GALAXY S 4 vs iPhone 5 drop test proves plastic isn’t always best

April 29, 2013
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We all knew a few drop test videos would be appearing within days of Samsung's GALAXY S 4 hitting the streets in the U.S. and across the globe. So lets take a peek and enjoy the carnage. Well, without spoiling all the fun lets just say our title was right. Plastic isn't always best, and that is proven with multiple drop tests we've seen this weekend.

To be completely honest, they do a great job thoroughly dropping both devices from similar angles and height, all while running the camera at the same time on the phones to give you another angle to enjoy. I was quite surprised by just how well the iPhone 5 handled the drops, and figured a few 10 foot falls would crack that screen, but they didn't.

Drop tests are nothing new. They also aren't anything scientific and sometimes one bad drop will kill your display, while 5 others won't. It's the luck of the draw - and the angle - that will cause that beautiful 5-inch 1080p HD display to bust. Here we see Samsung's flagship wrapped in lightweight plastic going head-to-head with Apple's durable aluminum wrapped iPhone 5. It's safe to say plastic isn't always best, and even with an aluminum ring around the entire GALAXY S 4, it still fails this test miserably.

The Galaxy S III didn't do too well in these tests, and it looks like the S4 doesn't do any better. You'd think Samsung would work on fixing this area of durability, but clearly they haven't. The GALAXY S 4 has a thick aluminum ring around the entire side of the device but it didn't help save the screen when it came down to it. We were hoping for a little more protection, but that didn't work out. Maybe you'll need to get that aluminum bumper case we mentioned this morning.

I've never done these tests myself, but wow, that iPhone 5 even handled an SUV running it over. That's pretty impressive folks. Plastic surely couldn't handle that type of abuse. There is some good news here however. A recent iFixit teardown gave the GS4 an 8/10 for repairability. So you'll be able to replace that broken device rather easily should one of these terrible moments happen and you crack that screen.

All this drop test junk aside, the Samsung GALAXY S 4 is still an amazingly awesome and powerful smartphone that will make millions of customers happy. Hopefully next time around Samsung works a bit harder on the durability side of things and maybe, just maybe, decides to change their plastic ways. If you bought one this weekend or will this week, are you going to use a case?

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  • mikeGsays

    This is pretty unbelievable, considering I had drinks with friends who work at the Apple store on Saturday night, showed off my S4, and they were commenting how shitty the iPhone5 is made – SO shitty, you can verify this yourself, that they now cover flexing in warranty replacements…. that’s right, if the iPhone5 bends and is not perfectly flat because (in his own words) “if some fat guy sits on his phone and bends it in half, we will replace it under warranty”

    He went on to say how bad the power button is, always getting stuck, and how often they replace phones because of the speaker on the bottom busting – sounds like a real winner to me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Dye/575025297 Mike Dye

    How is this a miserable fail? The iphones scratches were much more apparent than the ones on the plastic S4 and it survived both waist and chest level drops with no functional damage at all.

  • http://www.techicloud.org/ Technology Cloud

    Doesn’t look like a right comparison …. The angle in which the phone hits the ground is what matters and its not done exactly for both the phones. In the third test, S4 had a direct impact on one corner of the phone where it has actually cracked. You can see that clearly on the bottom Video, but the same video for iPhone was not available (Not sure why) and from the sound of iPhone fall it doesn’t look like it had impact on a single point contact. I am not saying Samsung will not crack …. but iPhone might also crack with a exact similar impact on the ground.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700415008 Edgar Irizarry

    Everything up until including ear height was relevant. Everything else is just completely irrelevant. As far as I’m concerned, both phones survived within reasonable distances. 7′ drops and up aren’t the norm and its stupid that those heights are even tested. This is the stupidest crap I’ve ever seen lol! Phones are not meant to be dropped.

    • Steve Gonzales

      I agree with you 100% that, “Phones are not meant to be dropped!” That’s why there are literally hundreds of different types of cases to choose from to protect your phone. I have never had trouble with dropping my phone, but I have always bought a case for protection, but also because some of them look nice! Even if I do drop my phone and break it……that’s what insurance is for! I use to be a die-hard iPhone user, but I changed to an android phone a few years ago and……I’ve never looked back!! I’ll take my pre-ordered GS4 with all its better features, quad-core processor, bigger screen and buy a case for it, rather than go with an iPhone that can handle a 10′ drop, but has less features and it’s dated dual-core processor. These 10 reasons why GS4 is better than the iPhone 5 more than make up for the “better built” iPhone 5: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-galaxy-s-4-is-better-than-the-iphone-5-2013-3?op=1

      • genti

        Sgs4 is octacore means 8core, also right about not meant to drop as i have seen so much tablet drops,i have nexus 7 and waiting for nexus 5 but i never dropped nexus 7. Its hard to go out from your hand even you have wet hands |:

  • http://twitter.com/KharyTheCEO Cam Newton

    There’s only one thing I hate about reading these Android sites: people in the comment section refuse to recognize any of the positives of the iPhone. The iPhone 5 is the best built/most durable smartphone out right now and probably will remain that way for a while (I’m still waiting to see HTC vs i5 drop tests). It literally is a tiny brick; it is very hard to damage it. Of course, this is specific drop test is unrealistic, but the S4 does not stand a chance of beating the iPhone 5 in any drop tests.

    PS: I have never owned an iphone. i’ve been using Android since the OG Moto Droid. I’m 1 of 3 students on my college campus that owns a tablet that isn’t an iPad.

    • Steve

      Calm down, dude. We don’t like FUD and bias. And reality-distorting drop-tests.
      Machines/robots should drop devices for these “tests”.

      well, Galaxy S4 has a METAL band around it to prevent last year’s Android Authority-like biased dop-tests.

      BOTH iphone 5 and Galaxy S4 has the same materials on their sides-metal and their front-glass, but this drop test doesn’t shows Galaxy S4’s plastic back DAMAGED, but its FRONT- display, which can be broken in two ways:

      1) display touches the ground (honest drop test would have both ip5 and GS4 with broken displays)
      2) plastic corner damages display corner like last year with GSIII, but GS4 has METAL corners

      This drop test is biased.

      Plastic back has nothing to do with Galaxy S4 broken display. They dropped it differently than iphone5 to have these results.;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Yumi08 Kawaii Yumi

    The thing I hate about drop test is that, if you drop any phone something is either going to break or not break, it all depends on how you drop it…another thing is, that is why cases were created if you know your going to drop it put a cases on, or even if you know you are not going to drop it. There are other things that may happen when someone drops a phone weather it slipped from their person or someone or something knocks it out of your hand…in the end if I take my phone and drop it from the second story window, unless it the old style Nokia, that thing is doomed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Yumi08 Kawaii Yumi

    Oops said weather I meant wether

  • http://www.facebook.com/Yumi08 Kawaii Yumi

    Whether