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A brief history of the bend test

Someone always has to break the newest phone. Whether it's by dropping it, smashing it, or bending it, we apparently all have some perverse desire to see the flashiest new gadgets in ruin. Part of that is from a legitimate curiosity about how sturdy they are, but part of it is certainly just that we love destruction.

The newest trend is the bend test. At this point, it feels like we've always been bending phones, but that's really not the case. If you go back a couple of years, the most compelling bend tests you'll find are on counterfeit Magic cards. Pretty much no one was doing them on gadgets until a year ago.

The bend test is a new phenomenon

I don't have hard evidence for why that is, but I think it's safe to guess that this has come about because phones have finally hit the point where they're thin enough to be inadvertently bent during normal use, like spending hours and hours in someone's pocket. And it just so happened that the most popular phone in the world had a bending issue. That combination was enough to send interest in bend tests skyrocketing, and they've been a thing ever since — most recently, blowing up when someone destroyed a Nexus 6P.

But there's a long history of stress tests leading up to the bend test, going all the way back to much humbler beginnings. Here, we take a brief look at where the bend test came from, from a possible beginning, through the strange era of drop tests, to today's destructive bends.