Tests: New iPhones less durable than iPhone 5


Customers check out the latest versions of the iPhone that went on sale Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, in Montreal. SquareTrade, a provider of protection plans for gadgets, tested five smartphones, including Apple’s new iPhones, to see if they could withstand drops, dunks and other common hazards. Its finding: The latest models aren’t as durable as last year’s iPhone 5. AP

NEW YORK—As Apple pitches its newest smartphones, users may find something lacking compared with last year’s model: They could break more easily.

SquareTrade, a provider of protection plans for gadgets, tested five smartphones, including Apple’s new iPhones, to see if they could withstand drops, dunks and other common hazards. Its finding: The latest models aren’t as durable as last year’s iPhone 5.

The biggest loser, however, was Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which failed to work after being submerged in water and being dropped 5 feet (1.5 meters) off the ground, according to San Francisco-based SquareTrade.

The phone that withstood SquareTrade’s torture test best was Google Inc.’s Moto X. The Moto X is the first phone designed with the Internet company as Motorola’s new owner. Released in August, the Moto X is also the first smartphone assembled in the US.

“We were expecting that at least one of the new iPhone models would up its game, but surprisingly, it was the Moto X that proved most forgiving of accidents,” said Ty Shay, chief marketing officer at SquareTrade.

Officials from Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Google Inc. didn’t immediately return e-mail messages for comment.

Apple started selling two new iPhones on Friday. The iPhone 5S sports a fingerprint sensor, a better camera and a faster processor. A less expensive version, the iPhone 5C, offers consumers a wider choice of colors and has a better front-facing camera than the iPhone 5.

With every upgrade Apple has made, the latest model has usually been more durable than the previous one, based on drop tests SquareTrade has done over the past few years, Shay said. But that wasn’t the case this time.

SquareTrade reviewed each device based on eight factors, including the materials of the device’s front and back panels, its size and its weight. It also tested the device’s ability to withstand drops from 5 feet (1.5 meters) and being dunked in water for 10 seconds. SquareTrade says it uses robots to do the testing to ensure consistency.

SquareTrade rates phones on a scale of 1 to 10, with a higher number reflecting a higher risk of the device breaking. All five phones tested were considered to have a medium risk of breakage, but where they fell on the scale differed.

The Galaxy S4 scored 7, the worst of the five tested. The S4 ended up not functioning, with its screen coming half off, according to a video released by SquareTrade.

The iPhone 5S, made of aluminum and glass, scored 5.5, while the 5C, with a plastic housing, had a 6 rating. Both were worse than the 5 rating scored by the iPhone 5.

In particular, Shay noted that the iPhone 5C was more damaged when it was dropped than the iPhone 5. And the iPhone 5S also failed a slide test. It slid off of a table when it was pushed, unlike the other devices tested. By comparison, the iPhone 5C slid a little over 3 feet (90 centimeters), while the iPhone 5 slid just over 2 feet (60 centimeters).

The Moto X had a rating of 4.5, surviving the tests with only the slightest dent. Shay noted that the phone’s innovative rounded back molded to the shape of a user’s hand makes it easier for the consumer to grip.—Anne D’Innocenzio

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Aloy Dela Cruz

    S series is just a surplus upgrade, to pave way for a remodeled iphone (iP6).

  • Jao Romero

    one sure way Apple is on its way to death. when the company has stopped relying on innovation for profit. this is just another sham to drive up profits. instead of innovating, just make sure its products break down faster. planned obsolescence at work.

  • kangsongdaeguk

    Nokia Lumia FTW!

  • Barak_O

    5same and 5cheap
    no way

  • Wii

    The iPhone is like a religion. It has its own following. It has its own DOGMA. Like:
    5s – is its 5 SACRAMENTS
    5c – Is its 5 CATASTROPHY that will plague each new unit.

    • riza888

      iPhones are just fine. Search android bug or android virus or problems with Android, if you want hundreds of examples of problems compared to iPhones.

      • Wii

        You took me seriously? Gee!

  • Cerise David

    With the loss of Steve Jobs, Apple quality has been declining. Gone is the authoritarian leader with the obsessive quest for perfection.

    • Kcirtap

      Maybe yes, maybe not… Or the smartphone technology has just peaked…

  • muddygoose

    I’m not sure I agree with the methodology here. I consider the iPhone4 one of the most sturdy phones for daily use, but I doubt it will survive a drop test being covered in glass on both sides. Lesson is: don’t drop your smartphone!

  • wawa2172

    Well, para bang sinabi natin na mas matibay ang Jeepney ni Erap kaysa sa Ferrari. Well, IP5 maybe expensive, not perfectly durable but still the most wanting smart phone all over the world. I could not even afford to buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 so in my dreams na lang ang IP5. Hindi sa makunat ako but masyadong mabilis mag palit ang technology so pang promo na lang nang Globe at Smart ang mga phones na ginagamit ko pero at least post paid lahat and unli ang call and text. What I have right now are the cheap Cloud phones na pwedi kung ibato after two years of use at palitan nang murang bago sa promo nang mga service providers..he he he. Want to have an expensive and durable smart phone, take it from me, mas ok ang murang phone na pwedi mong pasa gasaan nang pison after two years nang kapipindot.

    • Tambakol

      Sensible post…hindi kagaya ng mga iHaters dito. Kuntento ka sa phone mo, so happy ka.

    • Kcirtap

      Talking about being true and practical…
      Tama nga naman, hope I could have the same contentment as yours…

    • tagulipnan gubat

      got the blackberry promo from globe. unlimited internet for only P499 monthly with a free blackberry 9320 with bbm and bb voice. sweet…

  • padrefaura

    Wala pa rin tatalo sa nokia 5110 kung durability ang usapan

    • GustoKoHappyKa

      ah..that 5110…I used to have one….nahulog sa escalator pero buhay pa din pagkakuha ko sa ground floor…bagong casing lang ang katapat..parang brand new ulit!!!

      • Kuletzzz

        kaso lang hindi smartphone ang 5110..hehehe

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        lol yung durability lang naman ang pinag uusapan namin..

      • erica

        i still prefer nokia 3310 for durability and care-free talaga. nakaw proof pa.

      • Kcirtap

        oo nga nmn… icompare nyo tong mga smartphone sa laptop nyo, ihulog nyo din ng escalator…

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos