I had excessive hopes for the brand new Samsung Galaxy S21 phones telephones going into our drop take a look at, despite the fact that Galaxy telephones have not been essentially the most sturdy in our previous tests. The S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra‘s curved shows aren’t as pronounced as earlier fashions and all of the screens are lined within the strongest Gorilla Glass. However let’s simply say my hopes proved optimistic, and if you happen to’re contemplating going case-less together with your new Galaxy S21, it’s possible you’ll need to learn on. 

Whereas the three Galaxy S21 telephones might look comparable, the backs are all made of various supplies. The S21 Plus and Extremely have glass on both aspect, whereas the again of the common S21 is manufactured from plastic. As a result of this distinction may have an effect on the sturdiness of the cellphone, we determined to check out each the $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849) Galaxy Extremely and the $800 (£769, AU$1,249) Galaxy S21 concurrently.


Chris Parker/CNET

Quite a lot of elements go into the sturdiness of the display screen, together with the form and thickness of the glass the producer decides to make use of. We all know from our earlier Note 20 Ultra drop test that even the strongest Gorilla Glass Victus is not any match for pavement, with the display screen cracking on the second drop from hip top. However that does not imply the S21’s display screen will share the identical destiny: The 2 have completely different designs and the thick metallic casing defending the digital camera appears to be like sturdier than the all-glass module on earlier Galaxy telephones. 

For our drop take a look at, CNET Senior Video Producer Chris Parker dropped a model new phantom violet Galaxy S21 and phantom black Galaxy S21 Extremely onto a concrete sidewalk. 

Drop 1: Pocket top (3 toes), display screen aspect down

The drop from pocket or hip top is without doubt one of the most typical causes of cracked screens, particularly in case your cellphone lands on a tough floor like a sidewalk. We begin all our checks at this top. 

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The cracked display screen of the Samsung Galaxy S21 after the primary drop from hip top. 


Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21: Damaged display screen

The highest left hand nook of the cellphone reverse the digital camera hit the bottom first, then the underside nook hit, then your complete proper aspect of the cellphone. This precipitated it to bounce again up a bit and land screen-side-down on the ground.

The underside left hand nook of the glass had shattered with a number of bigger cracks stemming outward from the purpose of impression together with a giant dome-shaped one operating by the center of the display screen. 

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The S21 Extremely after the primary drop from hip-height: one small crack on the high. 


Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21 Extremely: A small crack 

The preliminary impression of the drop appeared to be distributed comparatively evenly because the cellphone hit the ground, with the highest fringe of the display screen hitting the sidewalk only a bit sooner than the remainder. It then jumped again into the air, flipped round and landed screen-side-up. 

The highest fringe of the metallic body on the S21 Extremely had what appeared like silver sand particles the place the paint was scraped, however the display screen appeared OK. That’s, till we seen a tiny crack on the highest left-hand nook of the cellphone. It was sufficiently small that it in all probability would not hassle you if you happen to stored utilizing the cellphone, but it surely was broken nonetheless and never the best situation after only one drop.

Drop 2: Pocket top (3 toes), again aspect down 

To check the sturdiness of the again, Chris dropped the telephones from the identical top with the display screen dealing with up. We clearly weren’t anticipating the plastic again on the S21 to interrupt, however we wished to see what sort of injury it might incur and the way the digital camera would maintain as much as the autumn. 

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The again of the Samsung Galaxy S21 had a number of minor scratches after the second drop from hip-height. 


Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21: Minor scratches

The highest half of the cellphone hit the bottom first, then the underside edge inflicting it to leap within the air and full a few flips earlier than touchdown again on the sidewalk with the again aspect dealing with up. 

Save for a number of tiny scrapes on the underside, there was barely any injury on the plastic again cowl, as we anticipated.

The digital camera was additionally in good condition, with no seen injury to the module or any of its three lenses, that are carved into the metallic casing. In contrast to earlier Galaxy fashions the place your complete digital camera bump is roofed in glass, the module on the S21 is generally metallic and solely the lenses are glass.

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The damaged again of the Galaxy S21 Extremely after the second drop from hip top. 


Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21 Extremely: Shattered again

The cellphone hit the ground nearly flat, bounced a bit and flipped on its aspect inflicting it to land with its again dealing with up. 

The glass again on the S21 Extremely did not survive. It had a number of fractures stemming from the underside left hand nook and operating up your complete again of the cellphone and some unfastened items of glass coming off the nook the place it hit.

The digital camera module alternatively survived comparatively unscathed, apart from a pair small dings on the metallic casing.

Drop 3: 6 toes again aspect down (S21), display screen aspect down (S21 Extremely) 

Each telephones had been cracked at this level, however we determined to drop them one final time on the aspect which had sustained the least quantity of injury. 

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The again of the Galaxy S21 sustained minimal injury after three drops with only a few scratches on the metallic casing. 


Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21: Scuffs on the digital camera module

The burden of the digital camera module should play an element within the touchdown, as a result of that is what broke the autumn but once more. With the digital camera hitting first, the cellphone then bounced on the alternative aspect and did a number of flips within the air earlier than settling screen-side-up on the ground. 

As anticipated, the again of the cellphone was nonetheless in good condition, however with some extra pronounced scrapes in the direction of the underside. The highest left hand nook of the metallic digital camera module, which broke the autumn, additionally had noticeable scratches. However the lenses remained intact. 

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The shattered entrance of the Galaxy S21 Extremely after a drop from 6 toes. 


Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21 Extremely: Fully shattered display screen

The cellphone landed nearly fully flat, bounced up a bit after which hit the ground once more face first.

The tiny crack on the highest nook multiplied into a complete net of cracks masking nearly your complete entrance of the cellphone. Some had been deep sufficient to penetrate the display screen and black out a part of the OLED panel. The display screen nonetheless responded to the touch, however there have been tiny shards of glass coming off it, so that you would not have wished to maintain utilizing it, even with a display screen protector on high. The cracks on the again had additionally continued to develop, although they weren’t practically as dangerous as those on the entrance. 

A second opinion

Allstate Safety Plans performed an analogous drop take a look at on all three Galaxy S21 fashions with comparable outcomes. The screens shattered after the primary drop (on this case from 6 toes). The again aspect of the S21 Plus and S21 Extremely additionally shattered after the second drop from the identical top (again aspect down).

The breakdown

Whereas our checks are in no way scientific and your outcomes could also be fully completely different if you happen to drop your cellphone, our Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Extremely cracked on the primary drop, which was disappointing. The S21 has an edge over the Extremely because the again in all probability will not break even if you happen to drop it a number of instances. However you will nonetheless must put a case on it to defend the display screen and I would take into account investing in a display screen protector as an added layer of safety as repairing the S21’s screen starts at $200. The silver lining is that the digital camera modules on each telephones, that are costlier to restore, appear to be sturdier than in earlier modules due to the brand new metallic casing. 

We reached out to Samsung for touch upon our outcomes, however didn’t hear again at publication time.



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