The Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr broke on the first try in our drop test
Samsung and Moto's new foldable phones may bend and scratch, but how badly do they break? We put them through three drop tests to find out.
Vanessa Hand OrellanaCNET Senior Editor
As head of wearables at CNET, Vanessa reviews and writes about the latest smartwatches and fitness trackers. She joined the team seven years ago as an on-camera reporter for CNET's Spanish-language site and then moved on to the English side to host and produce some of CNET's videos and YouTube series. When she's not testing out smartwatches or dropping phones, you can catch her on a hike or trail run with her family.
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
ExpertiseWearables, smartwatches, mobile phones, photography, health tech, assistive roboticsCredentials
Thanks to the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr and their foldable screens, flip phones are making a comeback. And while modern-day flip phones are way fancier and have tons more features than their old-school flip phone predecessors like the original Razr, they aren't as sturdy or as cheap: It's $1,499 for the Razr and $1,380 for the Z Flip. Part of the charm of those flip phones of yore was that they were practically indestructible -- those gadgets could be dropped, beaten and tossed and still manage to survive. That doesn't seem to be the case with these guys.
The Razr is made of a combination of glass, plastic and stainless steel. The Z Flip has glass on the outside and an ultrathin bendable glass screen, the first of its kind according to Samsung. Except the hardiness of this glass is being put into question thanks to a durability test posted by YouTuber Zack Nelson from JerryRigEverything, which shows the Z Flip's screen failing many of the tests glass would normally survive, including scratching and burning. Samsung has yet to respond.
And as it turns out, the outside of these phones is not quite as sturdy either. We subjected the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr to a series of three real-world drops to find out how they fare against the sidewalk.
This is by no means a scientific test, and results may vary depending on the drop and on the surface the phones land on. It's also worth noting that the Z Flip comes with a clear case in the box, but for the purposes of our test we decided to drop both phones without a case.
Drop 1: From about 3 feet, front side down (closed)
Otherwise known as "pocket height," this is a common height for many a break. In this case we dropped both phones with the front facing down, onto the rough sidewalk outside our CNET offices in San Francisco.
Motorola Razr: Cracked
The Razr landed front first as intended and sustained a hairline fracture across the glass. Though it did break on the first drop, neither the camera nor the touch panel on the front were damaged, and everything was still in working order.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip: Shattered
The Flip suffered a similar fate, but the break was a lot more visible. While the backside and the camera remained intact, the front of the phone had visible spiderwebs stemming from the bottom and side of the phone, with loose shards coming off during our inspection.
Both phones opened and closed as usual, and the screens inside were intact.
Drop 2: From about 5 feet, screen side down (open)
For the next test, we opened both phones and dropped them facing down, which is exactly how they landed.
Motorola Razr: Screen survived, frame broke
Though the screen on the Razr still looked pristine and worked well, the top of the frame, which houses the earpiece, was shattered, and a few loose particles ended up on our fingertips.
Galaxy Z Flip: Screen survived with a few minor scuffs on the frame
There were a few dents and scuffs along the frame of the screen, where the phone first hit the ground, but the screen didn't look any different than it did when we first took it out of the box.
Drop 3: The flip-open fall from about 5 feet
For this test, we enacted what would happen if you carelessly flipped open your phone and lost control of it. Because this wasn't a straightforward drop, there was no way to control which side the phones landed on.
Motorola Razr: Original damage got worse but phone still works!
Both phones landed screen-side down. The Razr had a few more cracks on the front, but the touchscreen still worked well, and the screen inside was still in working order. We did notice that the metal grille that covers the bottom of the phone had started to come loose, but the worst part was still the shattered frame inside, which made the earpiece hard to use.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip: More cracks but gadget gets a passing grade
The damage on the front got worse, and spiderwebs appeared on the bottom half of the outer shell. But the screen looked great, and the device still opened and closed correctly.
Considering we went into this test thinking each phone would split at the hinges, we'd say they both did better than expected. They may have cracked on the first drop, but their screens didn't, and that's more than we can say for the screens of some of the other phones we've dropped over the years.
That said, they're not even close to being as sturdy as the original flip phones, so we advise you to definitely take Samsung up on its offer and put the free case on your brand-new, expensive foldable phone.
Samsung and Motorola didn't respond to requests for comment.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip impresses from almost every angle