Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5? This is a question a lot of folks have been considering now that the Galaxy S4 made a surprising early launch in the US, soon after T-Mobile launched its revolutionary contract free "Simple Choice" plan featuring the iPhone 5.
Of course in terms of spec and updated features the Galaxy S4 may offer some things iPhone 5 users wish they had like built in NFC, replaceable battery, and killer customization options, still the iPhone 5 holds some features that Samsung's latest flagship still has yet to conquer, one of those being durability. As a recent drop test by SquareTrade proved Galaxy S4 while looking great and including some mouth-watering updates does have an Achilles heel and that is durability. Falling behind both the iPhone 5 and its predecessor the Galaxy S3, if you value a rugged smartphone that can handle a little rough and tumble you may want think twice about the Galaxy S4.
So how did the Galaxy S4 perform against the iPhone 5?
While the overall durability score for all three phones -- the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy S4 -- all come in as "Medium Risk" phones, iPhone 5 proved itself to be much more durable than the two Samsung offerings, scoring a 5 out of 10 for risk, while the S3 and S4 came in at 6.5 and 7 on the risk scale. (See SquareTrade Test Video Below)
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Apple iPhone 5 Drop Test
First the SquareTrade team conducted a typical drop test from and at 7ft the Galaxy S3 and S4's plastic casing did had a difficult time absorbing the impact and the screens for both showed evidence with cracking as a result. Meanwhile, short of a few scratches, iPhone 5 screen came out unscathed by the impact.
When tested again from a height of 10 ft iPhone5 came out the clear winner once again showing some scratchiness and the tiniest bit of corner cracking, the Galaxy S4 on the other hand was completely dead on arrival with screen and camera shattered and wouldn't even turn on.
iPhone 5 was then dropped face down and run over slowly by a car and in both scenarios still came out functioning and with minimal damage. Pretty impressive show of durability eh?
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Apple iPhone 5 Slide Test
Of course another culprit of accidental drops can be caused from the phones level of friction or "slidability" and, unfortunately, the Galaxy S4 while being more fragile is also more susceptible to longer slides the plastic casing has a low friction coefficient, causing the S4 to slide three feet. The iPhone 5 however with it's aluminum covering barely slid two feet.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Apple iPhone 5 Submersion Test
When it came to submerging these flagship smartphones in liquid, both the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 performed pretty. Both, after complete submersion in water came out functional. Surprisingly both were also capable of playing video and audio while underwater (shower radio anyone?)
So while a drop in the toilet may not doom your iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4, if you tend to be accident prone you may want to think twice about the new Galaxy S4 as clearly surviving impact isn't its forte. Add to this the fact SquareTrade points out the size, shape and slippery nature of the plastic covering make the Galaxy S4 kind of a hazardous drop waiting to happen. According to SquareTrade,
"Major strikes against the [GS4] include high breakability during SquareTrade Drop Tests, a slippery back panel, and a wider screen that reduces grip-ability, especially compared to the ultra-slim iPhone 5..."
With this in mind, the company predicts that one in eight Galaxy S4 smartphones will break within six months and as many as one in three Galaxy S4 owners will find themselves replacing their smartphones before the year is out.
The moral of the story? When you go to purchase that Galaxy S4, make sure you add a nice insurance plan and a protective cover, because, unfortunately, durability is one feature Samsung couldn't quite implement in the latest flagship everything phone.