iPhone X could be Apple’s most fragile handset ever

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iPhone X
It's like a horror movie for iPhone X owners.
Photo: SquareTrade

The iPhone X certainly looks stunning. But according to early stress tests, Apple sacrificed the phone’s durability in favor of that attention-grabbing design.

The result? iPhone X is Apple’s most breakable iPhone ever.

Stress tests by SquareTrade Labs used a range of robots to drop, bend, tumble and dunk the new iPhone X to see how it holds up to “everyday” damage. Check out the video below:

On a face-down drop test, the iPhone X shattered on its first drop. Its screen became unresponsive and the Face ID sensor failed completely.

In side drop tests, the phone suffered major internal damage. And a back-down drop test completely shattered the rear panel, leaving loose shards of glass that made the handset difficult to hold.

In a “dunk test,” the iPhone X fared on a level with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models. It survived 30 minutes under 5 feet of water, with some audio muffling during playback.

A tumble test, similar to putting the iPhone X in a clothes dryer, also damaged the device. After a 60-second tumble, the “home” swipe command failed. That would strand sad iPhone X owners in whichever app happened to be open at the time.

The team even tried a so-called “shot test,” designed to simulate an iPhone X falling off the roof of a car. The results proved none too favorable.

For the conspiracy-minded, it’s worth noting that SquareTrade is a company interested in selling you phone insurance. That certainly gives the company a vested interest in showcasing iPhone X’s susceptibility to damage. However, the bevy of tests definitely seems comprehensive. We’ll just have to wait to see whether the findings are backed up by other groups.

iPhone X is fragile — and expensive to repair

The company points out that the iPhone X is also be Apple’s priciest phone to repair, due to the handset’s thinner, more expensive Super Retina OLED display, smaller logic board, multiple cables and a split battery that’s more difficult to remove.

As a result, Apple is charging $279 for front screen replacement and $549 for other repairs.

“You’d expect there to be a high price to pay for a beautiful phone like the iPhone X. Unfortunately for consumers, in the end it’s likely to be more than the $1,000 they’ve already invested,” said Jason Siciliano, vice president and global creative director at SquareTrade. “Despite Apple’s claims that their glass is the most durable ever in a smartphone, the iPhone X is the most breakable iPhone we’ve ever tested. The iPhone X’s fragility, along with Apple’s $549 fee for most repairs, make it the definition a high-risk phone.”

CNet’s drop tests revealed the same thing: Dropping the iPhone X from 3 feet destroyed it on the first attempt.

“The iPhone X can probably handle your everyday wear and tear, but dropping it without a case is out of the question,” CNet wrote. “We learned it only takes one bad drop to break the glass on this phone. Even the stainless steel frame is susceptible to damage.”

Apple responded to Cnet’s tests:

“The new iPhone is designed to be durable, but not indestructible, and goes through rigorous real world testing,” Apple said. “iPhone X is made from the most durable glass ever in a smartphone with a 50 percent deeper strengthening layer using our dual ion-exchange process, further reinforced by an internal laser welded, steel and copper structure. And the surgical-grade stainless steel band that wraps around and reinforces iPhone X is a special Apple-designed alloy that is both durable and more pure. If anyone is concerned about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we suggest using one of the many beautiful cases available to protect iPhone.”

Have you been unfortunate enough to suffer any tumbles with your new iPhone X yet? Let us know how well it held up in the comments below.

  • Lee

    If you are dumb enough to spend 1000 on a phone, you deserve this crap

    • It Was Never Just 42

      Invariably posts like yours, with the same anger tinted language, are made by people who can’t afford the item in question and use the subject matter to express their envy that those that can.

      Not saying everyone does, just that that’s a common theme.

      • Lee

        Cant afford them hahahahaaha. If i was a ego driven materialistic moron like you, i would pay that STUPID amount of money for a phone. But Im not, and I am happy about that, happy to not be a person like you

      • Todd Merrick Novak

        I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that it’s not envy, but there definitely is a cultural bias on Mac vs. PC/Android. People are very loyal to what they like and very skeptical of what they don’t like.

    • Todd Merrick Novak

      Lee, I think it goes with how much people use them and the amount it affects their life. For example, because my education was in graphic arts in the 90s I was trained on Macs. Every time I used Windows I got very frustrated because it wasn’t as smooth of a process, it had also sorts of virus and adware issues that could be worked out but with effort and money, and it just ended up being a frustrating experience that cost me time. And sometimes what you save upfront can cost you more later, whether it be money or time. Some people have fantastic experiences with Windows. But that’s not me. And I’ve had the same experience with an Android after switching from an iPhone.

      My last MacBook Pro was very expensive, a lot more than I like spending. But I used it everyday all day so the investment is worth it for me. If you only use it for word processing at home a couple of times a week, then I think it’s a bad investment for you unless you’re wealthy. I’m not. But I use my computer like crazy. And my iPhone talks to my computer, can take the calls and write the texts on my computer, and I use my phone all the time. I don’t like Apple as a company. I think they’re the definition of corporate slime. But they produce something I use all the time and which I haven’t seen an alternative to that works for me.

      And on top of that, the camera alone is a big upgrade. My phone has become my primary camera. Good cameras cost money. A good phone camera makes a difference (I don’t give a crap about the new screen).

      • Lee

        Thanks for your input, very good. I cannot stand how people just accept lack of quality and being ripped off. Removing ports then selling you over priced adapters is disgusting. Even the charger cable, pathetic and Apple put things in the software to only work with Apple cables. THEFT! I wish more people would say NO to these corporations and their bullshit

      • Lee

        I have a 2008 HP EliteBook, its running Ubuntu 17.10, the OS is now very similar to OS X. Bit by bit the OpenSource Linux world is catching up. That laptop also have Ethernet, USBX3, FireWire, DVD-RW drive, VGA out, Sound in and out via headphones jacks. PERFECT and only 100 euros to buy

    • Brandon Turner

      If you think that high end phones aren’t going to be around the same price, you are a little naive. People are paying it and don’t think that Samsung and LG aren’t going to do the same.

      • Miguel Rodriguez Lopez Sanchez

        lol Samsung, LG, Apple, it does not matter the make. Paying this amount of money means you are a mindless consumer slave

  • David Clements

    If you drop your phone, you’re an idiot. I’ve never dropped and broken a phone and I’ve never used a case. It’s called respecting the stuff you put your hard earned money into.

    • Mario Gaucher

      You’re 100% right! I broke the screen of one of my iPhone once… I didn’t even know how it happened… I didn’t dropped it… no impact was visible on the screen or the case. I went to an Apple Store… and screen was replaced free of charge.

    • Todd Merrick Novak

      Come on, people drop their phones. It doesn’t make them idiots.