Jun 13 AT 11:18 AM Nick Gray 38 Comments

Samsung Galaxy S4 stress test video shows how durable the device really is


When we think of device durability, our minds immediately turn to those gruesome drop tests scattered across YouTube. The video makers hope their unscientific test will show consumers how durable a phone is by dropping it from several different heights. While the videos can be entertaining, they really don’t give us a lot of information.

Fortunately, manufacturers go through a myriad of tests before a phone is released to make sure it lives up to quality standards. The choice of construction material for the Samsung Galaxy S4 may not be as high-end as that found in the HTC One, but the video below shows that you don’t necessarily need a metal chassis to survive drop, impact, heat, pressure, dust and water tests.

What’s your take? Would you rather have premium construction materials, which may scratch and dent more easily, or a plastic build that can stand up to the random acts of torture we subject our smartphones to on a daily basis?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • SGB101

    I was well impressed until the water test, now in sceptical.

    Can any confirm the water drop test is true.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      most phones will still work is dropped in water and quickly retrieved.

      • Raul W. Smith

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    • Eli

      Did it automatically turn off when it went under water? And what was the screen that popped up after it came out? Was it informing you that it went under water?

      • Cory

        Every test had that screen. Looks like a diagnostic screen. Probably showing the status of sensors.

    • Khoa

      CNet UK conducted water test, and GS4 lasted more than 2 minutes. OTH, Iphone 5 only was almost 23 seconds.

    • david

      Last weekend i slipped and fell off the boat into the water (salty) with my new GT I9507 s4.
      in my pocket. when i got home my phone was dead. however i pulled it a part then soaked it in fresh water, washed off the sea water dry it then turned it back on, screen came on showing a flat battery,after couple more tries the screen went dead but it started making all the right noises without the screen, then i decided to reset it by pressing all three, buttons, on/off ,volume the main simultaneously, it reset it self and know its working great. best phone…

    • jorman

      Watch “Samsung Galaxy S4 Water Damage Test [HD]” on YouTube – Samsung Galaxy S4 Water Damage Test [HD]: http://youtu.be/-4sTpI6Lcis

  • MyMilan

    I much prefer premium construction materials. Plastic is for toys or economy products, not high end products.

    • Sam

      @MyMilan Where is this rule?

    • Arthur

      As you said, you “prefer” premium construction materials but as far as durability, until a metal or other premium material is made to be as durable as plastic, plastic in most cases will win not to mention be much easier to replace if damaged beyond use than say a HTC One or iPhone 5.

    • M0nk

      Premium materials does not equals premium construction.
      Plastic, like any other material can be used right or wrong. You can have very cheap plastic toys or the most expensive car built today, that is almost 100% plastic compound, even the wheels; except from the engine and transmission. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic is still plastic…

    • Jarred

      I work as a tech specialist at the T-Mobile call center and we ALWAYS get complaints about the signal issues with the HTC One. We have to tell our customers that this is due to the metal surrounding of the phone that effects the signal penetration.

      • SGB101

        Tell them they are holding it wrong :o)

  • Logan Edwards

    My question is how does a device like the One stand up to abuse? I understand its aesthetics may be degraded, but does the device itself stand up?

  • revs


    • SGB101

      The active has 3 physical buttons, this one doesn’t

    • thymeless

      Going by feel can be deceiving. How the material performs is an important consideration. How much you personally value feel vs performance, there’s no right or wrong there. That’s just user preference. This video is geared towards performance issues, not feel.

      I think the well considered choice of the right plastic brings a lot of performance and reliability that I want in my cell phone.

  • denkta

    I have the HTC One and the display is already broken, it fell from like 30cm.
    I’m sure the S4 is better quality… I owned the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and dropped it few times from like 2m and nothing happened…
    I’m sure if HTC makes such video with the HTC One it will be very disappointing!!!

    • Alan

      I hope you still have the box. If you have I’d put it back and ask for a refund – you are too clumsy to have a smartphone!

  • Trav1sty

    Anyone else notice the phone used during the Free Fall Test looks like it’s running AOSP?

  • rolandy

    It runs stock Android!!! :))))

  • alexanderharri3

    Like any old Nokia will prove, plastic is a formidable foe.

    Add a plastic screen (not really possible anymore, not tiny candybar screens) and you have a very tough piece of plastic.

  • dey

    How much did Samsung pay for this one?

    • PaulieG

      I know right?! How dare anyone say anything positive about Samsung!! There must be some kind of conspiracy going on here!

  • Eli

    Why can I never get linked to the videos on this site? If I use the mobile page it won’t link at all. And the full page it says it is a invalid link.

    And why do the emails from this Android page never come up properly on my Android phone using Gmail? And I NEVER, NEVER get emails with follow-up comments after I make a comment.

    • Eli

      And it doesn’t matter if I log in on this page with my account, same crap everytime.

  • jonstle

    I personally like the materials Samsung chooses to use in their products. Though many feel that plastic is an inferior product it is very durable. My S3 has been used and abused and still looks good, my wife’s iPhone which is considered to be a better product in terms of materials has been replaces twice due to random drops.

  • Broseph Stalin

    It’s very tough consideration. Plastic, while great in terms of durability, doesn’t feel as premium as aluminium or glass.
    I am switching from my Galaxy Nexus to a Nexus 4 tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to pick up a case for it. My GNex has fallen from roughly a meter multiple times and it’s barely damaged. I don’t want to take the risk with the N4.

  • Burnd

    Gotta love how they made machines to drop the phone from a “desk” a hundred times. :p

  • Cory

    Usually the screen cracks because of micro scratches in the glass caused by everyday wear and tear. When the phone drops the microcracks web out into a full blown screen shatter. I don’t think theses tests would account for that.

    Gorilla Glass had a booth at last year’s CES showing this.

  • Doug Dreier

    I rarely think about the look of the phone, other than the screen . . . as I use a case on my phone, the materials don’t mean as much to me. Once it’s covered in a case, it looks how I want it to look.

    I just got the S4, and really like it.

  • Mega
  • donger

    Still doesn’t change the build quality. It’s like comparing a Benz to a Honda.

  • ItsaRaid

    I was hopeful to fim
    nd out how the S4 compares in Loudness to the Galaxy Note2. I have a Sensory Hearing Deficit and COPD. Unfortunately Temperature, Barometric Proessure and humidity are the triggers for this ilness. it would be a huge help to me if you could help me out.One of the developers came out with a weather wx app that utilises all the s4 sensors it has a barometeric graph that could be a lifesaver to me.
    I hope someone will help

  • Jay

    Samsung Galaxy S4 is really amazing smartphone that I found so far.

  • Mike

    The GS4 is the least durable phone I’ve ever had. I’m someone who hasn’t ever broken a phone dating back to the orginal Razor (and a little before), but the GS4′s AMOLED internal screen broke after 1 week (the external plastic touch element was completely undamaged). It was never dropped and or mistreated. It merely flexed in my pocket when seated. The plastic contruction may be fine for drops but it failed to protect the AMOLED technology when subjected to about 6-8 lbs of deflection (bending force). I highly recommend this phone be kept somewhere where it will not be subject to being flexed, or opt for the iPhone or HTC.

  • Harry

    Very impressive video, but why did my Samsung S4 break in my pocket. No screen damage the membrane under the screen