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How the Galaxy S9 is built to withstand abuse much better than the Galaxy S8

Published Feb 28th, 2018 6:21PM EST
Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Smartphones made of glass are absolutely gorgeous, and most flagships unveiled at MWC 2018 will feature a glass sandwich design. The Galaxy S9 is among them, which is hardly surprising considering that Samsung shifted to glass a few years ago when it finally ditched plastic.

The problem with glass phones is that they tend to break easier than metal handsets after drops, and today’s devices are terribly expensive to repair following such accidents. That’s why I did this to my iPhone X, turning that beautiful slick design into a rather bulky gadget.

But the Galaxy S9 should handle drops with more grace than its predecessor, at least on paper.

First of all, the Galaxy S9 is slightly smaller than the Galaxy S8, even if that’s not immediately clear from pictures. That means it’s easier to operate with one hand, which in turn can reduce the risk of accidents.

But Samsung made other design changes to the handset so that it can withstand shocks better than the Galaxy S8.

The Galaxy S9’s glass is 20% thicker than the Galaxy S8 Samsung told BGR during a briefing. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still glass that we’re talking about, which means it can shatter no matter how durable it’s supposed to be.

On top of that, Samsung changed the type of metal used for the frame in the middle, the one that holds all the components in place. According to SamMobile, we’re looking at AL 7003 aluminum on the new phone, which is stronger than the AL 6013 version used on the S8. AL 7003 isn’t supposed to deform as much, and it should transfer 1.2 times less shock to the glass during impacts.

Finally, the curved edges aren’t as pronounced on the Galaxy S9. Samsung did it to increase the metal edge of the phone which is now 0.2mm thicker than on the S8.

Even so, don’t forget that the Galaxy S9 is still made of glass. You’ll need cases and screen protector to minimize the risk of damages.

That said, Galaxy S9 drop test videos are probably in the making, which means we’ll soon learn how durable the Galaxy S9 really is.

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.

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