Why I Wish My iPhone Was Wooden: The Environmental Cost of Motorola’s $1,000 Wooden Flagship

What you should know


  • Motorola has revived its tradition of offering phones with wooden backs, introducing the “Nordic Wood” variant of the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra, a premium flagship phone priced at $1,000.
  • The Motorola Edge 50 Ultra also offers colorways in vegan leather, aligning with modern preferences for sustainable and animal-friendly materials.
  • The author criticizes the prevalent use of glass backs in smartphones, highlighting the advantages of alternative materials like wood, vegan leather, and plastic in terms of durability, cost, and environmental sustainability.
  • EU legislation aimed at promoting the right to repair has led to more repairable designs in flagship phones from Apple and Samsung, suggesting a potential future shift towards more durable materials in phone manufacturing.


Full Story

Oh, hello there, Glass and Metal. Guess what? Wood just walked into the party! Motorola’s got this habit, you see, of crafting phones that whisper to the trees. And bam, the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra pops up. This baby, a creation of Lenovo’s genius, slaps a cool $1,000 price tag on the table. But hold up, it’s not just any phone.

At first glance, you might think, “Ah, just another smartphone.” But nope, there’s a twist. The back? It looks like it’s hugging a piece of the forest. Real wood, my friends. Trees took one for the team here. And they’re calling it “Nordic Wood.” Though, between you and me, “Morning Wood” would’ve been a cheeky, fun name. Too bad I’m not in charge of naming at Motorola.

Flashback to 2014, and Motorola’s rocking the Moto X with a wooden back. Fast forward a decade, and Lenovo’s bringing sexy back—wooden style. For the OG tech nerds out there, you’ll remember the Moto X. That phone was the start of something special. Motorola even had this cool feature on their website, the Moto-maker, where you could dress up your phone in wood or leather. Speaking of which, the Edge 50 Ultra also struts in leather. But hey, it’s 2024, so we’re talking vegan leather. Only wood and leather for this phone, folks. Motorola’s got the memo, but it seems Apple and Samsung missed it. When it comes to phone materials, glass ain’t always class.

Sure, the 2024 model doesn’t let you play dress-up like the Moto X did. But wood’s back on the menu, and that’s a victory in my book. And let’s chat about glass for a sec. I’ve ranted enough about glass-back phones on the site. They’re pretty, sure, but oh, the heartbreak when they crack. And don’t get me started on the cost of fixing them. Plus, they’re heavier. But here’s a kicker: wireless charging isn’t exclusive to glass. Wood, leather, plastic—they all can play ball. Remember the Pixel 5? Metal back with a clever little plastic spot for charging. It’s high time we ditch the “niche” label on durable materials.

Now, don’t get too excited and rush to buy this wooden marvel. Hold your horses and wait for our review. It’s not just about the back; it’s the whole package that matters. But yeah, I’ve been on this soapbox for years. Phone makers, listen up. It’s doable, better for the planet, and kinder to our wallets.

2024 and 2025 could be exciting years if more phones follow this lead. The EU’s “Right to Repair” push is making iPhones and Galaxies easier to fix. Maybe, just maybe, this will nudge companies to embrace sturdier materials. The EU’s been on this sustainable path for a bit, and it’s working. So, here’s hoping the US and EU can “gently” push brands toward materials like faux leather, wood, and good ol’ metal. I mean, if I had my way, metal would be the star. So, what about you? Would a wooden Galaxy or iPhone catch your eye, or are these materials better left to the underdogs?

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynnhttps://www.phonesinsights.com
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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