Following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Friday, there has been the usual flurry of drop tests, dunk tests, and other sadistic trials intended to showcase the physical strengths of Apple’s new smartphones. As you can probably imagine, most of these tests aren’t very scientific, but they have generally indicated that both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are surprisingly durable smartphones. If it was just one video of an iPhone 6 surviving a fall onto its glass front, then that would be one thing — but there’s now enough evidence of surviving falls from various heights and angles that maybe the iPhone 6 is actually quite tough.
So far, the most notable of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus $299.00 at Verizon durability tests has been carried out by SquareTrade. Unlike other testers, which mostly rely on a human trying to closely replicate various drop/dunk/etc. conditions multiple times, SquareTrade uses robots — and at ExtremeTech, we like robots because they’re reliable. You can watch the full SquareTrade video below, but suffice it to say that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both score very well in tests for slipperiness, water resistance, and drop tests. Watching both phones work underwater for 10 seconds is pretty cool.
Overall, SquareTrade gives the iPhone 6 a breakability rating of 4 and the iPhone 6 Plus a rating of 5 — out of 10, lower is better. The iPhone 5S $99.99 at Verizon got a score of 6 last year, while the Galaxy S5 $0.00 at Amazon only managed a score of 6.5, losing points for being more slippery than the iPhone 6 Plus. It’s worth noting that larger smartphones/phablets are always going to be less durable, as their added size and heft makes them harder to hold, and they hit the ground with more force.
As for why the iPhone 6 is the most durable phone that SquareTrade has ever seen, it’s probably just a combination of factors. The aluminium unibody design will play an important role. The ion-strengthened glass front panel probably helps. The fact that the front panel curves into the bezel, rather than having an edge exposed. In general, Apple invests heavily in high-quality machining and manufacturing, and so it’s not too surprising that its devices can survive higher stresses than less-well-made devices.
Below you can find a few more iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus durability and drop-test videos. The first one features some phones in Apple’s own leather and silicone cases, which you might find interesting.