LG G5 build controversy clarified: that’s paint, not plastic, over the metal unibody

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And without a doubt, there’s no such thing as an unbreakable smartphone. Not unless you count those fugly Kyoceras, and ultimately, even the most rugged handhelds will crack.

But if designs are so subjective, and no matter what materials gadgets are made you still need protective covers, how come every high-profile Android, iOS and Windows Phone launch stirs up such great aesthetic controversies?

The Galaxy S7 looks cool and all, yet it resembles its predecessor a little too much, and doesn’t handle drop tests very gracefully. iPhones bend. The Lumia 950 feels cheap, what with its polycarbonate body. And the LG G5 isn’t all metal, despite what was suggested when it got unveiled.

Or is it? Well, no, but we wouldn’t go so far as to call it a plastic device either. According to LG, which had to take an official stance in response to recent inferior construction allegations, a thick layer of paint is actually applied over the “aluminum unibody” in an attempt to hide the antenna bands Apple has no problem showing off.

This primer then easily comes off if you give the LG G5 the direct knife treatment, which of course, no sane user would ever think to do. Ultimately, the question is not if the phone feels tough and robust. Because underneath it all, it obviously is. And it arguably looks good too.

What we’d like to hear from those of you who held the device before the scandal erupted is if you noticed anything “wrong”? Something off-putting, something unusual, something to make you say “nah, I’d rather get the Galaxy S7 instead”? That’s what it all comes down to, and it’s the ultimate test LG needs to pass for this to sell like hotcakes.

Update: In case you needed more context and a fully scientific statement, check out Ken Hong’s comment to the YouTube clip that started the debate. LG’s Global Communications Director argues the G5 is indeed an all-metal product, and claiming otherwise would be “like saying cars and airplanes aren’t metal because they’re also painted.” Oh, and “for the record, even metal that’s anodized will scratch off.” Non-issue: solved.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).