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Caius Filimon

Metal unibody phones are a dead breed; Pitiful phone design

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm hoping others could share in my disappointment and disgust with the phone designs of today.

 

There's now officially (to my knowledge) no higher-end phone line that is made of a full metal unibody.

 

The absolutely brain dead designers of the Black Shark 3 release a cooling fan to be slapped on the damn GLASS back of their phones.

 

Even the Red Magic series has gone to crap; their latest '5G' garbage is glass-backed. What's the point of the cooling fan then? A fully passively cooled phone with an aluminium back is far better at keeping the phone cool than a pitiful cooling fan. And then they also reduce the battery size of this new model. 

 

And with that we see the death of the last phone line with high end chipsets that has a metal unibody.

 

I am also a disappointed that Linus didn't address this in his vid on the Red Magic 5G.

 

And so, anyone else sharing these worries?

 

What is the point of having phones made of a material that is more brittle, far worse at keeping the chipset cool, is slippery, and to me absolutely does not feel better or more premium in the hand than metal?

 

And do any of you know of other metal unibody phones that house anything better than a snapdragon 855 or kirin 980 and above?

 

 

 

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who cares? you should use a case for it anyway, no matter what the back is made of. 


She/Her pls :) 

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9 minutes ago, Caius Filimon said:

my disappointment and disgust with the phone designs of today.

Right there with you. I blame the makers copying slavishly anything that Apple does. 

Screw that noise. Hate Apple and what they've done by turning everything into a disposable toy.

 

Give me a user replaceable battery and a real qwerty keyboard on my phone and I"m happy. Everything else is secondary.

 


So rise up, all ye lost ones, as one, we'll claw the clouds

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Posted · Original PosterOP
12 minutes ago, Twilight said:

who cares? you should use a case for it anyway, no matter what the back is made of. 

Did you read the post?

 

If you argue that people use cases anyway, then why in the heck should phone designers destroy the thermals of phones by slapping glass on their backs?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, Radium_Angel said:

Right there with you. I blame the makers copying slavishly anything that Apple does. 

Screw that noise. Hate Apple and what they've done by turning everything into a disposable toy.

 

Give me a user replaceable battery and a real qwerty keyboard on my phone and I"m happy. Everything else is secondary.

 

What about foldable, lightweight bluetooth keyboards? Too unwieldy for you? I'd say that phone-sized qwerty keyboards are a bit impossible to use effectively.

 

But yeah... extremely disappointing. But then, as long as you have some glue, can source the spare battery, and are cautious in the way you pry the phone apart, it's not that hard to replace the battery by yourself.

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Just now, Caius Filimon said:

What about foldable, lightweight bluetooth keyboards? Too unwieldy for you? I'd say that phone-sized qwerty keyboards are a bit impossible to use effectively.

 

But yeah... extremely disappointing. But then, as long as you have some glue, can source the spare battery, and are cautious in the way you pry the phone apart, it's not that hard to replace the battery by yourself.

I'm currently using a BlackBerry KeyONE. I *love* it. Yeah the battery can't be replaced, and that sucks (well, not easily anyway) but the keyboard makes up for that. Since I use my phone for phone stuff 9calls, texts), having the most powerful CPU isn't critical to me.


So rise up, all ye lost ones, as one, we'll claw the clouds

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Glass draws attention to more customers. Imagine if a chinese brand like oppo or one plus did that first. They would get so much hate, because glass is glass and glass breaks. But just because samsung and apple did that first now everyone is doing it. Those plastic carbon fiber looking devices look better in my opinion and even though they may be cheaper to make, companies still keep them to their customized/special model smartphones.

Metal backs are now well beyond gone.


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Metal has the issue of hindering wireless signaling (requiring small bands to be cutout), and prevents wireless charging from being a thing. Unless an especially hard alloy is used, metal Is also more prone to scratches as well. Further, metal doesn’t necessarily mean durable, depending on the alloy and internal design. iPhone 6 (Bendgate) aside, there were a few metal body phones out there that bent easily. The Huawei Honor 7X was one such example. 
 

The brittleness of glass is a pretty big problem to overcome though. Aesthetics are great, and the hardness of Gorilla Glass lend a great deal of resilience against flexion and scratching, but knock it on the edge and they tend to shatter. 
 

From a pure objective standpoint, plastic may be a superior choice. While aesthetics are largely (if not entirely) sacrificed (not “premium” + scratch prone even in a case), plastics hinder neither signaling nor charging in the slightest, and proper design can provide a great deal of rigidity while providing enough impact resistance to protect crucial components. 
 

In most cases though, I don’t think cooling is a big issue. Many designs use the display as a heat sink. Certainly designs that use double stacked PCBs, I’m not even sure how the cooling works. The copper content of the actual PCBs working as a heat sink?

 

1 hour ago, Radium_Angel said:

Right there with you. I blame the makers copying slavishly anything that Apple does. 

Screw that noise. Hate Apple and what they've done by turning everything into a disposable toy.

 

Give me a user replaceable battery and a real qwerty keyboard on my phone and I"m happy. Everything else is secondary.

 

Amusingly, I’ve found many iPhones to be far from the worst offender in regards to common replacements. Both display and battery are very straightforward replacements, with the latter not requiring any force to remove due to pull tabs. I don’t even need to use new adhesive for the display if I’m willing to forgo water resistance as I can just screw it in and call it a day.  

The battery replacement on my old LG G2 wasn’t fun, and required plenty of prying, pulling and bending of the old battery, and I had to pretty much gut my Dad’s Honor 7X to get the display replaced. Further, cleaning the old adhesive from the body and applying new stuff was both mandatory here (no screws nor clips to keep the display in), and a time consuming Pain in The Ass. 


The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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I think both glass and metal backs have their pros and cons.
 

Glass looks nice and feels nice. You (usually) don't get scratches in it because it is so hard, the cold and smooth feeling is part of the whole "premium" experience for many and it allows for wireless charging.

Metal also has a great feeling to it and, at least in my opinion, feels more premium than glass. It also transfers heat better which, as you pointed out, would have advantages for high end gaming phones.

 

But I actually think that glass has more advantages than metal. Mainly, though indirectly, structural integrity, as crazy as it sounds.

People want thin and light phones. And they are supposed to be sturdy. But if you build a phone out of metal you can't have both.

 

Modern glass sandwiches have a central metal frame that everything is attached to. The glass doesn't add structural integrity there.

But if you build a phone with a metal back then you either have that metal hooked up to a central metal frame, which would be sturdy but also very heavy,

or you have everything hooked up to the unibody casing. In that case you either have a very sturdy unibody, which would be heavy and thick, or a thin unibody, which would be lightweight but also very flimsy and bendable.

 

If we were to build phones with a unibody design again we would be back to the days of the iPhone 6, 6s and 7, which were all very bendable and not sturdy at all compared to new phones.

I mean, look at Zachs videos on JerryRigEverything and compare the bend tests for the iPhone 6 through 8. Starting with the iPhone 8, which was a glass sandwich with a central metal frame compared to metal shells before it, the iPhones stopped bending.

Samsung phones build like glass sandwiches were also very sturdy from the start.

 

Then there is the fact that metal scratches easily.

Sure, glass breaks if you drop it while metal just scratches or you get some blemishes. But metals also get scratched more easily in general. So if you do not drop your phone the glass is gonna look nicer for longer.

 

The answer here would be to use harder metals that don't scratch as easily. But those are usually either heavier than aluminium or much more expensive (either to buy or because they are more difficult to work with). The iPhone 11 Pro with its stainless steel frame already feels super heavy and dense. Now imagine that with a stainless steel unibody casing.

The iPhone 11 Pro weighs 88 grams.

A metal unibody would probably have a total volume of 10 to 20cm³.

The density of stainless steel is 8 g/cm³.

So if they were to use a stainless steel unibody casing for the new iPhone, if they keep the size the same the casing alone would at best weigh as much as the current model itself and at worst it would weigh twice as much. Now if you add the rest of the device you might be looking at a phone that weighs between 200 and 300 grams. A Pro variant of the next iPhone could then weigh as much as the 11 inch iPad Pro.

That simply isn't feasable. They would also take away wireless charging after being late to the  game in the first place :P

 

So essentially glass sandwiches make it easy for manufacturers to build lightweight phones that offer a ton of features without being overly fragile. They are not going anywhere.

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I agree. I want phones to come with metal unibody.

 

People citing the cons of metal are idiots. I have a OnePlus 3T and it has no weight or signal issue. Its also only 7.4mm thick.

 

The industry just copying each other and making slippery, brittle fingerprint magnets even when the device has no wireless charging.

 

With a metal back and flat screen, you can run the phone totally naked besides the screen protector. And not have to cover up the back design that is used in advertisement all the time.

 

I am tired of having to put a condom on the thing because its too weak to survive a fall on its own.


Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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2 hours ago, huilun02 said:

I agree. I want phones to come with metal unibody.

 

People citing the cons of metal are idiots. I have a OnePlus 3T and it has no weight or signal issue. Its also only 7.4mm thick.

 

The industry just copying each other and making slippery, brittle fingerprint magnets even when the device has no wireless charging.

 

With a metal back and flat screen, you can run the phone totally naked besides the screen protector. And not have to cover up the back design that is used in advertisement all the time.

 

I am tired of having to put a condom on the thing because its too weak to survive a fall on its own.

A rubberized body with a rigid stainless interior frame would be ridiculously difficult to kill, with the body keeping edge impacts from shattering the display. Though special considerations would need to be made to cooling so as to accommodate high end SoCs. Else a cut back, cooler running SoC could be used instead. 
 

A carbon fiber rear panel with rubber edges and interior metal frame could look quite “premium”. 


The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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13 hours ago, Caius Filimon said:

Did you read the post?

 

If you argue that people use cases anyway, then why in the heck should phone designers destroy the thermals of phones by slapping glass on their backs?

Glass is a better material feature wise. Doesn’t scratch as easy, doesn’t dent, you can use wireless charging with it, weighs less etc. Also the hottest phone I’ve had was the metal backed iPhone SE. My XR and 11 Pro have been fine. If you have a good enough SoC u less you’re rendering videos etc it should be able to run anything without getting uncomfortably warm or dropping performance due to thermals.


Dirty Windows Peasants :P ?

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14 hours ago, Twilight said:

who cares? you should use a case for it anyway, no matter what the back is made of. 

Meh, careless klutzes or raging gorillas need cases. The rest of us do just fine without.


Hand, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody’s pocket.

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9 hours ago, huilun02 said:

I agree. I want phones to come with metal unibody

Not me. I actually want phones with plastic, soft-touch backs. It's cheaper to manufacture, so I'm not paying extra just for "cool" looks -- that I don't even care about! -- and it has no issue with radio-transmissions passing through, and plastic can even be made self-healing nowadays, so scratches can just simply disappear within a few days.


Hand, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody’s pocket.

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3 hours ago, WereCatf said:

Not me. I actually want phones with plastic, soft-touch backs. It's cheaper to manufacture, so I'm not paying extra just for "cool" looks -- that I don't even care about! -- and it has no issue with radio-transmissions passing through, and plastic can even be made self-healing nowadays, so scratches can just simply disappear within a few days.

Not very environmentally friendly though 


Dirty Windows Peasants :P ?

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12 minutes ago, Lord Vile said:

Not very environmentally friendly though 

Pretty sure glass-backs are even worse.


Hand, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody’s pocket.

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7 minutes ago, WereCatf said:

Pretty sure glass-backs are even worse.

Can recycle glass fairly easily. plastic is a lot harder. Plus plastic is made of oil, glass isn't


Dirty Windows Peasants :P ?

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Is it too much to ask for a product that will survive a drop on its own?


Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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1 hour ago, huilun02 said:

Is it too much to ask for a product that will survive a drop on its own?

Yes apparently. Who doesnt like spider webs on their phone?


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10 hours ago, huilun02 said:

Is it too much to ask for a product that will survive a drop on its own?

If you don’t care for scratch resistance, this would actually be quite easy. Softer materials absorb impact a lot better. With a thick plastic or rubber bezel, and plastic outer layer for the display with a mm or two of gap, the display would be quite well protected. 
 

Though people don’t like looking at scratches much. Though a tempered glass screen protector would alleviate scratching to the plastic underneath, and be easily replaced in the event of damage. Just, don’t use the phone without it. 😛

 


The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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17 hours ago, huilun02 said:

Is it too much to ask for a product that will survive a drop on its own?

From reasonable heights most phones will survive a drop. I launched my XR on more than one occasion on concrete (by accident) and all I got was some dents in the aluminium, glass was fine. 


Dirty Windows Peasants :P ?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 4/8/2020 at 12:13 AM, Zodiark1593 said:

Metal has the issue of hindering wireless signaling (requiring small bands to be cutout), and prevents wireless charging from being a thing. Unless an especially hard alloy is used, metal Is also more prone to scratches as well. Further, metal doesn’t necessarily mean durable, depending on the alloy and internal design. iPhone 6 (Bendgate) aside, there were a few metal body phones out there that bent easily. The Huawei Honor 7X was one such example. 
 

The brittleness of glass is a pretty big problem to overcome though. Aesthetics are great, and the hardness of Gorilla Glass lend a great deal of resilience against flexion and scratching, but knock it on the edge and they tend to shatter. 
 

From a pure objective standpoint, plastic may be a superior choice. While aesthetics are largely (if not entirely) sacrificed (not “premium” + scratch prone even in a case), plastics hinder neither signaling nor charging in the slightest, and proper design can provide a great deal of rigidity while providing enough impact resistance to protect crucial components. 
 

In most cases though, I don’t think cooling is a big issue. Many designs use the display as a heat sink. Certainly designs that use double stacked PCBs, I’m not even sure how the cooling works. The copper content of the actual PCBs working as a heat sink?

 

Amusingly, I’ve found many iPhones to be far from the worst offender in regards to common replacements. Both display and battery are very straightforward replacements, with the latter not requiring any force to remove due to pull tabs. I don’t even need to use new adhesive for the display if I’m willing to forgo water resistance as I can just screw it in and call it a day.  

The battery replacement on my old LG G2 wasn’t fun, and required plenty of prying, pulling and bending of the old battery, and I had to pretty much gut my Dad’s Honor 7X to get the display replaced. Further, cleaning the old adhesive from the body and applying new stuff was both mandatory here (no screws nor clips to keep the display in), and a time consuming Pain in The Ass. 

 

I think it's simply a case of terrible design that metal unibody phones bend. I've never had a metal unibody phone bend on me, even if used very heavily and not with much care. For example my current Red Magic 3 is hard as a rock; it literally cannot be bent. As has Jerry Rigs Everything proved.

 

With regards to connectivity, it's really not an issue either, again, as long as the design isn't crap. I've never had bluetooth or 4G issues with my metal phones. And I've always used both glass and metal phones at the same time. 

 

As for the thermals, well, I also have a Huawei tablet; the M3 8.4 incher. The second I apply a fan to its back, its GPU performance goes up by almost 30% in my experience. It's a huge difference.

 

If you have better thermals, you can also overclock without any concern. All it takes is the CPU to be pasted to the metal unibody. It's so simple. And if you don't overclock, it ensures better health and stability for the processor; why not keep it as cool as possible? Provides performance and/or stabiliy/longevity.

 

As for the metal scratching more easily, there can indeed be a different type of alloy used. If that's too expensive, then just let people use phone cases as they are forced to right now for fear of cracking and destroying their entire phone (destroying water proofing and structural integrity). A couple scuffs are far preferable to a broken back.

 

And wireless charging is useless. Just buy magnetic cable pins. Get far faster charging with the same convenience. Also with the added benefit of keeping your USB ports clean of dust and damage.

 

And let us not forget THIS: GAMING PHONE MAKERS decided to change to god damned glass backs! How brain dead can they possibly be??? To then also release a phone cooler to slap on the GLASS BACK of the phones??????? Can ANYONE explain this?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
20 hours ago, seanondemand said:

Wireless charging.

/thread

Magnetic clip-on cables. Protect USB port as well as provide faster charging. Wireless charging is rather dumb if not very high wattage.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
21 hours ago, huilun02 said:

Is it too much to ask for a product that will survive a drop on its own?

The Dooge s95 pro if you want chipset performance.

 

Blackview BV9800 Pro otherwise.

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