Drop test: Is the Galaxy Note 7 really tougher than the S7 Edge?

The Note 7 is the first phone made with Gorilla Glass 5, but does this make it a tougher to break that the S7 Edge?

Vanessa Hand Orellana CNET 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.
Sharon Profis Vice President of Content
Sharon Profis is a vice president of content.
Vanessa Hand Orellana
Sharon Profis
2 min read
Watch this: Galaxy Note 7 vs. S7 Edge drop test

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 had an eye-catching Super AMOLED screen with subtle curves on either side. But after seeing so many Galaxy S7 Edge phones fall and crack on the edge, we've learned this form factor may come at a price.

Can a tougher glass and a smaller curve toughen up the Note?

The Note 7 is the first phone made with Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 which can fall from up to 1.6 meters (5 feet, 3 inches) onto rough, hard surfaces, according to Corning. That goes for the front and back of the phone.

Gorilla Glass 4 -- found on the S7 Edge -- maxes out at about 1 meter (3 feet, 2 inches) onto rough surfaces. Like the Note 7, Gorilla Glass is on the front and back of the S7 Edge.

Here's the catch

There's a caveat about Corning's claims: they're only valid when manufacturers leave the glass unaltered. If a phone maker, like Samsung, changes the shape or thickness of the screen, Corning can't promise the same durability. So, the real drop test here is whether or not Samsung's version of Gorilla Glass lives up to the original claims.

With that out of the way, let's drop some phones.

The drop test

Both phones used in our tests were straight out of the box in pristine conditions. We used a 6-inch wooden pole as measuring device and a smooth cement floor as a landing pad for both phones.

First drop

We started at knee height (about 2 feet) with the screen-side-down. Both the S7 Edge and the Note 7 survived.

Second drop

Next we escalated to pocket level (about 3.5 feet) screen-side-down. Again, they both survived.

Third drop

We went up to Corning's claim of 1.6 meters (5 feet, 3 inches) screen-side-down and still didn't manage to break either phone.

Fourth drop -- and a bonus drop

It wasn't until we dropped the S7 Edge on its side that the screen cracked. Two hairline fractures at the top and bottom corners of the phone.

The Note 7 survived the same drop, but the back cracked at 1.6 meters when dropped on its side. A second drop from this height on its side finished off the back, but the front remained intact.

The verdict

Both phones fared better than we expected considering the heights at which they were dropped, but the Note 7 definitely came out as the winner. It could be the stronger Gorilla Glass 5, or that the curve is less pronounced.

Either way, if you're going to spend over $700 on one of these beautiful screens, you may want to invest in a solid case.