Samsung, please don’t let accountants build the Galaxy S22

“Controversially, the Galaxy S21 uses a plastic back – yes, on an $800 phone.”

This quote is from our Samsung Galaxy S21 review, and I really don’t want to see it repeated when we review the Galaxy S22. The underlying reason for the plastic back was noble: it helped bring the price down, but it was a decision akin to one made by accountants with little or no understanding of what people want or merit of the smaller S series.

Plastic can be fantastic

There’s nothing wrong with phones with a plastic back, and it’s an effective way to minimize the end cost of a phone, especially when used alongside other noise reduction measures. costs. Most smartphones around the $200-$400 price tag have a plastic back, with Samsung’s own mid-range Galaxy A52 5G being a great example of where it really works.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

From afar, the back of the A52 5G looks a lot like glass, and on a $400 phone, that’s a desirable feature. The texture is also nice and makes the phone look more expensive than it actually is. Combine this visual and tactile appeal with the reasonable price, as well as the excellent performance of the phone itself, and no one will care about plastic.

The presence of plastic is also somewhat expected. If our budget is under $500, we know there will have to be tradeoffs, and the biggest will be materials and overall performance. Most of us will take a plastic back panel that looks like glass like on the Galaxy A52 or a metal but really polycarbonate case like the Nokia X20, whether that means a slightly newer processor or a better camera on a mid-range phone.

What no one except accountants wants is such a compromise on a flagship phone that costs $800 or more.

No respect for S21

The Galaxy S series is the crown jewel of Samsung. It’s represented the pinnacle of design and capability since its introduction in 2010, and even with the rise of the Galaxy Note series and the introduction of the Galaxy Z Fold range, it’s still the one many people will think when asked to name the best or most desirable Android smart phone.

The back of a Samsung Galaxy S21.
Galaxy S21 Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

Putting a plastic back on the Galaxy S21 borders on sacrilege, just like on the Galaxy Note 20, and it absolutely must not happen on the Galaxy S22. Yes, the S21 was the cheapest model in the range, but it’s absolutely not a cheap phone and therefore shouldn’t use the same price obfuscation tactics as a real cheap phone. I also don’t think people were always pressured to buy the S21 because it was the cheapest; I think they bought it because it’s the smallest. Why should they be wronged just because of that?

What’s more annoying is that Samsung has a slew of phones geared towards the price-conscious consumer. Aside from the excellent Galaxy A Series, the Galaxy S20 FE arrived shortly after the S21, and even today, just weeks before the Galaxy S22 reveal, it released the $699 Galaxy S21 FE. While overpriced (a separate issue in itself), it also has a plastic back. These are the phones accountants can safely interfere with.

Smearing the Galaxy S series name with a similar cost-cutting measure and still charging $800 made no sense from a marketing or customer satisfaction standpoint, just from an accounting standpoint. In an effort to squeeze more profit, or as a sleazy way to push buyers towards the more expensive S21+ or S21 Ultra, Samsung’s accountants showed the lowly S21 no respect, dooming it to stay within the limits. briefs like “the plastic one”.

The Galaxy S22 needs to be treated better

The Galaxy S22 won’t be a cheap or mid-range smartphone, so Samsung needs to keep accountants looking for a dime off the final spec sheet. They have the A Series and FE models to play with. What the S22 will be is the smallest member of the new S series, and that should really be the main differentiator between it and the Galaxy S21+.

He managed to do it with the Galaxy S20 and S20+, which had Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. The difference between them was the screen size, the amount of internal storage space, a slightly larger capacity battery, and a small difference in camera capacity. Yes, they were both $200 more than the S21 and S21+, but times have changed, and if OnePlus can use Gorilla Glass 5 on the back of the Nord 2, then Samsung can do it on a phone that costs twice as much.

I accept the argument that plastic backs may be more durable than glass, but Samsung’s development of Armor Aluminum for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, if we get something similar on the S22 line , could offset some of this concern. And really, anyone who wants a truly durable phone isn’t going to look at one that costs over $800 anyway.

But what if accountants have already forced a plastic return on the Galaxy S22, and we’re too late? He’ll just have to live permanently in a crate, I guess.

Samsung will announce the Galaxy S22 lineup on February 9 at its first Unpacked event of the year, and we’ll be covering its launch extensively, so it won’t be long before we find out where the chips fall.

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