Apple’s iPhone 5 is Value for Money, More Durable Than Samsung’s Galaxy S4, S3

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 1, 2013 3:19 PM EST

They basically offer the same internal functions, mobility and accessibility to the outside world. But when it comes to value for money, durability-wise, Apple's iPhone 5 has been found out to be more sturdy and heavy-duty than its counterparts, the Samsung's Galaxy S4 and S3.

SquareTrade, a US-based smartphones insurance firm, put all three smartphones to a durability test to gauge which among them could withstand being dropped to the floor or being dipped into the water, and yet still manage to function well.

Based on a number of criteria such as immersion test, drop test, slide test, weight and overall size, among others, on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being worst, Samsung's Galaxy S4 was the worst of 'em all at 7. Its predecessor, the S3, was found to be sturdier at 6.5.

Apple's iPhone 5, meantime, got a 5.

"The SquareTrade Breakability Score ranks today's top devices based on how prone they are to break due to accidents. Evaluating key elements such as front and back panel design, edge construction and materials, size, weight, friction quotient, water resistance and grip-ability, SquareTrade's Breakability Score fills in the missing gap left by traditional device reviews: it tests devices in everyday danger situations brought on by our lifestyles and habits," the insurance firm said in a media statement.

Notable findings include:

  • While the S4 proved slightly more water resistance than its predecessor, the S3, Samsung's new Galaxy phone actually performed worse in most other categories. Major strikes against the S4 include high breakability during SquareTrade Drop Tests, a slippery back panel, and a wider screen that reduces grip-ability, especially compared to the ultra-slim iPhone 5. Breakability Score: 7
  • While the Samsung S3 screen is more durable, it is less water resistant than the S4 and its plastic back and wide width decreases its grip-ability. Breakability score: 6.5
  • The iPhone 5 scored the highest of the three phones tested. While it lost points for its larger size due to more breakable surface area, its excellent grip-ability and low friction coefficient make it far more durable overall. Breakability Score: 5

"As Americans integrate their phones into an increasing number of daily routines and habits, accidental damage is 10-13 times more common than loss and theft," the firm said. 

But despite the findings, SquareTrade revealed more Americans were actually switching to Samsung devices and ditching their iPhones.

"Samsung continues to gain momentum in the market: 21 per cent of Samsung owners previously had iPhones but defected according to our research," Ty Shay, CMO at SquareTrade, said. "And while Samsung owners seem to be savvier about protecting their devices, millions of people will suffer the unexpected drops and spills that are so common today."

One in every five Americans will buy the S4, according to SquareTrade. The firm likewise estimate one in eight people in the U.S. who bought the Galaxy S4 will break it within six months.

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