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Samsung defends plastic S5 design, suggests metal phones are ‘heavy and cold’

Luke Johnson


Samsung defends plastic S5 design, suggests metal phones are ‘heavy and cold’
The plastic S5 design has been widely criticised

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has become an instant consumer hit with early sales outstripping those of last year’s Samsung Galaxy S4, but the phone’s plastic build has remained a stumbling block for many.

With rival handsets such as the HTC One M8, Apple’s iPhone 5S and the Sony Xperia Z2 adopting more premium materials such as metal and glass in their designs, Samsung’s insistence to stick with plastic has been criticised by many.

Now, however, Samsung has spoken out to defend the Galaxy S5 design, suggesting that plastic remains a better material than metal for building smartphones.

"Our major aims were usability, friendliness and a more humanistic design,” Samsung’s Senior Product Designer Dong Hun Kim said speaking with Engadget this week.

Although HTC has received praise for the brushed metal design of the HTC One M8, the S5’s lead Android rival, Samsung has claimed that metal phones are ‘heavy and cold’.

“We wanted something with a pleasing feel ... and better grip,” Kim said. “If we used metal, [we felt] the designs felt heavy and cold.”

He added: "With plastic, the texture is warmer. We believe users will find [the device] both warmer and friendlier. This material was also the best at visually expressing volume, better at symbolizing our design concepts."

While many consumers and industry commentators, ourselves included, have suggested the Galaxy S5 would have benefitted from a more premium build, Samsung has claimed it considered many materials for the S5 before settling back on plastic.

“With the GS5, we looked into all kinds of designs and materials. We were open to all options.”

Despite sticking with a plastic body for its flagship phone, Samsung has admitted that lead handsets are now about far more than simply the technology within.

Samsung’s Principle User Experience Designer, Jeeyeun Wang added: “It’s a fashion product now.”

Read More: Samsung Galaxy S6 rumours


April 24, 2014, 11:44 pm

I agree with what Samsung syas. Specially for a country like UK. I got the M8 and returned it. Felt very heavy in the hand and cold. I didn't fancy answering the phone in the winter.


April 26, 2014, 11:43 am

Yeah, great decision mr Dong (Samsung’s Senior Product Designer)! Thats why for the first time in five years Samsung started loosing market share.


September 25, 2014, 11:09 pm

Polycarbonate is far more durable than metal or glass. Aluminum is maleable, meaning if you bend the phone, it's going to stay bent. Polycarbonate is elastic, meaning that if you bend it, it will spring back to its original form. Glass will fracture.
Same with dropping it. An aluminum body will deform and pit upon impact. A glass body will fracture/shatter, but a polycarb body will bounce back to its normal shape.
Metal may "feel" more luxurious, but that's a bullshit marketing tactic. Gold would "feel" more luxurious than aluminum, but would be an even worse material due to extreme maleability. Aluminum phones are entirely about style over substance, and are marketed to demographics that support that philosophy.
Polycarb phones are about practicality (not that they don't also look good too). They don't market themselves on their build material, but rather their capabilities. Function over form.
If you want a stylish device you can show off, but is fragile, then buy metal or glass.
If you want a durable phone, get polycarb.

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