Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max didn’t come out unscathed in a recent drop test against Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra and could make new owners of Apple’s flagship phones buy a case.
Here is the main caveat. YouTuber PhoneBuff’s new iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Galaxy S22 Ultra Fall Test (opens in a new tab) was sponsored by – you guessed it – Casetify. A result where no phone survives is obviously in the best interest of the case manufacturer. That said, we’ve seen drop tests of previous iPhones that use similar types of drop devices, ground distance, and test battery. The results we saw were not surprising, but they also remind us well that these are metal devices wrapped in glass – reinforced with glass, but still with glass.
In terms of testing, PhoneBuff has put an iPhone 14 Pro Max, a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and another iPhone 14 Pro Max in a Casetifiy case, of course, doing the same series of drop tests from 1.5 meters from the ground.
PhoneBuff first dropped the phones on its back, then positioned them to land in one corner, then made another drop where the phones landed on the screens.
The results were, charitable speaking, mixed.
In the first drop, the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max cracked, although all the glass remained attached to the phone. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s larger camera array also suffered some damage, although the cameras were still working properly.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra also cracked, though it didn’t look as bad as the iPhone.
Both phones handled the corner drop quite well, though the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s aluminum case looked a bit more battered than the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s steel band.
A drop on the face or screen of the devices broke the corner of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, while the screen of the Galaxy S22 Ultra looked much more damaged.
The last drop from the same distance but on steel sent pieces of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s rear windshield, though it remained operational. The S22 Ultra’s display ended up with dead pixels in one corner.
The results do not surprise us.
While TechRadar doesn’t have a habit of intentionally dropping phones to test them, I accidentally dropped my iPhone 14 Pro Max unsecured from 24 inches to the floor without breaking it. And I memorably dropped my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (in its case) from four feet away onto the tiled floor.
In this case, the Galaxy S22 Ultra screen cracked (it was such a clear break that I didn’t notice it right away). The phone works perfectly to this day.
What’s going on here?
While we’re not drop science experts, we know there are differences in the design of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 that may help explain some of the PhoneBuff results, or even our own.
For this shattered back on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it’s worth noting that Apple doesn’t use the same material on the front and so much of the device. The back is made of dual-ion glass. It can be considered similar to the Gorilla Glass Victus glass used on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. None of the shafts held so well in the five-and-a-half-foot drop onto concrete.
There is an Apple Ceramic Cover on the front of Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max (and the rest of the iPhone 14 line). It is a material saturated with ceramic crystals. In the PhoneBuff tests, the screen of the iPhone 14 Pro Max fared better in the tests face down. This may be due to the ceramic shield. True, the glass was still breaking, but only in one part. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Gorilla Glass Victus display suffered more damage when it fell.
Look, this is one of the tests of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra) conducted by a company paid by the manufacturer of the case. On the other hand, if you just paid $ 1,099 / £ 1,199 / $ 1,899 or more for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it doesn’t hurt to buy a case as well.
We’ll start by taking a look at this list of the best iPhone 14 Pro cases.