Samsung’s Plastic Design Vindicated in Repairability Test, Trumps iPhone 5s, HTC One

Samsung GALAXY S 4

Samsung’s plastic design for its high end smartphones has come under sharp criticism in recent days from reviewers. None of Samsung’s devices has taken a lot of that backlash than the Galaxy S4. Though it still continues to be at the top of the table with its head held high, Samsung’s design just got another confidence boost. iFixit just released a ranking out of ten of the most easily repairable devices in its 2013 Repairability Index and guess what? Tables have been turned. Those devices with “premium” aluminium unibody designs are down there while the often battered “cheap” plastic designed Galaxy devices lead by the Galaxy S4, are up there.

Leading the pack is Motorola’s ATRIX 4G and Droid Bionic which scored a super impressive 9 out of a possible 10. A bevy of Samsung Galaxy devices then follow. The galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II and the good old Galaxy Note all score 8 out of 10. One thing all those Galaxies have in common is their plastic design. Samsung has for a long time used plastic on all its flagship devices ever since the first Galaxy S device came out. The same has been case with the Galaxy Note series with the Galaxy Note 3 being the latest in that line (though the Note 3 hides its plastic back cover with some faux-pas leather casing). With a plastic design, all these Samsung devices as a result have removable back covers making them easy to replace batteries should need arise and also to repair. Such earned a device more points and can explain why devices like the first ever iPhone scored a measly 1 out of 10 while this year’s iPhone 5c (which has a plastic body construction) got the same mark as an aluminium iPhone 5s. The plastic iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS on the other hand trumped even Apple’s latest and greatest 5s by scoring 7/10. Save for the iPhone 5, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, all Apple iPhones scored 6/10. Alongside the Samsung Galaxy devices at 8/10 is this year’s Blackberry flagship device, the Z10. Dell’s discontinued Streak also scored the impressive score of 8/10 as was the indefatigable Nokia N8. Nexus devices like the Samsung Nexus S and the LG Nexus 4 tied at 7/10.

Shock on you, the HTC One managed just 1/10. The phone which has earned rave reviews from all and sundry and is one of the best designed smartphone (if not the best) of this year leads from behind.

These scores do not in any way mean that plastic designs are more superior to the polished finish of the sleek glass and polished aluminium of some devices but it is an indicator that plastic designed devices also have their own advantages so spare me the fanboy and troll wars and be happy with the device you have. See a section of the devices and the scores below:

Smartphone Repairability Scores



Source: iFixit