What is a Faceplate?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The faceplate refers to a little dressing up of the modern cellphone. Most cellphones aren’t exciting fashion statements, but for a few extra dollars a faceplate can change that in minutes. Faceplates are usually clip devices in various designs, patterns, and colors, that when attached to the front, and sometimes back of the phone, add near-instant style to a favorite cell.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Lots of places have wide selections of cellphone faceplates — most stores that specialize in cellphone contracts and sales have a significant variety that could be conveniently purchased with a new phone. Electronics stores may have these too. It’s pretty easy to find faceplate designs in malls, particularly in kiosks devoted to these items only, and people might surprisingly pick up some plates at locations like country fairs too.

Primarily plastic or rubber faceplates might be sold in single sets, which usually feature two components that snap together. Another popular trend is to sell multiple plates at once, allowing people to change the look of the phone frequently, perhaps to coordinate with outfits or suit a particular mood. Prices on plates are expected to be variable; those styles sold with multiple faceplates typically are more expensive and any featuring licensed characters or images could have a higher cost. It really does depend on vendor and selection.

Since cells come in so many sizes, one of the things that people will need to think of as they buy is the size and model of the phone they possess. Clearly, a little flip phone will need different types of plates than an Apple iPhone®. The faceplate packaging or sales material should designate the models to which it is best suited. If people are having trouble finding one to fit a phone, they might search online by phone model or check with the manufacturer of the phone for plate suggestions.

A faceplate may fit around the edge of the phone only, have a two-piece snap, or really verge into cover territory. Fashionable covers in rubberized or hard material may completely cover the phone with plastic windows allowing access to dialing and the screen. Between faceplate and cover, covers tend to provide greater protection to the phone, and might especially prevent any scratching of the phone screen. Some are also cushioned and could add a little durability to phones that get dropped frequently. In contrast, the faceplate is more of a nod to fashion than functionality.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I can understand why someone would invest in a cover for their cellphone, as it does also protect their cellphone, but buying a faceplate seems like a waste of money. All a faceplate does is make your phone look different, which is not important in the grand scheme of things.

I am sorry if I offend anyone, but I think we should stop wasting our money on things that do not benefit anyone, not even ourselves. I think we should all start spending money only on things that benefit our lives and/or benefit other people's lives.

That being said, it makes sense to me to buy a cell phone cover, as it benefits me to protect my cell phone. I does not make sense to buy a faceplate, as it has no benefit to anyone.

Protecting and taking care of people and things is important, but outer appearances of people and things are not. This being said, covers for cell phones are important, whereas faceplates for cell phones are not.


@nony - My friend has a blue flame Razor faceplate on his Razor phone. You’re right, it’s just something fashionable, but it sure is cool to look at.

Both the front and the back have these artistic looking blue flames. Let’s not forget however that beyond the pretty pictures the faceplate does in fact protect your phone.

It’s like people who have slip on covers for these digital flip camcorders. The covers come in various styles but more importantly, they protect the camera.

You could always go with a plain vanilla cover for your phone if you don’t need the fashion statement but want the protection.


I suppose I am a little old fashioned. I put phone faceplates right up there with ringtones. They are a way to personalize your phone and make a statement perhaps but they add nothing to the value of the phone.

If I were into faceplates, I would love to get one that would make my regular cell phone look like an iPhone. That would move me up a few notches in respectability, I think.

But I believe there are actual applications that will simulate some of iPhone’s functionality on my cell phone, and so a faceplate would be nothing more than something cosmetic I think.


Their is a kiosk at my local mall that sells nothing but faceplates. If you are in the market it is definitely the place to go because they have just about every design under the sun. You can get faceplates with famous cartoon characters, sports teams, movies, famous works of art and random cool designs.

I got one there that has this really complicated grid pattern all over it. My phone is all black and pretty boring looking but this makes it a really eye catching fashion accessory.


I have a really cool faceplate that has the logo of my favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs. It has a picture of their helmet and is the signature Chiefs red color.

I got it at Arrowhead stadium at a store that sells all kinds of crazy Chiefs merchandise. I needed to get a cover anyway because I just got a new phone and I want to keep it in good shape. I saw the Chiefs faceplate and I new it was perfect. I put it on my phone the minute I left the store. I get a lot of nice comments about it when I am using my phone in public.

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