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4 months durability for an $800 phone!

My old $200 Motorola G9 Power phone lasted almost 4 years with only very minor scratches. Obviously in that period I have dropped it a few times getting out of the car, where the phone sometimes work itself out of my pant pocket while I drive, and then it slips out when I get out of the car. But no problem on my previous phones, despite the Moto had cheap Panda glass front.

Then I bought my $800 glass back Xiaomi 13T Pro in January, and I loved the phone for the camera and good specs. But alas after only 4 months, and single drop of just 30 cm while sitting on the porch, the glass back immediately cracked! The back now looks like an ugly mess, and the high water resistance is very likely gone too.

For sure the last time I buy a phone with a glass back!!!

I wonder why glass back is so popular, and I curse the media for reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S2 as “feeling a bit cheap”, because the back was synthetic, and drop tests showed it was 10 times as durable as the iPhone with its glass back.

Samsung did it right in the beginning, glass backs are a curse.

PS: I don’t use condoms for my phones, if they need that for daily use, it’s an obvious design flaw!!!

The glass back is supposedly there to give a premium feel to the phone. But because it’s fragile, people have to use a cover, but with the cover, the premium feel of a glass back is gone anyways?
How is glass back not a design flaw?


I am not clumsy, that’s why I believe the phone should be able to last without cover. This was the first time the phone slid out of my packet, and I’ve NEVER dropped it out of my hands. One 30 cm slip and it’s broken. Where for instance my Moto had maybe 4-6 in all over the years, and remained unscathed, apart from some tiny scratches.
The sliding out of pocket does occur maybe a couple of times per year, but it’s a low drop, and the phone should absolutely be able to handle that tiny drop, as it’s an item for everyday use.
I’ve also never had problems with scratches on my screen on any phone, which is the reason people use screen protectors I guess, which I don’t either, because they are ugly, for instance they create a tiny ring around the camera, and they feel awful IMO, my phone came with it, and it took exactly 10 seconds for me to decide to remove it, because I could feel the edge of the screen protector when using the phone.
But please stop with the dropping my phone regularly comments! Just because I dropped my Moto a few times (slid out of pocket) over almost 4 years! Always from low height, which it should be able to handle a few times.

Chewy7324 ,

The 13T Pro, as well as the standard 13T, come in two versions - dual-glass design and glass front with vegan leather back, both featuring plastic frames with matching colors and metal-like finish. [1]

The Xiaomii 13T Pro is available with a vegan leather back (plastic) which won’t break from a drop. Instead vegan leather likely deteriorates in look and feel over the years, but I’d prefer it over broken glass.


Buffalox OP , (edited )

Vegan leather is not as durable as a normal plastic made for covers. It’s generally made of Mycelium (mylo) the specific Xiaomi vegan leather is made in part of apple peel.
The term Vegan leather is reserved for “sustainable” materials, which means it can be made of reused plastic. But that’s still not as strong as the high end plastic materials that was originally used for premium phones.
If I knew for sure the vegan option for the phone was made of high quality PU, I would have chosen that.

ICastFist , avatar

I wonder why glass back is so popular (…) How is glass back not a design flaw?

Because Steve Jobs. Seriously, many stupid “but it’s pretty”, as well as several anti consumer decisions (hard to repair, glued parts), can be traced back to Apple and Steve Jobs. Couple that with every fucking manufacturer wanting to emulate Apple, especially Chinese ones, and everything in the smartphone world makes sense.

Chewy7324 ,

Glass backs were already popular on Android phones when Apple started using them. Previously they used metal backs, but they aren’t compatible with wireless charging so manufacturers have to choose between plastic and glass — guess which one is more popular with reviewers?

MedicPigBabySaver ,

Glass backs are dumb. I always use a simple case that can hold my driver’s license and a card. I never use a wallet. I think it’s been at least 20 years since I’ve carried a wallet.

Unquote0270 ,

I don’t understand why people do this. Surely if you lose your phone or it is stolen then you are without your phone, ID and bank card?

MedicPigBabySaver ,

I’ll take my chances. Good thing is, if I lose my phone, I won’t be able to whine about it on Lemmy.

ma11en ,

I’m more likely to lose my wallet than my phone.

VeganCheesecake ,

I get people buying cheap Xiaomi phones because they can’t afford a more expensive phone. I kinda don’t get why people buy expensive Xiaomi phones.

Buffalox OP ,

Very good specs for the price all around, but admittedly there are many other good phones. But for me there is always some minor detail I don’t like.
One Plus has opposing button that causes miss clicks.
Flat screen, many phones have curved screen that makes them less suitable as readers IMO, and can also cause input mistakes.
Some dont have IP68 or an IP rating at all.
Some don’t have good software support, this has 5 years.

I might have sprung the extra dough for the Samsung S24 Ultra, except for the unpleasant sharp corners, and I’m not that enthusiastic about Samsung products in general anymore.

The biggest drawback with Xiaomi used to be the OS, but the new HyperOS is way better than MIUI. Although it looks the same, it somehow has a better feel to it, and they’ve gotten rid of a lot of crap-ware.
Now the biggest drawback IMO is that it’s made in China. Which considering recent political developments I will do more to avoid in the future.

VeganCheesecake ,

That does make sense, I guess. I forget that most people aren’t hardcore privacy nuts sometimes. I’m currently on a OnePlus with a custom rom, which’ll probably be good for a few more years, but the only new phone I’d consider at the moment would be a pixel with Graphene.

Buffalox OP ,

I forget that most people aren’t hardcore privacy nuts

I used to use Android AOSP without Google apps for that reason, I am still observant on privacy, but I don’t see why a one plus should be any better than Xiaomi, or why a random ROM with possible unknown interference should be safer/better regarding privacy.

VeganCheesecake ,

but I don’t see why a one plus should be any better than Xiaomi

It likely isn’t. I just got it very cheap some years back, and don’t see a good reason to replace it while it still works.

a random ROM with possible unknown interference should be safer/better regarding privacy

You could always have bad actors, of course, but these Roms tend to be mostly open source community projects, so the incentive structure leading to bad behaviour seems less clear to me, and such behaviour would theoretically be more detectable (how much anyone actually audits the code in practice is another question, of course.) In the end, running any Software you haven’t written yourself involves a certain amount of trust.

Buffalox OP ,

so the incentive structure leading to bad behaviour seems less clear to me

Yes that’s true, and problems with it are very rare AFAIK. We know Google is the #1 bad actor already, which is why I avoid a lot of the Google stuff, like search and Chrome.
Companies are generally bad actors to make money, while some claim Chinese phones have political motivated problems.
Considering the current political climate, with China being steadily more confrontational, I will absolutely look more for a phone that is NOT made in China next time.
But for me there was no good alternative to the Xiaomi 13T pro back in January.

spukas ,

Lol “I regularly drop my phone. I knowingly bought a fragile phone for $800 even though there are alternatives and i also refuse to use drop protection on this expensive device. Now i dropped it which is my fault and it broke the glas back which has no functionality and i can still use it. But for me it’s totally destroyed and i blame the manufacturer for this”

ji59 ,

Wow, blame the user for manufacturing decisions. Give me an example of alternative with quality camera, wireless charging, water resistance, ...
I laughed at Apple (BTW Samsung too) for the aweful cutoff at the top of the screen, for the lack of headphone jack, SD card reader. Now it's impossible to find powerful phone with these things. So please don't blame users for stupid corporate decisions.
Also broken glass back compromises water resistance and could be safety hazard if the shards fall of.

Honytawk ,

Here is an alternative:

The same phone but with a cover and a tempered glass protector

Buffalox OP , (edited )

Wow way to misrepresent what I wrote. No I don’t “regularly” drop my phone, But it happens, and when it does it has ALWAYS been from a sitting position sliding out of my pants pocket, making the drop only about 30-45 cm. Most drop tests are done at 1m, and since the damage is exponential to the height, a drop of 30 cm maybe 3 or 4 times in the lifespan of the phone shouldn’t be a problem.

But thanks for the strawman argument.

witx ,

And the apple fanboys appear. Let’s blame the consumer for what is a design flaw …

dependencyinjection ,

If you’ve got a glass phone without a case or insurance then you kinda running this risk.

I hate insurance, but on a phone I’ll take AppleCare. Once it’s getting towards the end I purposely wreck the phone off a wall and get brand new (refurbished to new standard) one. Then I sell that and upgrade again.

Buffalox OP , (edited )

If you’ve got a glass phone without a case or insurance then you kinda running this risk.

Yes I know, but I’ve never had any problems at all, I’ve never dropped the phone out of my hands, so I considered the risk to be very low. I must admit I’m shocked the phone cracked from such a minor drop.

Once it’s getting towards the end I purposely wreck the phone off a wall and get brand new

That’s fraud.

Edit PS.

Note this is the only time I’ve dropped this phone. When I mention it happens, it’s maybe a couple of times in a year, I’ve never really dropped my phone while holding it, it’s always slipped out of my pocket, it’s happened when I drive, I think it’s first time ever it happened on the terace.

The_Dark_Knight ,

That’s fraud.

Oh no big corpo lost some bucks whatever shall we do !!

wetnoodle , avatar
Honytawk ,

I think it is more about creating even more e-waste by deliberately destroying a working phone.

The_Dark_Knight ,

Oh yeah that’s fair .

Benaaasaaas ,

You literally mentioned dropping the phone occasionally in your post, now you’re claiming to never have done that?

Buffalox OP ,

Read again, I write I’ve never dropped it out of my hands, meaning I’ve never dropped it more than about the 30 cm, because it’s always from my pocket while sitting down.

Always may sound like it something that happens frequently, but it’s not, it’s maybe 1 or 2 times per year, but over many years with smartphones, a trend still appear.

MargotRobbie , avatar

Glass backs are popular because it makes assembly easier, because if the front and back are made from the same material, then they would have the same thermal expansion coefficient, which means that you can get a less variable fit between the front and the back.

It is for the benefit of the manufacturer and not the customer.

Buffalox OP ,

it makes assembly easier,

Easier than plastic?

MargotRobbie , avatar

Waterproofing requirements makes everything harder, because there can’t be any gaps between the screen and the back.

SGHFan , avatar

Oh, I thought it was so that the phone would feel more premium!

MargotRobbie , avatar

That’s just marketing, since everyone put their phone in a big case immediately anyway.

skuzz ,

It’s also partly because phones now require 60,000 antennae and radio waves don’t go through metal. Wireless charging, NFC, wifi (x2), bluetooth, cellular (x4), UWB… There’s some ability to reuse the antennas via TDM and other tricks but they just “need” so many these days. Also also, plastic is kinda evil from a pollution standpoint, although one could also argue that it could just be recycled with the rest of the phone.

DudeImMacGyver ,

This is why I always use a case. I think OEMs intentionally use glass backs to make sure more phones break so they can make more money from replacement parts and repairs/replacements.

Buffalox OP ,

Yes I suspect so, question is then why the fuck were reviewers so much after the Samsung Galaxy S2 way back in 2011 for having a better polymer back in every way? All tests showed the Galaxy was way more sturdy in drop tests than iPhone, but reviewers scolded it for felling less premium!!!
Already back then it was obvious that using glass was a very bad design choice IMO.

DudeImMacGyver ,

Because they didn’t think it through? Plastic is a pretty good choice of material: It doesn’t interfere with radio, it is impact resistant, it’s light, and it’s inexpensive.

They were also easily replaceable back then!

Actually, now that I think about it, Apple started the trend and Samsung copied them, so let’s blame Apple!

Buffalox OP ,

IDK, tests showed that Apple phones broke way easier, so I blame reviewers for disregarding that fact when they reviewed phones with both great feel and looks for appearing or feeling cheap.
The only feeling cheap as I see it, was often lower weight. People associate weight with quality, but reviewers really should know better.

DudeImMacGyver ,

That’s fair.

Zorque ,

PS: I don’t use condoms for my phones, if they need that for daily use, it’s an obvious design flaw!!!

You don't use a condom because you know you'll get a girl pregnant, you do it on the slim possibility. There's always going to be outliers, and refusing to prepare for the possibility because it's remote is playing with fire. It's asking for a worst case scenario when the preventative measures are so very easy out of pure arrogant principle.

ironhydroxide ,

The only difference here is, you’re born with the tools you have, so you use what you need to make them do what you want. He bought this one specifically with the flaw when others without the flaw are available (though with different specs or price).

I see this post as a rant by someone who didn’t do some research, refused to use what was available to protect the purchase, and is blaming the manufacturer for them buying it.

Buffalox OP ,

Doesn’t change the fact that glass back is a design flaw. Yes obviously I should have used a case with this stupid phone, but I didn’t have to with any of my previous phones, 14 years with smartphones with full glass fronts. most of which I’ve had for about 3 years. But they all had plastic/polymer/leather backs. None of them ever broke, because I’m generally careful. If I drop them, it’s from my pants pocket while sitting down, so it’s a low drop, just like it was in this case. Except the phone broke its back because it was made of glass. I have small scratches on my old Motorola for being dropped at the exact same angle, a phone that cost a fourth of my current phone!!!

NemoWuMing ,

I wonder why glass back is so popular,

They are being hyped up by marketing because people easily fall for it. Even you:

Then I bought my $800 glass back Xiaomi 13T Pro in January

It works the same as with cigarettes: people think it’s cool. Most don’t care about the rest. Easy money for the suppliers.

Good for you for calling them out on their bullshit. Anyone else with a history of dropping their phones from their pockets (and yet buying a flashy glass back (and refusing to protect it with a case (and referring to it as a condom))) will benefit from reading about your awakening and they might go for something different.

Just remember, if you fell for this one, you might fall for another marketing gimmick unless you pay more attention.

Buffalox OP ,

Even you:

No I didn’t fall for it, it was absolutely on the negative list, and I’ve avoided glass backs on all my previous phones, but this time I couldn’t, without making heavy compromises in other areas.
Except for the Vegan leather, which is almost guaranteed to become ugly within a year. So I bet on the glass as the lesser of 2 evils.

Good for you for calling them out on their bullshit.

Thanks, I’ve actually done that since 2011.

Just remember, if you fell for this one, you might fall for another marketing gimmick unless you pay more attention.

I didn’t fall for it, it was the least bad option I thought, because otherwise I’d have to compromise on other things.

GenderNeutralBro ,

I feel you. It’s not practical to buy a phone that doesn’t have some aspects that I hate (like a notch or punch hole, glass back, or an absurd overabundance of cameras).

Same deal with small phones. There hasn’t been a viable option in close to a decade. So yeah, I’ve bought some stupidly large phones. What’s the alternative? A “compact” phone that’s still too big to comfortably use one-handed? Not much of a choice.

Reminds me of the tiny or non-existent pockets that are so common in women’s clothing. Yes, there are some options, but they are few and far between, and it’s not like pocket size is the one and only priority.

NemoWuMing ,

Just get a case

Poringo ,

Since my first moto g like 10 years ago, I only buy moto g since they are really resistant, I drop it all the time and I have never broke the screen in those 10+ years and like 3 different moto phones.

Buffalox OP ,

I was pretty happy with mine too, great value. But mine was with flat screen/front glass, I’m a bit reluctant about the curved screens. That’s something we used to curse like the plague on old tube televisions. To bring that shit back is almost as insane as glass back IMO.

Jaysyn , avatar

A few years ago my wife left her caseless Samsung S7 Active on the top of her car & took off with it still up there. Fell off the roof while she was doing highway speeds. She actually managed to back track to find her phone just in time to watch a box truck run straight over it.

It still worked fine. Gained a single scratch.

Buffalox OP ,

OK I had to look it up, that phone also has a glass back. That’s impressive, I wish I had been as lucky.
My phone should have better glass than that one, but it broke from little more than looking at it wrong.

Jaysyn , avatar

No it didn't.

Buffalox OP ,

I just watched a review to find out, and that says it did.

entropicshart ,

Searching in google

why do phones have glass backs And all the top results explain why in a single sentence: wireless charging.

You can’t have wireless charging with metal backplates, hence the glass, which is often not your ordinary glass but things like gorilla glass which is much harder to crack.

I know it still sucks; I have an iPhone 12 that was still in great condition after 4yrs, never used a case on it; but one day at the pool of my son recording a video and dropping it just right, cracked the back. I just stuck a dbrand sticker onto the back to hold the glass in place and it continues to work without issue!

Buffalox OP ,

That’s a bullshit Google result, because my phone doesn’t have wireless charging, and glass backs were used before wireless charging even existed.
Also you can easily have either synthetic like plastic or vegan leather. And my Phone is made with Gorilla glass, and it cracked anyways with a drop of 30cm!
So nothing in that explanation holds water.

ji59 ,

Wireless charging and contactless payments are the main reason manufactures switched from metal covers to glass.
The only reasons people use glass are scratch resistance and because plastic "feels cheap". I also hate this transition to glass and am glad my Fairphone doesn't have one.

Buffalox OP ,

Wireless charging and contactless payments

I bet both wireless charging and NFC can work through the screen glass.

plastic “feels cheap”.

You know what both “feels cheap” and looks cheap? Answer A bulky case and a broken glass back.

ji59 ,

Interesting idea to put wireless devices under the screen, but I don't think it would be easy to implement. There would be a lot of interference with screen circuits. Also no phone usage while charging. I think it's better if they stay on the back.

unknowing8343 ,

This is fake. Glass is not the only material that can do wireless charging. There exist plastic phones that can wirelessly charge. In fact. Your wireless charger is very much probably plastic, not glass.

Also, my current phone (Unihertz Jelly Star) is plastic and has NFC… So it’s also not related to NFC either.

weew ,

Glass back is a premium design feature because it breaks easily, and customers who buy premium phones are expected to be rich enough to just buy another phone.

It’s a profit making feature.

Much like luxury cars, nobody actually expects BMW or Mercedes to last more than 3 years. People who buy them are expected to trade up for the latest model every few years.

Same with luxury fashion. Absolutely some of the cheapest and fragile clothing I’ve ever seen come from big fashion brands. And nobody cares, because by the time they break, they’re out of style and the buyer will be updating their wardrobe anyways.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, expensive luxury items = cheap and breakable. Midrange products are where the customers tend to be concerned with longevity and value.

ThrowawayPermanente ,

I hate this so much.

Pxtl , avatar

Glass backs are the dumbest idea in the history of stupid.

The only way things like that could be defensible if they were easy to replace (bring back Moto-Z style magnetic backs!), but since phones are all held together with glue now, that’s not a thing.

AngryCommieKender ,

I think my Samsung Galaxy S10 did it right. Glass back for the feel, attached to a removable and replaceable plastic back panel.

Buffalox OP ,

Wow I didn’t know that, I agree that sounds like a great idea.

subignition , avatar

Wireless charging is really good though...

catloaf ,

It’s great for stuff like car phone holders. It sucks for basically every other use case. In particular, it means you can’t easily pick up, use, and put down your phone and maintain charging.

n2burns ,

In particular, it means you can’t easily pick up, use, and put down your phone and maintain charging.

I strongly disagree. While you can’t “maintain charging”, it’s extremely easy to change from charging to using and back again. If you want to use your phone while charging, wireless charging doesn’t make sense, but if you want to quickly use your phone (like sending a quick text), it’s nicer than having a cable attached.

subignition , avatar

I have one of those slanted chargers for desktop use, so while I'm at my desk, I just set it there (bonus that the screen is kept visible in case of a call or message)

It's reasonable to use it while it's charging on the stand, though I wouldn't enjoy doing anything landscape (it will still charge it's just very precise)

Definitely cannot deny the utility of a regular power cable if you are in bed or something and you really want to use it while charging.

unknowing8343 ,

A glass back is not necessary for wireless charging. There’s many materials that can fit there, the glass choice is purely for “premium” feel.

subignition , avatar

Oh okay. Well that is neat then.

PlantJam ,

Premium, aka so slippery it immediately goes in a case.

Audacious ,

There is nothing premium about glass, that’s marketing lying to you. It’s designed to break easily being smooth and fragile, to make the phones more disposable.

unknowing8343 ,

Totally agree.

AA5B ,

And probably stiffness. Aluminum would both scratch more easily than glass and bend/dent more easily

ShepherdPie ,

Yes glass doesn’t bend or dent because it shatters. I had a Note 4 with an aluminum frame and never needed a case. I used it for 5 years before upgrading and still own it (it still works). The aluminum frame and plastic back are by far the most durable combination I’ve used thus far and it survived many drops hard enough to leave small gouges in the aluminum.

Now I have a thick ass case on my modern phone because it probably wouldn’t even survive a fall onto the carpet without some protection which is a huge downgrade in my opinion.

catloaf ,

Anecdotally, I used to have an aluminum and plastic phone (HTC Evo) with no case. I didn’t abuse it, but one of the few times I dropped it, the screen shattered. Since then I’ve had other phones, most with glass backs, and all have had rubber-edged cases. No screen shatters (though the back of one of them did crack). And I’ve definitely been less gentle with them.

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