Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5 by the materials used

By Daniel Chubb - Nov 23, 2012

There is a misconception when it comes to the materials used for the Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5, and while the Apple phones certainly use materials that cost more to manufacture it would be wrong to think they are better quality in a traditional manner. This is especially the case when you hear certain reviewers claiming the Samsung Galaxy S3 is cheaply made, and while it’s made from Polycarbonate, there’s nothing cheap about the design strength and reasons behind using this material. When we first held the Galaxy S3 the experience hadn’t been what we were used to, which is thanks to a few years of using metal smartphones, but after using the iPhone 5 since launch and every generation of Apple phone it’s starting to become clear why Samsung use a form of plastic.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5 is about polycarbonate vs. aluminium – there are pros and cons to both these materials, but the first benefit for Samsung is that it helps the company create a smartphone that costs less or at least lets them add more expensive hardware to deliver better specs. We’d like to point out that we own and use the iPhone 5, but feel the need to point out problems with the current design, which might handle knocks a lot better but certainly shows scratches easier. Our Black and Slate model has started to show the silver aluminium under the top coat, and while it doesn’t bother us a lot it will make some users unhappy.

You can see a photo above that shows you what we mean about the silver aluminium showing through if you don’t use a case from day one, although it is worth pointing out that this problem mostly affects the Black and Slate iPhone 5. Apple didn’t make changes to the iPhone 5 easily, they really wanted to make a few changes that kept what users loved about the iPhone 4S but also created something much thinner with better specs.

Apple’s official iPhone 5 Trailer can be seen below this article and it explains why they made certain design changes, although the scratches do seem like a problem Apple never expected with the iPhone 5 and could also be a reason why polycarbonate is a better material to build smartphones with. If you jump to 4 minutes and 50 seconds you’ll see Apple explain the creation process, which includes some nice images showing how the iPhone 5 is made with production starting with the machined aluminium. It is true that most products can scratch and we’re sure our readers will have different opinions on how easy the iPhone 5 can scratch, which is exactly why cases are available to purchase in the first place.

The polycarbonate Samsung Galaxy S3 not plastic – when you look at how the Galaxy S3 is made it is also pretty impressive, and while the materials used are cheaper in cost it shouldn’t be confused with “cheaply made“. Samsung has previously confirmed that the three layer polycarbonate chassis is much more advanced than some plastics used in other smartphones, and you’ll find polycarbonate on the battery cover, which is why some people don’t like the feel when compared to the iPhone 5 aluminium design. The bottom-line when it comes to the polycarbonate is that you’d find it much more scratch resistance, although you’d either love or hate the way it feels in your hand.

What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5 by the materials used? Do you have a preference over aluminium and polycarbonate, especially after reading the above and watching the video below? Most of us don’t like to hide the design of a smartphone thanks to this being one of the reasons we choose a certain phone in the first place, but we highly recommend a case with the Black and Slate iPhone 5. You might want to read about the Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5 by how flexible the batteries are in this article.

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Also See: iPhone X Plus size preview for concept lovers

  • jrod

    Looks bad or doesnt feel good? These are just phones you dont sleep with them right?

    • Scutter

      They are not just phones, they are powerful pocket sized computers. They sometimes make phone calls too. My phone tracks my sleep paterns to see how well I slept, so I do sleep with my phone too 🙂
      I am sad I know 🙂

  • Jorj_X_McKie

    Once the phone or tablet is in a case, it doesn’t matter so much. I much prefer to have a removable back polycarb cover for quick battery swapping on my phone. The folio case on my current Galaxy Note 10.1 is the same style as I had on my iPad3, and in use you have 10″ of glass in front of you. The material on the back is a huge overblown tempest in a teapot.

  • RGA

    Polycarbonate plastics are very tough, and are often used for bullet proof windows. Aluminium bends easily, and will break if bent back a couple of times. Iphone 5 reminds me of those cheap aluminium cigarette lighters you used to get on holiday with engraved stars on. They looked cool to start with, but soon looked tatty once they got scratched.
    So for me, polycarbonate plastic is just common sense really.

    • Asura Black

      I agree with you. I think the S3 feels alot nicer to hold. The aluminum only looks nice new and does bend quite easily. The Iphone in drop tests is known to warp and bend quite easily from just a waist drop if your unlucky. The silvery undercoating that is shown from scratches looks horrid to me and i couldn’t deal with it as it looks bad and feels bad. The S3’s polycarbonate is strong and when dropped wont bend or warp and to make it one better when dropped the S3’s case and battery can separate reducing the chances of damage unlike the Iphone. Though a Case makes this argument nearly invalid, there’s always a chance that one time you remove the case to clean it something could go wrong.

      • Drop tests? What kind of an idiot drops his smartphone? Do you look at drop tests before you buy your desktop and laptop, too? How many times have you dropped them?

        • T-Bone

          I look at drop tests before I buy. Why not just in case I do drop it on accident I want to know if it has a better chance of holding up. AND I check crash test data and results before I buy a car. I don’t plan on getting in an accident but I would like to know my car is on the safer side.

      • krudd

        I totally agree with your last sentence, one time I pulled my S3 out of the case too hard and it flew in a death spiral to the ground at a crazy speed. Only a dent in the top corner near the screen bezel. In theory, it should have been toast. Guess I got lucky.

  • ACI

    I had galaxy s3 and now have iPhone 5. So the 1st device I mentioned doesnt feel bad in the hand but just looks cheap to be honest. Samsung uses that kind of material for the past few years and it feels the same almost, nothing new. Nokia also used/uses similar material as Samsung, but to me it just feels better quality wise. Now for the iPhone 5, it looks premium, but really stops right there. Beyond that the quality of the aluminum apple used is either not that good or the made it too thin. I think the latter is the case. This material scratches easily and bends too. There is nothing special in iPhone to be honest although I use it myself, but for short time.