By now anyone who follows technology – and many who don’t – has heard about #BendGate, the term coined after a video showed how easy it was to bend and distort the iPhone 6/6+. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised – they are incredibly thin and light with an elongated aspect ratio. But is #bendgate REAL? Consumer Reports took a scientific look!
The lab used a standard crush test instrument made by Instron (this is what computer labs like HP have used for decades, and it’s what all phone manufacturers use to check their devices), and engaged in a ‘three point bend’ test. This industry standard test has fixed points on either end (though, usually it is better than two non-attached wood blocks) with the force applied in at least one point in between. The Consumer Reports test used a teflon/delrin block at the center to distribute the force without applying a ‘point force’ that would distort results.
All the phones we tested showed themselves to be pretty tough. The iPhone 6 Plus, the more robust of the new iPhones in our testing, started to deform when we reached 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 our 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.
The lousy HTC One M8 performance surprised me, and honestly I am not surprised that the iPhone 5 is close to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I have both the iPhone 5 and the Note 3 next to me as I write … and they are each ‘stop a bullet’ type beasts.
I was surprised that the iPhone 6 performed worse than the 6 Plus … but honestly that means that Apple did their job in the design, and the force was distributed over a wider region.
What do you think? Does this change any of your thoughts on the new iPhones? Either way, it makes for a fun watch!
Here is the Consumer Reports #BendGate video: