iPhone 4S vs Galaxy S III vs HTC One X — which one survives a drop?

In a droptest between the Galaxy S II and iPhone 4S, we saw how much more durable the Galaxy S II was (at least in that specific test) than Apple’s iPhone 4S. Curious how the iPhone 4S stands up against Android’s latest flagship devices, Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X? We have another droptest to show you.

In this particular droptest, a white Galaxy S III is put against a white iPhone 4S and a white HTC One X. Based on previous droptests and the fact that it has a glass-based outer shell, one would expect the iPhone 4S to come last in this contest. Yeah, not so much. The iPhone 4S fares the best out of all three devices, with only a scratch on the screen after being dropped multiple times from waist and shoulder height. HTC One X comes in second; it has a few scratches on the screen but is still functional after being dropped from the same positions. Galaxy S III, however, is a completely different story. The Galaxy S III survived a drop from waist height with nothing major, not even a scratch. From shoulder height, however, not only did the screen get a “big” scratch but the device came apart multiple times and eventually stopped working. Check it out for yourself:

From this particular test it is obvious the unibody design on the HTC One X and iPhone 4S help it survive versus the Galaxy S III’s traditional two-part design, despite the Galaxy S III being covered in “high-quality” plastic which should technically help it survive drops better than, say, glass. However, if I may play devil’s advocate, this droptest is a bit suspicious in light of the previous iPhone 4S vs Galaxy S II droptest.

If you remember that particular test, the black iPhone 4S’s outer glass casing shattered and the screen cracked after being dropped while the Galaxy S II fared very well. In this droptest the white iPhone 4S comes out unscathed, for the most part. So either there is a huge difference between the materials used for the white and black iPhone 4S, or something fishy is going on. Alternatively, it could just be the different surfaces at play: This new video drops phones on what looks to be black marble whereas the previous video dropped phones on what appears to be the sidewalk. I’m no engineer so I can’t say this for sure but it could be iPhone 4S’s material helps it survive drops better indoors than outdoors.

While I doubt this droptest will sway consumers one way or the other who are trying to decide between the three devices, especially if you consider how most people place their phones in cases, it is interesting to know. Feel free to share your thoughts on the comments below.

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17 comments

  1. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Ed: See I did the same thing for my phone. Then I realized that such a case really doesn’t let you enjoy your phone. I have decided from my next phone on, I’m just going to coat my phone in a protective skin (like Zagg but not Zagg because I hate Zagg quality) so I can enjoy the aesthetics of my phone. I’m usually careful about drops so I should be fine.
    Best of luck whatever you decide.
    @Rob: I found it odd myself that almost nothing happened to the iP4S.

  2. Rob

    was this sponsored by Apple? I like how “oh my, will nothing destroy this thing?” to Samsung’s “oh, it seems ok, everything is working” and how it “totally” comes apart when the back comes of (because it’s not screwed on)…and biggest is not from height, but HOW it hits that matters, notice the difference in up/down to side hand movements when dropped….all I’m saying is that I have a boxful of broken iphone screens, and have only one Galaxy S and 3 htc (I work on phones, btw, and have a Galaxy S w/ platinum case and invisible shield)….thought I’d leave my nice little opinion, in case anyone was bored and thought that they’d love to read a comment by me (I’m bout to read it again)

  3. Ed

    @Ashraf: I have seen several drop tests with it. Mainly because I couldn’t believe my eyes with how easily it broke. I also tend not to buy an expensive case. I usually buy a durable phone, and get a cheap belt thing, though if I do decide to get the S3, I will need to invest in a good Otterbox.

  4. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Frank: Tell you what. Call me a benevolent dictator and we can discuss your status of “little slave”.
    @Ed: The SG3 uses Gorilla Glass 2, which is supposedly tougher than the Gorilla Glass on SG2. As dbareis mentions in the first comment here, don’t let one test dissuade you. Either go out and throw 25 SGS3 to see if they break, or just go with your gut. I bet you are going to use a case anyway.

  5. Ed

    Actually the drop tests of the Galaxy S 3 have mostly dissuaded me from buying it. I am still considering it, however before it was a sure thing and I was excited about it, but after seeing the sharp decline in build quality from the tank-like structure of the S2 and S, I’m not so sure I want to support their new lazy build. What happened to using Gorilla Glass? Every phone I know with that can get slammed on the ground (not exaggerating) with barely a scratch to the glass.

  6. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Frank: The advantage of being Mr. Boss is I don’t have to answer to peons.
    On a serious note, you don’t really have to upload a picture of your wife. In fact, I insist you don’t — don’t want an e-peen contest raging in the comments. xD

  7. Frank

    @Ashraf:
    BTW, you’re a bloody LIAR!
    How can you pretend to be “married to the most beautiful woman /ever/” if I am already?!? And I’m sure my wife doesn’t even know you.
    Now it’s your turn – to justify yourself! ;)

  8. Frank

    yeah, my Galaxy note just fell once (screen down) flat from waist height to the street.
    Aaaaaaaaaannnnnnd its gone! Whole screen is broken.

    Dunno how many times my old HTC HD2 fell down. Surely 10 times or more. Just a few marks, but that’s it…