Consumer Reports puts iPhone 6 handsets through bend-test paces, comes back with results

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Date: Monday, September 29th, 2014, 18:44
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The Internet has exploded with images and videos of bent iPhone 6 Plus handsets as well as a viral video of someone deforming the handset with his bare hands. And, with that, Consumer Reports sprang into scientific action to perform actual tests that seem to indicate that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets may be tougher than currently rumored.

Per Consumer Reports, the publication used what’s called a “three-point flexural test,” in which the phone is supported at two points on either end, then force is applied at a third point on the top—you can see the testing for yourself in our video. The group applied and measured the force using a high-precision Instron compression test machine. Along with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we tested the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One (M8), and for those wondering about their old iPhones, they tested the iPhone 5 as well and used one sample of each phone.

The tests, ironically enough, seem to mirror a three-point flexural test used on Apple’s labs via their own Instron machinery.


The reports stated that Apple applies 25 kilograms (slightly more than 55 pounds) of force to an iPhone 6 Plus to test flex. In more human terms, this is roughly the amount of force required to break three pencils.

Consumer Reports’ tests pushed the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus much further than 55 pounds. The tests began by applying 10 pounds of force for 30 seconds, then releasing the force. The amount of force was then increased in 10-pound increments, noted when the phones first started to deform and stopped the test for each phone when we saw the screen come loose from the case.

All the phones tested showed themselves to be pretty tough. The iPhone 6 Plus, the more robust of the new iPhones in our testing, started to deform around 90 pounds of force, and came apart with 110 pounds of force. With those numbers, it slightly outperformed the HTC One (which is largely regarded as a sturdy, solid phone), as well as the smaller iPhone 6, yet underperformed some other smart phones.

Throughout most of the test, the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 bent, then recovered completely from each step up in force. But at 130 pounds, the case of the G3 fractured. At 150 pounds of force, the Note 3’s screen splintered and it stopped working.

Impressively, despite some serious damage from our Instron machine, some of the phones continued to work. Several of the screens illuminated and were functional to the touch and engineers even completed a call from one phone to another.

Stay tuned for additional details about this story as they become available.

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