As your smartphone becomes more expensive and larger screens combined with thinner devices more commonplace, the toughness of your mobile phone is being tested every day with the mere challenges of everyday living. With more sophisticated devices comes the greater fear of accidentally compromising your smartphone – and all the contacts, photos and messages store on it. So why aren’t modern day phone manufactures producing models that cater to these daily rigors?
For a luxury product that you use everyday, they should in theory be able to withstand everyday usage without being too fragile. However, as this is not the case, this article will outline some factors that might make a phone more drop proof than others so you can hopefully gauge how sturdy the phone might be without doing an actual drop test.
It is very important to note though that most phones are not made to be dropped, so unless your phone is marketed as one, it would still be advisable not to drop it. So what should you look out for?
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 is currently a leading drop tested glass used by the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world such as LG, Samsung and HTC. A quick search on their site can show you which brands and model devices actually use Gorilla Glass 4. Previous editions of Gorilla Glass such as 2 and 3 are also pretty sturdy, but you can work out that 4 is much better than 3, etc. However, Dragontrail by Asahi Glass is also a very strong alternative used by Xiaomi and Sony. It is fairly easy to determine what glass your smartphone uses with a google search if it’s a leading flagship phone. My shortcut is heading to Gsmarena and checking out the ‘protection’ field in the specifications of the phone. Even older models such as Samsung Galaxy SIII (Gorilla Glass 2) or iPhone 4 (Gorilla Glass) to the emerging “rugged phone” market, such as the CAT® S40 (Gorilla Glass 4), are there.
Even if you are using the toughest glass available to you, a 1.1mm thick glass would still arguably be stronger than a .4mm glass. CAT for example, uses .7 up to 1mm of glass on phones, which will vary depending on the model. However, with the pressure of making smartphones thinner and thinner, there might be a chance that the latest phones may sport as thin as .4mm glass. Unfortunately, this information is not freely available to the public so you might just want to take a guestimate based on how thick your phone is.
Screen size ratio
Screen size ratio in relation to the frame matters. If the glass goes right to the edge of the frame of the phone like the iPhone 4 does, then it is more likely to shatter as there is nothing to cushion the shock that comes from the drop. The reason why feature phones are mostly drop proof is because the screen is not glass and it is only 2.4 inches. This is also why most ‘tough phones’ don’t make the screen go right up until the edge of the phone.
Type of material used in the frame
If the frame of the phone is made up of metal or glass, the impact of the shock when the phone is dropped will be funnelled through the phone make it more likely to shatter. Plastic or rubbery material on the other hand, helps absorb shock. This is why the phones which are marketed as a tough phone usually have some form of rubbery or plastic casing, and this is why rugged cases are usually made out of plastic or rubber material.
Shape of the phone
Phones with rounded corners and a couple of angles is better than a phone with right angles as energy will dissipate better throughout the phone when dropped. However, a slightly raised lip, for example, as found in the CAT® S40, would be very beneficial as if you drop your phone, the raised lip will absorb the shock rather than the glass. This is why most protective phone cases made for Samsung phones come with a raised lip.
Where you accidentally drop your phone matters too. If you drop it on an uneven, hard surface with sharp stones, you phone will more likely shatter as a result of the sharp edges coming into contact with the phone with force. If you have a choice of where to get tipsy or clumsy, try doing it in a place that has smooth surfaces rather than on the side of the road.
Obviously, none of these factors is the golden ticket to make a phone drop proof. In combination, these are the factors that might make a phone less susceptible to shattering, so you might want to reconsider adding some of these to your criteria for choosing a phone.