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Mobile Darwin Awards: We celebrate the oddest ways to break a phone

We've all seen a broken screen or lost a phone to the turbulent waters of a toilet. But have you ever had one incinerated by lightning or swallowed by a dog? Welcome to the Mobile Darwin Awards.

We can break a phone just by leaving it on a desk or lending it to Rory Reid, but some idiots have found more creative ways to destroy their expensive handsets. We hate to see a good phone suffer -- although we once shot a Vodafone 540 just to watch it bleed -- so we've created the Mobile Darwin Awards to shame the evildoers. 

If you've ever dropped a phone in the toilet -- we're talking to you, poo girl -- and consider that something of a tale, read on to find out how to truly destroy your pocket rocket, and possibly yourself in the process. If you have a story that can beat our contenders, let us know in the comments section below -- you could win next year's coveted Mobile Darwin Award. It's a trophy made out chunks of genuine, smashed iPhone screen, sculpted in the shape of a loo seat.

Allow us to present the five nominees.

French bullet-train toilet trap

In October 2008, a man on a high-speed French TGV train bravely tried to retrieve his mobile phone after it had fallen into the loo. Not only did the phone not survive its poopy ordeal, but the man's arm got sucked into the TGV's toilet.

Apparently, the train's loo has a suction system just as powerful as its 575kmph engines. We don't want to think about what that could do to your bare bottom, but at least we now know what it does to an arm. It grabs it like Mr Shake Hands Man would, after having consumed ten cans of Red Bull.

The man had to be cut free from the vice-like grip of the plumbing after delaying the train for two hours. He was carted out with the toilet still attached to his arm.

Bugatti Veyron supercar swamp 

In 2009, a Texan man driving a £1m Bugatti Veyron supercar broke his phone -- and his car -- after becoming distracted by a low-flying pelican

Having dropped his phone in surprise at the bird's antics, he unwisely placed the welfare of his handset above that of his Bugatti, or indeed his own life. Diving to the floor to rescue the phone, he caused the car to swerve into a marsh. The car filled with salt water, undoubtedly wrecking the phone. He was fine.

Remember kids: Bugattis can be replaced, but phones are for life. Play safe -- avoid pelicans. Hold on, we're confused.

Nokia doggy bag

Nokia may not be the tastiest brand of phone at the moment, but that didn't stop Nero, a cross between a Doberman and a Great Dane, from having one for his tea. The dog was being fed by its owner, Driekie Boojens (we haven't made that up), when he snarfed the phone out of her hands and swallowed it.

The mobile was spotted in an X-ray taken by a vet. It's unclear if it was still receiving calls and texts while inside the canine. Nero bounced back after having the phone surgically removed, but, despite doctors' best efforts, the Nokia didn't survive.

Struck by London lightning

A 15-year-old Londoner was chatting on her phone during a thunderstorm in the middle of a large park -- you can see where this one is going. God does not approve of mobile phones being used in parks.

We were comforted to read in the BMJ report that this was the first and only time that such a strike-down had thus far been dealt to a mobile-phone user, and the lucky lady survived, even if her phone didn't. We love the fact that the author of the report is called Swinda Esprit and holds the position of senior house officer in otorhinolaryngology. If you don't trust someone called Swinda Esprit, you have no soul.

We're not about to stop chatting on our blowers outside, even with the hammer of Thor hanging over our heads. But maybe we should be listening to music instead, since apparently headphone wires can save your life if you're struck by lightning.

The constantly breaking unbreakable phone 

It only takes a Facebook search to see that broken phones are a part of life. So, if you're advertising your phone as nigh-on unbreakable, as Sonim does, you'd better make sure that it's harder than Hulk Hogan with a gatling gun.

You certainly don't want to see your allegedly rock-hard phone get bashed in by the BBC in January, only to be smashed up by CNET UK sister site ZDNet UK in February. Not to mention that time ZDNet UK destroyed another Sonim phone by running over it with a truck. Oh, and we know for a fact that Crave alumunus Andrew Lim also broke a Sonim phone in a Barcelona bar the year before. Olé!

We're not saying Sonim's phones aren't tough. Watching ZDNet UK reporter David Meyer use one to drive a nail into a block of wood, crouching on the cold carpet like an angry Neanderthal, is a sight to inspire nightmares in the silicon dreams of any digital device. Surely no phone should be put through such a beating, even if it is quite fun to watch the Sonim chief executive's face crumble in horror, over and over again. 

And the winner is...

These days, a Sonim phone being broken is a sure sign that a new year has arrived, much like robins perched on spade handles and a new Katie Price biography. That's why we're giving this year's Mobile Darwin Award to the boffins at Sonim, who think that biannually showing their phone getting broken is a good way of promoting it as 'unbreakable'. Top tip, peoples -- if you build it, we'll will smash.