Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max didn’t escape unscathed in a recent drop test against the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and it may have new owners of Apple’s flagship phones looking for cases.
A big caveat here. The new iPhone 14 Pro Max CVS Galaxy S22 UYltra drop test by YouTuber PhoneBuff (opens in new tab) was sponsored by – you guessed it – case manufacturer Casetify. A result where neither phone survives is obviously in the best interest of the case maker. Even so, we’ve seen drop tests of previous iPhones using similar types of drop devices, ground clearances, and test batteries. The results we saw weren’t surprising, but they’re also a good reminder that these are metal devices wrapped in glass – reinforced glass – but glass nonetheless.
In testing, PhoneBuff subjected an iPhone 14 Pro Max, a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and another iPhone 14 Pro Max in a Casetifiy case to the same drop tests from 1.5 meters off the ground.
PhoneBuff first dropped the phones on their backs, then positioned them to land in a corner, then did another drop where the phones landed on their screens.
The results, to be charitable, were mixed.
The first drop shattered the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, although all of the glass remained attached to the phone. Notably, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s larger camera array also suffered some damage, although the cameras still worked properly.
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra also cracked, although it didn’t look as bad as the iPhone.
Both phones handled the corner drop fairly well, although the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s aluminum body looked a little more battered than the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s steel strap.
A drop on the devices face or screen cracked a corner of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s screen looked more clearly damaged.
A recent fall from the same distance, but onto steel, blew off parts of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s back glass, although it remained functional. The S22 Ultra’s display ended up with some dead pixels in one corner.
The results do not surprise us.
While TechRadar isn’t in the habit of intentionally dropping phones to test them, I accidentally dropped an unprotected iPhone 14 Pro Max to the ground from 24 inches away without damaging it. And memorably, I dropped a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (in a case) onto a tiled floor from four feet away.
In this case, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s screen cracked (it was such a clean break that I didn’t notice it right away). The phone has worked flawlessly to this day.
What’s going on here?
While we’re not experts in drop science, we do know that there are differences in the construction of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 that might help explain some of PhoneBuff’s findings, and even our own findings.
In the case of this cracked iPhone 14 Pro Max back, it’s worth noting that Apple doesn’t use the same material on the front and back of the device. The back is made of dual-ion glass. It could be seen as similar to the Gorilla Glass Victus used on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Neither lens withstood a 5 foot drop onto concrete very well.
On the front of Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max (and the rest of the iPhone 14 range) is Apple’s Ceramic Sheild. This is a material infused with ceramic crystals. In PhoneBuff’s tests, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s screen held up better in face-down tests. This could be due to the Ceramic Shield. Admittedly, the glass is still cracked, but only in one place. The Victus-covered Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Gorilla Glass display suffered major damage in the fall.
Look, this is a review of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra) done by a company paid for by a case manufacturer. On the other hand, if you’ve just paid $1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899 or more for an iPhone 14 Pro Max, there’s no harm in getting a case too.
We’ll start by looking at this list of the best iPhone 14 Pro cases.
https://www.techradar.com/news/iphone-14-pro-max-drop-test-goes-about-as-well-as-youd-expect iPhone 14 Pro Max drop test goes about as well as you’d expect