SquareTrade, a company that specialises in smartphone insurance, has put the three handsets through its breakability assessments that include a drop test, slide test and water resistance test to find out each handset’s Breakability Score.
Using a special contraption each smartphone is dropped from a height of four-feet. The iPhone 5 faired best, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 had the biggest crack followed closely by the Samsung Galaxy S3.
In the waterproofing test, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was better than its predecessor, but due to its “slippery back panel” and its large 5-inch screen dimensions the latest Samsung flagship was more droppable and scored a 7 overall for its Breakability Score.
With 10 being the most fragile, both the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 were more durable than the Galaxy S4. The Samsung Galaxy S3 scored 6.5 due to its plastic back and wide width that made it difficult to get a grip on. Scoring a 5, the iPhone 5 performed well because of its smaller form factor and durability.
“Our Breakability Score creates a new Richter Scale for accidental damage to help consumers assess when, where and how their phones are in danger,” said Ty Shay, CMO at SquareTrade. “It’s been two years since we created the first Drop Test video for the industry and we thought it was time to expand the concept.”
When submerged, the Samsung Galaxy S3 lost audio functionality, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 both were capable of blasting out some tunes despite the dunking.
“Our research and experience shows that even the smallest device characteristics can dramatically affect its breakability: the weight balance of a device can affect the way it spins in free-fall, making it more likely to land on its screen; devices with rubber backs are less likely to slide, and device dimensions can affect how snugly smartphones fit in the pant and jeans pocket. The likelihood of damage due to these common scenarios has never been higher.”
Read our Samsung Galaxy S4 v iPhone 5 comparison if you're struggling to decide which one to buy.