Drop Test: What's the Toughest Smartphone?

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Simon Anderson

Sep 22, 2013
Someone should build a phone with little rubber "bumpers" in each corner... slightly protruding from all sides... That would surely protect the majority of drops. I hate the whole concept of cases: products should (and are) designed to be stand alone, not have some horrible third party piece of plastic wrapped around them
This is really interesting.
I understand it's almost impossible to measure accurately, but I'm also interested in knwoing for sure how much extra shatter protection (if any) does a screen protector provide?

The entire goal of a case / screen protector for your phone is to sloowww dooowwwnn acceleration from impacts.

Let's give a terrible example just so you can get the idea.

If I encased my phone in bricks, and dropped it on the floor, what do you think is going to happen?

My phone is going to get crushed by bricks due to bricks not having any softness or give in them, they are rigid for all intensive purposes.

Any shocks that the bricks take are instantly transferred to my phone due to how rigid the bricks are.

So now you may be thinking ok perfect ill just encase my phone is the softest material known to man, soapstone,

That may not have immediately come to mind, but its really really soft.

The problem with that is its so soft it disintegrates upon impact with almost anything making it a one time use case, you're phone would be protected for that first drop though.

So the middle ground here is a hard outer shell that can actually take a hit and a soft inner lining that can dissipate any hard shocks turn them into quite literally good vibrations for the phone.

And also they make a device made to measure these forces ... an accelerometer - Thanks Mythbusters.
(They started using shockwatch labels when they didn't have to be precise with the measurement)

You want the acceleration to be low.

To quote a cliche .... It isn't the fall that kills your phone it's the sudden stop

High acceleration going from about 10 mph to 0 near instantly, assuming a 1 meter drop.

If you are just in the market for a screen protector you want to get one that uses soft clear plastic so that any impacts are minimized, but due to how thin most screen protectors are you can't expect a miracle, a case+screen protector is really the way to go.


Jun 30, 2015

Samsung S8 Active. Missing from the list but it's a full spec S8 Series phone with bumpers built on and is a hell of a durable phone. Surprised it's not on the list. Would have loved to see how it fares against the Z2 Force.


Any of the Samsung Active series really. Comes with the corner bumpers etc. I'm currently typing this on a S5 Active.

Honestly, the best, toughest phone is the one you do not drop. My wife's phone seems super slick, she's dropped it half a dozen times, this S5 Active seems to be far more 'sticky' to the grip.

Best screen protection is Gorilla Glass. Unlike clear plastic, it does not squash when hit by sharp objects like rocks, so does not transfer the impact to the actual screen. Plastic will. However, plastic is better at incidental impacts, like found in a purse, where keys or other sharper/harder objects hit at severe angles. The give of the plastic absorbs this better, and may or may not scratch. Glass can scratch, or crack, reducing its usefulness.

TJ Hooker


The fact that a glass protector doesn't transfer the force of an impact as much as a plastic one is linked to the fact that glass can break. If your glass screen protector cracks/shatters, it's because it absorbed the force of an impact and broke in the process, sacrificing itself to (hopefully) save the screen.
May 22, 2018
I have a Blackview BV7000 & to show my wife how tough it was I tossed it 8 feet in the air and let it drop onto a wooden floor. She was horrified, the phone just shrugged it off.


Lol. My boss got mad at a foreman one time. It ended up being phone vrs windshield and he's left handed. At 80mph the windshield lost. Scared the wits out of me. I was driving. Samsung S5 Active.
I kind of disagree about the lack of "resistant phones" in this test. After all, phones that are made to be durable are tested everywhere, so it's really easy to get some tests online. Meanwhile, normal phones are not usually tested this way, so if I had to choose between having 5 normal phones and 5 "tough" phones, or having 9 normal and 1 tough, I'd choose the latter.
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