iPhone X could be Apple’s most fragile handset ever


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.