The back is the expression of beauty; since the birth of the full-touch smartphone, the material of the back cover has undergone many rounds of evolution. Stable on the back cover made of glass. The most commonly used on high-end phones is a glass back cover which has undergone several improvements. In this post, I shall acquaint you with the various materials for the back cover of phones.
Various Materials For the Back Cover of Phones
We will now proceed with reviewing all the various back covers used on phones. One of the questions I will be answering is how did the glass material develop into the mainstream material of the smartphone back cover Today?
1. Plastic Back Cover
Plastic, as a very mature and low-cost material, was widely used in the early stages of developing functional phones and smartphones.
Now it is curled up in some entry-level models. However, some top brands, including Samsung in his note 20(note 20 uses reinforced polycarbonate at the back), even use plastic materials as back covers in their flagship series.
▲ An example of A phone with A Plastic Back is The iPhone 5C
Nowadays, even if the smartphone uses a plastic back shell, it will try to make it feel like the texture of the glass.
Generally, the original plastic texture will not be displayed grandiosely, but often, things go contrary to expectations. The glass-textured plastic back shell is visual. Though It is close to the glass, the difference in hand feel is more prominent.
Plastic back-shells are not necessarily low-priced. There are also many kinds of plastics. PP polypropylene, PE polyethylene, PVC polyvinyl chloride, PC polycarbonate, etc., are collectively called plastics. PC polycarbonate is The most common plastic phone back cover material.
Polycarbonate has high strength, fatigue resistance, resistance to deformation, strong insulation, and strong coloring ability. It can be said to be the “star” in industrial plastic materials. Nokia’s Lumia series has used it to make flowers and play out. The iPhone 5C represents Apple’s use of polycarbonate material on the phone shell, proving that plastic can also play a high-level sense on the phone.
Using Glass Materials As The Back Cover of The Phone
Glass is the most commonly used material for the back shell of smartphones today. The iPhone 4 can be said to lead the entire smartphone industry to the era of glass back cover designs.
The use of glass, especially for the era of full touch screens, unifies the texture of the front and back of the fuselage, with higher aesthetics and more “high-end.” The scratch resistance is stronger than that of metal. Still, the disadvantage is that it is easy to It is broken and easily contaminated with fingerprints, and its thermal conductivity is relatively poor.
After developing the glass back shell for a while, mobile phone manufacturers collectively returned to metal materials. For a time, metal materials have become synonymous with high-end. From iPhone 5 to iPhone 7, Apple’s 5th generation iPhone still leads the trend of metal materials. ; After iPhone 8 / iPhone X, the entire market has returned to glass material until today.
Under the premise that the front of the fuselage is increasingly similar, the face value competition of major manufacturers is left with the back cover.
The glass back cover material not only plays with color but also plays with cutting and curved surfaces, various 2.5D glass, 3D glass, and even The entire back glass has been launched one after another, and many scratch-resistant glasses (such as Gorilla Glass, Super Porcelain Panel, etc.) are used on the back cover.
In the past two years, mobile phone manufacturers have brought some anti-fingerprints the way for the feel of the hand. , Anti-grease adhesion performance, brings the anti-glare technology to the mobile phone glass.
Anti-Glare, A special “matte” treatment is applied to the surface of the ordinary glass to disperse the concentrated reflection of external light on the glass surface to prevent glare effects.
The processing process allows the glass surface to adhere. Many fine and dense particles create a matte or delicate skin-friendly texture through different adjustment processes. Many manufacturers also add different textures to create different light paths and open up the difference in appearance.
Anti-Glare Processes on Glass
There are three AG processes on glass: spraying, coating, and chemical etching. Among them, chemical etching has the highest cost, the strongest integration, hardness, life and scratch resistance, and more advanced sense.
3. Ceramic Phone Back Cover Material
Ceramic material is not common as the back cover of mobile phones. It has a high cost and low yield. So far, only a few models are equipped with it, such as Samsung galaxy s10+ Xiaomi’s MIX 2, Meizu 17 Pro, OPPO’s Find X 2 Pro satin black version.
Ceramics have obvious advantages, not only beautiful, warm, and high wear resistance but there are many disadvantages. Although its thermal conductivity is stronger than glass, it is much worse than metal and better than glass. Metal is heavier than ceramic, and ceramic is easier to break than glass.
More importantly, it has a low yield and high cost.
4. Aluminium/Metal Back Covers
As mentioned earlier, there is a glorious period of metal materials between the two glass tides of smartphones.
For mobile phone backshells, metal is a big category. Different manufacturers, even different models of the same manufacturer, will use other metal materials for the back shell for various considerations.
For example, Apple used metal aluminum as the main back cover material in the first generation of the iPhone. Still, the strength and scratch-resistance of pure aluminum metal are weaker.
After restarting the metal back shell of the iPhone 5, it uses a higher strength and scratch-resistant metal.
The metal of choice was Aluminum alloy material. In addition, to ensure appreciable signal quality, the upper and lower parts are spliced with glass; until the iPhone 6 series, the aluminum alloy on the back has evolved, and the all-metal back shell is used instead of the glass material but adding multiple white strips design.
The iPhone 6 and the following 6S series are regarded as the biggest flaws in the history of the iPhone, but they have also attracted many imitators; until the iPhone 7, which was the last time the iPhone used a metal backshell.
Aluminum alloy is only the mainstream material in metal phone backshells. There are many metal materials used as mobile phone backshells. Some luxury mobile phone brands even use titanium alloy as the back cover of their fuselage, which is very overrated.
The biggest advantage of metal material is good heat dissipation, and the biggest disadvantage is that it will shield electromagnetic signals.
Later, it needs to be processed to affect the appearance. In contrast, glass material has better signal conductivity, and the integrated appearance can also be processed.
Furthermore, it can also be equipped with wireless charging technology, and the metal backshell will soon be “abandoned” by the mainstream market.
5. Using Leather As A Phone Back Cover
In the past two years, plain leather material has been favored by many manufacturers. Brands such as Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, and Realme have all launched models with plain leather backshells.
Plain leather is a type of leather. It is made of fabric as a base and added with various resins and plastic materials. It is artificial leather, opposite to animal leather, called plain leather.
The characteristics of plain leather are pronounced. It has a stronger electromagnetic signal-passing ability than glass and has a gentler feel, and is not easy to be contaminated with grease fingerprints.
Although it is not wear-resistant, scratches are not easy to detect. There may be more and more manufacturers in the future.
Of course, some brands have launched phones with leather back cover in addition to plain leather. The famous luxury mobile phone brand VERTU signature touch has launched phones with crocodile leather.
In addition to the mainstream mentioned above mobile phone back shell materials, there are some not-so-popular ones on the market: the Kevlar (aramid fiber) material in the early days of OnePlus mobile phones and the ones used in Moto X and OnePlus mobile phones. Bamboo/wood material and Moto X rubber material.
In addition to a single material, there are two or more material combinations for the back cover on the market. For example, the recent realme GT Dawning Edition and ZTE Red Magic 6 Pro use plain leather and glass and a mixed glass and metal design.