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How durable is plastic on laptops/ultrabooks nowadays? Does it make much of a difference? I'm choosing between the Lenovo 320s and the Acer Swift 3. I'm inclining more towards the 320s since it's smaller and looks much better in my opinion, it also has an actual graphics card (mx150) and comes with windows unlike the swift 3 model I'm looking at. The main concern I have is that the bottom shell of the 320s is made out of plastic as opposed to aluminum on the swift 3. What do you guys think?

The specifications of the models I'm considering:

(the site is in Thai, but you should still be able to see the specs.)

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Aluminum will certainly feel much nicer and more premium. With plastic, it really depends on the quality of the plastics. Acer used to use pretty cheap and nasty plastics. Nowadays, they're decent. I've actually never heard of a Acer laptop coming shipped with eLinux. 

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I would imagine aluminium adds durability and can also contribute to the cooling aspect.

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I personally dont enjoy aluminum on laptops. While they look premium and may contribute to their thermal solution, they never felt good in the hand, pick greasy fingers up like crazy and I was always afraid of scratching or bending/denting the panels.

 

Matte plastic finishes do conceal scratches and wear much better and they dont bend/dent permanently.

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15 minutes ago, Vadise said:

I personally dont enjoy aluminum on laptops. While they look premium and may contribute to their thermal solution, they never felt good in the hand, pick greasy fingers up like crazy and I was always afraid of scratching or bending/denting the panels.

 

Matte plastic finishes do conceal scratches and wear much better and they dont bend/dent permanently.

Well... There's an opinion. I don't think I've ever heard it before but... sorry for the bad experience m8.

The more general consensus around aluminum is that it just feels and looks better. It doesn't have a significant impact on performance or durability, but it's stiffer and... just... better. A lot like leather in cars. It not better for any other reason than... it just is.  

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Aluminum bodies may help with thermals of the components, but it doesn't help with usability because the heat spreads out. There's nothing fun about using a laptop that gets to 45C+ anywhere that makes contact with lap or fingers. But heatmaps on Notebookcheck from recent aluminum body laptops show they seem to be good at keeping the heat under 45C.

 

I'm not sure how much better plastic vs. aluminum is either because it also depends on how the chassis was designed.

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7 hours ago, Crypt1c said:

I'm choosing between the Lenovo 320s and the Acer Swift 3. I'm inclining more towards the 320s since it's smaller and looks much better in my opinion, it also has an actual graphics card (mx150) and comes with windows unlike the swift 3 model I'm looking at.

I prefer full aluminum body, they feel much sturdier and durable (I'd tried it before), aluminum brush+plastic or full hard plastic also OK

 

FYI, Acer Swift 3 has a much longer battery life, also they have models with MX150

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