Anybody looking into buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 can rest assured that they’re getting a great device for that high price that they’ll be paying, but anybody researching their smartphone purchase should look into the durability. While the Galaxy Note 7 can certainly swim with the best of them, what about its structural integrity? Will one slip-up sentence you to the dreaded cracked screen? Will the back of the device withstand the pressure? Do those metal edges help at all, and how badly damaged can they get in a drop? CNET’s Breaking Point drop testing video series pitted the Galaxy Note 7 against its edged brethren, the Galaxy S7 Edge, to find the answer to those questions, and to coat both phones in a lot of chalk.
They conduct a series of increasingly painful-to-watch and cringe-inducing drops, notching up the height on each one. First, the two phones go head to head screen-down. Both come out fine all the way up to selfie height. Dropping them side-edge down, the Galaxy S7 Edge’s corners give up the ghost at hip height, but the phone is otherwise mostly undamaged; a few scuffs here and there on the metal. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 7 is entirely unfazed. After both phones have gotten themselves a healthy caking of chalk from the target drawn on the landing zone, the big moment comes during the top-down drops. Both phones fare just fine up until the Galaxy Note 7 is dropped from selfie height, top-down. The screen is just fine, the metal bezels are only slightly dented, and the glass back of the phone is completely and utterly destroyed, forcing its unfortunate user to accept the case-using lifestyle, or accept glass bits in their hands.
Although the back of the phone eventually succumbed, the entire package was still tougher than average. The front held up fine, thanks to Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. Why the front came out alive and the back of the phone became a jagged mess when it’s also coated in Gorilla Glass 5 may have had to do with the structural build of the phone; not only are more components that can bear a load, like the LCD’s frame, underneath the front glass, but more focus will obviously be put on preventing front cracks in designing the phone. As with any drop test, of course, your mileage may vary. In any case, the Galaxy Note 7 can safely hang out with the Galaxy S7 family in the “One Tough Cookie” corner of Samsung’s lineup.