Plastic shell or metal unibody. I don’t care!


Recently, HTC made an announcement saying that they will reduce the usage of metal in their phone’s body from 60% to 30%. My instinct tells me that we will see better looking and never-seen-before models from HTC. Ever since Desire was launched, every subsequent smartphone design looked more or less similar, thanks to unibody casing. The design became so repetitive that you just need to know the specs and you can imagine how the phone looks and you will be damn accurate by 90% atleast. While for laptops, a unibody case works well, the same won’t apply well for a smart-phone, at least for me.

Build quality related response on unibody shells  is one thing that I never accepted or it was highly exaggerated. Whenever people see a phone with unibody metal shell, they go ga-ga that it has much superior build quality and act as if it is indestructible.  How come my “plastic” N900 or the 5800XM that I used earlier never got damaged? As a matter of fact, none of the phones that I have used till now had build related death, whether the phone has plastic shell or metal shell. How many of your phones made out of good quality plastic died due to poor build quality? My friend’s Samsung Galaxy S which was ridiculed for having ‘plasticky’ build is going strong after so many accidental falls. So, what “REAL” advantage does metal unibody has over quality plastic in terms of build quality. So, I think we will start seeing uniqueness in every HTC smartphone from now. Moreover, it is easier and costs less to make phone’s body out of metal when compared to unibody aluminium. Even a very high quality plastic case costs less than a good quality metal case. (please correct me if I am wrong here).

When it comes to signal reception, radio antennae under metal shell is never a good design. Legend had comparatively weaker signal strength and I have been noticing signal reception issue related news coming out on a regular basis w.r.t HTC Sensation. Nokia, with N8 was able to handle this in a different manner, by placing antenna near the top where the phone’s shell was made of plastic. With less amount of metal, I think there shouldn’t be such issues for HTC anymore.

In short, I think we will see HTC devices with better and unique designs, with better signal reception (across all devices) and more importantly, with less compromise w.r.t build quality.

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