That whole plastic case thing isn’t working out for Samsung lately, as it took another hit today, as insurance company SquareTrade says it finds the company’s new flagship handset doesn’t prove to be as durable as Apple’s iPhone 5.
SquareTrade put the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S3, and Apple’s iPhone 5 through a torture test of sorts, reproducing the perils that smartphones face in the hands of everyday consumers. The handsets were dropped to test case strength, skidded across tables to see how far they would slide, and dunked underwater to see how well they fared with submersion.
All three handset scored as a “medium risk” in the evaluations, but the Galaxy S4 got a worse numerical score than both the iPhone 5 and its even the previous Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S3. Scaling it from 1 to 10, with the 10 being worst, the iPhone 5 scored a 5, the Galaxy S3 got a 6.5, and the Galaxy S4 received a 7.
The plastic casings on the S3 and S4 had trouble absorbing the impact of a 40-foot fall, with the screens on both handsets showing some cracking. The plastic cases also apparently offer significantly less friction, as the two Samsung devices slid farther than the aluminum unibody iPhone 5. The Galaxy S4 slid 3.1 feet, the Galaxy S3 skidded 2.8 feet, and the iPhone 5 skittered 2.3 feet.
Both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S4 proved to be somewhat resistant to water damage, as both survived the submersion test with their functions intact, still playing video and audio even while underwater. The S3 didn’t fare quite as well, as it’s video kept playing, but its speakers gave out.
Under the assumption that a device that’s easier to grip will be easier to hold onto, SquareTrade also graded the devices on ergonomics. The S3 and S4 scored poorly on the grip-ability test, as the iPhone 5 fared better, netting a positive score. All three phones scored as neutral in the weight test, but all three scored badly on overall size.
SquareTrade said it estimates that one in five Americans will buy a Samsung Galaxy S4, with one in eight consumers breaking their S4 within six months. In case you didn’t know, SquareTrade sells breakage insurance for phones and other devices.