There’s nothing like a little controversy when a new smartphone is launched to get people debating online. Remember ‘#scratchgate’ when the iPhone 5’s slate blue anodized finished scratched off really easily? Or last year’s iPhone 6 Plus, which some said bent really easily? Put those two hashtag-gates together and you apparently have the latest flagship Android phone. The Nexus 6P is the newest pure Android phone from Google, and is about to come under some new scrutiny from prospective buyers thanks to a video from Jerry Rig Everything on YouTube…
In the video, Jerry takes the Nexus 6P, made by Huawei, through a series of tests to see how durable it is. He tests its ability to withstand scratching, overheating and bending. Sadly, the phone didn’t do so well in any of the three tests:
Testing nine different materials with increasing hardness against the display reveals that it will start to scratch from friction with any product that has a rating of 6 or higher on Mohs scale of hardness. What’s perhaps worse is that having scratched the screen, a light tap on the front glass panel made a long crack appear along the surface. He scratched the back metal too and noted how incredibly easy the anodized finish was to mark permanently, even with some keys.
To test the display’s performance against extreme heat, he took a flame to the panel and, again, it doesn’t do so well. The flame caused a white spot to burn in to the display panel which didn’t go away.
Then came the bend test. And to quote Jerry, his “little sister could have bent this phone in half with her hands”. In the comments section in response to a question, he even said the phone bent easier than an iPhone 6 Plus. So it’s practically made from paper… or not.
The problem with the bend test part is that the phone’s structure has already been compromised when the screen cracked. As you can see in this video, an unharmed version of the same phone is almost impossible to bend:
One commenter in a growing thread on reddit puts it like this:
Can confirm, this is the reason right here. Cracked glass means that you no longer have a boxed structure – you’re effectively bending a flat sheet of aluminum now.
In automotive and aerospace engineering, we call this a “body in white”, compared to a fully assembled vehicle. In a car, the front and rear windshield alone increase the stiffness of the frame by a factor of 2x. This is why crash testing is done with a fully assembled car, rather than just the frame and restraint system.
While it’s probably not a perfect analogy, it does explain the results pretty well. What’s more, it’s worth noting the phone cracked and bent in the same area the heat did the worst damage to the display. Extreme heat undoubtedly compromised that part of the phone.