New iPhones not as robust as their predecessors?

Macworld Australia Staff
23 September, 2013
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SquareTrade, the San Francisco-based provider of protection plans for electronic gadgets, including smartphones and tablets, has done another of its regular tests to measure which smartphone comes out as most resilient. And it has uploaded the results to YouTube.

The four phones tested this time around were the Samsung Galaxy S4, Google’s Moto X and the two new iPhones, the 5c and the 5s.

The test involve the gadgets being dunked in water, dropped from a height of about 1.5 metres and slid off a flat surface. Robots are used to conduct the tests, to ensure a consistent approach.

And if you thought (hoped) the polycarbonate casing on the iPhone 5c would go some way to making this phone more resistant to scratches and shattered screens, sadly, it seems that is not the case.

In the drop test, the clear loser was the Galaxy S4, which gave up the ghost altogether, while the 5c ended up with a shattered screen, but could still turn on and function.

The 5s suffered a few nicks, but the Moto X had barely a scratch on it.

In the slide test, where the phones are catapulted across a table to see which has the most resistance, the Moto X again came out on top, with the 5c sliding a little further along the table. The 5s fared the worst here – disappearing right off the edge of the surface.

And in the ‘dunkbot’ test, after 10 seconds of being submerged in water, the S4 shut itself off completely (although some commenters have noted that this may be a safety measure and SquareTrade didn’t seem to check and see if it would work later), while the three other smartphones all continued to work and had their audio seemingly unimpaired.

SquareTrade’s conclusions had the Moto X in first place, followed by the 5s, then the 5c and the Galaxy S4 as not so lucky last.

But how do these results compare to earlier iPhones? Well, the scores given are out of 10, with one being the highest and 10 being the lowest. The aluminium and glass iPhone 5s scored a 5.5, while the polycarbonate and glass 5c only managed a 6 rating. Their immediate predecessor, the iPhone 5 scored 5 when it was tested. It also only slid just over 0.6 of a metre in the slide test, compared to the 5c’s 0.9 of a metre and the 5s’ distinctly unimpressive Thelma and Louise act.

So the take-home message? If you’re the sort who likes to use your phone as a punching bag, you can buy a Moto X (heaven forbid), refrain from whizzing your 5s along the bar to get the bartender’s attention or just get yourself a really good case. Maybe sooner, rather than later. In our testing, we gave the NewerTech NuGuard five mice and it fits the 5s, so perhaps that’s a good place to start.

by Macworld Australia staff

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