How breakable is the iPhone X? Drop it and you'll find out

So, just how robust is your $1,000+ slab of glass? Not very.

​iPhone X after a single drop

iPhone X after a single drop.


Surprise! The two sheets of glass that make up the bulk of the iPhone X will break -- and break rather spectacularly -- if you drop it.

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Testing carried out by protection plan provider SquareTrade put to the test Apple's claim that the glass used in the iPhone X is the most durable ever in a smartphone.

Here are the findings of SquareTrade's Breakability tests (iPhone X owners might like to look away):

  • Face Down Drop Test: On its first drop, SquareTrade saw the iPhone X shatter, its screen become unresponsive and its widely touted facial recognition feature fail completely.
  • Side and Back Drop Tests: Remarkably, the side drop did the most internal damage to the phone. While the outside of the phone only suffered cosmetic damage, the screen was rendered inoperable. Meanwhile, the back drop completely shattered the back panel leaving loose shards of glass, making it difficult to hold.
  • Dunk Test: The iPhone X faired similar to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models, surviving 30 minutes under five feet of water with some audio muffling during playback.
  • Shot Test: Meant to simulate a phone falling off the roof of a car, the shot test showed that the iPhone X is prone to damage from a variety of drops. While the screen and back panel did experience cracks, the biggest damage came from both Face ID and the new "home" swipe command failing.
  • Tumble Test: Sixty seconds in the Tumble Bot was no friend to the iPhone X either. Although the screen was able to recognize touch through cracks suffered during the test, the "home" swipe command failed, stranding users in the app that happened to be open.
  • Repairability: SquareTrade's Master Technician noted that the iPhone X has a thinner, more costly OLED screen that's more expensive to replace, a smaller logic board, multiple cables, and a split battery that's more difficult to remove. All of which may be why Apple is charging a whopping $279 for front screen replacement and $549 for other repairs.

"You'd expect there to be a high price to pay for a beautiful phone like the iPhone X. Unfortunately for consumers, in the end it's likely to be more than the $1,000 they've already invested." said Jason Siciliano, vice president global creative director at SquareTrade. "Despite Apple's claims that their glass is the most durable ever in a smartphone, the iPhone X is the most breakable iPhone we've ever tested. The iPhone X's fragility, along with Apple's $549 fee for most repairs, make it the definition of a high-risk phone."

These findings are pretty much in line with the drop tests carried out by ZDNet's sister site, CNET, which showed that the iPhone X could sustain significant damage after a single drop.

From November 1, 2017, the cost for two-year plans for all smartphones, including the iPhone X, will be $129 with an option of adding a third year for just $30.

​iPhone X breakability

iPhone X breakability.


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