As expected, the iPhone 8 breaks if you drop it (but it's better than the Samsung Note 8)

As you'd expect from what is essentially two sheets of glass sandwiched together, there's a high probability that the iPhone 8 will break if you drop it.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
iPhone 8 breakability

Surprise, surprise! The two sheets of glass that make up the bulk of the iPhone 8 will break if you drop it.

Must read: iPhone 8 Plus first impressions: The back glass panel scratches real easy

Testing carried out by protection plan provider SquareTrade on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus pitted Apple's new offerings against Samsung's Note 8.

Here are the results of the testing:

  • Face Down Drop Test: The Note 8 may have only suffered hairline cracks across the front with starburst cracks along the top right corner but it was the only device rendered completely inoperable. Meanwhile, both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus shattered across their entire front, rendering them nearly unusable.
  • Side and Back Drop Tests: Apple's 'aerospace-grade band' helped save the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus from disaster during the side drop. Unfortunately for Samsung, the Note 8's edge-to-edge screen left it susceptible to significant damage across its back that could easily lead to a broken camera. The back drop test was a different story altogether with both larger models, the iPhone 8 Plus and Note8, shattering across their backs and losing chunks of glass in the process. The iPhone 8 was the back drop winner even while losing a chunk of glass from the corner.
  • Dunk Test: Both the Apple and Samsung devices lived up to their IP ratings ... for the most part. While the audio is significantly louder in this new iPhone generation, after being submerged for 30 minutes there was significant muffling and distortion. Even though the Note 8 also survived the test, it experienced similar audio issues.
  • Shot Test: SquareTrade's newest test, meant to simulate a phone flying off the roof of a car, further showed the dangers of leaving your device unprotected. Significant damage for all phones occurred on the first shot, however, the Note 8 had the most significant damage with multiple pieces of glass coming off the screen.
  • Repairability: Even though a cracked screen on the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus could be easily repaired, its new glass back presents a whole new world of complications, making it more difficult and more expensive to repair than previous generations. Nevertheless, the Note 8 with its multiple, fragile inner cables, is just a tedious phone to repair all around.

"Like the Galaxy S8 and Note8, our tests show that the all-glass iPhone 8 and 8 Plus break on the first drop on all sides. Wireless charging is the future, no doubt. But it seems that Apple and Samsung have made a choice-to sacrifice durability in the name of innovation," said Jason Siciliano, vice president global creative director at SquareTrade. "The iPhone 8 is an amazing device and should be quite popular. In our recent Decade of Damage Study, we found that 44 percent of current iPhone owners plan to upgrade to a new model this fall. If you're one of them, congrats-but hold on tight."

iPhone 8 breakability

YouTuber JerryRigEverything also carried out drop testing on the new iPhone 8 and also found that it breaks when dropped. But he also took the testing further and found that the addition of a case significantly increases the durability of the iPhone to even pretty impressive drops.

Given how tough it is to replace that rare glass panel (thanks, iFixit!), I suggest that if you're genetically blessed with butterfingers (or, like me, are more bull than ballerina with your gear) then prevention is a lot better than cure, and it's a good idea to get yourself a case.

See also:


iPhone 8 Plus first impressions: The back glass panel scratches real easy

Initial thoughts on Apple's new iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone 8 off to a slow start

First weekend adoption statistics for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus suggest that adoption is slower than earlier iPhones going back to the iPhone 5 launched in 2013.

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