All those plastic bits popping off seemed to dissipate the energy. Plus of course they were made out of sensibly deformable plastic, not rigid metal, and worse, glass.
My old Microsoft Lumia 735 has survived a few drops that would have killed most smartphones - because it's got that weird plastic interchangeable back thing which is basically a case - and that can deform and then fall off. It's not as pretty, but I think a more practical design. Especially as not being directly connected to the glass means that unless the thing falls glass down - the plastic will absorb the shock and not the glass.