Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Apple iPhone 4S: Drop test

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Apple iPhone 4S: Drop test

Summary: Spoiler alert: They both break.

SHARE:
TOPICS: iPhone
16

Modern consumer electronics often break easily, and they don't come much more fragile than the smartphone. While you might have expected an old cellphone like the Nokia 3310 to take a savage beating and remain unscathed, you can't expect the same from a modern smartphone.

And to prove just how fragile smartphones are, warranty firm SquareTrade have pitted the new Samsung Galaxy S III against Apple's iPhone 4S. All the tests are pretty straightforward, and essentially involve putting the fate of the device in the hands of Isaac Newton for a fraction of a second.

While the tests might be crude, the results are simply horrifying. Here's a video of the carnage:

Given that the iPhone 4S is essentially two sheets of glass sandwiched around a steel frame, while the Galaxy S III has a plastic back, I'm surprised that the iPhone actually seemed to stand up better to the punishment dished out.

And it's not just smartphones that need protection? Tablets are just as vulnerable, if not more so. Here's ZDNet's Jason Perlow showing us what happens when an iPad hits a concrete patio.

I'm the first to admit that drop tests are far from scientific, and the amount of damage that a device sustains depends on a number of factors, in particular, what orientation it hits the ground, and what the ground is made of. That said, there's usually nothing scientific about dropping your smartphone or tablet in the first place. It slips out of your hand or falls off something, and that is then followed almost instantly by a tense "oh shoot!" moment as you realize what's happening -- and how expensive the aftermath is likely to be.

Taking out a warranty that covers accidental damage is certainly one way to protect a smartphone or tablet, but I tend to feel that prevention is better than cure, which is why I like to give my devices some additional protection. I've owned countless smartphones and a number of tablets, and I've yet had one break from a fall or bump.

Related:

Topic: iPhone

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

16 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • so much for the MYTH that iPhone is more fragile than other phones..

    if you drop any phone on concrete it's going to take a beating.. ANY PHONE!
    theFunkDoctorSpoc
    • I was not aware of this myth

      But there are ruggedized smart phones. The Panasonic Toughbook CF-P2 comes to mind.

      Yes, other phones are more fragile than the CF-P2 and that is not a myth. But, one expects a phone that was designed to be dropped to be sturdier.
      Your Non Advocate
  • watched the 2nd video.. YIKES! time to crack open a nice bottle of scotch..

    and drown your sorrows.. i had my nephew step on 1 64GB 1st gen iPad and crack that screen.. i thought it was toast so I bought a 3rd gen one.. but then i looked into fixing the screen.. was a relatively cheap $149.. so now i have two.. no more breaking up fights with my two kids.. lol..
    theFunkDoctorSpoc
  • Bogas as bogas can get...

    Any real test would not allow for random comparisons. If one droped on a front corner so would the other. The fact is...any phone is breakable is longevity is all in the luck of the land. If your serious and want to be taken as more than a crack, run the test on guided rails into identical surfaces and angles. Shure drop one using a highspeed cam and backrop to get acurate velocity. But when you compare do just that...and do it correctly leaving chance out of the result. This was a worthless and expensive review. I hope your phone insurer finds it funny. Sorry to have wasted time to watch.
    dXoom
    • the direct comparison is bogus...

      but the overall conclusion is correct.. almost any phone dropped a certain way will break... it's Russian roulette.. just depend on how it lands..

      iPhones are actually pretty resilient to corner drops because of the the way they are constructed.. if the fall flat on back or front they are toast.. a phone like Samsung GS3 is not very resilient to drops on corners or on face.. but all phones will break if dropped in a certain way..
      theFunkDoctorSpoc
  • Yeah its a completely bogus test in that it's not having both impact the

    ground at identical angle and forces. Obviously in the real world all phones a going to hit on one of the corners first in just about every drop done so hitting a corner is the biggest scenario. Really should have included a Nokia Lumia 900 too.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Take care.. no need to compare

    Any phone dropped from certain height and speed will damage eventually. No need to compare I guess. Better to take extra care.

    - Lisa
    http://www.hiredotnetprogrammers.com
    SaraParker23
  • Then why...

    Do I see so many people carrying around cracked iPhones?
    bmonsterman
    • Pride

      Honestly, I think it's a pride thing. That was the case for my buddy at least. Apple has created a perfect product, why make it less pretty with a case? He actually used to give me a hard time about feeling like I needed a case. Then, one day he dropped it while getting out of his car and the back completely shattered. That day he went out and got a case (probably mostly to hide the ugly shattered back).
      BigMagoo
    • Perhaps

      because they find that the iPhone is still useful even after it is cracked. But a cracked Android phone gets tossed into the garbage since using one is even more painful if it isn't shiny and new.
      ssaha
    • Many People Use . . .

      the "cracked screen wallpaper". Its my favorite.
      Gr8Music
  • Drop Test

    Now this is hard hitting in depth journalism at its finest.
    danohall
  • Easy explanation

    The video pretty much summed it.

    The Samsung phone has larger screen surface and poorer frame structure, so unless the impact is on the plastic back, it breaks easier.
    The iPhone is simply more compact and way more resistant to side impact. Thus it resists damage better.

    Anyway, Murphy's law dictates that any mobile phone is going to fall on it's most unprotected side and eventually break badly. So it is always better to see that someone else's phone hits the ground, not yours!
    danbi
  • Same Testors Different Flawed Testing Scenario!

    Why didn't they show their whole testing process? Obviously Apple slapped some money in their back pockets to make sure the same iPhone 4s model from the last tests, beat the Samsung Galaxy SIII this time!

    If they hadn't changed how they ran the tests, you would have seen multiple drops that would have guaranteed that this particular video clip of Apple's iPhone 4s really was the winner, like Samsung Galaxy SII was against the same iPhone 4s model!

    No doubt this is as trumped up as it gets!
    KronJohn
  • Talking Tom for PC

    wow! this is great modern smartphone.

    Also try this : A new app to play games on PC <a href="bluestacks.com/talking-tom/"><strong>Talking Tom for PC</strong></a>
    bluestack
  • Get The Best Price For Samsung Galaxy S III

    Visit http://samsunggalaxysiiicellphone.com/ to get best price and deals for Samsung Galaxy S III
    alik09