Mobility

Samsung Galaxy S8 falls short in durability, glass cracks easily in drop test

A recent breakability test from SquareTrade found that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ performed significantly worse the S7 and S7 Edge. However, that likely won't keep consumers from buying it.

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Image: Joshua Goldman/CNET

The results of a breakability test for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, released Monday, showed that the current flagship smartphone is much less durable than its predecessor. The phone's all-glass design greatly increases its fragility compared to previous versions, according to SquareTrade, the company behind the test.

For the test, SquareTrade used a set of robots to perform standard drops of the device, to make it slide and tumble, and to dunk it in water, to see how the phone would react to such wear and tear. Based on its performance in these tests, and its ease of repair, the Samsung Galaxy S8 received a breakability score of 76 out of 100, while the S8+ received a 77, putting them both at medium-high risk for breaking, the test found.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: The smart person's guide

According to the release, the phones fared poorly in face-down and back-down drop tests due to the all-glass enclosure. The iPhone 4 and 5 lines both dealt with similar issues when they were released. However, SquareTrade noted that the Galaxy S8 was the first phone they have tested that "cracked on the first drop on all sides." Concerned Galaxy S8 owners should invest in a heavy-duty case.

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Jason Siciliano, vice president and global creative director at SquareTrade, said in the press release that, while beautiful, the all-glass design is more fragile than the plastic used on the previous Galaxy models. Still, he said, it could be a hit in the mobile market regardless.

"We found that 89% of Samsung owners reported having a positive view of the brand despite recent controversies, and 36% plan on buying an S8 in the next six months," Siciliano said in the release. "Just don't drop it."

The Samsung Galaxy S8 line has an IP68 rating, meaning that it can handle being underwater for 30 minutes at 1.5 m, which is a stronger rating than the iPhone 7's IP67 rating. In the SquareTrade test, the devices were submerged in five feet of water. When removed, the release said, the phones experienced "audio muffling and distortion," but resumed normal performance after another 30 minutes out of the water.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are premium devices, so it makes sense that they would be manufactured with a glass body. However, the performance of the phones in the tests and other factors led to a poor breakability rating.

As SquareTrade noted in the test, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has "A screen without limits, except one: sidewalks."

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+ recently performed poorly on breakability tests, making them more susceptible to breaking then the S7 and S7 Edge, according to SquareTrade.
  2. While the iPhone 4 and 5 had a similar design, SquareTrade noted that the Galaxy S8 was the first phone they tested that "cracked on the first drop on all sides."
  3. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also experienced "audio muffling and distortion" after being dunked underwater, but performed normally again after a while.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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