APPLE’S iPhone SE may be extending the tech giant’s reach among consumers, but how durable is the new smartphone?
SquareTrade, a service that offers insurance for devices and appliances, has subjected the iPhone SE to a series of breakability tests, comparing its durability to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
The smartphones were tested using SquareTrade’s BendBot and TumbleBot machines, as well as a device that dropped the phones from a height of six feet.
The iPhone SE is Apple’s first new phone to offer a 4-inch screen since its iPhone 5s, which it replaces, and the discontinued 5c. Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have, respectively, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens.
The new phone is 0.3 inches thick, whereas the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are 0.28 inches and 0.29 inches thick, respectively.
Released on Monday, SquareTrade’s results reveal the iPhone SE is not bendproof.
“Even with its thicker body, the iPhone SE bent at 160 pounds of pressure,”explained SquareTrade, noting that the thinner iPhone 6s didn’t bend until 10 pounds later.
“The iPhone SE reached catastrophic failure at only 178 pounds, which is two pounds less than the amount of pressure needed for the iPhone 6s Plus to bend.”
In 2014 reports emerged that the iPhone 6 Plus could be easily bent, although Apple said that the subsequent “bendgate” brouhaha was overblown.
SquareTrade also found that the iPhone 6s outlasted its “siblings” underwater.
“Submerged under five feet of water in the Deep Water DunkBot, the iPhone SE permanently shut off in less than a minute,” it said.
In comparison, the iPhone 6s survived a full 30 minutes and only lost audio while the iPhone 6s Plus started malfunctioning at 10 minutes and eventually died.
However, the iPhone SE can handle tumbling, sustaining only “minor scuffs” on its corners after 30 seconds within SquareTrade’s TumbleBot. In contrast, the iPhone 6s Plus suffered a shattered screen and was completely unusable after its spell in the tumbling test machine.
“The iPhone 6s with its 7000 series aluminium was the only one to survive unscathed,” said Square Trade.
None of the phones fared particularly well when dropped facedown, with the iPhone SE’s glass shattering when dropped from six feet, similar to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Corner drops also proved dangerous for the new phone.
“After five drops on its corner, the iPhone SE started cracking across its screen. By the tenth drop, the phone had completely split along its side,” said SquareTrade.
“Meanwhile, the bigger 6s and 6s Plus only had minor cosmetic damage after 10 drops.
After completing the rigorous tests, SquareTrade gave the iPhone SE a breakability score of 5.5 and a “medium risk” rating.
In SquareTrade’s ratings, 1 is the lowest risk score and 10 is the highest risk.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have breakability scores of 4 and 6.5, respectively, with both phones ranked “medium risk.”
“After dropping, dunking, bending and tumbling the phones, SquareTrade found that the iPhone 6s is still the most durable — outperforming the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s Plus in nearly every test,” explained SquareTrade, in a press release.
“While the iPhone SE may have the insides of the iPhone 6s in a smaller body, it still doesn’t have its durability.”