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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus may not survive torture tests

Thicker glass and a sturdier frame should make the latest superphones harder to break, right? Tests by warranty outlet SquareTrade breaks down that claim.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Eric Mack
2 min read
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Samsung would have you believe its latest greatest smartphones are rough and tough, but new torture tests may have shattered that reputation before it even takes hold. 

Samsung says the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, have a new, improved and thicker "Infinity Display" built to be more durable. Warranty outfit SquareTrade put those claims to the test (a number of tests, actually) and found that while the latest Galaxy might be a little more durable than Apple's iPhone X and the S9's predecessor, the Galaxy S8, it still leaves you with lots of cracks and some loose glass and may even completely shatter from just a single drop. 

SquareTrade puts new phones through a battery of robotic tests, including drops, tumbles, bends and dunks, to see how easily they give way under pressure (or a traumatic meeting with pavement). The company also asks its master technician to deconstruct each model and give it a repairability score.

The new Samsung phones suffered significant damage in all the drop tests and tumble tests. As for being able to repair the latest Galaxies, SquareTrade reports they're still about as tough to fix as the previous generation. Potential issues include difficulties removing the back panel and an LCD display that can easily be broken in the process of attempting repairs. 

CNET performed our own Galaxy S9 drop test from half the height (3 feet or .91 meters instead of 6 feet or 1.82 meters to simulate pocket height) and found that the back panel still broke badly, but the front display survived unscathed. 

Watch this: The Galaxy S9 put up a good fight in our drop test

While most phones have become more waterproof, the trend toward more all-glass phone designs isn't doing much to improve durability.

"All of that glass means that durability has actually gone backward over the past year," SquareTrade global creative director Jason Siciliano, said in a statement.

It's worth noting again that SquareTrade sells gadget warranties, so it has an interest in pointing out how fragile your latest device is. The company also advises using cases and screen protectors to safeguard your investment.

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