iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II: Which device is more durable when dropped?

Ever wondered which device would survive a fall better, Apple’s new toy iPhone 4S or Samsung’s flagship phone Galaxy S II? Wonder no longer. SquareTrade, a third-party device warranty company, conducted an informal test dropping an iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II. Let’s see which device is more durable when dropped:

Dum, dum, dum. I would love to see how Apple spins those results.

On a serious note, in a way the question is not fair. It is fairly obvious the Galaxy S II – which is covered in plastic, aside from the glass screen – would (does) survive falls better than the iPhone 4S, which is encompassed in glass aside from the aluminum band on the sides. Anyone that has ever dropped a glass bottle can tell you as much. What is more surprising, however, is how the Galaxy S II’s glass screen has no visible blemishes on it after being dropped as opposed to the iPhone 4S, who’s glass screen has a multitude of cracks. The screens for both devices are made of glass — so why is this? Thanks to something called Corning Gorilla Glass.

Corning Gorilla Glass is a special type of glass made by Corning Incorporated. According to Corning, Gorilla Glass is specially designed to provide “exceptional damage resistance to the scratches, drops, and bumps of everyday use.” And based off various tests done by many different people over the years, Gorilla Glass truly does provide exceptional damage resistance. The Samsung Galaxy S II’s screen uses Gorilla Glass, as do many other Android devices. The iPhone 4S (and iPhone 4), on the other hand, uses something called aluminosilicate glass. Apple claims this glass is similarly strong as Gorilla Glass… but most people will agree with me when I say: In reality, it is not. Of course, there are a bazillion more accessories (read: phone cases) available for iPhone 4/4S than for Galaxy S II. So it isn’t hard to cover up that shiny iPhone 4S with a case to protect it. Still, though, that doesn’t excuse the facts as shown above.

That said, is this a win for the Galaxy S II over the iPhone 4S? Strictly speaking, yes. However, in a more broad sense, this is a win for Samsung, who is notorious – and gets heavily criticized – for using plastic casings for its phones; this is a win for plastic over glass; and this is a win for Gorilla Glass.

Feel free to discuss in the comments below.

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18 comments

  1. Ludwig

    I’m also a converted that JUST GOT the Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket (I liked it a tad bit more than the S3).

    I am extremely happy with this convert and I am so glad that I did it. No regrets, fully happy, and oh man just the live wallpapers and multiple screens to scroll through at once was more than enough!!!! I just wish the voice control was just as good as Siri, but that can be done with just learning it more! I previously had the iPhone 3GS, and jumping on Android….I love every second of it.

  2. Kc_Nirvana

    @Eric:
    Hey….
    Do you know that Apple now uses Intel like another PC?
    MAC PCs are now equal to PC with Microsoft….
    So your argument is invalid. Windows 7 runs better on MAC PC…..
    What a joke….
    And yes I say MAC PC because one of the greatest things Steve Jobs “invented” was the Personal Computer (PC).

  3. Eric

    @Rob (Down Under):

    I can agree that a lot of money gets spent on apple products but for good reason. The products work flawlessly. They are fast, they are efficient, and they offer more than any other hardware and software company currently. Before you try and blow me away with specifications and other garbage about whats in the galaxy s and other angry defense stories know that I have had 2 different android and droid phones both of which were pieces of crap that needed to be replaced 2 times, and in the past year I have had to purchase 3 different pc computers that all failed on me within a month of ownership before I went back to apple. In the past 3 years since I started using apple products I have never had a problem with them at all, in fact it’s been quite the opposite. I always have better performance with the iphone and macbook pros compared to anything else on the market. It’s funny to me that you can dual boot a mac and put windows on it and watch windows 7 run like it was supposed to. It would figure that it needed an apple product to run correctly. I wish the same could be said for android phones. Trust me I push these devices to the limit as well. I am a 3d artist and I work on games. Never had a problem testing on an iphone but when testing on devices like the galaxy s, evo 4g, epic 4g, and nexus s we always experienced some sort of fatal error or system crash that needed either a system restore or a new phone completely. Apple fans like apple because they offer the best products on the market that out perform all the competition.

  4. Caleb Stein

    @Ashraf: As you (and probably everyone who was on this site about a year ago) most likely know, I was a major power user who refused to do anything unjailbroken. The problem was that with all the stuff I wanted to do to my phone, it would get really sluggish. Naturally, I had been hearing a lot about how Android can do everything jailbroken iOS can do and do it better because it was built in (widgets, better notifications, etc.). Then I read about the hardware in the GSII. When I finally got mine (it took visiting 3 different stores), I instantly fell in love with how you can do pretty much anything you want. I love my widgets, I love the fact that I can use other app stores when I can’t find something on the Android Market, and I love that apps can do almost anything, including changing system-wide settings (ie. NeyetLight is pretty much f.lux for android and doesn’t even require root). Honestly, there’s so much you can do that I haven’t even seen the need for rooting (yet). The one thing I envy about the iPhone 4S is Siri, but even Siri doesn’t justify all the issues I have with iOS.

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Jyo: They haven’t done one for the iPhone 4S, yet? (I knew what you were referring to in your previous comment, btw.)

    @Rob (Down Under): While I agree with the logic that Apple fans are paying way too much when it comes to laptops – and maybe desktops – but I disagree when it comes to mobile devices. iPhone is priced similar to the competition and the iPad, although it may have cheaper competitors, is at a sweet price point that many competitors are finding hard to match at the same quality.

    In further defense of Apple (ha, I am defending Apple… who would have thought), they don’t have the largest profit margin in the tech world. Off the top of my head I can name a company that has a larger profit margin: Microsoft. That said, though, Microsoft is primarily a software company while Apple is primarily a consumer electronics company so it isn’t entirely fair to compare the two. I do believe Apple has one of the highest, if not the highest, profit margins among consumer electronics companies.

    @Caleb Stein: Mind if I ask why you went with SGS2 over iPhone 4S? I know the iPhone 4S was released almost two weeks after the SGS2 for AT&T but I presume it isn’t the timing of the devices that won you over because you could have easily waited and/or returned our SGS2 for an iPhone 4S within your 14-day buyer remorse period if you wanted an iPhone 4S. I would love to hear from a convert as to pros and cons of both and why they went with what they did.

  6. Rob (Down Under)

    Gorilla Glass
    Yet another reason for us SII owners to beat our chest.
    or
    Another reason for people to go ape over that phone.

    Apple is now one of the richest companies.
    Will Apple fans eventually wake up to the fact that that has happened because they (the fans) have been paying twice as much as they should have, for decades.

  7. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Locutus: Oops, I misread your comment. It seems like you want to avoid using a data plan.

    In that case, don’t rule out the Samsung Captivate (AT&T’s SGS1). Although AT&T won’t tell you this, you are not required to use a data plan on a phone you don’t purchase with AT&T through contract. In order words, you can buy a Captivate from eBay and use it on your AT&T account without using a data plan. AT&T may bug you to get a data plan, but they can’t force you. If they force you to use a data plan, you are legally allowed to break contract without ETF because they modified the pricing agreed upon in contract.

    So I suggest you look for a Samsung Vibrant or Samsung Captivate and see which one you can get at lower cost. If at same or similar pricing I would definitely suggest Vibrant over Captivate because it has a larger developer community, but both are great phones. In any case, you are likely to find a Vibrant cheaper than Captivate because T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy S 4G depreciated the Vibrant more than the other SGS1 variants.

  8. Locutus

    @Caleb Stein: I want to buy myself a Samsung Fascinate (GSI T-Mobile model) now that the SII is released. It’s fully unlockable and can be used on AT&T. And, because they don’t have their IMEI on file, it doesn’t need to have a data plan!