iPhone XS Max beats Galaxy S10+ in drop tests

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Apple’s flagship phone is tougher than Samsung’s.
Repeatedly smashing both devices to the ground shows Apple’s flagship phone is hardier than Samsung’s.
Photo: PhoneBuff

Apple’s largest phone is tougher than Samsung’s. The iPhone XS Max performed noticeably better than the Galaxy S10+ in a series of drop tests.

The bad news is that neither handset proved particularly resistant to breaking when dropped.

Samsung uses Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 6 on the front of the S10+, and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. Apple hasn’t revealed what it uses for the exterior of the XS Max, but it could be some version of Gorilla Glass.

Test procedures

The PhoneBuff tests involved using a machine to allow each device to fall 1 meter. The units are dropped first onto their back, then a corner, and finally on the front.

Any phone that survives all three while remaining mostly functional is then dropped 1.5 meters onto its front 10 times.

iPhone XS Max vs. Galaxy S10+ drop test results

In the initial round, the back of both handsets broke, but Samsung’s offering showed significantly more damage. “The iPhone did well enough here to get the win in round under one,” said David Rahimi from PhoneBuff.

Both devices came through relatively unscathed through the corner drop. That was judged a tie.

In the face drop, the iPhone XS Max experienced damage in one quadrant of the screen. Samsung’s offering didn’t do as well. “The S10’s cracks spiderweb all across the front,” according to Rahimi.

In addition, the in-screen fingerprint scanner in the Samsung handset stopped working after the drop test. Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system was not affected. PhoneBuff pronounced the iPhone the winner in this round too.

The fourth round is called a bonus round “because it’s the least important round in this test, due to the fact that nobody really drops their smartphone 10 times consecutively.”

Still, it’s the area where the Galaxy S10+ did best, experiencing no additional loss of functionality after 10 drops onto its face, though it did show considerable more damage. The iPhone XS Plus didn’t do as well, as a section of its touchscreen stopped working after it had been dropped three times.

PhoneBuff gave the overall win to the iPhone, with a score of 36. The S10+ pulled in a 34.

Watch the video to judge for yourself:

The iPhone XS Max came in eighth place on PhoneBuff’s chart comparing the results of all the Apple, Samsung, LG, Google and OnePlus phones it has run through drop tests. The S10+ is in tenth place. At the top of the list is the iPhone 8.