iPhone SE Drop Test: You’ll Want to Get a Case


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Dropping brand-new phones on the ground– on function– is a time-honored custom here at CNET. So when Apple declared that the brand-new 5G-enabled iPhone SE is made with “the toughest glass in a smartphone,” naturally my ears livened up.

The Apple iPhone SE is an upgrade to the 2020 variation, however the majority of its modifications are on the within. The phone has the very same body style as the 2020 SE and the iPhone 8, consisting of the throwback house button.

CNET’s Patrick Holland calls the brand-new iPhone SE an inexpensive method to get an iPhone with a familiar style however get enhancements like the harder glass and the A15 Bionic processor from the iPhone13 Yet more recent functions like Face ID or MagSafe are not consisted of in this phone.

The unbroken iPhone SE before testing

Remember what it appeared like when we began.

Chris Parker/ CNET.

The glass might be the most considerable modification for anybody worried about the resilience of the phone, even if it’s not precisely brand-new. It’s the very same glass that’s utilized on the back of the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 12 lines. But on the SE, it is utilized on the front and back.

The front glass of the brand-new iPhone SE does vary from the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 line, nevertheless, with Apple selecting to utilize glass from earlier iPhone lines rather of Apple’s Ceramic Shield finish as seen on the iPhone 12 and iPhone13 We put that Ceramic Shield glass to the test throughout our iPhone 12 drop test, throughout which the screen emerged nearly untouched while the back did get a couple of fractures.

That distinction in screen product emerged rather rapidly as we started checking.

Drop 1

For the very first drop, I held the iPhone SE at roughly pocket-height, or about 3 feet from the ground, and dropped it evaluate down.

Some may state the test was over at this moment, given that the glass covering the screen suffered many fractures from leading to bottom. Though the screen was still practical, the glass was jagged enough in locations that cutting my finger was an unique possibility.

Drop 1 results: The front is looking dangerous, but it's still technically usable.

Chris Parker/ CNET.

While the front of the phone was basically ruined at this moment, the back was still beautiful, so I pushed forward.

Drop 2

For dropNo 2, I remained at the very same 3-foot mark and dropped the phone on its glossy Product Red back. Or a minimum of I attempted.

On my very first effort, the phone landed right on the leading edge of the aluminum frame and cartwheeled towards my feet. It just suffered a number of little scuff marks on the frame and no damage to the back glass, so I stated a do-over. My test, my guidelines.

Drop 2a was rather more precise, however the side of the phone soaked up the majority of the effect.

Drop 2: Scuffed the corners, some more cracks, but the back is strong still.

Chris Parker/ CNET.

At this point, the back of the phone just revealed a little fracture in the glass up near the cam lens and some small scuffing around the edges. Not bad, considering it had actually been dropped 3 times now.

The front of the phone continued to weaken. Cracking was considerable over the whole screen. On the bottom ideal corner, little pieces of glass were beginning to come off totally, yet the screen continued to operate typically.

The lesson up until now appeared to be if you’re going to drop the iPhone SE, attempt and go for the back.

Drop 3

Standard treatment at this phase is to alter the height to 6 feet and continue dropping. Since the front was such a mess currently, I decided to avoid that side and drop it on the rear end from 6 feet rather.

What followed was yet another case of operator mistake, as the phone landed sturdily on the leading right corner of the frame rather of flat on its back glass. Another fast examination revealed one thin fracture emerging on the upper part of the back glass.

I made sure I had a much better drop in me, so called an audible and went once again.

What we’ll call Drop 3a now (or technicallyNo 5) wasn’t my finest work, however I let it pass. Mostly since I could not bring myself to penalize this phone any longer.

Cracked Product Red backing of 2022 iPhone SE: There are spiderwebbed cracks all along the lower back half

Chris Parker/ CNET.

The bottom half of the back of the phone established a considerable set of fractures that cascaded from delegated right. Two bigger fractures converged on the upper-right corner. Nothing a great case could not conceal, as long as the front was okay. Of course, it’s not.

Drop 3a or 5, depending on the count: The front looks really bad. You may cut yourself on this phone right now.

Chris Parker/ CNET.

There was now an open hole in the front glass to the right of the house button. Full pieces of glass had actually fallen out, and I might see straight into the guts of the phone below the black bezel. Amazingly enough, the Retina HD screen was still operating and responding to touch controls. Best to keep swiping to a minimum though.

Invoking the grace guideline

Normally at this moment, I would climb up on the stepladder to drop the phone from 9 feet, however I chose there wasn’t much point. The iPhone SE had actually suffered enough. Our iPhone 8 drop test, which is the last time we run a drop test on a phone with this style, was likewise remarkable.

So this was barely a fantastic day for my iPhone SE, however does that imply this isn’t actually “the toughest glass in a smartphone”? I can’t actually state one method or the other. This isn’t a clinical test carried out under regulated conditions. It’s simply an experiment to show what may take place if you do what I did. But possibly Apple ought to have spent lavishly and utilized Ceramic Shield after all.

As constantly, the greatest takeaway from these experiments is that no matter how hard the glass is expected to be, the very best method to secure your financial investment is to put your phone in a case.

And it would appear Apple concurs. When grabbed remark, an Apple representative stated “iPhone SE offers amazing durability and is protected by the toughest glass in a smartphone on the front and back. All models have gone through rigorous real-world testing and are designed to be durable, but not indestructible. If anyone is concerned about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we suggest using one of the many beautiful cases available to protect iPhone.”

You can discover the video for this drop test and much more of them on CNET’s You Tube page.