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Nokia testing labs: Breaking phones to fix them

Part of making a good piece of equipment is anticipating how it'll break. This fascinating tour of Nokia's testing labs offer a rarely glimpsed inside look at how phones are battered around to make them stronger.

Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt's career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
Nokia R&D tour
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

SAN DIEGO--Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of CTIA was spent in the company of fellow journalists touring Nokia's testing facilities here, otherwise known as the chambers of torture.

It's here that testing engineers inflict a variety of mechanical and chemical abuse on their electronic quarry. Make no mistake: destruction is the labs' principal goal. As the phones get smashed, steamed, thrown, tumbled, pulled, and plunged, their human overseers scrutinize the points of failure--it could be tiny air bubbles trapped in a component, or a folded sheet of metal that's been worn to the nubbin from seemingly ceaseless repetition.

Nokia: A day in the life of breaking phones (photos)

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Get the full story and pictures in this slideshow; I assure you, it's pretty fascinating fare.