Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max didn’t come out unscathed in a recent drop test against Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra and new owners of Apple’s flagship phones may want to buy cases.
An important caveat here. youtuber PhoneBuff New iPhone 14 Pro Max CVS Galaxy S22 UYltra Drop Review (opens in a new tab) It was sponsored by, you guessed it, case maker Casetify. An outcome where neither phone survives is obviously in the best interest of the case maker. Still, we’ve seen drop tests of previous iPhones employing similar types of drop, ground clearance, and battery test devices. The results we saw weren’t surprising, but they’re also a good reminder that these are metal devices encased in glass, glass reinforced, but glass nonetheless.
As for the tests, PhoneBuff put an iPhone 14 Pro Max, a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and another iPhone 14 Pro Max in, naturally, a Casetifiy case, through the same series of drop tests from a distance of 1.5 meters from the ground.
PhoneBuff first dropped the phones on their backs, then set them to land in a corner, and then did another drop where the phones landed on their screens.
The results were, to be charitable, mixed.
In the first drop, the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max shattered, although all the glass remained attached to the phone. Notably, the larger camera array on the iPhone 14 Pro Max also suffered some damage, although the cameras were still working properly.
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra also cracked, although it didn’t look as bad as the iPhone.
Both phones handled the corner drop pretty well, though the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s aluminum body looked a bit more banged up than the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s steel band.
A drop on the devices face or screen cracked a corner of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra screen was more damaged.
A final drop from the same distance, but onto steel, blew off pieces of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s rear glass, though it was still functional. The S22 Ultra’s screen ended up with a few dead pixels in one corner.
The results do not surprise us.
While TechRadar isn’t in the habit of purposefully dropping phones for testing, I accidentally dropped an unprotected iPhone 14 Pro Max 24 inches to the ground without breaking it. And I memorably dropped a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (while in a case) from a distance of four feet onto a tile floor.
In that case, the Galaxy S22 Ultra screen cracked (it was such a clean break that I didn’t notice it right away). The phone still works perfectly to this day.
What’s going on here?
While we’re not experts in the science of drops, we do know that there are differences in the construction of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 that could help explain some of PhoneBuff’s results and even our own.
In the case of the shattered rear of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it should be noted that Apple does not use the same material on the front and back of the device. The back is made of double ion glass. It could be considered similar to the Gorilla Glass Victus used on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Neither glass withstood a five-and-a-half-foot drop to concrete as well.
On the front of Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max (and the rest of the iPhone 14 lineup) is Apple’s Ceramic Shield. This is a material infused with ceramic crystals. In PhoneBuff tests, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s screen held up better in face-down tests. This could be due to the Ceramic Shield. Of course the glass was still broken, but only in one section. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Gorilla Glass’s Victus-coated display sustained more significant damage in the fall.
See, this is a test of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra) conducted by a company paid for by a case maker. On the other hand, if you just paid $1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899 or more for an iPhone 14 Pro Max, it wouldn’t hurt to buy a case too.
We would start by looking at this list of the best iPhone 14 Pro cases.