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.