Drop test shows iPhone 15 Pro Max glass no more fragile than other premium phones

Posted:
in iPhone

Scientific drop testing shows that iPhone 15 Pro Max glass is no more fragile -- or more durable -- than other premium phones.

[YouTube/Allstate]
[YouTube/Allstate]



Consumer drop testing for shock value or entertainent after major smartphone releases is a common sight online. While trials by YouTubers may typically be discounted over a lack of scientific rigor, some outlets do actually apply scientific rigor to their approaches.

In the latest publicized test, Allstate Protection Plans put the $1,199 iPhone 15 Pro Max against the $1,199 Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, $1,799 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5, and the $1,799 Google Pixel Fold. The insurer refers to it as the test of the "most expensive phones of the year."

All four devices survived a dunk test, which involved being kept under six feet of water for 30 minutes.

For the drop test, each was dropped from six feet onto a sidewalk. However, unlike being submerged, all of the devices experienced trouble.

The front screen-down drop test for the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra resulted in shattering on their first drops. Both were deemed unusable with raised and loose glass.



The Fold5 and Pixel Fold survived the main screen-down drop tests, handling two similar drops. Minor frame damage was encountered, along with corner scuffing and small screen dents.

For the back-down drop tests, the Pro Max and S23 Ultra again shattered on impact after a single drop. The Ultra was fully functional, but was only safe to do so when a case was used to cover the back panel.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max was also fully functional, barring the Main camera and Ultra Wide camera, which were shattered. Again, a case was needed to cover the rear.

The outer-screen-down drop tests for the Fold5 and Pixel Fold also resulted in shattering, with both displays unusable. The main screens were still fully functional, but were only safe to use when the outer screen panel wasn't in contact with the skin.

"Even though the most advanced smartphones today are made with space age materials like titanium, Armor Aluminum, and Ceramic Shield screens, they're still susceptible to damage when dropped on a concrete sidewalk," said Allstate Protection Plans VP of marketing and global creative officer Jason Siciliano. "That's especially troubling considering that our most recent survey shows that nearly half of Americans vastly underestimate the cost of smartphone repairs."

It is reckoned that 93 million Americans damaged a smartphone in the last 12 months, spending a total of $17.4 billion on repairs and replacements. Approximately 47% believe a smartphone repair costs $1450 or less, despite the average cost being $209, with premium models like the Pro Max costing far more.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 772member
    While I appreciate the scientific rigor behind the tests, the six foot drop test isn't very informative because it's not a typical drop height. That's not to say that no one drops their phone from a six foot height or higher, but I didn't really need an "official test" to tell me that if I drop my iPhone horizontally from a height of six feet it was probably toast. Much more typically, drops are from a desk or table onto a hard floor... or drops from hand-height onto a floor or sidewalk... or drops from a pocket while standing, sitting or getting out of a car. What all these common drops have in common is that they range from 2.5 to maybe a 4 foot height. It would be great to test how these phones hold up in heights that are more typical.  
    elijahgAlex1Nbonobobwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    charlesn said:It would be great to test how these phones hold up in heights that are more typical.  

    Yes, I was going to say the same. Moreover, I'd want to see some tests with a cover too (which is what I use).
    Alex1Nbonobobwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    When I worked at Agilent in the early 2000s they told me a story how they threw one of their optical wavemeters down three flights of stairs to test its durability.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,310member
    I agree with people who correctly stated that a 6-foot drop test is largely meaningless, as the average drop height onto a hard surface is much less than that.

    Even more frustrating is the fact that most people turn to YouTube video reviews to get a feel for what kind of protective case they should get, and yet few reviewers do drop testing.  This is especially important for aesthetically pleasing cases like leather, which is known to rip when dropped, then leaving you with a case that looks worse than a silicone or plastic case that endured the same drop.

    In other words, we need PROPER DROP TESTING not only for the naked Phones, but also for popular cases too.  You'd think with the popularity of the iPhone spanning 15 years that we'd have more videos that show us proper testing!  But no. We have almost no such testing at all.  It's crazy.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    kmareikmarei Posts: 175member
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,229member
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    Glass is still glass — so it will break if it is unprotected with sufficient force.

    Get a case with a “lip” over the front glass, and chances go way up that if you should drop the phone face, down, it will survive. Get a case with shock-absorbing material on the corners, and chances go way up that if you drop it down a flight of stains, it will survive.

    In short: don’t carry your expensive iPhone around “naked” unless you are supremely confident that nothing unexpected will ever happen to it. Get a case, and get AppleCare+.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    M68000M68000 Posts: 706member
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    Indeed,  hope the advertising is legitimate.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    This is simply not true. The front and back glass continues to improve on break and scratch resistance. But it will never be breakproof and scratchproof. Why not? First, because the glass is fairly thin--it has to be to save on weight and for the capacitive touch front screen. Second, as screen size has grown with the Pro Max screens, the larger but still thin glass is even more challenging when it comes to break resistance. And going to something like sapphire glass would be much too cost prohibitive. Also: Corning Glass is no joke! They've been pioneering new types of glass for 175 years, so their R&D department is pretty incredible. 
    thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    You would prefer weaker glass in each successive generation?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    The larger the surface area at the same thickness, the weaker it will be compared to the same thickness with a smaller surface area. That’s just physics. No one will ever overcome that. 

    A pro max, as tough as it is, will not resist bending or breaking as well as a regular sized pro. 

    Even with titanium and Corning glass, It’s an expensive computer. Treat it like one. 
    edited October 2023 thedbawatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    The larger the surface area at the same thickness, the weaker it will be compared to the same thickness with a smaller surface area. That’s just physics. No one will ever overcome that. 

    A pro max, as tough as it is, will not resist bending or breaking as well as a regular sized pro. 

    Even with titanium and Corning glass, It’s an expensive computer. Treat it like one. 
    This exactly. It’s not like those youtubers subject their laptops to a drop test
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    kmareikmarei Posts: 175member
    charlesn said:
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    This is simply not true. The front and back glass continues to improve on break and scratch resistance. But it will never be breakproof and scratchproof. Why not? First, because the glass is fairly thin--it has to be to save on weight and for the capacitive touch front screen. Second, as screen size has grown with the Pro Max screens, the larger but still thin glass is even more challenging when it comes to break resistance. And going to something like sapphire glass would be much too cost prohibitive. Also: Corning Glass is no joke! They've been pioneering new types of glass for 175 years, so their R&D department is pretty incredible. 
    agreed, but the fact remains it still breaks when you drop it.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    kmareikmarei Posts: 175member
    longfang said:
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    You would prefer weaker glass in each successive generation?
    if the end result is the same, whats the benefit of the glass being stronger with each generation?
    it used to  break with the iphone 4
    it still breaks with iphone 15 pro max ultra super duper, which uses a much much MUCH stronger glass
    end result= broken iphone

  • Reply 14 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,520member
    longfang said:
    kmarei said:
    Every iPhone  generation, we are told the glass is stronger than the one before it
    But every generation breaks just the same when you drop it 
    so what's the benefit of gorilla glass super duper +?
    You would prefer weaker glass in each successive generation?
    Interesting question. If it were much easier and cheaper to replace, some might prefer to skip improvements (and the cost of developing them).

    If we are to use cases anyway, why not use other materials for the back case? 
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