Tests show Samsung Galaxy S9 is stronger than S8, but still breaks on first drop

Despite thicker glass and stronger metal than its predecessors, the Galaxy S9 performed only marginally better in SquareTrade's drop tests.

Samsung Galaxy S9: Checking out the specs
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus performed poorly on breakability tests, though they improved slightly over the S8 and S8 Plus. -- SquareTrade, 2018
  • The iPhone X is more breakable than any Samsung phone. -- SquareTrade, 2018

More glass, more problems: Despite featuring thicker glass and stronger metal than their predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus performed poorly on breakability tests, cracking after the first face-down drop, according to a test from SquareTrade.

As reported by our sister site CNET, SquareTrade puts new smartphones through a number of robotic tests, including drops, tumbles, bends, and water dunks, to see how much damage is done. The company also has a technician deconstruct each phone and give it a repairability score.

Based on test performance and repairability, the Samsung Galaxy S9 received a breakability score of 71 out of 100, putting it at medium risk for breaking, according to SquareTrade. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus received a score of 76 out of 100, putting it at medium-high risk for breaking.

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The S9 and S9 Plus both cracked their screens on their first face down drop test, according to SquareTrade. Each phone also shattered its display and back panels during side and back drop tests, and experienced damage during tumbles. In terms of repairability, SquareTrade's technician reported that the S9 and S9 Plus had not improved from the previous generation, and noted difficulties in removing the back panel and preserving the LCD display.

These results are slight improvements over the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, which received scores of 76 and 77, respectively--a major drop from the S7 and S7 Plus, representing the worst phone breakability scores that Samsung had ever received.

However, Samsung's latest phone offerings still fared better than Apple's. The iPhone X has a breakability score of 90--the most breakable iPhone that SquareTrade has ever tested, as reported by our sister site ZDNet.

"With the Samsung S9 and S9+, and the iPhone X last year, we're continuing to see a trend of beautiful all-glass designs that come with a high price tag and high risk of damage from drops and mishaps," SquareTrade vice president Jason Siciliano said in a statement. "Our tests and claims data show that even when in cases, they still experience damage. So, while water resistance has improved across the board, all of that glass means that durability has actually gone backward over the past year."

It should be noted that SquareTrade sells phone warranties, so it has an interest in demonstrating the breakability of popular phones. However, its breakability tests are more scientific than others, BGR noted, as the company uses professional equipment to put several phones through a number of tests.

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Image: SquareTrade