Other Plastic Back?

czbuckeye

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 18, 2018
9
7
I was just wondering if anyone else would be in favor of a plastic back on a budget iPhone? I would rather the XR type of the phone for the future have a plastic back for durability and the ability to charge. I loved the 3G iPhone plastic back and they could even use a higher quality back to meet their current standards. I personally hate the glass back that is currently being used and allows Apple to collect enormous fees for repairs.
 

JPack

macrumors 601
Mar 27, 2017
4,655
6,966
Plastic means a 20% thicker chassis. It worked when iPhone had a 3.5” and 4” display. But thick 6.1” phablets aren’t user friendly.
 

czbuckeye

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 18, 2018
9
7
Plastic means a 20% thicker chassis. It worked when iPhone had a 3.5” and 4” display. But thick 6.1” phablets aren’t user friendly.
I agree for a flagship product, but for a budget phone I feel like it is a viable option. Still, a very good point.
 
Last edited:

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,164
12,997
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
I was just wondering if anyone else would be in favor of a plastic back on a budget iPhone? I would rather the XR type of the phone for the future have a plastic back for durability and the ability to charge. I loved the 3G iPhone plastic back and they could even use a higher quality back to meet their current standards. I personally hate the glass back that is currently being used and allows Apple to collect enormous fees for repairs.
Apple tried that.

They called it the iPhone 5C. If you don't remember the iPhone 5C, well there's a reason Apple hasn't repeated the design.

PS. The 5C's plastic was described as 'premium'.

 

EssModelsRule

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2017
250
177
The 5c was set up for failure right out of the gate. Basically a 5 repackaged in plastic, or you could spend $100 more and get the premium 5s with its aluminum casing, all new TouchID, 64 bit chip, much better performance, etc. It was a no brainer to get the 5s. If they were to try this experiment again today, hopefully they could come up with a more compelling option. So a plastic casing adds thickness, ok, but you wouldn’t have to put a case on it and the camera bump might be gone. Could be a good idea.
 

antwon412

macrumors member
Apr 22, 2010
79
41
I loved the 5c. If I didn’t already have a 5 at the time I would have gotten one in a second. The more colorful the better.
 

czbuckeye

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 18, 2018
9
7
The 5c was set up for failure right out of the gate. Basically a 5 repackaged in plastic, or you could spend $100 more and get the premium 5s with its aluminum casing, all new TouchID, 64 bit chip, much better performance, etc. It was a no brainer to get the 5s. If they were to try this experiment again today, hopefully they could come up with a more compelling option. So a plastic casing adds thickness, ok, but you wouldn’t have to put a case on it and the camera bump might be gone. Could be a good idea.
100% agree, slightly thicker but for a budget phone that is more durable, who cares? I looked and the 5C was 17% thicker than the 5s.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EssModelsRule

EssModelsRule

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2017
250
177
100% agree, slightly thicker but for a budget phone that is more durable, who cares? I looked and the 5C was 17% thicker than the 5s.
Maybe that’s the right formula for a SE2. Spec it like a XR and give it a 5-ish inch screen in a plastic housing... I’d buy it. They could easily sell that for $599, or $150 less than the XR.
 

JPack

macrumors 601
Mar 27, 2017
4,655
6,966
Maybe that’s the right formula for a SE2. Spec it like a XR and give it a 5-ish inch screen in a plastic housing... I’d buy it. They could easily sell that for $599, or $150 less than the XR.
Another consideration might be thermal design. Unlike the iPhone 5 era, the A12 now consumes around 5W peak. This would be difficult for a plastic chassis to handle without throttling. So for $599, a hypothetical XRc might also perform like an iPhone from a year ago.
 

EssModelsRule

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2017
250
177
Another consideration might be thermal design. Unlike the iPhone 5 era, the A12 now consumes around 5W peak. This would be difficult for a plastic chassis to handle without throttling. So for $599, a hypothetical XRc might also perform like an iPhone from a year ago.
iPhones from three years ago still perform well, so with more recent and efficient chips surely they could find the right balance of performance and heat management.
 

The-Real-Deal82

macrumors 604
Jan 17, 2013
7,681
11,632
Wales, United Kingdom
The 5c was set up for failure right out of the gate. Basically a 5 repackaged in plastic, or you could spend $100 more and get the premium 5s with its aluminum casing, all new TouchID, 64 bit chip, much better performance, etc. It was a no brainer to get the 5s. If they were to try this experiment again today, hopefully they could come up with a more compelling option. So a plastic casing adds thickness, ok, but you wouldn’t have to put a case on it and the camera bump might be gone. Could be a good idea.
I thought the 5C was pretty successful? I saw them everywhere when it was released.
 
  • Like
Reactions: seinman

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,307
30,543
Plastic is useless in new iteration of iPhone’s as glass back is a must to enable wireless charging.
Although your correct about glass is conducive to wireless charging, Apple could have used a different material like a poly- carbonate plastic, that’s still would be sufficient for wireless charging, they simply chose glass probably because of aesthetics as well.
 

Gudi

macrumors 68030
May 3, 2013
2,703
1,363
Berlin, Berlin
I would rather the XR type of the phone for the future have a plastic back for durability and the ability to charge.
What makes you think plastic is a durable material?

https://www.wired.com/2008/07/whats-cracking/
[doublepost=1542409026][/doublepost]
100% agree, slightly thicker but for a budget phone that is more durable, who cares?
Less durable! Plastic is way less durable than glass. That’s why it needs to be much thicker to not break instantly.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 65816
Apr 8, 2015
1,263
458
I have a 5c. Doesn't feel cheap, it's durable, I use it daily. It's reasonably fast (even though it was updated to iOS 9), and I really like it.
Apple apparently didn't seem it successful enough to repeat the design, but that doesn't make the 5c a bad device.
 

EssModelsRule

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2017
250
177
I have a 5c. Doesn't feel cheap, it's durable, I use it daily. It's reasonably fast (even though it was updated to iOS 9), and I really like it.
Apple apparently didn't seem it successful enough to repeat the design, but that doesn't make the 5c a bad device.
There’s a solid argument for a new version today in my opinion if they could make it smaller and cheaper than XR. And offer it in black!
 
  • Like
Reactions: FeliApple

The-Real-Deal82

macrumors 604
Jan 17, 2013
7,681
11,632
Wales, United Kingdom
Less durable! Plastic is way less durable than glass. That’s why it needs to be much thicker to not break instantly.
You can’t make a general statement like that when there are thousands of types of plastic all with unique levels of hardness, durability, density etc etc. It’s nothing to do with thickness and you only have to look at the grades of ABS and polycarbonate that phones casings have been made from over the past 20 or more years. Like metals, plastics come in a huge number of varieties.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BugeyeSTI

Gudi

macrumors 68030
May 3, 2013
2,703
1,363
Berlin, Berlin
You can’t make a general statement like that when there are thousands of types of plastic all with unique levels of hardness, durability, density etc etc.
Yes, I can! There are equally as many variants of glas and aluminum, yet the underlying chemistry is always the same. I dare you to permanently bend a glass pane at normal temperatures without breaking it. Also find me a translucent radio-transparent aluminum alloy. You have thousands of varieties to choose from.
It’s nothing to do with thickness and you only have to look at the grades of ABS and polycarbonate that phones casings have been made from over the past 20 or more years.
Ask your mother for some kitchen foil to test your theory that thickness and frangibility of a material have nothing to do with each other. The Pentagon will make you a billionaire, if you build them indestructible tinfoil tanks.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,307
30,543
I have a 5c. Doesn't feel cheap, it's durable, I use it daily. It's reasonably fast (even though it was updated to iOS 9), and I really like it.
Apple apparently didn't seem it successful enough to repeat the design, but that doesn't make the 5c a bad device.
Actually, the 5C was a successful design choice and it was very popular phone. But like Apple, they don’t specifically always offer the same thing every year. Sort of like the Jet black iPhone 7, that was a limited anodized color that they never returned, even though it was favored to be one of the best looking iPhones of all time, aside from that it could scratch easily.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FeliApple

pika2000

macrumors 603
Jun 22, 2007
5,361
4,584
The Chinese OEMs (like realme) can do plastic backs that look and feel premium like glass.

I miss the days of rubber like plastic backs phones where you don’t even need to use a case. Glass feels nice, it slippery and fragile.