Phones

Here's what it took to break the LG G6's screen

We dropped the G6 from different heights onto some rough surfaces and discovered that not all the glass is made equal on this phone.

LG gave its flagship phone a major makeover this year with a new all-glass design and a nearly bezelless display. But beauty comes at a price. The G6 has more surface real-estate than its aluminum predecessor, which means there's more to break in a fall.

And as it turns out, not all surfaces are made equal on the G6. Strangely, the curved glass panel on the back is made from the strongest Gorilla Glass 5, but the screen's glass uses the overall weaker Gorilla Glass 3.

We put the LG G6 through a series of drop tests (similar to the ones we did on the Galaxy S8) to see how this 4-year-old glass would hold up.

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The flip test

Our first test was inspired by an actual event. I flipped the phone on a cement surface while shooting a video using our preproduction unit, and ended up with a hairline fracture across the bottom half of the screen. The crack was so slight in fact, I didn't even notice it until we were almost done shooting. It's barely visible on the actual video.

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The screen survived our first flip test on cement.

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

It's hard to tell what these early units had been exposed to prior to us getting our hands on it, so we decided to test out this scenario on a brand-new, store-bought unit. From what we know, LG used the same glass on both devices and this time around the screen-down flip onto cement did not cause any damage to screen.

Drop from pocket level

The real testing began with our next drop from pocket (or purse) height onto the sidewalk. We dropped the phone from 3 feet onto a slanted sidewalk. The phone bounced around before landing screen down on the pavement.

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The results from our hip-height drop onto the sidewalk were not as good.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET


Upon first look, it seemed to have survived, but a closer inspection revealed a hairline fracture that started as a tiny crack on the left border and extended from one side of the screen to the other. The back was unscathed.

Eye-level drop

The front was already compromised, but we decided to see how much higher we needed to go to cause some damage on the back. The next drop was from 5 feet, or eye-level onto stone tile. We dropped the phone with its back facing down so that the back panel would absorb the initial shock, which it did, but it bounced around again before landing screen side up.

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Did the back of the LG G6 survive this fall?

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET


The metal frame had a few more dings, and the front crack had turned into a spider web of cracks, but the back was still intact.

Free fall drop from car height

We took it up to 5 feet, 10 inches for our final test: back-down onto asphalt. And here's where it completely shattered. Both the front and back of the phone looked like they'd been through a crime scene, with pieces of glass falling from the sides.

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We raised the drop height to 5 feet, 10 inches to see if we could break the back.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

The verdict

Based solely on our unscientific results (and Corning), it would appear that the Gorilla Glass 5 on the back is tougher at withstanding drops than the Gorilla Glass 3 on the front.

According to LG, however, the newer Gorilla Glass was more susceptible to hairline scratches in their testing which is why it chose to go with the older Gorilla Glass 3 for the screen.

And since we didn't test for scratching, it's nearly impossible to prove one way or another. So put a case on it for some peace of mind, and don't forget to protect that screen.