Samsung S21: How do the smartphones hold up to being dropped six feet?

·2-min read

Samsung launched its newest range of smartphones, the S21 lineup, in a surprise announcement last month - but how do the company's new devices actually hold up when dropped?

The South Korean smartphone maker's announcement of the S21 range, outside of its normal timetable for phone launches, was made more puzzling by the devices' specs.

The specs for its newest phones actually dropped compared to those released last year in the S20 range, although Samsung notes the drop in specs also comes with a drop in cost.

Samsung acknowledged that the launch of its devices came with increased focus on its premium S21 Ultra device, described as "the new king of Android phones" by The Guardian, even as the other devices received far less complimentary reviews.

The three phones - the Galaxy S21 Ultra (£1,149), the smaller and cheaper S21 (£769), and the larger S21+ (£819) - were put to the test by mobile insurance provider SquareTrade.

The Face-Down Drop Test

All three phones were damaged when dropped six feet onto the pavement, with their fronts facing down.

The low-cost Galaxy S21 fared the best, according to SquareTrade, but was still significantly damaged, receiving a cracked screen and raised glass.

The S21+ had much worse time - it not only cracked, but the miniscule fittings keeping the device together were busted up and loosened, causing the smartphone to malfunction.

Most damaged of all was the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the largest phone in the range, which was catastrophically damaged and couldn't even be used after one drop.

The Back-Down Drop Test

Things went a little differently when the devices were dropped with their backs facing down.

The S21, which has a polycarbonate rather than glass back, was dropped twice but sustained only minor cosmetic damage.

Both the S21+ and the S21 Ultra, which have glass rear panels, shattered after a single drop - but the new metal rear camera housings on all three phones remained intact and their cameras stayed fully operational.

Fortunately every day users are unlikely to be carrying their phones at such a height, although drops remain the leading cause of damage for users in the UK.

"The durability of all three Galaxy S21 rear camera housings is a noted improvement over its predecessors," said SquareTrade.

"So is the durability of the smaller Galaxy S21 model's polycarbonate rear panel," the company added.

"Considering that 23 million Brits have previously damaged a smartphone, according to a recent SquareTrade survey, this should be welcome news."