Smartphones and tablets are made out of metal, plastic and glass. The last thing you want to do is drop them. You have seen it before: the poor chap sitting next to you at the pub, trying to play Angry Birds on an iPad that has been cracked beyond recognition. It is a sickening feeling. These are expensive devices that people have emotional investments in. For instance, if you are the proud owner of Google's new Android Nexus 7 tablet, you are likely holding onto that thing for dear life. What happens if you do drop it? Take a look at the video below.
SquareTrade, a company that provides third-party warranties for computing devices, has a bit of a sadistic streak. Whenever a hot new device hits the market, it just has to put it through the drop test to see how well it holds up. We have seen this outfit do it to the iPad 2 and a variety of smartphones.
Often when reviewing devices, I want to throw them against a wall or drop them from a six-foot table to see what happens. Most of the time, I refrain, mostly because I do not want to upset the manufacturer or carrier that lent me the device and expects it back in one piece. The drop test is an important part of giving a full recommendation to readers, because the chances that you are going to drop your mobile device at some time in its life are very high. For instance, I dropped the HTC One X several times (mostly by accident) while reviewing it. The ceramic casing held up very well and is one reason why it continues to be perhaps the best smartphone on the market right now. You do not want a device that is going to explode the first time you drop it on a sidewalk.
This time around, SquareTrade pitted a Nexus 7 against an iPad. It dropped both from shoulder height, then off a short wall. The Nexus 7, perhaps because of its smaller form factor (7 inches), came away from the test much better than did the iPad.
SquareTrade added a new wrinkle this time around, deciding to drop both of the devices into a filled bathtub. This is not as far-fetched as one might think, as many people use their devices to read while soaking in the tub or play music when going through their morning ablutions. Surprisingly, both devices came out of the bathtub functioning near perfectly, with the iPad still able to play video and rotate its screen. It did lose its sound capabilities. The Nexus 7 came out with no discernible problems and was still playing sound.
According to SquareTrade’s user report in March 2012, 54% of damage comes from dropped devices. About 15% comes from falling off a table. Only 1% of damage comes from liquid, which was a bit surprising at the time. Now we know why. Tablets are almost impervious to water.
Check out the video below. Does the robust showing of the Nexus 7 make you more likely to purchase one? Let us know in the comments.