back to article Fanbois smash iPhone 5s much sooner than iPhone 3s ... but WHY?

Early iPhones last significantly longer before being accidentally destroyed than later models, according to a new survey - but nobody knows why. Twelve per cent of smashed iPhones were left on the roof of a car, an experience which would challenge any model of handset, while 35 per cent were dropped into a bath or similar, …


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  1. A K Stiles

    Or perhaps...

    the 3 has been around for longer so the survey has some multiple year values to drag up the average which the 5 doesn't?

    Nah - who am I kidding - from what I read on here, nobody's keeping an iphone for one year, let alone several !

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Or perhaps...

      If there are any iPhones going spare then send them in my direction.

      Just so's I can perform a longevity test in the interests of science :)

      The only phone I broker was one of those huge Samsung things that everyone rages about. I picked it up to answer it and got a belt from it. As a result it went crashing onto the concrete floor. Yes, it was plugged into a crappy 3rd party charger.

      My old Nokia 6310i has take a battering over the years. It is now on its 4th battery. I get a lot of weird looks from people who are amazed that I am using such a relic so if there any freebie iPhones going then I'll take one

      Yeah, I know it is wishful thinking but you have to try don't you.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or perhaps...

        Only phone I smashed was an S3, well my son knocked it off a 1.5m high shelf onto concrete...

        Turned out fortunate as after a couple of months of the insurer failing to fix the phone (and this was supposed to be a simple screen replacement... )

    2. Joseph Lord

      Re: Or perhaps...

      And the other factor maybe the people. None of the careless people will still have an iPhone 3G as it wouldn't have survived so the population of iPhone 3 owners will be generally better at looking after things than the general population while iPhone 5 owners will include a higher than average number of people who have recently destroyed a phone.

      1. JohnMurray

        Re: Or perhaps...

        The iphone 5 has front and rear glass.

        The rear breaking is two screws and 10 minutes to replace.

        The front breaking is 23 screws and removing the touchscreen/display from its double-sided sticky stuff.

        a tenner for the back (over 80 quid repair shop), and since the front touchscreen/display are glued together, many times more for that. It is a lot less fuss to buy a new phone (if you have no insurance).

        The iphone 3/g/gs had a plastic back. Who cares about cracks and scratches. If the front breaks/cracks, a complete display and touchscreen is available for a tenner on ebay. 8 screws and an hour and a 3gs is still working. I may get an iphone 4...maybe...eventually. Or a nokia !!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or perhaps...

      To date, I still have my original iPhone4 and my 4S is still going great too.

      Common errors by iPhone owners:

      1. No bumper.

      2. No cover (not case).

      Need I go on? Fact is that having the naked phone fly off whatever it is you put it on will inevitably cause damage. When I ask friends who lament their cracked screen/back glass whether they put a cover on, the answer is usually "no, why?" to which I answer "why not?"

      If you can't be bothered to look after your gadget, don't expect it to last, and don't expect any condolences from me. You clearly have more money than sense. :-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IT IS pure frustration

      They see the S4, then look back at their iPhone 5, realise the mistake they have made and throw it against a brick wall in frustration, screaming 'Why, why can't you be as good as that!'

    5. Johan Bastiaansen
      Thumb Up

      Re: Or perhaps...

      Yup, statistics. No journalist understands any of it.

  2. Ragarath

    Destroyed to upgrade?

    Perhaps they have realised their mistake and "accidentally" destroyed their phones so that they could claim on their insurance and upgrade to an Android or Windows Phone model?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

      Upgrade to a windows phone?.....

      1. h3

        Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

        I think the best thing I ever did when it comes to smartphones was get a cheap Lumia 800.

        (Prior to that I had various Android's but never used them for calling due to such awful battery life. Along with an old 6230i).

        It does everything I use (Offline or Online Satnav / Calls / Texts / email (Exchange Activesync which is great. Probably less great if you are a small business and have to pay for the thing directly though).

        Good that I stopped wasting time looking for Apps that I never actually use but think at the time I want them.

        And if I go out and come back hammered and forget to charge my phone it has enough charge for the next day if necessary.

        Most importantly it is still like new ages later.

        I just consider it reasonable build quality. (Same as the IBM made Thinkpad's used to be). Not form over functionality. Don't see why men would ever go for that tradeoff.

        1. Richard Jones 1

          Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

          Still using my 6230i, nothing else does what I need without all the crap that I do not want.. Shame I now have a problem getting good batteries. Why does the market think that I want to spend all day staring at the damned thing. I want a phone with hands free calling. The 6230i sits in my pocket and makes and receives calls via a bluetooth headset, which is what a phone is supposed to do. No wonder phone 'theft' is on the up, people probably trip over while walking and staring at some stupid go flat machine and drop the stupid things down the drain. Could that be the best place for an iphone?

        2. Jess

          Lumia 800.

          Funny, my N8 does all that, (and several days on the battery if I'm careful) But without the apps restriction.

          (And it does VOIP)

      2. Johan Bastiaansen

        Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

        "Upgrade to a windows phone?....."

        It is possible to upgrade to a Windows phone. If you're coming from 2 tins and a string.

    2. dave 81

      Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

      *"upgrade to an Android Model or downgrade and lose any tech credibility with a Windows Phone"

      there fixed it for you.

  3. Piro Silver badge


    I've had several phones over the years, and the only one I've damaged to a degree where it needed repairing at all was a Sony Ericsson P900, when I literally threw it hard at the ground.

    Someone's going to make a joke about me being frustrated with UIQ, but no, it was an unrelated incident of rage.

    iPhones must be seriously fragile, or people who own them must be seriously clumsy.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Re: Hm

      Stopped buying Sony Ericsson for this very reason. Had two, broke two, both within 6 months. Never had any trouble with Nokia's of course (still have two in a drawer somewhere). Treat my Nexus like a new born baby, but know at some point it's going to fall off/in/out of something.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Hm

        Very true about Nokia phones. A smart ass friend of mine once quipped that once humanity has wiped itself out with nuclear war, the cockroaches will be calling each other on 5110s and asking what happened.

        1. Xyra

          Re: Hm

          Only phones I've ever broken was a Nokia - Samsung, Motorola's, iPhones, SonyEriccsons, HTC all lasted fine. I smashed the screen on my N95 - was very easy to replace it though, just a few small screws I doubt the other brands would have been as easy to fix.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Hm

        Was walking down a country lane waving my SE Xperia Mini Pro in the air like a lunatic trying to get some sort of signal. A barn owl took interest, scared the crap out of me, phone took a tumble from something like two metres on to tarmac. Burst open, stuff came out. Oh crap oh crap oh crap. Put it back together, powered up, did the *#*#SERVICE#*#* thingy to run the tests.

        Result? Dinged back cover. That's all. I was impressed. But I don't hold the phone in the air any more.

    2. spegru
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hm

      I always liked my Sony Ericsson smartphones -

      P800 and the P910 UIQ and yes they were definitely smart at the time ? 2003/4/5

      I miss that 5 way click wheel and hardware keyboard

      If only they'd had 3G I might have continued for a very long time

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Hm

        I have a P990 too, has 3G. Didn't have enough RAM, UIQ was a bit clumsy, and it only had a 3 way wheel.

        The devices were most definitely innovative. Good stuff.

    3. jubtastic1

      Re: Hm

      My wife's iphone 4s has been dropped 'lots' of times, dumped in a fresh hot bath mid game by our toddler, run over by a car (ours I think, she dropped it getting out, recovered it via find my phone), and taken at least one high dive into a toilet.

      These are just the things she has admitted to, she thinks it's a tough little phone, damage so far, 2 x cracked back glass, repair for the first one was about £5, haven't bothered repairing it again, stuck some tape on the crack.

      I've had three, a 2g that's still going that the toddler plays with, a 4 that lasted two years before I upgraded, and gave it to my daughter who lost it within 2 weeks and a 5 that's in my pocket. I've dropped all of them plenty of times.

      I know there are hardier phones but they're nowhere near as fragile as the media likes to portray them.

      1. wowfood

        Re: Hm

        I remember many years ago I had an old nokia, it was a something i. 6310i I think after looking around online for ages.

        Either way the thing was damn near indestructible. We used to play in a field near where we live and there was an old farm house there with a massive oil tanker in the middle. We used to climb on the oil tanker which was probably about the height of a 1st floor window, then we'd use that to climb higher. My phone fell out of my pocket on many occasions, the most damage that it had was scratches to the casing, that was it.

        Ah the days when nokia made good indestructible phones.

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: Hm

          I've always been a fan of the Sony Ericsson's. Had a couple of them (going back to the T28 - brilliant phone if it still worked today I'd still be using it!), and Ive never had one get damaged from any amount of damage Ive thrown at it. The ones did die were from things like battery failures, or more often where I just decided it really was about time to upgrade. My current Experia Arc S is serving me well. Been dropped a few times, seen a lot of rough treatment, and so far not as much as a scratch on the screen.

          I do have doubts about the new Sony phones though. Can they really live up to the old Sony Ericssons?

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: Hm

            There are refurbed T28s available. I've given more than a few moments thought to getting one for voice and txts and a portable hotspot for data. It was a lovely little phone, very compact, shame the flip panel would shoot off every now and again.

        2. Otto is a bear.

          Re: Hm

          I still have both my 6310i and the 6210, they both power on, don't know if they still connect as my sim doesn't fit them. Great phones, and indestructible. I used the 6310i as a router for my tom tom when I had my first iPhone because you couldn't do data without a data contract on an iPhone, but you could with the Nokia, without hacking it. The battery lasted a lot longer, and was compatible with loads of older models. So I always had at least 4 spare batteries.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hm

      "iPhones must be seriously fragile, or people who own them must be seriously STUPID."


    5. TimChuma
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hm

      I once tried to make my text messages go faster on my old Nokia by throwing it, still worked great.

      My current 2730c still works, but the battery is starting to lose its charge quicker. The new upgrade for the Facebook app made it slow.

      Don't know why I show people how crap my phone is by putting it in my mouth? It still works. Don't need to get a new phone yet. Also do not want to upgrade plans or change to a new phone.

  4. Haku

    Increased TTD theory

    Most iphone owners will have marvelled at their shiny new toy when they get their first one and really try to take care of it, but when they've had 3 or 4 of them over the years they're not shiny or special anymore so don't take such good care of them.

    1. Charles Manning

      re:Increased TTD theory

      This theory certainly holds water and not just with phones but with cars and kids too...

      First kid: Parents treat them like they're made of glass and keep them away from power points.

      Second kid: They can play with the power point, but not with a metal object.

      Third kid: Meh, hope he doesn't fuse the house... I'm watching TV over here!

  5. JDX Gold badge

    the chap who smashed his while using it as a sex toy

    He must have been going some

    1. thesykes

      Re: the chap who smashed his while using it as a sex toy

      have to feel sorry for him, those headphone sockets aren't that big.

      1. Ambivalous Crowboard

        Re: headphone sockets

        Yeah, the thunderbolt port even less so.

  6. ElNumbre

    Build Quality

    I'm not surprised that a phone with a higher proportion of plastic to glass can outlast one made primarily from glass, even if that glass is 'Gorilla' spec.

    Also, with Apple reporting difficulties achieving expected production levels with the newer models, I can't help but thinking the internals are generally more fragile, and therefore more susceptible to damage.

    That's why I'm not too excited about foldable/rollable screens. If they're anything like the early clamshell phones, they'll not last anywhere near the predicted lifespan, at least in the early years.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Build Quality

      Flexible screens excite me, without that glass they will be more durable...

      but if we want rigid phones, sapphire screens are the way forward

  7. Danny 5


    Aside from a frew trips to Samsung, i've always used Nokia phones and smartphones. It really doesn't matter what you do to a Nokia, it'll survive. I still have my 6310i, which works just fine. I have an N95, which has the back plate held in place by tape, that still works like a charm and i have my Lumia, which has seen the ground far too often as well, but is still in perfect nick.

    Just use Nokia, their phones are virtually indestructable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nokia!

      Are the new ones indestructable? I do wonder about the significance of screen area to overall surface area. The iPhone 5 has no soft material in its construction, so when it hits the ground, instantaneous deceleration is enormous. Older phones and phones with wide plastic bezels have some give, so the shock of impact will be much smaller.

      Why anybody would make a phone with a glass or metal back escapes me. Motorola uses kevlar reinforcement, other makers have used glass fibre or overmoulded rubber. Samsung and older Blackberries make the back disposable.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Nokia!

        Watch the phone buzz video of a Nokia 920 being used to hammer in a nail with the centre of the Gorilla glass screen and you will change your mind. Not all Gorilla glass phones are the same - the curvature on the Nokia is very high at the edges which adds significant strength. He also drops it, drives over it, throws it in the air 25 feet and hits it with a piece of 2x4 like a baseball - a long way too - the glass is still unbroken (the phone stopped responding for some reason at the baseball stage).

        Not quite like the guy at work who put his new S3 in a new case, which it promptly fell out of onto a floor in his house and cracked the (Gorilla glass) screen in several places. Still, as a Samsung owner, simply said, "yay, the phone still works - these Samsungs are great, just needs a new glass". People really do fall for the hype.

        1. nichomach
          Thumb Up

          Re: Nokia!

          Even the cheaper Lumias are rugged little buggers; my 620's showing little sign of the mistreatment it's received.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nokia!

          I think the S3 was faulty, I have dropped an S1 & S2 loads of times and never broke... my S4 seems hardy as well (touch wood) but the reason I have an S4 IS that my S3 screen was fragile...

          We need tougher screens, OR some kind of shock absorption built into the phones

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Nokia!

        I agree with your point about rigid things and protection; that's why my Galaxy Nexus has always worn one of those silicone phone-condom things.

      3. The Original Steve

        Re: Nokia!

        "Are the new ones indestructible?"

        Yes and no. Compared to the older S40 handsets no they are not. Compared to current large screened devices then they are way ahead.

        Polycarbonate shell makes it tough as nails, no scuffs, chips or even scratches on the body of my 920. Screen strength is better than anything else I can find at the moment on mainstream handsets.

        Only thing to mention is that glass is the weakest link and whilst (IMHO) the Lumia range is one of the best in terms of durability they still fall short of the "indestructible" classics from the golden days of the 3300 / 6210 etc.

        1. Darren Barratt

          Re: Nokia!

          Agree on that one, my 820 pancaked flat, face down. Tiny crack at the top of the screen, but the whole bottom half of it became non-sensitive. Since that's where all the controls pop up, it was a bit of a bugger.

          Since they have the swapable back plate, nokia need to release a tough one that protects the front as well as doing the contactless charging.

      4. sorry, what?

        Re: Nokia!

        My wife dropped her Nokia Lumia 800 just the once, from chest height on to tarmac, and the screen glass totally shattered. The display totally failed too. We lost her more recent photos as, while the phone would turn on, we couldn't see how to unlock the device and transfer the data (all on the internal memory). Bummer.

    2. Matthew 25

      Re: Nokia!

      I dropped one down a drain in the street. Spring loaded clamshell flipped it right out of my hand. I assume that killed it but don't know for sure.

    3. Muscleguy

      Re: Nokia!

      Until recently I was using a Nokia 3330 that had been used and discarded by both my teenaged daughters and survived. They kindly put it in a non lurid case before passing it to me. I currently use a Nokia 100 I bought for NZ$25 rather than pay NZ$60 to have the 3330 unlocked for a NZ sim while back before Xmas. The 100 is a great little phone, smaller and lighter than the 3330 with a newer so better battery.

      Any phone that can survive my daughters (the eldest has broken two iPhones of late) is proven indestructible.

    4. Tapeador

      Re: Nokia!

      In 2006 my Nokia E61 was on the passenger seat of my MKII VW Golf, whose rear footwells had filled with water to a depth of three inches (it happened when the air vents at the front would get blocked with leaves). Going round a bend, the phone shot off the seat and went splosh into the water. It filled up behind the screen and switched itself off :-( I took its bits off, put it in the airing cupboard for two weeks with a big pack of silica gel, and it worked. Seven years and many, many drops onto pavements later it still does. #bombproof.

    5. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Nokia!

      I dropped my Nokia 3310 out of an attic hatch onto a concrete floor, a drop of at least 2.5mtrs. It bounced and continued to work. After many accidents I finally killed it by leaving it on the roof of my car.

    6. Tomato42

      Re: Nokia!

      If they only were still making phones that were good on the inside, not only outside

  8. DJ 2

    Would it have to do with the number of new iPhones that have those stupid bumpers that don't protect the screen?

    The only phone I've managed to destroy was the Nokia phone from the matrix, answering a call one day at the top of a flight of stairs, the bottom slide part took a suicide plunge all the way to the bottom where it promptly split in two.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ DJ 2

      Yes... the Matrix phone had its issues... including the spring-loading of said bottom-slide.

  9. Oddlegs

    And this is why I never buy mobile insurance. Having never lost or significantly damaged a mobile in 15 years I'd be subsidising the idiots who barely manage to get 6 weeks out of one

  10. Tom_

    Anecdotal Evidence

    Here's some for you.

    I'm on my third iPhone 5 because I've had to return two to Apple due to hardware faults (looked like the video RAM for the camera was faulty).

    From this I draw the conclusion that the iPhone 5 is not as well made as the 1 or the 3GS I've had before.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Anecdotal Evidence

      AFAIK, there is no such thing as video RAM for a camera in the iPhone5 - memory is usually shared for all CPU/GPU/ISP tasks. If the picture was dodgy, more likely a crapped out sensor.

  11. Tom Wood

    Only phone I've broken was my girlfriend's Samsung Galaxy S3 - she decided for some reason that when she left it on the patio table wrapping it in a hoody was a good idea. I picked up the hoody without knowing and the phone fell to the concrete.

    She had a case on the phone but it was the sort that didn't cover the corners fully, so the corner of the screen smashed (electronics all worked OK though).

    My phone (an aging HTC Desire HD) meanwhile, is in a rubber type case which surrounds all edges fully, and it's survived several similar falls.

    The iPhone 5, like the Galaxy S3, seems to have the screen extend right to the edges of the phone, while the iPhone 3 seems to have more of a bezel. Basically it sounds like this latest fashion for phones with glass right to the edges is actually a design flaw.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      That happened to my new camera last weekend- it was too hot to leave it in direct sunlight, so I placed it under my jacket on the opposite bench. A beer later, and my friend picked up my jacket to hand it to me and the camera hit the floor... fortunately, it still works, and I can't find a dent or scratch on it. The official case for it is far too pricey, so and being an unusual size generic pouches are too small for it.... so I'll have a rummage amongst the 35mm cameras in a charity shop and buy one for its pouch!

  12. keithpeter Silver badge

    and statistics...

    "The numbers come from MobilePhoneChecker, a tariff comparison site which asked 1,486 adults how they managed to destroy their iToys."

    How were these people identified?

    Random sample from a larger population of those with failed fondle slabs?

    Was the sample controlled for length of ownership?

    What is the percentage of all iPhone owners who write a phone off compared with the percentage who return device for upgrade?

    Even if good stats methodology employed, you have possible inverse of healthy worker effect here (see slide 12 in linked SlideShare) so findings may not reflect on longevity of iThings in wild.

    Thanks once again for a nice statistical problem for my students (many of whom stroke their phones). Should get some interesting anecdotes as to phone destruction as well.

  13. David Cantrell

    Two big problems with this. First, it doesn't appear to take into account that the iPhone 3 has been around for longer - it's not even *possible* to have broken an iPhone 5 after even a year. Second, your reporting makes it seem like they're only counting broken phones, not all phones, which, in conjunction with the first flaw makes the headline a load of rubbish.

  14. Lallabalalla

    Dead? Drowned!

    My wife and I have both dropped various Sony handsets down the toilet and it killed them all. She dropped an HTC Wildfire into a dishwasher but it recovered 2 days later apart from a misty lens cover, which gave nice soft-focus portraits if nothing else.

    Since then we have been Very Careful not to drop our phones in the bath, haven't we darling? Though my wife's iPhone5 is regularly launched across the room with no ill effect, and I've dropped my iPhone4 5 or 6 times at least with no damage. Even when it was launched out of its case at high speed by my young 'un who was using it as a lightsabre (on more than one occasion - that app is now BANNED).

  15. fishman

    Nexus 4

    My wife has a Nexus 4 that she drops several feet almost every day. The phone has one of those cheap $2.50 TPU covers, and the phone is in perfect working condition.

  16. Bad Beaver

    Maybe they needed a reason to upgrade to a Nokia

    Good hardware design anticipates user error such as "drop" and taskes proper precautions. The GF managed to fling her brand new Lumia across the pub (upon arrival, mind you), having it slide glass down over the floor and crash into the wall. Once dusted off there was a tiny little dent in the polybody, period. Lots of accidental abuse later, that phone has aquired a few warts but still works like a charm. No cracked screen, loose buttons or whatnot. This reflects my personal Nokia experience. The worst thing that happened: I once had to bend a metal connector back into shape after dropping my 8110i so hard the flap came off. 1 minute with a toothpick. Apparently, they just know what they are doing. You see plenty of old Nokias working just fine, you never see Lumias with a broken screen – but about 1 in 5 iPhones has glass damage and I'm not even looking at all those androids. Call me a fanboy, but this is part of the "experience of a product" that Apple is so busy promoting these days.

    1. Sooty
      IT Angle

      Re: Maybe they needed a reason to upgrade to a Nokia

      There seem to be two schools of thought around someone producing a tougher form of glass.

      The 1st is that it will make the phone tougher and more resilient

      The second is that it can be made much thinner without being weaker.

      This second one is what apple seem to go for.

    2. Wil Palen

      Re: Maybe they needed a reason to upgrade to a Nokia

      You can pry my Nokia N9 from my cold dead hands!

      ...unless sent to factory for RMA, which happened twice. Last time I sent it back they replaced everything; body, glass, screen, even the battery. Now this is service.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. theblackhand

    Based on iPad's....

    My experience with iPad's has been that the original and iPad2 were pretty sturdy.

    The iPad 3 and 4 are very easy to damage if they land on a corner as the glass seems to stick out slightly. Some of these drops have been only two or three inches (i.e. someone who didn't hold their iPad securely when picking it up from the table at the end of a meeting).

    My theory is that the new screens are tougher for direct hits, but more fragile at the edges due to this toughness - a small portion of screen takes all the energy of the fall rather than distributing the shock.


  19. Tom 35


    Using an iPhone turns you into a butter fingers. The longer you use one the more of a butterfingers you become.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    14.9 weeks, while a smashed 4 or 5 only gets to make calls for around 5.9 weeks

    WTF? AVERAGE of 15 weeks? HOLY SHITE! I've had a mobile for 12 years only ever busted one and being knocked into a river wasn't really my fault... Out of every single phone I've had the worst damage has been scratches. I've never bothered with insurance either.

    How the hell can an average get a low as 6 weeks? I just don't understand.

    1. Callam McMillan

      Re: WTF?

      Because we give smartphones to 8 year olds that have no real concept that it's a delicate and valuable toy!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF?

      Easy--those averages are for phones that are broken. They don't take into account the tens of millions of iPhones that have been working perfectly for years.

      I've been using iPhones for years. I'm on my 5th or 6th one and I tend to use a couple simultaneously. (I'm a developer.) Haven't broken a single one yet, and I never put them in protective cases.

      At one point somebody startled me as I was pulling out one of my iPhone 4s and I threw it pretty forcefully at a stone floor. The floor sustained much more damage than the phone, although the phone still had a fairly sizeable dent on one corner of its metal edge/band/antenna. No broken glass at all though and it still works great.

  21. burnabao


    It's because the iPhone 4 and later have rear panels which are more slippery than a weasel on an ice-rink. When laid down on anything other than a perfectly horizontal surface, they're going bye-bye. My old iPhone 3GS's rear panel was much more abrasive which, while I'm sure had negative aerodynamic impact when running for the bus, at least meant that I could put it down without first checking the iSpritiLevel app.

    1. A K Stiles
      Thumb Up

      Re: Actually

      upvote, purely for

      "more slippery than a weasel on an ice rink"!

  22. Tieger

    ttd is a fairly irrelevant stat though, isnt it?

    i mean, it only counts phones that have been destroyed. theres no 'infinity' to average with for ones that dont get damaged at all...

  23. Andy Watt

    Still using a 3GS now...

    I've never had a phone die on me due to dropping it, and I've used:

    SE brick (1998)

    SE T68

    SE T610

    SE P900

    SE 910

    Several Panasonics (worked for them until 2007)

    iPhone 3GS (2009-present).

    I should be getting an iPhone5 tomorrow... and the first thing I'll get is a good case.

    BTW, Bill, cease the "iToy" tourette's reflex. The spittle is showing at the corners of your mouth and it's getting really tedious

  24. AdrianG

    Family Statistics

    My Daughter is a top class mobile destroyer, have trashed every single mobile she has ever had,

    The death toll so far:

    Cheapo Samsung - survived 3 months

    My Motorola V600 (robust I thought) 6 Months

    Sony Ericsson W700 - 8 months - she first broke the screen, and tried the old 'I didn't do anything' line, which of course after 20 years in IT, I've heard a few times..

    My old Sony Ericsson P910 - 6 months - 'just fell apart'

    IPhone 3 - 2 years! I watched her clean the iPhone over a jug of water, with the obvious result, and the damn thing still worked after it dried out.

    Samsung Galaxy S3 - 1 month, dropped and trodden on.

    Samsung Galaxy S3 Nr. 2 6 Months - dropped in a puddle during a concert...

    Samsung Galaxy S4 - 2 Months - sat on, screen cracked

    Samsung Galaxy S4 Nr. 2 - Got muddy during an open-air concert, then was stolen, the insurance has paid for that one.

    Samsung Galaxy S4 Nr. 3 - is still working..

    So based on my experience, the Iphone3 survived the hostile environment the best.

    Since the Iphone 3, she buys the phones herself, I thought this would make take more care, I was wrong

    Yesterday she asked me why my Iphone 4 looks brand new? Well because I look after the feckin thing!

    1. wondermouse

      Re: Family Statistics

      I wondered if I should click the "report abuse" button here, for wilful destruction of mobile telephony....

      Suggest you swap daughter for an iPad!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But most interesting was the average TTD (Time To Destruction)

    Proof that mobile phones damage brain cells.

    Long time users have more brain cell damage hence phones are damaged sooner as users drop/misplace/blend them or whatever.

  26. Tom 38

    I'd still be using my iphone 3G if I hadn't accidentally put it on a 40°C cotton cycle and tumble dry along with my very dark sheets. I think it was probably the 1 hr tumble drying that really killed it.

    New phone is a white one, that ain't happening again.

  27. john devoy

    it's not shiny anymore

    Maybe they've just got used to having them now so take less care of them.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anecdotal evidence...

    ...I'll give you anecdotal evidence...!


    While you lot were usual about iToys here there and anywhere having all manner of things befall them and their benefactories...LO...and be...hold on tighter would have been better...

    I DROPPED MY 3GS and the screen cracked...</while you lot were all>

    I turned it back on, with my sultry voice, and soothing dulcet tones once more rose from it's bowels.

    And to the internet I went and ordered a new screen, should be here tomorrow or the next tomorrow, or one of them...and then! Yay! Tinkery, tinkery to, always best when there's a REAL reason to crank it open...

    I dropped my 3, many times, so many the keylock button is not exactly AS PER MANUFACTURERS design, but its screen nay'r cracked sir, no sir it did nay.

    How's that for anecdotal freaky coincidental stuff...

    AC -> Because I like linux and the irony of revealing the fact I have not one, but two iPhones is shameful...

    I prefer my tinkery to be away from my accessories! What can I say! I prefer having a black box for a phone/camera/internet thingy, that way it doesn't distract from its purpose, communication, taking pictures, winning fair ladies' hearts, the usual kind of thing...

  29. sandman


    It was as tough as old boots, until a crack started radiating from the power connector slot across the back, but that was after nearly four years of rough handling. Now replaced by an HTC 8X (so I could see what win phone 8 was like) and a work iPhone 5. Much prefer the HTC, both for the build and the OS (sorry Windows haters, y'all need to get a life, iOS feels positively antiquated by comparison).

    Still running a mk2 iPod Touch, now that is indestructible - must have hit the gym floor 20+ times, been stood on, got caught up in a rowing machine, etc.

  30. rpb

    I've had a 3gs since early release and never seen the need to upgrade it. I've lost count of how many times it's been dropped, but it's still almost as new if just a little slow with the latest IOS. I'm still waiting for a significant improvement to tempt me to upgrade, maybe to ubuntu phone, but then if it ain't broke don't fix it.

  31. SirDigalot

    never had a iphone

    but have dropped my old BB a few times, it survived, but also had a cool belt pouch which was awesome

    never dropped my incredible, nor my thunderbolt, I did drop my galaxy nexus in the pool once, I was snoozing on the hammock when the phone rang so I jumped up forgetting it was on my chest...

    it survived, only the battery water damage sticker was pink, the other 2 were fine! still works flawlessly to this day!

    not dropped my S4 yet, though it does like to try and fall off things, it is very thin I wonder if the relative thinness is a reason since it does not feel nice to grip? with curved sides and a thin constructions and a large screen it does seem to slip out of the had easily ( especially if you have small hands. )

    I do buy the little rubber dohickies for the phones though which go a long way to protecting add absorbing some screen shattering impact, and helps total obliteration when sending them for a swim!

    since my house has tile floor throughout it is very tough on electronics and crockery when dropped.

    I also think that because the screens almost go edge to edge they are very likely to break when dropped on an edge. and the amount of glass makes them generally weaker too, because they have to make it all the more thinner.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rek Nokia 3310

    I found one of those underwater in the recycling bin a while ago.

    After drying it out, scrubbing the PCB with isopropanol and putting it back together it still worked!

    Shame the battery doesen't work, anyone have a 3D .STL for a Li-ion replacement for these?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Nokia 3310

    Then there was the later Nokia that survived dropping on concrete so many times that the display finally gave up.

    Swapped over the screen and it worked until someone stole it.

    Someone should make a Nokia 3310 replacement battery with a GPS and Bluetooth module embedded in it, and comms over ultrasound.

    Combined with a colour phase sequencing backlight this could be handy.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps its the in-cell touch screen?

    With the iPhone 5 Apple had the touch screen built into the LCD, rather than being separate layers as they were on previous phones (and most/all other phones using LCD screens) A rather clumsy friend of my had an iPhone 4 she had dropped "dozens" of times and the screen was completely cracked, but it still worked perfectly (after she spent a few days getting tiny glass silvers from it) so she used it that way for at least a year. Maybe the in-cell screen on the iPhone 5 does not function properly once it breaks that badly.

    I've had a 3gs, a 4S and now a 5, and have never had a case on any of them. I dropped the 3gs once from head height onto concrete (yes, I was drunk...) No damage to the screen, but there was some scuffing and a dent on the corner it landed on, and the headphone port was a little misshapen but still worked fine. Never dropped the 4S, so I was able to sell it is "like new" condition. Dropped the 5 once against a brick wall where it then fell onto concrete from about chest height (not drunk, someone who was drunk bumped me pretty hard that time) The only damage is a little burr in the aluminum on the right front that I can feel if I run my finger over, but isn't visible unless you look closely. I still can't quite figure out how I got so lucky that time!

    My girlfriend has a 4S that she's dropped onto concrete "maybe 10 times" that she admits to, a few times without a case and then later with one of those cases that's more for looks than protection (because the corners were pretty scuffed up and it didn't look so nice) but the glass is undamaged except for a few scratches that you can only see when it is off. She since decided that walking her dog and carrying a cup of coffee while also talking on her phone isn't the best idea, so usually leaves the phone at home when she walks her dog now :)

  35. JaitcH

    NOW we need a survey based on theft

    A similar survey, based upon theft and insurance claims, also taking into account when new iThingies were released might produce some interesting figures.

    There was a recent case in Ho Chi Minh City where a street thief snatched a cell handset and, whilst departing, he looked at it and noted it wasn't an Apple. He then threw it down.

    After being arrested by plain clothes cops (a lot of these in tourist areas) he was asked why he threw it way and he apparently responded "I only steal Apples"!

    Another reason to buy an Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NOW we need a survey based on theft

      Thieves want to steal something they can resell easily and quickly. They might not be too interested in some random Android phone, but I'm sure they'd be happy to snag a GS4, or the new Moto X if that turns out to be popular. But yeah, if they grab a phone and it turns out to be a Galaxy Ace, they probably will toss if because they would get so little for it its not worth it.

      It is just like car thieves, there are certain models that they look for because they're in demand, and others most wouldn't touch even if you left it sitting unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

      My girlfriend lives in LA (in a good neighborhood near the beach) and she was on her iPhone recently and a cop tapped her on the shoulder and told her she should be careful and aware of her surroundings as there had been a few instances even in that nice area of a "punch and grab" crime - they punch you in the face, grab your phone and run. Hopefully Apple will soon implement the ability they've promised to permanently deactivate stolen phones so there's no longer any point to stealing iPhones, so scumbag thieves can go back to pickpocketing.

  36. Otto is a bear.

    I wonder

    Back in the day phones, by the third generation of mobiles, they were pretty tough, many early ones weren't, but then they were expensive. Certainly in the UK our usual mobile contracts tend to refresh the phone every 1 - 2 years, so there is no commercial need for anything to last for years, in fact one company has a contract designed to give you the latest phone.

    Now I don't know what proportion of the market has this kind of contract, and what just uses their old phone on a sim only contract, but what's the incentive for builder to make tough phones.

    BTW. I would think that the tensile properties of glass make it, even for gorilla glass, the bigger the sheet the easier it is to break, and is the glass still as thick as it was?

    BTW, if you have an old smart phone, including early Motorola and Windows models that are wifi capable, there are new programs you can load to use them as remote controllers. I have one from Hornby on an old XDA and an old iPhone. Sheldon would approve.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bouncing BlackBerry

    Rare I know, but a small shout for BlackBerry here too.

    Couple of years ago, I safely placed my brand new Torch on the roof of the car before departing a filling station on the M4. I think I was up to about 40mph on the slip road when it departed.

    I walked back fearing the worst, but other than scuffing on the (unpadded) leather slip case, all good to go!

  38. wondermouse

    Iphone 3 had a decent screen surround that meant it was almost impossible for it to land on the edge of the glass if you dropped it. The screen was far better protected than in later models.

    iphone 4 had edge-to-edge glass on both front and back, and seemed to smash far more easily, hence the massive growth in pop-up "fix your screen here" type shops.

    iphone 5 has similar front design and again seems to crack on even the slightest excuse. At least they've made the screen easier to replace.

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