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Nokia Ditches Metal-vs-Plastic Battle, Does Both On Same Phone

By Michael Fisher May 17, 2013, 7:01 am

It’s been a pretty crazy week of news since Nokia unveiled its new Lumia 925 on Tuesday, and before we break for the weekend I’d like to briefly return to that Lumia 920-refresh to give some overdue kudos – and maybe stir up a bit of discussion.

I love our community, fellow geeks, but it needs to be said: we can be a fickle bunch of puling, pompous jerks. And these past few months have borne that out, with fanboys of the Android persuasion more riled up than ever before. All across the internet, formerly complacent Samsung fans have risen up to counter the assault of suddenly emboldened HTC champions in the Fight of the Quarter: Metal vs Plastic. The HTC One’s aluminum unibody construction has won over many reviewers and customers in the look-and-feel department, while defenders of Samsung’s glossy polycarbonate argue that its lighter weight and greater flexibility make it the superior choice.


We’ve reviewed both the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One (twice for each device, actually) and given each phone its fair shake, with a good amount of time spent under the microscope. But thorough as they are, these reviews don’t help those buyers truly stuck on the fence, those who legitimately can’t choose between a metal and a plastic phone.

Someone call for a hybrid?
Someone call for a hybrid?

Enter Nokia’s latest. We’ve given the Lumia 925 plenty of attention, praising its builder for having the courage to slim down its revised flagship, but also taking it to task for the cost of said slimmage. But we haven’t given the 925 its due for the novel stance it’s taken in the metal-vs-plastic debate. Namely: to try to please everyone.

The wireless landscape is littered with hybrid devices, phones whose reach exceeded their grasp. Too much compromise is the death knell of any cool product – but sometimes piling on features or materials isn’t an example of compromise, but boldness. The Lumia 925 surely isn’t the world’s -or even Nokia’s- first phone to feature both metal and plastic in its construction, but in a landscape increasingly dominated by a one-or-the-other mentality, it’s a breath of fresh air. The matte aluminum on its sides divides the polycarbonate front- and backplates, blending in a bit too completely on the black version but standing out sharply on the white. The metal gives the device a more premium look and feel, while the polycarbonate ensures a higher level of scratch resistance across much of the device (in theory).


The 925 isn’t a smash hit across all categories, of course – there’s always something for our incendiary kind to moan over, particularly in subjective areas like aesthetics. But it’s nice to see a manufacturer take two popular material choices and unite them in one device. We’re not suggesting Nokia planned this specifically for the purpose of seducing the disenchanted fence-sitters of the Android world, but it might serve to bring the Lumia 925 some small measure of added attention. And as we concluded on our Editorial Roundtable earlier in the week, the Lumia family should take any attention it can get at this point.


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