Flip flop: new rumors suggest Samsung is going the fantastic plastic route for Galaxy Note 3


galaxy note 2 office

The last time we heard about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, we were hearing the Korean manufacturer was looking to go with a new metallic design for the upcoming smartphone. The move was an effort to improve its phones’ build quality after being worried about the beautiful finish of the HTC One. If new rumors are to be believed, it looks like Samsung could be playing it safe this go around.

According to a trusted insider of SamMobile’s, the company will look to continue with its plastic roots with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It would be an unfortunate turn of events, if true. It’s not that Samsung’s phones are built bad — they are actually quite solid to be plastic. But consumers want their phones to feel like they just spent $200-700 on them, and you don’t quite get that feeling with today’s designs.

Samsung tried to look the part with the Samsung Galaxy S4, with some folks mistaking the chrome-like band around the device for metal, but nope — that’s plastic, too. We’re not sure what the cause for Samsung’s stubbornness on the issue of design is, but we hope that stubbornness will evaporate at some point in the future.

This doesn’t mean Samsung was never thinking about changing up on the design of their mobile products. It could be that Samsung still isn’t comfortable enough to make a change at the current research and design level for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. With most devices on a 12-18 month cycle, we’re already pretty far into the Note 3’s process — perhaps it just wasn’t in the cards.

But if Samsung really was thinking about going with a new design, we know they’ve been thinking about it before the Samsung Galaxy S4 was even announced. With that, we imagine the earliest timeline for change could begin with whatever the successor to the Samsung Galaxy S4 is, but as usual nothing is certain. The only thing we’re certain about is this — we’re tired of plastic, already. Do something drastic for a change, Samsung.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. The S4 is the fastest selling phone of all time. People don’t care nearly as much as these tech sites would lead people to believe. But, I know the media and such has to have something to gripe about. The sales numbers tell a different story though.

    1. Faster than any iPhone? I read that it was the fastest selling Samsung, but I didn’t think they beat anyone other than themselves.

      1. Just face the reality, don’t get envy/ hurt when the other oem is greater than the others, just enjoy what you have. Like me, I choose htc one over sgs4 ‘coz I’ve already have a gnote2. The reason i choose htc one is the front speaker, fhd slcd3, design with aluminum body, FM radio ( hope someday they will add am radio too! For me !!! ), even I worry after a few years when battery is totally dead, ‘coz I’m planning to use/keep it as long it is work. ;-)

        1. Oh it doesn’t bother me. I’d just rather see more competition rather than 2 companies dominating the mobile world. I definitely like that Htc One, just played with one yesterday at the T-Mobile store :)

    2. You’re right, it’s working for Samsung, but I would still like to see something a bit different.

      PS: I think it’s only the fastest selling phone in Samsung history, and maybe the fastest selling Android. I don’t think it’s the fastest selling phone of all time.

      1. The plastic body makes the phone have some flex to it when your drop it. Have a rigid form with an aluminum body does not always mean the phone is more durable. I actually like the plastic on the Note 2. It doesn’t scratch easily and it pops off easy if i need to get to the SD card or the battery.

        1. You’re definitely right about that. *Looks at Motorola DROID in horror*

    3. People care. Just not enough to not buy the phone. The majority of the people I know who have the SGS3 don’t care for the glossy plastic. Some think it’s downright terrible. It just wasn’t enough to get them to not buy the phone, especially when you can just pop a case on it.

      1. I love my Note 2, but hate the plastic design.

    4. Only online bloggers care about plastic. Good thing Samsung doesn’t listen to them, go with market research and make billions. But yes, now that they are so big in Android (95% of all Androids sold are Samsung lol) , why not an option for aluminum for those that want it.

      1. I’m not an online blogger…and I want a metal chassis. Or even Xperia Z’s glass.


      2. I don’t blog and I care. I’ve avoided the Galaxy phones because when I pick them up they feel cheap as hell…. but really its because TouchWiz sucks :P

    5. Just because people buy it doesn’t mean they love the plastic design. I bought the Note2 and love it but I hate the plastic, and a few other things.

  2. Hopefully the Htc One sells so well that they start to consider it, but like Mark said, the S4 is doing quite well.

  3. Most people wrap their phones into a protective case anyway. So the feeling of having a premium device gets wash away the minute they put the phone into the case. Besides, if its working for them to make their device out of plastic and still sell millions of the device why would they change the build material?

    1. I actually don’t mind the home button nearly as much as I thought I would when I got my S3, in fact I labeled it as a deal breaker for myself when they first announced the S3 but then later played around with my brothers S3. Now, I actually kinda of prefer it. So much nicer to turn the phone on. The thing that I wish they would do though is replace that damned menu button with a recent apps button. I’d rather long press home for menu when there’s an app that doesn’t conform to android 4.0 guidelines.

    2. the difference is:
      you wrap an HTC One in plastic to protect it…
      you wrap an S4 in plastic to HIDE it.

  4. Never had much issue with the plastic design of my gNex…..it’s the home button that totally destroys the great design of the S4 for me. Okay I am exaggerating, but I take more offense with the home button and other buttons OEMs put on the front of the device than with plastic materials.

  5. What is the percentage of people who put their high end smart phones in cases? I imagine the percentage will go up even higher as more people pay cash and go the used route to avoid signing contracts. This whole finish thing is overblown.

    1. I don’t even remember what the nexus 4 feels like without a case. I’ve never used it without a case. Is it cheap feeling? I don’t even care, nor would i know.

    2. Never used a case.

  6. More than changing the plastic, change the design Samsung! Make your device look better, or at least have a different design for high-end and low-end. It’s okay if you stick to an awesome design for every device, but since the look of these Galaxies is anything but awesome, it’s not okay.

    1. I think the GNex design is spot on, nice and understated with no front buttons and just the minor detail of the speaker grill and camera. Even the little bump at the bottom of the back is perfect for use in holding the phone even though it probably wasn’t designed for anything other than the speaker.

  7. Good! Plastic > Metal when it comes to phones.

    1. Glossy plastic < Matte/textured plastic.

      1. So true… Plastic isn’t the problem persey, glossy plastic is the problem. Makes it feel cheap.

        1. Also makes it slippery.

          That’s what she s…ah, forget it.

      2. i will have to agree, but like Tomm says, we all wrap our phones in something.

        1. We can buy an aluminum back cover on eBay later on… no biggie!!! :)

          1. And loose NFC support? NEVAHHHH!!!!!!!!

    2. Yes! ツ (I live plastic, and love it) never understood why so many people “say” they don’t like plastic? It takes a beating and keeps on kicking!

  8. I had a One but didn’t like that menu bar that popped up because apps wasn’t using the new guidelines. Videos look like ass too

  9. Good. I prefer the lighter plastic to the heavier metal. By the way, that vaunted metal ‘gapless’ HTC One looks pretty bad once those gaps become apparent. You know you can actually stick your fingernail in between the metal and plastic and bend out the metal? I was doing it on the store model. Could have permanently bent it if I tried. Gap-less my a$#! The metal is rigid and doesn’t flex the same as the plastic, creating a gap that will show up layer if it hasn’t already.

  10. Plastic, metal, glass…makes no difference to me. A Coke is a Coke, regardless of the container.


    1. Wrong, Glass> Aluminum Can> Plastic Bottle. Source? I drink a ton of Coke, those Mexican glass bottled coke is the best.

      1. @705e9685ae09bbc74bdb3a7936f00c37:disqus knows what’s up.

      2. your order is absolutely correct, from another Coke lover… but Mexican coke tastes better for reasons beyond it’s container… it’s the sugar!

      3. You do know they don’t use the same ingredients in the Mexican version, right? Oh, you didn’t? Now you do. Basically it’s like saying metal phones are better because you like HTC Sense UI.

        Now, if you were half the Coke drinker I am, you would know that you can get American style Coke in a glass bottle at Christmas…and that it tastes the same.

        1. Wrong! Wrong! its not just the sugar, one of the reasons Coke has been so successful world wide is that it allows the formula to be tweaked to satisfy different palettes world wide. Dont try to tell me about coke son.

          1. A) I didn’t say anything about sugar. I said they use different ingredients. You agree with me.

            B) The fact that it is a different formula (and you know it) means that your analogy breaks down. It doesn’t taste better because of the container, it’s because of what’s inside…you just said so.

            For the record, I wasn’t trying to have a discussion about soda. I was merely referring to the fact that the container doesn’t dictate the experience. So, I will stop trying to tell you about Coke now, dad.

          2. Actually even then, can coke tastes much much better than plastic bottle coke. So yes the container does play some kind of role.

          3. Okay, so what you’re saying is that you refuse to take analogies at face value, want to knit-pick about *your* beverage preferences and have no intention of letting the conversation revert back to the original point: that it doesn’t matter to *me* what material is used on the outside of a phone.

            Great! Now I can stop responding to you. If you had just said that from the beginning, you would’ve saved us both a lot of keystrokes.

        2. You know Mexican coke uses real sugar and american coke uses corn syrup right?

          1. Yes, I do. What does that have to do with the materials used for the container?

  11. To anyone concerned with ‘plasticky’ material used by Samsung should read the book, “Why things break”

    Understanding that hard materials transfer kinetic energy far better than plastic is one. Knowing that Samsung phones plastic housing actually pops out on a fall is a good thing. It displaces the energy, thus reducing shock to other more fragile parts… such as a glass screen.

    edit: sorry for repeating myself here.
    The fact that it’s lighter AND displaces energy upon falls means there is a better chance your screen won’t crack.

  12. If metal means the phone will be heavier, then I’m all for plastic. Screw metal in that case!

    1. how heavy it is doesn’t bother me I prefer some heft to remind me which pocket its in .

  13. Build quality matters, but there is a difference between build quality and materials of construction. Metal is not synonymous with quality. I’ve seen too many brushed aluminum dashes that look like crap when scraped up in high end cars? I have an S4, and I love the replaceable back, and the S-view cover it enables. It’s a quality device, even if it’s plastic. Ground breaking design? nope. good freaking phone? yup.

  14. “But consumers want their phones to feel like they just spent $200-700 on
    them, and you don’t quite get that feeling with today’s designs.”

    no, thats just tech bloggers. consumers don’t care, they will put on a case immediately because they paid $200-700 for it.

    1. Wrong. Why do you think the iPhone is so popular? People always tell me “my phone is premium” or “my phone is expensive and fancy”. Stupid stuff like that. It’s all a matter of opinion, you know?

      1. Do people think their iPhone is premium because of opinion? Or because all the surrounding noise of ads, reviews, product placement and its fashion accessory status makes them believe it is?

        1. They think its premium because they pay a premium price for it(non subsidised) apple has some really asinine pricing for their phones…..Samsung is getting that way too now though.

        2. They think its premium because the device feels premium in their hand. Samsung phones feel like cheap plastic. (I would still buy a Samsung over iPhone any day).

        3. Depends on the person. My friends and relatives that have one, actually think it’s premium. They love the look and feel of the aluminum, and they feel it feels and looks much better than plastic. Some people think it’s premium because of ads and such. I’m not saying you are wrong at all. it just depends on the person.

          1. I think it looks great as well. But my post wasn’t a challenge to what you had said – it was a statement more to highlight that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t objectively think it’s premium based on opinion… but simply because they’ve been told it is repeatedly and don’t raise any challenges to that or answer why they think it is/what they don’t like about it.

      2. they are talking about the brand not the build quality. put an apple logo on anything… people will buy it.

      3. So I guess nobody bought those plastic iphones a few years back? Or those plastic ipods? You have a short memory.

        1. Was I talking about the older phones? No. While they may have been popular, I’m sure they aren’t as popular as the 4, 4S, and 5 are now. Yeah, people bought those, but that doesn’t mean they thought they were premium, like they do now. I never knew anyone calling the old ones premium, but they call the new ones premium. Hmm..I wonder why.

  15. I prefer plastic if they can get their build quality under control. Much of the build quality issue I have with my Note II stems from the design rather than the quality of assembly.

    The back cover is a cheap-ass piece of plastic with the shoddiest of “tabs” to hold it on. I use a BlueLounge Milo for holding the phone at the office, and the back cover separates from the phone when removing it, even slowly and carefully. It creaks like grandpa’s osteoporosis-ridden joints. While I like the look of the finish overall, it feels greasier than a pan-fried cheeseburger with minimal use.

    It doesn’t look like a $200 phone, much less a $700 phone, when the cheap “metallic-look” coating on the s-pen chips off to reveal the white base of the plastic. C’mon, Samsung- you’re a flagship manufacturer. Come to the table with flagship build quality.

    1. The cheap chrome plating on the sides of the phone chips easily as well. If they do stick with plastic at least stop the crappy chrome plating, and the cheap looking gloss finish.

  16. The popular media really don’t understand anything about materials or build quality for that matter. The whole debate was clearly started by morons who need to find some rational reason as to why they paid an outrageous sum of money for their phone.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with plastic, it’s light, durable, resistant to corrosion and is good at letting radio waves pass through it. It comes in a variety of colours too.

    It’s quite easy to make a phone feel super solid if it doesn’t have a removable back, battery etc. Remember in the past when you dropped your dumb-phone the battery cover would fly off and the battery would come loose? That simply doesn’t happen with Samsung’s design, which secures the back panel very securely.

  17. The plastic on my S4 back doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would… but I’m one to choose function over form any day… the utility of having a removal battery & SD > having a sexier looking less functional device…. after all, that is why I switched from iOS to Android to begin with with the Nexus One :)

    1. The Nexus One had form and function. It is still one of the nicer phones I’ve ever owned and haven’t owned a Nexus device since then because of the plastic builds. I had to pick between the N4 and the M7(One) when my contract was up. I went with the M7 but still might pick up a Nexus 4. OTG cables are fine for me on additional storage and I found that even on my phones that have removable batteries I never change them anyway.

      1. Agreed, I rarely change mine either, but it’s one of those things that is invaluable to be able to do if/when you need to.

  18. Well designed carbon fibre.. textured to assist in holding the phone safely in the hand…. with enough flex in it to assist in opening the back easily in order to get to the battery and SD Card
    Just dont stop using plastic ….there is nothing wrong with it…Samsung should not worry ….Just concentrate in doing justice to large screens …beautiful displays …large sized memory and big removable battery…..EVEN IN ALLTHE FUTURE TABLETS…. and Samsung will have a faithful consumer base for a long time to come…..Oh …and do not forget a good camera able to take sharp images in the dark.. One more thing …a catch for the strap/lanyard to keep the phone safe around the wrist.Thank you

    1. I’m sure they’ll get right on that.

      1. Would it not be amazing if they did? It would certainly mean that Samsung takes all these thought s of their consumers into cinsideration…and so I have to put forward my 2pence worth into the pot…I do look forward to the future
        Products from Samsung …more than from elsewhere…I do look at other products from the likes of Sony and HTC and Nokia and of course Apple …but I wont buy those other gadgets…. because of the non removable bsttery and
        lack of SDcard…To me all those gadgets will remain as museum pieces….lovely to look at and that is all.Charging batteries outside a gadget is important to me.Having a spare battery fully charged is just as important.But I am sure you know all about it…. HOWEVER…IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY THESE THINGS …SMALL DETAILS MATTER JUST AS MUCH AS THE MOST SPECIAL PIECE OF TECHINICAL INNOVATION THAT GOES INTO MAKING A GADGET.If Samsung started to make similar products as HTC OR SONY OR NOKIA OR APPLE with non removable batteriesand non existant SDCard slots then I would not buy their products .I currently have a Note1 and Note 2…I would not move from these two phones …and I would certainly care aHoot for all the selfishness of marketing men who would not care for my basic needs in a gadget from their business establishment.Please do not take offence with these words…They are there for CLARIFICATION .Thank You.

        1. I have no idea what your point is. What I will say is that they will NEVER be able to please everyone. You want removable battery and SD card support, others want unibody construction and will complain about “build quality” if the battery is removable, there’s an SD card slot, etc.

          Luckily, there are various manufacturers producing different form factors, but one company can not please everyone.

          1. Hi …so far so good with Samsung as far as I am concerned…but things can change….and as I said earlier NO REMOVABLE BATTERY and No SD Card slot and that would mean that Samsung will lose me as their valued customer .Innovation should not compromise certain staple requirements…. and I write my two pennies worth to see if Samsung might understand my needs….Other companies that I mentioned have already laid their course to estblish their client base….GOOD LUCK TO THEM….. SO IT LEAVES SAMSUNG TO THINK OF THE BASICS …THE BATTERY AND SD CARD SLOT… If Samsung go the same route as those other businesses … then there are very few manufacturers left of any tech importance at present…so that would mean that I will have no option but to live with my Galaxy note 1 and 2 until the forseeable future which could be 2 or 3 or 4 or even 5 years… and I can stop being a slave to INNOVATION as well..
            JUST LAYING OUT A SET OF WISHES …I am sure there are a whole lot of people who think the same as me
            So my friend ..try and understand I am one customer stating a set of facts as I view them…..after all ..I am going to spend my money to
            buy a product..and I want Samsung to hopefully fulfil a set of wishes
            in the next potential phablet that I am very much looking forward to.

          2. Hey man, glad you like Samsung. I’ve had mixed results with Samsung products from a reliability perspective, and their firmware update schedule is pathetic, but back in the day HTC wasn’t much better.

          3. Samsung is going to be a very interesting entity to watch In the next few years…Tech wise….I just hope that the battery technology can improve as fast as the software tech…..unfortunately it will be sometime before that happens….so in the meantime I hope customers like me will have a sympathetic company like Samsung to provide certain Tech products to drool over…The bendy plastic will be something to look forward to for later this year or in 2014… for now Good night to you .Be well… Look forward to some other chats in the future.

        2. I dont know… 64gb on board with the HTC One vs 16gb and an SD card on the GS4… i’ll take the 64 on board since you can actually install apps to it and it runs so much faster than SD. I know Samsung makes the larger models, but they’re stingy with them in the US.

  19. who cares if its plastic, you’re most likely going to put a case on it.

    1. I have no case on SG3 and don’t mind the plastic. I’ll take the lower weight.

      1. Even better. If you ding up the back cover up, just get a new cover. Unlike my iPhone 5 – if I ding the back up, no getting a new back easily. I prefer plastic for lighter weight and more durability.

    2. Nope, not everyone.

  20. Just accept that once it goes in the case, who cares?

    1. I don’t use a case, so yea, I care.

  21. I actually like the plastic on my GS3. It’s lightweight, looks good, and I haven’t had any problems with it yet. I don’t even have a phone case because I like the way the phone looks without all that extra heft that comes with a case and I have not had any problems with the plastic yet.

  22. I really like the materials of the HTC One; but need a big screen. If another competitor comes out with a large screen AND metal casing, bye Samsung!

  23. They just worried when they see the beauty of HTC one but, all of their doubt are absorb when sgs4 is sell very well.
    The glossy back cover of sgs series is only part that people argued about, hope the Samsung bring back the matte finish of like gs2, gnote1, gnex back cover, that’s better than the glossy one.

  24. THANK GOD!!!!

    automatically equating metal to “premium product, high quality, well built” is for ignorant fools!

  25. I have the S3 with no case. Its perfectly fine. Ive had iPhones and numerous android phones. The S4 does feel more sturdier, but this whole Plastic vs Premium argument is stupid. For real. Its personal taste. I just dropped my S3 and it went into three pieces on a hard surface at the mall, not a scratch on it. I did the same with an iPhone a few years ago. Guess what? Shattered. How is that Premium? Preferences is like a butt hole, everyone has one.

  26. So does anyone know when the Note 3 is supposed to be released? I’m due for a new phone and would like to wait to see it to decide between it and the S4..

  27. Samsung phones are made with plastic.. deal with it, quit blabbering about it. It’s old and it’s tiring to read it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    Samsung is successful without plastic from Galaxy S till now, leave it alone. We want to read about something else, Not continue whine about plastic over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    Ok.. before being labeled as Samsung fanboy. I need to clarify that I’m not. I buy phones based on specs.

  28. I love the plastic feel of my s3, the plastic keeps the phone lighter and doesn’t scratch as easily as metal finishes. I think it feels like a real high end phone as well, which is saying a lot since I owned an HTC Vivid before the s3

  29. I like the plastic. Feels comfortable in my hand. Cracks me up that everyone complains about plastic phones then gets a metal phone and puts a particular case on it. Just because it’s a better material doesn’t mean it’s a better choice. I held the htc one and didn’t like the feel but my note 2 feels great.

  30. “”… consumers want their phones to feel like they just spent $200-700 on them, and you don’t quite get that feeling with today’s designs.””

    Speak for yourself. I prefer plastic, because I KNOW it’s superior to metal in every way except for the very odd current trend of “premium feel”.

  31. I have the metal iPhone 5, plastic GS3 and Note 2. I prefer the plastic construction to the metal iPhone 5 that I have to baby in a cover lest it get all dinged up.

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