All smartphones are fragile, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is by no means an exception. But how durable is Apple’s latest phone? Youtube PhoneBuff (Opens in a new tab) I decided to find out, and put the iPhone 14 Pro Max to the drop test against one of its main competitors – the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
When you have two devices with double panes of glass, neither of them will come out of a drop test without getting some damage. Especially when you drop both devices onto concrete, from about 5 feet high. The question is whether the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra drop test will see Apple’s uniquely durable materials come to the fore.
On paper, the iPhone 14 Pro Max has the advantage of the S22 Ultra. It uses stainless steel, unlike Samsung’s “Armor Aluminum”, and has a flat screen instead of the curved screen that Samsung likes.
On top of that, the iPhone 14 Pro Max front features a ceramic cover, which is an exclusive version of Gorilla Glass that Apple claims is the strongest glass on any smartphone. It’s been around since the iPhone 12, and it seems to have improved. Of course, the Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t cheap on materials, with Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on the front and back of the device.
Drop Test 1: Rear Facing Drop
The first test, with the back flip down, did not bode well for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Instead of having a ceramic shield on the back, Apple uses dual-ion glass that doesn’t seem nearly as strong. While the S22 Ultra didn’t come out unscathed, the damage is much less to the back of the iPhone.
The drop successfully broke the sapphire glass covering the rear camera, although it had no visible effect on the quality of the photos produced. PhoneBuff speculates this is because the 14 Pro Max’s camera is a bit more prominent than the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s.
Drop Test 2: Angle Drop
The corner test comes in favor of Apple. While both phones had damage to the corners, the S22 Ultra appears to have much deeper scratches and chips in the corner. However, the low angle didn’t favor the iPhone’s back glass anymore, with the glass cracking and sticking out of the affected corner.
Drop Test 3: Drop the face
Flip drop enables ceramic shield time to shine. The 14 Pro Max and S22 Ultra both suffered from shattered screens. However, Samsung fared much worse in terms of wear, with plenty of cracks covering more of the screen – while the iPhone damage was contained in the top right corner.
Meanwhile, FaceID continued to work as expected, and the fingerprint scanner on the S22 Ultra’s display stopped being able to read PhoneBuff’s fingerprint. None of this will change the fact that you need an expensive screen replacement, but at least your iPhone appears to be in better shape during this time.
Final landing: front on steel
The last landing, right on the steel, was pretty brutal. The damage to both screens is worse, especially on the S22 Ultra, which now has some dead pixels and more cracks. The notches on the 14 Pro Max are still contained in one corner, but they are more numerous and widespread.
The back glass was in worse condition, like the sapphire camera glass. This caused some camera flare, which was particularly bad with the front selfie camera.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which is more difficult?
PhoneBuff declared a competition tie, although apparently the Ceramic Shield was doing a much better job than Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. Not that it matters much in the grand scheme of things.
The point to note is that PhoneBuff also put a second iPhone 14 Pro Max through the test, with a protective case. This phone hasn’t suffered any damage, and the issue itself only appears to have some minor scuffs. The lesson here is that no matter how sturdy your phone is, it will never be as good as protecting it with a case.
So make sure you check out the best iPhone 14 Pro Max cases and the Best Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultras Cases To keep your phone safe. After all, if you’re spending more than a thousand dollars on a device, you want to keep it all in perfect condition. AppleCare Plus and insurance can only handle so much.