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SquareTrade is ‘super impressed’ with the iPhone Xs Max’s durability

Apple says the iPhone XS and XS Max feature the largest, most durable screens of any iPhone—and even have beer-resistant qualities. SquareTrade, an Allstate company and highly rated protection plan provider trusted by millions of customers, put these claims to the test.

Its Breakability Score found the iPhone XS to be stronger than the iPhone X, and the iPhone XS Max much stronger, though their all-glass design is susceptible to even more costly breaks. However, they won’t leave consumers with hangovers as Apple’s beer- and water-resistant claims ring true.   

SquareTrade Labs uses a range of scientific robots to drop, slide, tumble, and dunk devices to see how they live up to the activities of our everyday lives. This time, the SquareTrade dunk test had a twist, proving the beer-resistance hypothesis Apple mentioned at its keynote. Both new iPhones were submerged in the SquareTrade DunkBot filled with 138 cans of beer. They proved equal to the task.

The full results can be seen in the Breakability video here. It reveals:

  • Like last year’s iPhone X, the all-glass design of the iPhone Xs shattered on the first drop. The iPhone Xs Max cracked on the first drop, but was still usable.

  • Apple’s surgical-grade steel frame helped mitigate damage for the iPhone Xs and Xs Max during the side drop. However, the back drop test was a different story for both models. Not only did they shatter on the first drop, but the glass backing of the iPhone Xs came apart from its frame.

  • The new iPhones feature an improved IP68 water resistance rating, which means they can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. After being submerged in 138 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for 30 minutes, both functioned normally and proved they would not leave consumers with a hangover.

  • SquareTrade’s Master Technician noted increased adhesive strength for both iPhone Xs and Xs Max, which explains their increased water-resistance. The iPhone Xs also features a single battery, unlike the iPhone X and Xs Max. But ultimately, when it comes to repair costs, consumers can expect to drop considerably more for repairs on their new iPhones.

“We were super impressed with the iPhone Xs Max, which is much stronger than its discontinued predecessor, the iPhone X. However, as with the iPhone X, our tests show the all-glass design of the iPhone Xs and Xs Max make them highly susceptible to cracking, particularly from drops, the most common cause of damage,” says Jason Siciliano, vice president global creative director at SquareTrade. “Repair costs for the new iPhones are expected to be around $399 to replace a front screen and $599 to fix a shattered back. Considering $599 was the cost of the most expensive version of the very first iPhone, repair costs are now something to consider when buying a new iPhone. They’re beautiful phones. Just hang on tight.”

The SquareTrade Breakability Score is based on several factors: from physical characteristics and components to the results of SquareTrade’s drop, dunk, bend, and tumble tests. The higher a device scores on 100-point scale, the higher the risk of it breaking due to an accident. To guard against the worst, SquareTrade always advises screen protectors and phone cases, and, more than ever, a protection plan.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.