There are three major sources of heartaches for smartphone owners when it comes to potential damages. Two of them, scratches and bends, are well tested by YouTube channel JerryRigEverything. The third, drops, is something Zach Nelson rarely does. But for the sake of satiating curiosity, not to mention a few views and likes, he does putt the Apple iPhone XR and the Google Pixel 3 through the wringer. The results, as they say, will surprise you.
Phone drop tests are perhaps the hardest ones to get right and believe. Be too scientific, like using a machine in a lab, and you don’t recreate real-world accidents. On the other hand, real-world accidents have too many variables to make them consistently repeatable and reliable. That’s why Nelson avoids doing such tests but due to popular demand or curiosity, he does it anyway.
Nelson came away impressed with the iPhone XS’ survival in a previous drop test. The iPhone XR, however, uses slightly different and cheaper materials. The Pixel 3 doesn’t differ in that way from the larger Pixel 3 XL but other YouTubers have made worrying reports about the phone’s durability.
It might be a cop out, but the results end up in an “it depends” kind of answer. Neither phone easily cracked, pun totally intended, in the first few low drops. The Pixel 3 did suffer a few nicks on the corners but nothing major. It was only in higher, almost unrealistic, drops did the iPhone XR finally broke on both sides. The Pixel 3, on the other hand, remained usable even if its back was slightly cracked.
Nelson notes that, fortunately, both phones seemed to have first shown signs of damage on the parts that were the cheapest to repair. He also advises to still use cases or at least skins to soften the blow, even transparent cases that let their true colors shine. Fortunately, the iPhone XR finally has an official one.