Despite space age materials and hefty price tags, today’s top-of-the-line smartphones are still prone to damage, and consumers without protection plans are facing sticker shock at repair shops.
In fact, all three of the biggest U.S. smartphone brands, Apple, Samsung and Google, have introduced devices with price tags well north of $1,000. But enjoying the advanced capabilities these devices bring could come with financial risk: According to the Allstate Protection Plans 2023 Mobile Damage Survey, 93 million Americans have damaged a smartphone in the past 12 months, collectively spending $17.4 billion on repairs and replacements. Meanwhile, 47% of Americans think that smartphone repairs cost $150 or less, yet the average cost for repairs and replacements was $209. For premium phones, those costs are much higher.
To test the durability of today’s premium devices, Allstate Protection Plans put four smartphones through its Drop and Dunk Tests at the same time: Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max (starts at $1,199), Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (starts at $1,199), Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 (starts at $1,799), and Google Pixel Fold (starts at $1,799).
While all of the devices survived the Dunk Test (30 mins under six feet of water), all were damaged after a single 6-foot drop onto a sidewalk. The video of the tests, found on Allstate Protection Plan’s YouTube channel, reveals:
• Front Screen-Down Drop Tests: Both the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra shattered on their first face-down drop from six feet onto a sidewalk and were unusable, suffering raised and loose glass.
• Main Screen-Down Drop Tests: Both the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and the Google Pixel Fold survived two main screen-down drops from six feet onto a sidewalk with only minor frame damage, corner scuffing and small screen dents. Both were fully functional.
• Back-Down Drop Tests: Both the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra shattered on their first back-down drop test from six feet. The S23 Ultra was still fully functional but was only safe to handle when in a case covering its back panel. The iPhone 15 Pro Max was fully functional except for its main camera and ultra-wide angle camera, which were shattered, and was only safe to handle when in a case that covered its back panel.
• Outer Screen-Down Drop Tests: Both the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and the Google Pixel Fold shattered on their first outer screen-down drop from six feet onto a sidewalk. Both outer screens were unusable. Both Fold phones main screens were still fully functional but were only safe to handle when the outer screen panel was not in contact with skin.
“Unfortunately, there is no premium device on the market that is tough enough to survive a drop totally unscathed. That’s especially troubling considering that nearly half of Americans vastly underestimate repair costs,” says Jason Siciliano, vice president of marketing and global creative director at Allstate Protection Plans. “That said, it looks like we may be retiring our Dunk Test. Liquid damage was once a leading cause of smartphone repairs and replacements. Today, it doesn’t rank in the top five.”
Despite the costs involved, 27% of Americans who crack a screen have it replaced in one day or less. Given that 45% of Americans use their phones for five or more hours daily, Allstate Protection Plans advises fortifying these devices, so central to our lives, with a protective case and screen protector. Protection plans can also safeguard against expensive repairs or replacements, should accidents happen. To learn more, visit AllstateProtectionPlans.com.
“Smartphones can be surprisingly fragile. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent expensive mishaps from occurring,” says Siciliano.