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.
"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."