Samsung Galaxy S8: Just how fragile is it?

My first ever phone was a Nokia handset. I don’t remember the model number – all you need to know is that it was a tank, and who remembers the serial numbers on tanks? While the One2One network it was registered to is no more, I’d be surprised if that phone wasn’t still trucking along.

They just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Glass – no matter how high the number you put next to the word Gorilla – just isn’t built for butter-fingered humans.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is simply stunning, and sports more glass than ever before, with a screen to bezel ratio of around 84%. It looks like it would shatter from a simply a sharp intake of breath, and while this isn’t true (not in my review, at least), you’re probably going to want to get a case.

Gadget insurer SquareTrade has put the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus through its notoriously tough handset torture chambers. The result? A pair of handsets considerably more fragile than their predecessors.

YouTube video

Just a single face-down fall is enough to result in cracks in the screen, and those smooth edges are just inviting chunks of glass to go missing, too. The glass on the rear of the devices didn’t fare much better, succumbing to that glorious spidering effect when dropped on the side and back.

SquareTrade describes the phones as faring “significantly worse than their predecessors,” and that troubles me as the proud owner of a S7 with a cracked screen. What is good to know is that the water test was a complete success: after being submerged in five feet of water for 30 minutes, both the S8 and S8 Plus continued to function fine, and even the slight sound muffling that was evident vanished after another half hour on terra firma.

“While the nearly all-glass design of the S8 makes it a beautiful phone, it’s extremely susceptible to cracking when dropped from any angle,” said SquareTrade’s vice president global creative director Jason Siciliano. “However, we have no doubt it’s going to be a hit. We found that 89% of Samsung owners reported having a positive view of the brand despite recent controversies, and 36% plan on buying an S8 in the next six months. Just don’t drop it.”

Personally, I find it quite hard to watch those poor Galaxy S8s getting tortured. But if you like to play the role of The Jigsaw Killer in your own personal tech version of Saw, be sure to read about Tom’s trip to the Huawei phone testing labs.

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