September 30, 2020

We asked, you told us: The $1,000 plastic Galaxy Note 20 is a no-go

Surprisingly, plastic doesn't seem to be the Galaxy Note 20's biggest issue at all.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 rear panel

Credit: Eric Zeman/ Android Authority

Plastic was used extensively in smartphone design just a few years ago but has since been usurped by glass on many modern devices. Now that phones regularly cross the $1,000 barrier, most buyers have grown used to expecting the premium feel of glass on these expensive devices. Now, this isn’t quite the case with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20.

While the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra does use an extensive amount of glass in its design, the $1,000 Galaxy Note 20 uses glasstic, a supposedly glass-like plastic that Samsung is hoping offers a better look and feel than traditional plastic.

In a recent piece tackling glasstic, we asked readers if the decision to use plastic instead of glass on a premium smartphone is an issue. Here’s what you told us.

Do you think $1,000 phones should be made out of plastic?

Results

This was a heated one which garnered just under 2,100 votes, but there’s a clear majority here.

More than 1,200 respondents—just over 60%—voted that plastic “should never be on flagship smartphones,� echoing comments we received on our glasstic opinion piece too.

Most users don’t believe plastic has a place on a phone that tops a company’s premium model range, especially considering Samsung flagships since 2015 have used a metal and glass construction. There’s also an argument for price versus value, and the Galaxy Note 20 seems to fall short of offering users a decent balance between the two.

There are some readers who don’t mind plastic at all. Just over a quarter of respondents didn’t see the use of plastic as an issue, but did suggest the “look and feel of the plastic� is important. From afar, the Galaxy Note 20’s back can easily be mistaken for frosted glass. There’s also a case from Samsung for using glasstic instead of glass. The former hides unsightly smudges, according to the company, and adds to a device’s durability when dropped.

Related: Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 series: Which should you buy?

Finally, there doesn’t seem to be a market large enough to warrant plastic flagships, at least not with a four-figure price tag. Just 14.2% of respondents would be “fine with a plastic flagship.�

Interestingly, readers have issues beyond the use of plastic on phones. The Galaxy Note 20’s main problem doesn’t seem to be its construction, but rather its sub-flagship specifications at a flagship price. Comments were pretty scathing in this regard, and you can read them below.

Here’s what you had to say

  • Drone9: To the rich that keep buying their products and telling Samsung they love it, anything is reasonable. No phone is worth more than $600 period.
  • Goran: Plastic back on Note 20 isn’t the issue. Price and specifications are. Note 20 is made to point you to buy Ultra. And to make Ultra “reasonablyâ€� priced. Samsungs illusion. Exynos in Europe and other markets is a disastrous choice.
  • MatteBlack: If it was leather, vegan leather, or some other “premiumâ€� material—but that isn’t even the main problem. They cut waaaaay too many corners with the regular note. I would say it’s a $700 phone, max.
  • Marl/o: Plastic is not the problem: specs/price is.
  • ArchonJK: Honestly, I’m fine with a flagship having plastic for durability reasons (as long as it’s built properly and won’t snap in half). But the 1080p 60hz screen on the Note 20, a $1000 phone, is simply unacceptable. And it’s not like Samsung took the money saved on glass onto improving the screen, they are just pocketing the money.
  • Nostromo: Preference is subjective of course but when I think back on my phones of the past twenty years it’s the rubberized back of the early Motorola Droids, the Kevlar-backed Droid RAZRs and the textured back of the LG V10 that I remember as most pleasing. Not everyone is going to have the same memories as have I but that’s to be expected.

That’s it for our plastic poll. Thanks for the votes and comments on this one. If you have further thoughts on the results, be sure to drop them down below!