In an age where handsets are becoming slimmer and sleeker it appears that many people would also like smartphones to be tougher and less prone to damage. A Dialaphone poll has found that a majority of our readers wish mobile devices were built with more rugged frames that would stand up better to the trials of everyday use.
Looking at a leading handset like the Samsung Galaxy S4, this may be hard to believe as the Korean firm’s flagship has a slender 7.9mm thick chassis. Samsung has encountered some criticism for the form factor of the Galaxy S4, much of which has been directed at the flimsy polycarbonate backplate, but this hasn’t stopped the device already having passed the 10 million sales mark.
Where Samsung’s latest high-ender has been criticised, HTC has been widely praised for the premium feel of the HTC One and its aluminium frame. However, even a sturdy-feeling handset such as the Taiwanese firm’s flagship would be prone to scratching if dropped, detracting from its otherwise fantastic looks.
Across the wide array of smartphones on the market, there are many devices which look like they wouldn’t stand up to too much rough treatment. After all, wrapping a brand new, high-end handset up in a case is commonplace amongst smartphone users and has been for years.
Nevertheless, not all handset manufacturers make flimsy phones and there are some handsets which seem relatively tough. BlackBerry’s Q10 is one example, having a form factor that features a physical QWERTY keypad and harks back to an earlier age of mobiles, before super slim handsets took over.
Kevlar, a material which is used in bulletproof vests, is also used to cover much of the device’s backplate, and should certainly prevent any scratching. Motorola made use of the same material on some of its more recent devices, such as the excellent RAZR i.
Sony has toughened-up its range with the Xperia Z, a water and dust resistant handset that is well-equipped to deal with the worst that could be thrown at it. While many tests and reviews of the flagship saw it being dropped into a bowl of water (which it survived) it is more likely that its features will come in handy should it ever be splashed or have liquid spilled on to it.
Lg has also made the headlines recently after the firm announced that it would be demonstrating a flexible display that it has produced. There has been much talk about such technology of late, leading to the occasional unrealistic suggestion that we may soon end up seeing bendy phones. What is more likely is that the new technology will be fitted to regular-looking handsets and that the flexibility of the displays will make them more resilient to impact damage.
Samsung isn’t to be outdone in this matter, with rumours having emerged about a device known as the S4 Active. While nothing is confirmed, images of what is claimed to be the handset show that it may have rubberized corner protection and more physical keys than its regular S4 counterpart.
Aside from the mainstream of mobile design there are also niche devices such as those made by Sonim. The Californian firm, which has been in business since 1999, makes incredibly tough, rugged feature phones that are designed to continue working even in the most extreme environments. Aimed at people working in heavy industries such as mining and oil production, Sonim handsets would last far longer than any regular handsets.
So a majority of our readers want tougher handsets, although many of them may not want something as extreme as the designs produced by the likes of Sonim. As we noted earlier, wrapping your phone up in a protective case is standard practice, something which can often detract from its great looks.
We have little doubt that many users would like to show their smartphones off without a casing and any innovations which add extra levels of protection to handsets could well prove to be very popular in the future.