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Watch the carnage unfold in this Galaxy S20 Ultra drop test video

Published Mar 3rd, 2020 6:50AM EST
Galaxy S20 Ultra
Image: Framesira/Shutterstock

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Starting at $1,399.99, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the most expensive S20 flavor you can get right now — all S20 phones are costly, with the cheapest model starting at $999. Sure, you can get plenty of trade-in deals, and take advantage of current S20 sales from carriers and electronics retailers to make the phone seem more affordable. Also, Samsung is throwing in free credit your way, which can be used towards the purchase of other Samsung products, including protective gear for your handset. If you’re looking to use all these promotions to score a cheap S20 Ultra, then you should consider putting that $200 to good use right away, and order a case and new screen protectors. The phone is made of glass, and the first drop tests don’t paint a very promising picture when it comes to durability. Long story short, get yourself one of these Galaxy S20 Ultra cases if you plan on buying this phone.

You’d think that a $1,400 phone would be a lot more durable than previous devices, but that’s absolutely the case. The Galaxy 20 phones ship with preinstalled screen protectors that Samsung advises to keep on. But even so, the S20 Ultra dropped in the CNET video below did not survive a three-feet drop after landing on the concrete. This is the kind of accident that you can expect from any phone. Take it out of your pocket or bag, it slips and lands on the floor. It’s likely the S20 Ultra will survive certain drops, depending on the surface it lands on, but concrete will be a huge problem.

The screen cracked near one of the corners, and the screen protector only helped with preventing the spread of the crack. It might be a good idea to get an even better screen protector for the handset.

The back had an even more dire fate in the same test, cracking in various places. That means you’ll need a protective cover of some sort.

The only good news here is that the camera module survived the drop. Even better, the glass covering the four cameras didn’t crack after multiple drops, including drops from around five feet. Having the camera system survive after a drop is excellent news, and, as you’ll see below, the cameras still work. But the rest of the phone might not be so lucky.

What’s interesting to note is that the S20 Ultra is the only phone of the three S20 models to sport Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back of the phone, which should be more durable than the Gorilla Glass 5 that protects the rear of the S20 and S20+. These two also have Gorilla Glass 6 covering the screen. All three phones also feature almost flat screens, which should be more durable than curved displays, although Samsung never really explained this design change, and we have no idea if it has anything to do with durability. The video below, however, proves that the S20’s front and rear glass panels will shatter following impacts with hard surfaces, regardless of the curvature of the edges.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.