Samsung defends plastic S5 design

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has become an instant consumer hit with early sales outstripping those of last year’s Samsung Galaxy S4, but the phone’s plastic build has remained a stumbling block for many.

With rival handsets such as the HTC One M8, Apple’s iPhone 5S and the Sony Xperia Z2 adopting more premium materials such as metal and glass in their designs, Samsung’s insistence to stick with plastic has been criticised by many.

Now, however, Samsung has spoken out to defend the Galaxy S5 design, suggesting that plastic remains a better material than metal for building smartphones.

“Our major aims were usability, friendliness and a more humanistic design,” Samsung’s Senior Product Designer Dong Hun Kim said speaking with Engadget this week.

Although HTC has received praise for the brushed metal design of the HTC One M8, the S5’s lead Android rival, Samsung has claimed that metal phones are ‘heavy and cold’.

“We wanted something with a pleasing feel … and better grip,” Kim said. “If we used metal, [we felt] the designs felt heavy and cold.”

He added: “With plastic, the texture is warmer. We believe users will find [the device] both warmer and friendlier. This material was also the best at visually expressing volume, better at symbolizing our design concepts.”

While many consumers and industry commentators, ourselves included, have suggested the Galaxy S5 would have benefitted from a more premium build, Samsung has claimed it considered many materials for the S5 before settling back on plastic.

“With the GS5, we looked into all kinds of designs and materials. We were open to all options.”

Despite sticking with a plastic body for its flagship phone, Samsung has admitted that lead handsets are now about far more than simply the technology within.

Samsung’s Principle User Experience Designer, Jeeyeun Wang added: “It’s a fashion product now.”