Metal smartphones we have known (pictures)

From black and silver to green and gold, these metal handsets have gleamed as a beacon of premium promise compared with everyday plastic devices.


Jessica Dolcourt

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1 of 15 CNET

Alloy there, matey

Legend has it that the first metal smartphone was the brainchild of two Stanford graduates in a garage...no, wait, wrong tech legend. It isn't hard to see metal's allure. Its versatile finish adds visual depth, physical gravitas, and an air of poshness that dress up a handset with a sense of sartorial importance associated with the upper echelons of personal electronics -- which is why smartphone-watchers seem to go mad for phones with metal rims and more.

Here are some (but not all) of the metal-wrought smartphones we've encountered over the years.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Samsung finally kicked plastic flagship phones to the curb. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are metal-rimmed and backed in gleaming glass.

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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Apple dressed both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in aluminum along the sides and back, a material design now expected for iPhones. The furor this time is over the nature of the aluminum, which has led to an outcry -- Bendgate -- when it was discovered that the larger-size model was easy to accidentally bend.

4 of 15 Seamus Byrne/CNET

Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri

If you have $6K, you could get the Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri, a love letter to luxury materials. Supporting all that calfskin leather are a stainless steel frame and accents in black, silver and genuine gold-plate shades.

5 of 15 Turing Robotic Industries

Turing Phone

What is "liquidmorphium," you ask? It's the five-metal alloy (which includes silver!) that's part of the Turing Phone's makeup. This stronger-than-steel metal mix also sits alongside ceramic and aluminum elements.

6 of 15 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

HTC One M9, M8, M7

Gorgeous. Stunning. Those descriptors of  the HTC One's industrial design still apply today, whether you're talking about the original, the One M8, and 2015's M9. Better yet, HTC managed to infuse the phones' graceful anodized aluminum lines with rich, matte color, such as red, blue, and gold like the Harman Kardon One M8 edition pictured here.

7 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Moto X

We liked the original Motorola Moto X's ensemble of shaping and comfortable plastic finishes, but we love what Motorola's done with a little bit of metal trim and a dimple on back.

8 of 15 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha was Samsung's first major metal-framed smartphone, and also its most premium-feeling model yet. Although the metal just runs around the rim, a slightly rubberized backing helps keep it incredibly light and pleasant to hold.

Nokia N8
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Nokia N8

Nokia was no stranger to making smartphones out of metal, and the N8 was one of my all-time favorites. Produced in Nokia's pre-Windows Phone days, the Nokia N8's Symbian OS was the phone's weakest link.

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50 shades of aluminum

Nevertheless, the Nokia N8 had a 12-megapixel camera to beat, and a funky shape (vaguely like a flattened football), and it came in equally funky colors (I'm especially fond of that lovably weird lime green).

11 of 15 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Nokia Lumia 930 and 925

In Nokia's Windows Phone era, Nokia Lumia phones mostly ditched metal in favor of screaming polycarbonate shades. That is, until the Nokia Lumia 925 appeared with sedate coloring and a metal rim. 2014's Nokia Lumia 930 was the first Nokia phone in a long time to repeat the trick, this time optionally pairing a silvery trim with those vibrant tones.

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Original Apple iPhone

Its metal backing was one of the physical features that wowed us most when the first iPhone burst onto the scene. The second-generation iPhone's plastic backing had a purpose -- to get better signal, which metal can obstruct -- but Apple's hugely popular phone lost some of its elite sheen. Since then, a metal frame has made an appearance in the line, complemented by ceramic or glass.

13 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET

HTC Hero

Before the One series, HTC experimented with alloys in the HTC Legend, the Hero (pictured here), and even the HD2.

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Huawei Ascend P6

Super-skinny with a metal back panel, Huawei's Ascend P6 was one of the outfit's best-looking phones, ever. Its successor, the P7, pulled back on the goods, leaving just a silvery band along the rim. Unfortunately, the rest of the phone felt cheap and sluggish.

15 of 15 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony Xperia Zs

There's nothing snoozeworthy about the Sony Xperia Z1Z1 Compact, and Xperia Z2's solid aluminum frames, which accent the devices' glass fronts and backs.

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