Welcome back to the week. You might have noticed the return of the durability test. Thanks to a new phone form-factor (hello, foldables!), there's never been a better time to ruin a thousand-dollar purchase. The Galaxy Z Flip, which we've had for a day or so, is the latest torture victim. (Wince here.)
YouTuber JerryRigEverything put Samsung's Ultra-Thin Glass to the test with some puncture testing. It didn't fare too well -- even if it seemed more robust than Motorola's Razr or last year's Galaxy Fold.
Over 20 years ago, people used to put iPhones in blenders. Admittedly that was to test the blender, not the iPhone, but why are these stress 'tests' back again?
It's because they're good for business. You have phone repair companies, companies that have phone-folding robots, people looking to sell blenders and media looking for a spicy headline to compliment the biggest gadget launches.
At the same time, it doesn't help that companies are often creative with their claims -- especially when it comes to durability. I recall water-testing a smartphone a few years ago, where I dunked a flagship smartphone in seawater. And it never worked again. Apparently those 'it-lasts-30-minutes-in-water' claims were for water that wasn't quite as salty. (Note: Galaxy's Z Flip is not rated for water- or dust-resistance at all.)
We need both sides, the phone makers and the phone breakers, to help make informed judgment calls on how hardy devices are, but no-one can truly test the resilience of your next smartphone, except you. Maybe you would barely open a foldable phone, or maybe it'd float in the bottom of your bag most of the time -- your mileage will vary. I'm looking forward to our final verdict on the Galaxy Z Flip as the folding nature should mean the screen is hidden away when not in use.
Foldable smartphones already have a reputation for being more delicate than the traditional smartphone, but this was also true of the original smartphones that came after candy-bar feature phones. They should -- they must -- toughen up.