Yesterday The Verge took you inside one of the buildings where Apple stress tests its devices, including iPhones, for wear and tear. The company's line is that the iPhone is more than tough enough to exist in your pocket, as well as undergo potentially worse rigors of activity. Now Consumer Reports has published its own comparison using one of the same tests we saw — the three-point bend test. That's when phones are held up at two points, while a bar comes down on the middle of the phone, and pressure is applied to see how much it can take before bending.
The product reviews company did this to one model of each the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, along with an HTC One M8, LG G3, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The goal was to see how much pressure each model could take before bending, as well as completely separating from the case. The big takeaway, it seems, is that 2012's iPhone 5 held up better than both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple's two newest iPhones required less pressure to both deform and completely separate from the case, however all the phones in the test held up for at least 70 pounds of pressure before showing any signs of bending, which is more than what Apple's publicly said its phones can handle. It also appears that Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 is built like a tank, beating every other phone in this particular test.
The bend point for the iPhone 6 came in 70 pounds, while it took 100 pounds to separate it from the case. It was actually more for the iPhone 6 Plus, which took 90 pounds of pressure to bend, and 110 pounds to separate. To put those figures in perspective, the amount of force Apple showed us in its lab yesterday for the same type of test was 25 kilograms (or 55.1 pounds), with the caveat that the phone is actually rated for more than that before it hits its bend point.
"We expect any of these phones should stand up to typical use."
"Our tests show that both iPhones seem tougher than the Internet fracas implies," Consumer Reports' Glenn Derene says. "While nothing is (evidentally) [sic] indestructible, we expect any of these phones should stand up to typical use."
While these tests add an extra dimension to the story, Apple's pitch yesterday was that this is just one of hundreds of different ones the company does on its phones before they hit production — a process that involved testing on 15,000 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 models each. Three other tests we saw included simulated stresses to phones in pockets on various surfaces, a similar three-point test that puts pressure on the center of the phone instead of along a bar, as well as a torsion test that twists the device from its top and bottom.
A video of the tests is below: