back to article Fanbois smash iPhone 5s much sooner than iPhone 3s ... but WHY?

Early iPhones last significantly longer before being accidentally destroyed than later models, according to a new survey - but nobody knows why. Twelve per cent of smashed iPhones were left on the roof of a car, an experience which would challenge any model of handset, while 35 per cent were dropped into a bath or similar, …


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  1. A K Stiles

    Or perhaps...

    the 3 has been around for longer so the survey has some multiple year values to drag up the average which the 5 doesn't?

    Nah - who am I kidding - from what I read on here, nobody's keeping an iphone for one year, let alone several !

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Or perhaps...

      If there are any iPhones going spare then send them in my direction.

      Just so's I can perform a longevity test in the interests of science :)

      The only phone I broker was one of those huge Samsung things that everyone rages about. I picked it up to answer it and got a belt from it. As a result it went crashing onto the concrete floor. Yes, it was plugged into a crappy 3rd party charger.

      My old Nokia 6310i has take a battering over the years. It is now on its 4th battery. I get a lot of weird looks from people who are amazed that I am using such a relic so if there any freebie iPhones going then I'll take one

      Yeah, I know it is wishful thinking but you have to try don't you.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or perhaps...

        Only phone I smashed was an S3, well my son knocked it off a 1.5m high shelf onto concrete...

        Turned out fortunate as after a couple of months of the insurer failing to fix the phone (and this was supposed to be a simple screen replacement... )

    2. Joseph Lord

      Re: Or perhaps...

      And the other factor maybe the people. None of the careless people will still have an iPhone 3G as it wouldn't have survived so the population of iPhone 3 owners will be generally better at looking after things than the general population while iPhone 5 owners will include a higher than average number of people who have recently destroyed a phone.

      1. JohnMurray

        Re: Or perhaps...

        The iphone 5 has front and rear glass.

        The rear breaking is two screws and 10 minutes to replace.

        The front breaking is 23 screws and removing the touchscreen/display from its double-sided sticky stuff.

        a tenner for the back (over 80 quid repair shop), and since the front touchscreen/display are glued together, many times more for that. It is a lot less fuss to buy a new phone (if you have no insurance).

        The iphone 3/g/gs had a plastic back. Who cares about cracks and scratches. If the front breaks/cracks, a complete display and touchscreen is available for a tenner on ebay. 8 screws and an hour and a 3gs is still working. I may get an iphone 4...maybe...eventually. Or a nokia !!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or perhaps...

      To date, I still have my original iPhone4 and my 4S is still going great too.

      Common errors by iPhone owners:

      1. No bumper.

      2. No cover (not case).

      Need I go on? Fact is that having the naked phone fly off whatever it is you put it on will inevitably cause damage. When I ask friends who lament their cracked screen/back glass whether they put a cover on, the answer is usually "no, why?" to which I answer "why not?"

      If you can't be bothered to look after your gadget, don't expect it to last, and don't expect any condolences from me. You clearly have more money than sense. :-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IT IS pure frustration

      They see the S4, then look back at their iPhone 5, realise the mistake they have made and throw it against a brick wall in frustration, screaming 'Why, why can't you be as good as that!'

    5. Johan Bastiaansen
      Thumb Up

      Re: Or perhaps...

      Yup, statistics. No journalist understands any of it.

  2. Ragarath

    Destroyed to upgrade?

    Perhaps they have realised their mistake and "accidentally" destroyed their phones so that they could claim on their insurance and upgrade to an Android or Windows Phone model?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

      Upgrade to a windows phone?.....

      1. h3

        Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

        I think the best thing I ever did when it comes to smartphones was get a cheap Lumia 800.

        (Prior to that I had various Android's but never used them for calling due to such awful battery life. Along with an old 6230i).

        It does everything I use (Offline or Online Satnav / Calls / Texts / email (Exchange Activesync which is great. Probably less great if you are a small business and have to pay for the thing directly though).

        Good that I stopped wasting time looking for Apps that I never actually use but think at the time I want them.

        And if I go out and come back hammered and forget to charge my phone it has enough charge for the next day if necessary.

        Most importantly it is still like new ages later.

        I just consider it reasonable build quality. (Same as the IBM made Thinkpad's used to be). Not form over functionality. Don't see why men would ever go for that tradeoff.

        1. Richard Jones 1

          Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

          Still using my 6230i, nothing else does what I need without all the crap that I do not want.. Shame I now have a problem getting good batteries. Why does the market think that I want to spend all day staring at the damned thing. I want a phone with hands free calling. The 6230i sits in my pocket and makes and receives calls via a bluetooth headset, which is what a phone is supposed to do. No wonder phone 'theft' is on the up, people probably trip over while walking and staring at some stupid go flat machine and drop the stupid things down the drain. Could that be the best place for an iphone?

        2. Jess

          Lumia 800.

          Funny, my N8 does all that, (and several days on the battery if I'm careful) But without the apps restriction.

          (And it does VOIP)

      2. Johan Bastiaansen

        Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

        "Upgrade to a windows phone?....."

        It is possible to upgrade to a Windows phone. If you're coming from 2 tins and a string.

    2. dave 81

      Re: Destroyed to upgrade?

      *"upgrade to an Android Model or downgrade and lose any tech credibility with a Windows Phone"

      there fixed it for you.

  3. Piro


    I've had several phones over the years, and the only one I've damaged to a degree where it needed repairing at all was a Sony Ericsson P900, when I literally threw it hard at the ground.

    Someone's going to make a joke about me being frustrated with UIQ, but no, it was an unrelated incident of rage.

    iPhones must be seriously fragile, or people who own them must be seriously clumsy.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Re: Hm

      Stopped buying Sony Ericsson for this very reason. Had two, broke two, both within 6 months. Never had any trouble with Nokia's of course (still have two in a drawer somewhere). Treat my Nexus like a new born baby, but know at some point it's going to fall off/in/out of something.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Hm

        Very true about Nokia phones. A smart ass friend of mine once quipped that once humanity has wiped itself out with nuclear war, the cockroaches will be calling each other on 5110s and asking what happened.

        1. Xyra

          Re: Hm

          Only phones I've ever broken was a Nokia - Samsung, Motorola's, iPhones, SonyEriccsons, HTC all lasted fine. I smashed the screen on my N95 - was very easy to replace it though, just a few small screws I doubt the other brands would have been as easy to fix.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Hm

        Was walking down a country lane waving my SE Xperia Mini Pro in the air like a lunatic trying to get some sort of signal. A barn owl took interest, scared the crap out of me, phone took a tumble from something like two metres on to tarmac. Burst open, stuff came out. Oh crap oh crap oh crap. Put it back together, powered up, did the *#*#SERVICE#*#* thingy to run the tests.

        Result? Dinged back cover. That's all. I was impressed. But I don't hold the phone in the air any more.

    2. spegru
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hm

      I always liked my Sony Ericsson smartphones -

      P800 and the P910 UIQ and yes they were definitely smart at the time ? 2003/4/5

      I miss that 5 way click wheel and hardware keyboard

      If only they'd had 3G I might have continued for a very long time

      1. Piro

        Re: Hm

        I have a P990 too, has 3G. Didn't have enough RAM, UIQ was a bit clumsy, and it only had a 3 way wheel.

        The devices were most definitely innovative. Good stuff.

    3. jubtastic1

      Re: Hm

      My wife's iphone 4s has been dropped 'lots' of times, dumped in a fresh hot bath mid game by our toddler, run over by a car (ours I think, she dropped it getting out, recovered it via find my phone), and taken at least one high dive into a toilet.

      These are just the things she has admitted to, she thinks it's a tough little phone, damage so far, 2 x cracked back glass, repair for the first one was about £5, haven't bothered repairing it again, stuck some tape on the crack.

      I've had three, a 2g that's still going that the toddler plays with, a 4 that lasted two years before I upgraded, and gave it to my daughter who lost it within 2 weeks and a 5 that's in my pocket. I've dropped all of them plenty of times.

      I know there are hardier phones but they're nowhere near as fragile as the media likes to portray them.

      1. wowfood

        Re: Hm

        I remember many years ago I had an old nokia, it was a something i. 6310i I think after looking around online for ages.

        Either way the thing was damn near indestructible. We used to play in a field near where we live and there was an old farm house there with a massive oil tanker in the middle. We used to climb on the oil tanker which was probably about the height of a 1st floor window, then we'd use that to climb higher. My phone fell out of my pocket on many occasions, the most damage that it had was scratches to the casing, that was it.

        Ah the days when nokia made good indestructible phones.

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: Hm

          I've always been a fan of the Sony Ericsson's. Had a couple of them (going back to the T28 - brilliant phone if it still worked today I'd still be using it!), and Ive never had one get damaged from any amount of damage Ive thrown at it. The ones did die were from things like battery failures, or more often where I just decided it really was about time to upgrade. My current Experia Arc S is serving me well. Been dropped a few times, seen a lot of rough treatment, and so far not as much as a scratch on the screen.

          I do have doubts about the new Sony phones though. Can they really live up to the old Sony Ericssons?

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper

            Re: Hm

            There are refurbed T28s available. I've given more than a few moments thought to getting one for voice and txts and a portable hotspot for data. It was a lovely little phone, very compact, shame the flip panel would shoot off every now and again.

        2. Otto is a bear.

          Re: Hm

          I still have both my 6310i and the 6210, they both power on, don't know if they still connect as my sim doesn't fit them. Great phones, and indestructible. I used the 6310i as a router for my tom tom when I had my first iPhone because you couldn't do data without a data contract on an iPhone, but you could with the Nokia, without hacking it. The battery lasted a lot longer, and was compatible with loads of older models. So I always had at least 4 spare batteries.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hm

      "iPhones must be seriously fragile, or people who own them must be seriously STUPID."


    5. TimChuma
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hm

      I once tried to make my text messages go faster on my old Nokia by throwing it, still worked great.

      My current 2730c still works, but the battery is starting to lose its charge quicker. The new upgrade for the Facebook app made it slow.

      Don't know why I show people how crap my phone is by putting it in my mouth? It still works. Don't need to get a new phone yet. Also do not want to upgrade plans or change to a new phone.

  4. Haku

    Increased TTD theory

    Most iphone owners will have marvelled at their shiny new toy when they get their first one and really try to take care of it, but when they've had 3 or 4 of them over the years they're not shiny or special anymore so don't take such good care of them.

    1. Charles Manning

      re:Increased TTD theory

      This theory certainly holds water and not just with phones but with cars and kids too...

      First kid: Parents treat them like they're made of glass and keep them away from power points.

      Second kid: They can play with the power point, but not with a metal object.

      Third kid: Meh, hope he doesn't fuse the house... I'm watching TV over here!

  5. JDX Gold badge

    the chap who smashed his while using it as a sex toy

    He must have been going some

    1. thesykes

      Re: the chap who smashed his while using it as a sex toy

      have to feel sorry for him, those headphone sockets aren't that big.

      1. Ambivalous Crowboard

        Re: headphone sockets

        Yeah, the thunderbolt port even less so.

  6. ElNumbre

    Build Quality

    I'm not surprised that a phone with a higher proportion of plastic to glass can outlast one made primarily from glass, even if that glass is 'Gorilla' spec.

    Also, with Apple reporting difficulties achieving expected production levels with the newer models, I can't help but thinking the internals are generally more fragile, and therefore more susceptible to damage.

    That's why I'm not too excited about foldable/rollable screens. If they're anything like the early clamshell phones, they'll not last anywhere near the predicted lifespan, at least in the early years.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Build Quality

      Flexible screens excite me, without that glass they will be more durable...

      but if we want rigid phones, sapphire screens are the way forward

  7. Danny 5


    Aside from a frew trips to Samsung, i've always used Nokia phones and smartphones. It really doesn't matter what you do to a Nokia, it'll survive. I still have my 6310i, which works just fine. I have an N95, which has the back plate held in place by tape, that still works like a charm and i have my Lumia, which has seen the ground far too often as well, but is still in perfect nick.

    Just use Nokia, their phones are virtually indestructable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nokia!

      Are the new ones indestructable? I do wonder about the significance of screen area to overall surface area. The iPhone 5 has no soft material in its construction, so when it hits the ground, instantaneous deceleration is enormous. Older phones and phones with wide plastic bezels have some give, so the shock of impact will be much smaller.

      Why anybody would make a phone with a glass or metal back escapes me. Motorola uses kevlar reinforcement, other makers have used glass fibre or overmoulded rubber. Samsung and older Blackberries make the back disposable.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Nokia!

        Watch the phone buzz video of a Nokia 920 being used to hammer in a nail with the centre of the Gorilla glass screen and you will change your mind. Not all Gorilla glass phones are the same - the curvature on the Nokia is very high at the edges which adds significant strength. He also drops it, drives over it, throws it in the air 25 feet and hits it with a piece of 2x4 like a baseball - a long way too - the glass is still unbroken (the phone stopped responding for some reason at the baseball stage).

        Not quite like the guy at work who put his new S3 in a new case, which it promptly fell out of onto a floor in his house and cracked the (Gorilla glass) screen in several places. Still, as a Samsung owner, simply said, "yay, the phone still works - these Samsungs are great, just needs a new glass". People really do fall for the hype.

        1. nichomach
          Thumb Up

          Re: Nokia!

          Even the cheaper Lumias are rugged little buggers; my 620's showing little sign of the mistreatment it's received.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nokia!

          I think the S3 was faulty, I have dropped an S1 & S2 loads of times and never broke... my S4 seems hardy as well (touch wood) but the reason I have an S4 IS that my S3 screen was fragile...

          We need tougher screens, OR some kind of shock absorption built into the phones

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Nokia!

        I agree with your point about rigid things and protection; that's why my Galaxy Nexus has always worn one of those silicone phone-condom things.

      3. The Original Steve

        Re: Nokia!

        "Are the new ones indestructible?"

        Yes and no. Compared to the older S40 handsets no they are not. Compared to current large screened devices then they are way ahead.

        Polycarbonate shell makes it tough as nails, no scuffs, chips or even scratches on the body of my 920. Screen strength is better than anything else I can find at the moment on mainstream handsets.

        Only thing to mention is that glass is the weakest link and whilst (IMHO) the Lumia range is one of the best in terms of durability they still fall short of the "indestructible" classics from the golden days of the 3300 / 6210 etc.

        1. Darren Barratt

          Re: Nokia!

          Agree on that one, my 820 pancaked flat, face down. Tiny crack at the top of the screen, but the whole bottom half of it became non-sensitive. Since that's where all the controls pop up, it was a bit of a bugger.

          Since they have the swapable back plate, nokia need to release a tough one that protects the front as well as doing the contactless charging.

      4. sorry, what?

        Re: Nokia!

        My wife dropped her Nokia Lumia 800 just the once, from chest height on to tarmac, and the screen glass totally shattered. The display totally failed too. We lost her more recent photos as, while the phone would turn on, we couldn't see how to unlock the device and transfer the data (all on the internal memory). Bummer.

    2. Matthew 25

      Re: Nokia!

      I dropped one down a drain in the street. Spring loaded clamshell flipped it right out of my hand. I assume that killed it but don't know for sure.

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Nokia!

      Until recently I was using a Nokia 3330 that had been used and discarded by both my teenaged daughters and survived. They kindly put it in a non lurid case before passing it to me. I currently use a Nokia 100 I bought for NZ$25 rather than pay NZ$60 to have the 3330 unlocked for a NZ sim while back before Xmas. The 100 is a great little phone, smaller and lighter than the 3330 with a newer so better battery.

      Any phone that can survive my daughters (the eldest has broken two iPhones of late) is proven indestructible.

    4. Tapeador

      Re: Nokia!

      In 2006 my Nokia E61 was on the passenger seat of my MKII VW Golf, whose rear footwells had filled with water to a depth of three inches (it happened when the air vents at the front would get blocked with leaves). Going round a bend, the phone shot off the seat and went splosh into the water. It filled up behind the screen and switched itself off :-( I took its bits off, put it in the airing cupboard for two weeks with a big pack of silica gel, and it worked. Seven years and many, many drops onto pavements later it still does. #bombproof.

    5. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

      Re: Nokia!

      I dropped my Nokia 3310 out of an attic hatch onto a concrete floor, a drop of at least 2.5mtrs. It bounced and continued to work. After many accidents I finally killed it by leaving it on the roof of my car.

    6. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Nokia!

      If they only were still making phones that were good on the inside, not only outside


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