Drop test confirms iPhone 11 is a tank

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iphone11
The iPhone 11 can take a licking and keep on ticking.
Photo: Apple

Apple advertised the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro’s toughness as one of the new devices’ big selling points. But just how durable are Apple’s latest handsets?

Reviewers seemed unwilling to test this out, lest they damage their highly coveted review units. But now that the iPhone 11 is available for sale, an early drop test reveals just how tough the new phones are.

Cnet dropped the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro using a special machine that ensured the pricey devices would land either on their face or back on concrete. No, it’s not scientific. However, the results still give some indication of what your average user might experience.

On the first 3-foot drop, aka the equivalent of a fall out of the pocket, neither phone sustained damaged. Next up, Cnet dropped the phones from 6 feet. Landing on its face, the iPhone 11 Pro experienced a “small area of discolored or damaged pixels towards the bottom of the screen.” However, there were no cracks. And the screen continued to work as normal.

At 8 feet, the devices suffered “minor cosmetic damage” to the camera housing. There was also a minor scuff on the phone’s aluminum bumper. When it landed screen-first, the iPhone 11 Pro picked up some more damaged pixels.

iPhone 11 toughness: The point of no return

It was only when the phones were raised to 11 feet that they suffered major damage. Both handsets’ screens stayed intact, but the iPhone 11’s rear camera stopped working.

CNet concludes: “This year’s phones can withstand a lot more drops onto concrete than we were expecting.” While both handsets suffered damage, their screens stayed impressively intact. Furthermore, few people are going to accidentally drop their iPhone 11 or 11 Pro from a height of 11 feet. And most people will probably keep them in a protective case.

We’ll certainly be interested to see what more-scientific drop tests say about iPhone 11 ruggedness. But it seems Apple wasn’t kidding around when it said this year’s iPhones were the toughest yet.