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Metal or Plastic? Does it Actually Matter?

1.0By Reuben Levine May 07, 2013 07:14 PM

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Metal or Plastic? Does it Actually Matter?

Just taking a glance at the recent HTC One reviews reveals that many feel that the smartphone has a premium feel to it. On the other hand, the even more recently released Galaxy S4 is made from plastic and the comparisons have not been too kind. Regardless of how well the S4 actually performs, it will be judged as a lesser device because it seemingly feels like one. This is unfortunate, but it's also true, especially for those that are fond of making snap judgments.

There is, however, actually a trick of sorts being played here. Because the One is smoother and has slightly more heft to it, we favor it as the premium device. The HTC One is made from aluminum, which is actually one of the softest metals. The body of the One is therefore more pron to damage. It's something of a trade-off. Damage will be shown more prominently on the HTC One than on the Galaxy S4.

Not too long ago a rumor was floating around that Samsung was going to alter the construction of their future devices based on the reception to the One. Now, even if that didn't turn out to be true (the jury is still out,) it's important because that's where the market is headed. We're at a point now where people aren't going to be comfortable going forward dishing out $200 for plastic, even if that means buying a more fragile device.

The Galaxy S4 is a fine device, but it doesn't feel like you think it should. This is arguably more important than the specs because it's how many people are going to form their first impression. We're talking general public here, not heavy tech users that will "know better."  The difference between the two phones is startling, but of course there is no accounting for personal taste. How influenced are you by looks and feel? Possibly more than you're willing to admit.

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