X marks the spot and, apparently, X marks the phone. The newest generation of iPhones has started cracking already, and an insurer who tested the new phone claims that it’s Apple’s most fragile yet.
The iPhone X, released on November 3rd, raised eyebrows for its lack of headphones, $1,000 price tag and all-glass body. The glass backing is the feature that has received the most pushback — even though it allows for wireless charging, doubters worrying that the feature will result in cracked screens and hefty repair bills. And while Apple says the iPhone X is “the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, front and back,” a recent test by SquareTrade gives support to the skeptics. The insurance company, which specializes in insurance for electronics, subjected the new phone to several tests, including a face-down drop test, side and back-drop tests, and a brief submersion in water.
On the first drop (face down, from six feet up), the iPhone suffered what Squaretrade called a “catastrophic failure;” both the front and back screens shattered, the screen was unresponsive, and Face ID stopped working completely. The back-drop test shattered the back screen, leaving glass slivers sticking out of the phone, and the side drop test rendered the screen entirely inoperable. On the other hand, submerging the iPhone X under five feet of water resulted in minimal damage.
While a six-foot drop may seem unnecessarily harsh, the insurance company tested the phone with the same standards they have used for phones in the past, and the comparison doesn’t look great. The company rates the phones it tests on a scale of 1-100, where a higher score equals a more fragile phone. The X got a 90, compared to the iPhone 8’s 67 and the Samsung Galaxy Note’s 80, and the company claims that it’s “the most breakable iPhone we’ve ever tested”.
Tech reporters have pointed out that SquareTrade has an agenda — selling its device insurance to anxious Apple addicts. But although SquareTrade’s drop tests are the most rigorous, they’re far from the only ones to come back with negative results. Reviewer CNET found that the phone shattered after a fall from “pocket height,” and YouTuber Zack Nelson of JerryRigEverything also found that the phone’s glass case wasn’t protected against fall damage.
Clumsy customers may face steep penalties; for those without Applecare, a repair to the back of the phone costs $550, more than half the initial cost. And Applecare, which costs $199 upfront plus $99 for any repair that isn’t front screen damage, only covers two “damage incidents.” The careful iPhone X user might consider investing in a case.
However, other tests prove that Apple hasn’t totally lost its X-factor. Testing done by DisplayMate Technologies Corporation show that the new iPhone has the best display quality of any smartphone on the market, earning it the company’s first-ever A+ grade. President Dr. Raymond M Soneira says the new phone has “close-to-textbook-perfect calibration and performance.” So, as the light fades from the screen of your dying iPhone, you can at least take comfort in the fact that it’s going out in perfect color.
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