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[Research] What does your ideal phone's backside look & feel like?

petershihpetershih ZTE FanaticUnited StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

Everyone's got different taste in a phone's backside - some like it smooth, some like it grippy, and some like it rounded. For those who have their minds in the gutter, let's get back to business and talk about what makes up the perfect backside of your smartphone!

Here are a few parameters to think through:

  • Finish: shiny/glossy, matte/dull
  • Grippy-ness: slippery, medium grippy, rubbery grip
  • Shape: flat, contoured

There are many more to be listed, but this is a good start. Here's your challenge: explain what type of ideal backside you want in a smartphone. Feel free to use analogies, examples of existing devices in the market, examples of other physical products that people are generally familiar with, etc.

Here's an example of my personal taste. Personally, I don't like my backsides shiny and glossy, as this tends to pick up fingerprints too easily. I also like a medium grippy texture so that the phone doesn't slip out of my hands unexpectedly. That said, I don't like it too rubbery either, where it's difficult to move in and out of your pockets. Regarding shape, I like it slightly contoured so that it feels more natural in the hands, conforming to the natural curves of your hands or face or even pockets.

So...community, what do you have to say about your ideal backside?



  • fzrrichfzrrich United StatesPosts: 4,257 mod

    I like it slightly rounded as well.  I like a grippy phone,  most are not so that's where cases come in where I like them with some type of pattern and rubbery grip yet slim.  Love the speck candyshell grip case. I'm not a huge fan of the pattern look wise but love the slimness and grip.  So as far as a phone design,  rounded is good.  I think if it is a metal phone it would be interesting to see some type of texture added to the rear metal for more grip for those that rock their phones "naked". Otherwise you just have to shop around for the ideal case for you.

  • chuckbortchuckbort Chuck United StatesPosts: 608 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    My ideal backside would be...

    Oh wait, not that kind of backside!! Sorry ​, I just couldn't help myself. It is Friday after all.

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    It's Friday indeed! As much fun as this topic can be, I do hope you can provide some good feedback on your phone's backside. Do share!

  • runtohell121runtohell121 Analyst United StatesPosts: 2,262 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I prefer a matte finish with somewhat grippy back unlike some phones where it is metal and pretty slippery (*cough* iPhone, Samsung, HTC, etc.) and if the back is contoured/rounded would be nice. Although the back do not matter too much as most likely with most users, I would have a case on the phone to cover it up and add some protection. Maybe adding a skin such as dbrand or slickwraps would be nice alternative to what the phone might have to add more grip to it if you don't like cases.

  • fzrrichfzrrich United StatesPosts: 4,257 mod

    @jaseman Hmmmm I don't know how that would look on the back of a phone.... So you prefer the back of the phone  rounded?  lol seriously though what are your thoughts on the topic?  

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting note about maintaining the metal material but somehow interlacing it with a different material for better grip. Have you seen anything on the market like this?

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Good taste and observation of most phones being slippery. I'll have to check out dbrand and slickwraps for more info on what materials they use.

  • fzrrichfzrrich United StatesPosts: 4,257 mod

    No I haven't lol but even if the actual metal wasn't completely smooth and had some what if an impression it pattern it would be a lot less slippery yet be metal and cold to the touch.

  • davedave Ingolstadt, GermanyPosts: 84

    I like the back of the Nexus 5 very much and I would prefer it over anything else.

    Glass is very slippery and a fingerprint magnet, furthermore you have to take care of two screens that should not scratch.

    Metal is nice, but it's quite heavy and judging from a Mate 8 and HTC One S9 it's very slippery as well. While the Mate 8 didn't have that problem that much the HTC One S9 also has problems with overheating which probably is easier with a metal/aluminium body as it transfers heat very well. In the summer this can get quite bad.

    Therefore I prefer the Nexus 5 back. It has this kind of soft touch plastic which, in my opinion, is the best joice. It's quite durable, doesn't transfer heat that well and it definately isn't slippery. Fingerprints are no problem as well.

    Regarding the form it's very good as well. The edges are rounded so it doesn't feel like it's cutting your hand (unlike the One S9 which has a noticable edge that makes it uncomfortable to hold). On the other hand the edges are not too rounded to feel strange as well.

    So yeah, all in all I would like to have it like a Nexus 5 again. It may look a little cheap to some with all this trend to 'glass-or-metal-or-****' approach, but usabilitywise the Nexus 5 checks all the boxes for me. Additionally I don't even feel like it's 'cheap' in any way and it neither is looking like that.

    *drops mic*

  • mobilegeezermobilegeezer Chattanooga, Tennessee AreaPosts: 1,204 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I prefer a matte finish, medium grippy-ness and contoured. The contour on the Axon 7 is perfect IMHO. The only exception for me would be glass front and back like the S7 or Idol 4s. Not yet sure just how much I'll like the feel, since I don't have the S7 and have yet to receive my 4s. I like the look though. I also THINK I'd like the sandstone back that the One Plus 2 had, but have not held one.

  • chuckbortchuckbort Chuck United StatesPosts: 608 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry, I was visiting my parents this weekend and wasn't online much. I basically always have my phone in a case so I guess I just want my phone to look good when I take it out to show it off. So for that I like the metal like the Axon 7.

  • poohbiwonpoohbiwon USAPosts: 714 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I prefer contoured as well. I ALWAYS put a case on my phones, so I have no preference as to the construction material or the appearance of the back.

  • cavanaughtimcavanaughtim Wisconsin, USAPosts: 645 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I came here to say the same thing: the back of the Nexus 5 is nearly perfect for me. The matte finish is grippy enough without being sticky or rubbery, and it maintains a nice premium feel that is decidedly un-plasticky. It is flat but with enough contours that it doesn't feel like a stone slab. I would love to see more phones in this style.

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Okay, so far it seems as it a curved back is the way to go. However, where the differences creep in is whether it's a matte finish with some grip or smooth and shiny. If I had to summarize the comments thus far:

    1. For those who don't use cases, a matte finish with medium grip material is ideal
    2. For those who use cases, a shiny and smooth finish is cool to show off when you need to
    3. Regardless, some contour to fit comfortably in the hands is good

    Any objections or further thoughts on this topic?

  • ironbaybeedollironbaybeedoll United StatesPosts: 4,630 mod

      Sorry, I'm late to the show.. Matte, Rubbery grip, Contoured.

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I like your taste. Now my question is: how grippy? Goodyear grip, yoga mat grip, tennis racket grip, or something else? (sorry for the weird analogies...that's what a quick 10-second brainstorming allows!)

  • delle17delle17 North Carolina, United StatesPosts: 730 ✭✭

    Slap my CloverOn Bumper clear/black case on it or my J&D TPU case.

    "A Phone made entirely with you (me) in mind!"

    Never Settle

    #ZTE #AXON-7

  • ironbaybeedollironbaybeedoll United StatesPosts: 4,630 mod

    ​ lol how bout like powdered balloon grippy, soft, but definitely secured. Your analogies were fine, but I have no clue what a yoga mat or tennis racket feel like.... All country girl here..

  • mac11700mac11700 St. Louis MissouriPosts: 36

    For me, it all depends on the size of the phone.

    I've had just about all of the various flagship phones and each has their appeal, but I have had only one that I truly liked the feel of, out of the box and that was my LG g4 and it's leather back.

    I don't like slippery phones, especially large slippery phones regardless of their shapes, nor do I like finger print magnet glass backed phones.

    Shiney phones can be covered by cases as can slippery phones and most people who buy them do so quickly, but to me that is a wash doing so.

    I have minimal leather cases on all of my phones for the feel and the looks of them, even on my LG V10 now, as well as my note 5, which have  2 vastly different types of backs.

    While I can appreciate both from the design aspects each brings to the table, the durability aspect is something that I have to consider because of the type of work I do.

    As to what type of corner the phone has, rounded corners or squarish, I prefer on a larger phone to be more square and a smaller phone more rounded. It's this way because of how I hold my phone with one hand with the larger phone and use it's corner in my palm toto steady it on my pinky finger on the bottom center and in doing so provides better control one handed even on very large phones 6" plus.

    Matt finish is preferable because of hiding scratches better too and doesn't give off any glare in direct sunlight.

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Love the balloon example!

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    So you don't care as much then, since you use a case?

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Kudos for the best explanation so far - very thoughtful and well-reasoned. We'll be launching a more formal research survey shortly and will invite everyone on this thread to participate for further insights on this topic.

  • petershihpetershih ZTE Fanatic United StatesPosts: 378 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    While the Nexus 5 matte finish seems to be the most popular preference thus far, I'd like to get a take on another option. Last night, I took the case off of my wife's Moto G3 - which has a textured plastic, curved back. Personally, I don't like it as much as the matte finish, but can appreciate the added grip of the diagonal lines along the plastic back. If you've come across this, what are your thoughts and how does it compare with a matte grippy finish?

  • louisdlouisd Arguer in Chief United StatesPosts: 1,192 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I really like the silicon back of my Moto X Pure.  Haven't dropped that beast yet!

  • cavanaughtimcavanaughtim Wisconsin, USAPosts: 645 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    The ZTE Avid Plus has a textured plastic back (sort of a grid of textured dots) that I quite enjoyed. It didn't do much in the way of grippiness, but it did give the phone a more premium look and feel than it would otherwise have had, considering the materials and the price point.

  • mac11700mac11700 St. Louis MissouriPosts: 36

    My LG V10 has a rubbery silicone back that provides exceptional grip even with wet hands and is stylish as far as removable backs are concerned.

    While certainly not closely related to the ZTE 7 it is the fact that it is removable that I hope that ZTE takes into consideration for future reference and the fact that having it would open the possibility of having a removable battery for such a great device.

    Being able to choose from the various types of materials for the backs is something that you all should consider, plus being able to offer a option for removable batteries when so limited of the number of devices would put you in a position of strength over the majority of the other oems.

    While fast charging is great, being able to cater to those who prefer the ability to swap out to a fully charged battery on a flagship phone such as this would  increase it's popularity immensely.

    I apologize for going slightly off track here but felt that if ZTE is exploring various options this should be mentioned

  • ironbaybeedollironbaybeedoll United StatesPosts: 4,630 mod

    ​ grip wise, it is decent, not great, and it is ugly as hell.. I would put a case over it. I want a phone that I can hold without it slipping, or flying out of my hand and that is still nice to look at . I have very tiny hands, but love the 5.5-6 in phones, it is already a challenge to hold onto the device, I think the phablets(5in or over) should have 2-3 very slight indents(barely view-able) on the sides for finger placement. A well designed phone could pull this off, still be beautiful, and the feel that it was going to fly would be gone.

This discussion has been closed.