We were one of the earliest in this space to share our distaste for the excessive use of glass in smartphone designs. We questioned why anyone would call glass “premium,” when it is without a doubt an incredibly fragile material that can be easily scratched or broken with the slightest of drops or bumps.
Glass, as nice as it can feel in the hand, is also pretty bad at another thing – staying clean. If you slap a piece of shiny glass on a phone and touch it for 6 seconds, especially in a darker color like black, it is guaranteed to be filled with messy fingerprints or look as greasy as your mouse after a day of work-from-home eating at your desk.
Using glass as a rear material on a phone is actually a horrible idea.
But look, we know that smartphone manufacturers love glass. It feels nice, hence the “premium” framing around it. It’s also probably lighter than heavier metals or ceramic and I’d assume is cheap to produce. Getting wireless charging to work through it is super simple too. I get that glass isn’t going anywhere.
In 2022, one of the things we saw happen with glass that we absolutely give a thunbs up to, is the realization that polished, fingerprint-ready glass sucks and should be used less. Frosted and matte glass are starting to have their moment and we’re all for it.
Apple realized this before most, but Samsung and OnePlus gave us glass finishes that look lovely after a day (or months) of use without a case. The entire Galaxy S22 line used a frosted glass in several colors, including the green on the S22+ that was beautiful. The OnePlus 10 Pro’s textured glass back was also quite stunning in its green, although its black tempted me at least a few times. Of course, the iPhone 14 Pro I have here has continued Apple’s use of the material in this style and is wonderful.
Unfortunately, Google still hasn’t gotten the memo and gave us glossy glass all over the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. With that the case, we were left completely ignoring the Obsidian versions of both phones, as that dark color would look like a mess after any period of use. Instead, we couldn’t bring ourselves to touch anything but the lighter colors from Google.
Seeing less glossy glass in 2022 brought joy to our eyes and fingers and and cleaning cloths, and I hope everyone (lookin’ at you, Google) gets the memo in 2023. Not all of us want to slap a case on our $1,000 phones. Some of us enjoy phone design and want to feel that when we use it. We also want it to continue looking nice without needing a towel at the ready.