Samsung Galaxy S4 'more susceptible to lifestyle damage' than iPhone 5: SquareTrade

Samsung Galaxy S4 'more susceptible to lifestyle damage' than iPhone 5: SquareTrade

Summary: Just how durable is Samsung's Galaxy S4 handset? According to extended warranty firm SquareTrade, not as durable as either the Galaxy S3 or the iPhone 5.


How well a smartphone can cope with the rigours of day-to-day usage is important given that we carry and use these devices with us wherever we go. But we don't usually get to find out how durable a smartphone is — or isn't — until it's too late.

Extended warranty firm SquareTrade has put the Galaxy S4 smartphone through its paces and found that Samsung's new flagship handset isn't as durable as either the iPhone 5 or its predecessor, the Galaxy S3.

SquareTrade subjected the handsets to a variety of tests, including a drop-test, a "grip-ability" test, and a water resistance test.

"Our Breakability Score creates a new Richter Scale for accidental damage to help consumers assess when, where, and how their phones are in danger," said Ty Shay, CMO at SquareTrade. "It's been two years since we created the first Drop Test video for the industry, and we thought it was time to expand the concept."

The Galaxy S4's "Breakability Score" of 7 — where the higher the score, the greater the risk of it breaking due to an accident — should bring a tear to the eye of early adopters. While the S4 is more water-resistant than its predecessor, the slippery back panel, along with the wider screen, reduces "grip-ability" and increases the risk that the handset with have a run in with gravity.

(Image: SquareTrade)

"Our research and experience shows that even the smallest device characteristics can dramatically affect its breakability: The weight balance of a device can affect the way it spins in free-fall, making it more likely to land on its screen; devices with rubber backs are less likely to slide; and device dimensions can effect how snugly smartphones fit in pant and jeans pockets," said Shay. "The likelihood of damage due to these common scenarios has never been higher."

SquareTrade claimed that in the tests, the iPhone 5 came out as "the clear winner."

Topics: Samsung, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • There's a very popular video on Youtube...

    ...from an *ANDROID* fan site doing a drop test onto concrete of a GSIII and an iPhone 5. The iPhone wiped the floor with the GSIII. The phones were dropped at varying heights and the GSIII was nearly unusable by the time half the test was complete, while the iPhone exhibited virtually NO damage.

    This is not some super-duper iPhone fanboy feature, it's simple design and physics. The stupid wraparound glass on the GSIII exposed it from nearly ALL angles to the glass taking the brunt of the impact, whilst the iPhone which has now lost the glass back *and* has a more recessed and flush front glass, almost always takes the hits (especially the deadly corner hits) on non-glass surfaces that don't easily transmit the impact. By the end of the test, the user was holding the iPhone all the way above his head for one final test, which it STILL passed with no breakage. I can confirm this as well because on more than one occasion I dropped my first iPhone 5 straight onto concrete with no ill effect.

    Wraparound glass on phones is complete idiocy, "Gorilla" or not. Not to mention the plastickyness of Samsung's crap to begin with. For android lovers the HTC One is so much better built it's not even in the same league.
    • +1

      I saw it as well.

      But didn't Apple just put in a patent for a phone with curved, wraparound glass? Zd Net and others had it posted a couple weeks ago, and everybody had to chime in and laugh because someone else made it first... (yes, Apple has made some things first... plenty of articles on numerous technical forums go into lurid detail on any number of issues, even the good one on "top-10-android-features-ios-5-impersonated-apple-iphone-5-ipad-ipad-2-iphone-3gs-iphone-4-ipod-touch"... but that's an older article and there are many in Apple's favor too... since they all bleat, I try to find something else to look at...
      • That's a great point...

        If they actually go through with that wraparound contraption (and maybe it will serve a good purpose, I don't know) I'd definitely withdraw my iPhone recommendation.
    • I've dropped my S3 from the same height as "the video"

      All I have is a small dent where it contacted with the floor.

      That's it. Does that make your comment about wrap around screens invalid? No. Just not correct in 100% of situations. You shouldn't take for granted everything you watch. I have seen i5's broken when dropped from only a metre (or so the user said).
      Little Old Man
  • Why does everything have ot cmpare to friggin Iphone?

    Ok listen someone looking for a 4.7-5 inch screen is not going to go for a 4 inch Iphone no matter how much the fanboys here want to promote it. Iphoe fanboys get over yourselves already. Not everyone want to join your cult.
    • Good question

      Perhaps everyone still thinks the iPhone is the gold standard? Including manufacturers of other phones..
      • More like iron pyrite...

        But marketing is about perception rather than reality...
        • just like

          About everyone compares an car with a Mercedes or a Ferrari, even if neither of these are appropriate for the intended usage. Or like every photocopier is an "xerox", etc.

          People always remember the first "great" party, even if others follow with not bad products. They will always be considered an "me too" kind, no matter how good.

          Why would you care? You believe it is unjust? Life is that way...
  • Samsuck break easily

    I have seen plenty of Samsuck phones break so easily, if you drop you Samsuck say goodbye to your phone, however with an iPhone I can drop it off a building and it will survive, Samsuck has plastic armor while iPhone has metal armor big diffrience, even HTC got on the band wagon
    • Are people so cognitively-addled they don't use things we call


      Kudos to Apple for building a phone sturdy, though one can find a few articles online of them cracking as well so no platform is immune...

      A company should take a little time and effort and make them reasonably sturdy, but if it cuts into profit or if the product is going to be upgraded annually then does it really matter?
      • Don't believe every idiot on here

        Samsuck phones do not break just by showing them what the ground looks like. Equally so, iphones do not survive being dropped off a building.

        I think I agree with you, the majority of people I see use cases of some description. Personally I use an alu edge case, the IT manager a plastic shell case.
        Little Old Man
      • No one said that iPhones were immune to damage

        There have been those who said that the SG3 and SG4 was much more durable than the iPhone - and talked smack about the glass on the front and back in the case of the iPhone 4/4S... Go figure. I guess those who own the SGs ought to invest in Otterbox cases. I did for my iPhones and for my SGS and HTC TBolt. These tests simply confirm my statement that the SGs are not as durable as other devices.
  • Make 'em cheap, people will re-purchase

    but without the benefit of a 2-year contract discount incentive...

    It helps the economy, stupids...
  • Thing is - everyone I know puts their phones (iPhones too) in cases...

    And even the most basic of one will pretty much level the playing field.

    Then there's the classic issue of misuse of the term 'risk'.

    The scores shown aren't 'risk' scores - they're 'threat' scores. Risk refers to the probability something WILL happen. Threat refers to classes of things that CAN happen. In the information provided above, the company has reviewed all possible ways and causes for accidental damage and come up with a score - but this says nothing about actual incidence rates.

    As an example. if I take a nail and hammer it through my phone - the odds are almost 100% that it will destroy my phone. It has a HIGH threat score. On the other hand, the odds of it every actually happening is almost 0%, so it's very LOW risk.

    (Sidenote: there's also cost analysis - if these threats result in high cost of repair, that has to be factored in as well. If dropping the phone has a high chance of scratching the phone, but no other damage, then even if it's highly likely to happen, it's not really a big issue.)
    • I actually have found the reverse to be the "case"...

      In some cases (seriously, not doing that on purpose) the iPhone cases have actually contributed to damage because they transfer the impact energy in a worse way than the phone would have taking the impact itself. Same goes for GSIII cases.

      It's actually nice to run the iPhone without a case because it's such a beautiful piece of machinery regardless what you think of the company or the OS. The aluminum on the perimeter WILL get scratched and dinged over time but it's better than cracked screens and the silly back glass they used to have. It's the only phone I have and will run without a case, even though the truth is that unless we're talking about a lifeproof case or something similar, running a case on the wraparound glass devices especially is probably more placebo than anything else. I really don't think your garden variety china-case really does anything substantive.
      • If that is so

        Then the cases you are using are utter crap. I heartily recommend the Incipio Silicrylic line of cases. gel inner case with outer shell case.
      • Thinking

        Clearly you need to do less of it.

        Or at least stop writing down these 'thoughts'.
        Little Old Man
      • Interesting

        I've found the reverse from what you say to be true with my own tests. I had an iPhone 4 and a Samsung Galaxy S both in Otterbox cases. As an experiment I threw both against a wall - The Samsung required a battery pull and reboot with no physical damage, the iPhone was not affected at all. I upgraded both - iPhone 4S and HTC Thunderbolt and again in Otterbox cases I did the same thing. The iPhone didn't show any indication of any damage, the HTC also required a battery pull and reboot but no physical damage. Then again that is what those cases were designed to do. I have them in cases at work but on the weekends they go without the cases - as the iPhones are a decent looking bit of kit as is the HTC.
    • I've done it every since I had a smartphone

      I had the aluminum case for my PPC-6700 and used Otterbox cases for every Blackberry, iPhone, and Android smartphone I've had - I tend to be rough on phones.
  • Iphone and sliding test.

    Is it just me but after the water test, both SIII and S4 stayed whereas iPhone just slid off the pad (stopped only by the border of vessel). I would not rate it the best on sliding test.

    iPhone 5 may be better on impact due to missing glass but now it is more prone to scratches than iPhone 4 or 4S