are just one of those guys that doesn't get it. It's just you. No one else. The world gets it. Look at the title of this freaking article. LG is experimenting with more premium materials!! Everyone understand this but you.


June 3, 2014, 10:25 pm

Sorry Dude, you will never get it. I really have more important things in my life that I would like to spend time doing than convincing a guy that will never understand.

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