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Why Samsung will launch a metal Samsung Galaxy S4 before Christmas

Andy Vandervell


Metal Samsung Galaxy S4
Metal Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One

There's still a week or two until the Samsung Galaxy S4 goes on sale, but already there's a prevailing opinion that Samsung has lost the Android phone zeitgeist to the HTC One. Why? Because the HTC One is made from sleek aluminium, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is made from ‘cheap’ plastic.

It's a simple difference and it has already sparked a great deal of debate. In our initial Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One comparison, opinions were evenly split. Everyone agrees the HTC One looks and feels nicer, but plenty pointed out the S4's pop off back and built-in microSD card slot made it more practical.

That's a perfectly valid argument. In the wider world, however, the first opinion anyone remembers is this: 'it feels cheap'.

This is a problem for Samsung and it knows it. This week's story that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 could be metal has more than a whiff of speculative rumour about it, but it's one I believe for two reasons:

1) Samsung is very sensitive to criticism and bad press

Like any successful company, Samsung understands the power of good press and positive momentum. It listens very carefully and cares deeply about what people, whether it’s the press or the wider world, think of it. When people say your flagship smartphone, nay the flagship product of the whole company, ‘feels cheap’, important people stand up and take notice.

2) It acts faster than any rival

And this is why Samsung is as successful as it is. It’s easy to listen; it’s easy to pretend to listen. It’s much harder, and far more important, to listen and act. Samsung is better at acting fast than any tech company I know.

It was the first to respond to the original Apple iPad, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab; it swooped in and dominated a large part of the netbook market thanks to the Samsung NC10, a product that was conceived, designed and built in mere months; and it has used its manufacturing might and expertise to trounce its rivals in the TV market.

It listens hard, it analyses and it executes faster than any of its rivals. That's why Samsung has gone from being a backwater budget electronics brand to one of the leading lights of the industry.

A metal Samsung Galaxy S4 before Christmas...

That's why I'm making a prediction – the kind of prediction that people will point and laugh at me for if I’m wrong.

Samsung will launch a metal design Samsung Galaxy S phone before Christmas.

It may be an update to the S4, it could even carry the Samsung Galaxy S5 moniker, but in a year when another iPhone is due and HTC has stolen a march in the quality stakes, Samsung can’t afford to stick with a phone that ‘feels cheap’.

If it does, it risks denting the value it has built-up around the Galaxy phone brand. That’s worth a lot and Samsung isn’t the kind of company that stands idle.

Andy Vandervell is Deputy Editor at Trusted Reviews. He tweets at www.twitter.com/andyvan and you can follow him on Google Plus too.


April 15, 2013, 5:08 pm

The whole material argument that the press keeps pushing around is really getting tedious.
It only forces companies to copy the other fashionable brand, like making three 2013 top tier phones (Xperia Z, Optimus G and Nexus 4) pointlessly fragile while substantially reducing their functionality, just to please the apple-enamoured press.
Samsung's glossy plastic is horrible, yes, but polymers are not all the same and more importantly aluminium isn't the messiah, it chips and dents way worse than plastic, forces you to have an "unibody" chassis in order to retain a decent rigidity while excluding removable batteries and sd readers in the process.
It's ok to push the industry to ditch glossy plastic and experiment with better material, it's stupid to force them towards alu.


April 15, 2013, 6:25 pm

I'm pretty sure aluminium is way more rigid than the paper thin plastic Samsung uses in SGS3 for example, so unibody is not required. The screen glass alone gives plenty of rigidity. And even Lumias creak.


April 15, 2013, 7:14 pm

Metal dings, dents, scratches easier and does not flex back into shape unlike plastic. Metal can be strong but has to be quite thick and heavy or have a uni-body design but then you lose expandability such as removable memory cards and removable battery.

I don't trust a word what trustedreviews says because mostly nonsense and rhetoric with their own hidden agendas.

Most people put their phones into a case anyway so you don't feel or see the metal anyway. I don't know what trustedreviews is talking about but the S3 looks and feels premium. The S4 is even better. I find the iPhone design bland, boring and the rectangular sides are just a bad design. Round edges feel so much better.


April 15, 2013, 9:04 pm

Fair point about aluminium, although it's not the only metal option going. If Samsung went with a Lumia-esque polymer, it could have the same effect. The main thrust remains the same, though. Doing nothing isn't an option.


April 15, 2013, 9:07 pm

What about the HTC One? It has round edges, too, you know...


April 15, 2013, 10:14 pm

what "paper thin plastic"? If you are refering to the back cover then you are being either deliberately provocative or obtuse. The back cover is not a structural component and is the better for being as thin and flexible as possible. The structural chassis of the phone is certainly not paper thin.

David Preston

April 16, 2013, 7:27 am

Another blog with in accurate information. Give it a rest. The plastic is stronger more durable, why would you want a phone that dents easy, and is more open to the elements, IE condensation? I will only buy Plastic because I want a phone that lasts. You Iphones Jealous people can keep ur posh looking devices. Just because it looks posh, doesn't mean it is, Iphone is the old Blackberry, on a slide. No thanks.

David Preston

April 16, 2013, 7:34 am

Drop an HTC One and see what happens. Also Google HTC One Water Damage People are finding out the hard way Bringing a cold Metal phone in from the Cold has issues and is costing them big time and condensation hits the sensors and Warranty voided. Is that really the phone of choice?


April 16, 2013, 9:02 am

I think you'd struggle to convince many people of that. I'm not saying I disagree with you but I'm just pointing out that most people would prefer the feel of the Aluminium in the hand. It definitely looks nicer too. This could all be moot though as most people just put any phone in a case to protect it when they drop it.

Personally I quite liked the Kevlar backing that Motorola use - aesthetically and ergonomically it is a pleasing back to have in your hand.

Don HO

April 16, 2013, 9:19 am

Look still cheaper.

Gavin Martin

April 16, 2013, 9:33 am

I've got an HTC One (which is not to say I don't like the S4, both great phones), my first Android phone. It's great.

And I don't plan on dropping it - nor would I do so with an S4 if I could help it, since the most obviously fragile piece is the screen, which is easily broken whether the phone is metal or plastic.

I don't get why people get caught up in the "I like X, therefore Y is a piece of junk" argument. They're all good, and what people spend their money on is just a matter of personal taste.

Gavin Martin

April 16, 2013, 9:41 am

The only answer is carbotanium (a weave of carbon composites and titanium), as used in the Pagani Huayra! I'm sure it really wouldn't be prohibitively expensive...


April 16, 2013, 12:17 pm

If a "Premium" casing makes the phone faster, provide more usability and
functions then PLEASE make them with "Premium" materials. They get "Premium" phones only to have it fully enclosed in a case protector. Yep those aluminum\glass body sure does look good thru the case.


April 16, 2013, 12:19 pm

what?! you clearly don't understand the nature of these two materials.


April 16, 2013, 1:56 pm

>>The plastic is stronger more durable

I'd suggest you go on YouTube and check out some drop tests. Unfortunately the plastic gives, and this in turn cause the screens to crack very easily. Even Android Authority who would be pro S3 found out when comparing the S3 to the ip5.

Also be careful of anonymous reviews knocking the HTC, just found this out on BBC -> Samsung probed in Taiwan over 'fake web reviews'.

ps: I'd post a links but then this post would take 2 days to appear :)


April 16, 2013, 2:23 pm

Drop an S3, and see what happens. Also plenty on the internet of S3 and water damage due to condensation.

Both phones have there Pro's and Con's, try sticking to those. Plastic been more durable is not one of them.

Nate Ebner

April 17, 2013, 7:44 am

Aluminium definitely isn't the only option. But more premium feel materials are a bonus. Also glass is known for being fragile and shattering easily, and companies like Corning have done a lot to work at increasing it's physical properties to make it more suitable for phone use.
Could someone do something similar with aluminium?

Also, re cases. The slip case is the best solution IMO. Protection in your pocket/bag, and the look and feel of the device you paid for when you use it. Get a nice thin real leather one, and it makes next to no difference in the pocket. I have a Bugatti one (they looked good and were cheap, not bothered re the brand) that cost me £15 from Amazon. It looks good, feels good, and shelters my phone in my pocket, while allowing my phone to look like it was designed when I use it.


April 18, 2013, 10:21 am

This is just trolling.

David Preston

April 25, 2013, 11:44 am

I just dropped my S3 and there isn't a scratch on it, working fine. My gf drops her Note 2 Daily (really wished she wouldn't) and its fine, no scratches or anything. I mean if you throw it at the Floor then the results maybe different.


April 26, 2013, 8:52 am

Al or Mg alloy machined monoblock case with removable rear section for battery, SIM and MicroSD, plus an unbreakable 6.3" full hd plastic AMOLED screen and some good speakers (ala HTC one) would be fantastic. Then add Octo core c/w 4 gig ram and 1 gig graphics. Supply it with Key Lime Pie and 64 Gig memory (min), a high quality CCD and a good low light lens . . and . . . I'm getting one. Otherwise I'll wait for iPhone 6 with new iOS.


April 29, 2013, 10:09 pm

I dropped my old IP4 plenty of times no damage, so what point was you making? Drop tests done with S3 show how the plastic gives, and then puts lateral force on the gorilla glass causing it to crack easer than if the frame is made out of a more solid material. So the comment on this thread saying drop HTC and see what happens just seems ironic really.

Nate Ebner

May 10, 2013, 5:34 pm

That sounds like a great phone, and way way better than the iPhone 6 will be.

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