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SquareTrade shares results from its iPhone XR drop test, but how realistic is it?

Published Oct 29th, 2018 3:13PM EDT
iPhone XR vs. iPhone XS
Image: SquareTrade

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The iPhone XR is finally here, a phone that delivers the same iPhone XS experience for $250 less than what you’d pay for Apple’s most affordable high-end iPhone this year. The iPhone XR delivers just about everything that’s great about the iPhone XS, but it also has the same downsides. Like the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR also features a gorgeous glass design, and new tests show that you’re definitely going to want to protect it with a good case.

A new video from SquareTrade, the same company that performed plenty of drop tests for other devices including the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, shows that the iPhone XR glass will break if dropped from decent heights onto hard surfaces. SquareTrade says that the iPhone XR front and rear glass shattered on the first drop from six feet, just like the iPhone XS and XS Max a few weeks ago. But the iPhone XR seems to have suffered even worse damage than the iPhone XS, as the drop completely destroyed the screen and rendered the phone unusable.

Image source: SquareTrade

The iPhone XS survived drops from other heights with ease, as we’ve seen in other drop tests. But SquareTrade’s tests only involve dropping the handset from a height of six feet, which isn’t very realistic at all in the real world. People generally drop their phones while picking them up off a surface or removing them from a pocket or purse, which means the phones fall from much lower heights than six feet. It’s entirely possible that the iPhone XR will survive drops from lower heights that are far more common, but you’ should probably still get  a good case for it.

The iPhone XR did better in bend tests than the iPhone XS, which is interesting since it’s made of glass and aluminum instead of stainless steel. The XS’s screen cracked at 250 pounds of pressure, while the XR only bent at 260 pounds, without breaking. Also worth noting is the fact that the iPhone XR is cheaper to repair than the iPhone XS, the company points out.

“The LCD screen in the iPhone XR has a similar level of durability as the OLED screen featured in the iPhone XS and XS Max. Our tests show that across the board — with both the LCD and OLED screens — the all-glass designs of all three new iPhones are susceptible to cracking from drops, which is the most common cause of damage,” SquareTrade vice president global creative director Jason Siciliano said. “The iPhone XR does cost less than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and it costs less to repair as well. However, at $199 for screen repairs, and $399 for other repairs (over half the price of the phone), it still isn’t cheap to fix. That said, with the iPhone XR, you’re getting a more affordable phone with about the same level of durability, and it costs less to repair. That’s a good deal.”

SquareTrade’s iPhone XR durability tests follow below, while the iPhone XS video is available at this link.

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.