CNET Top 5
Most-breakable gadgetsSome gadgets are built to last. Here are five that were born to break.
Our reviews here at CNET can tell you a lot of things about any given piece of technology -- how well it works, how long the battery lasts, how well it stacks up against the competition. And then we carefully box the product back up and send it back to the manufacturer, leaving one critical question unanswered, Ã¯Â¿Â½Will this product survive a drop from a moving car?Ã¯Â¿Â½ ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s where Molly Wood comes in. In her show, Always On, Molly has subjected countless gadgets to her torture testing. Some take a licking and keep on ticking, while others crumble into an expensive pile of glass and microchips. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Donald Bell, and in this Top 5 weÃ¯Â¿Â½re counting down the five pieces of high-profile tech that flopped the hardest during the Always On torture test. Starting things off at #5: the iPhone 4S. Just because there was less screen back then, didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t mean the design was any less fragile. We had an ugly black bar running down the display of the 4S after just one drop. Granted, the glass never broke, even after repeated tosses down the stairs, but the fact that we crippled the screen right out of the gate is enough to put this bygone iPhone on the list. But at least the iPhone never really advertised itself as rugged. The same cannot be said for #4: the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Now, this is a great all-around machine, and a 4-star review from us, but if youÃ¯Â¿Â½re looking for a truly rugged laptop that can withstand scorching heat, or the occasional cup of coffee on the keyboard - - then the X1 is not for you. Molly didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t even get around to a drop test, since the heat test pretty much toasted the thing. Fine computer, but not the tough guy youÃ¯Â¿Â½d expect. #3 is another one that surprised us: the Samsung Galaxy S4. This is CNETÃ¯Â¿Â½s highest rated cell phone currently, and the heir to one of the toughest cell phones around, the Galaxy S3. The S4 was undone by a hurl off a rock wall, and then put to rest after being run over by a dirt bike. Now, personally, my active lifestyle is non-existent -- so I wouldnÃ¯Â¿Â½t discount the S4 right away. But itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a shame that it doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t seem as resilient as the S3. At #2: the Microsoft Surface. It was already looking pretty bad when Always OnÃ¯Â¿Â½s Jeff Cannata spilled a glass of wine on the thing, but it was the drop test that really made me wince. To be fair, Jeff went over the top when he used the kickstand as a foot restÃ¯Â¿Â½ and maybe took things a bit too far when he turned it into functioning skateboardÃ¯Â¿Â½ but whatÃ¯Â¿Â½s a torture test without a little humiliation? Now before we get to the #1 most breakable gadget, as evidenced by the Always On torture tests, go take a look at the Top 5 toughest gadgets. Molly and the gang have a great roundup that you can find at CNET.com/alwayson. Alright, and now, the wimpiest gadget ever to appear on Always On: the 2012 Google Nexus 7 -- the original. The $199 Android tablet that brought the industry to its knees turned out to be a total creampuff. IÃ¯Â¿Â½ve seen Christmas ornaments tougher than this thing. During the drop test, the back cover went flying and the glass shattered like a creme brulee. I can always tell IÃ¯Â¿Â½m hungry when my metaphors are all deserts. Still, it was a great tablet -- and for $199 it could have been made out of Legos and I still would have bought one. So there you go, five highly-rated gadgets that you really shouldnÃ¯Â¿Â½t use without a case and an extended warranty. To witness more gadget abuse be sure to tune in to Always On with Molly Wood each and every week. And for more Top 5s like this, Top5. CNET.com IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Donald Bell, reminding you to hug your gadgets and hold them close.