I had excessive hopes for the brand new Samsung Galaxy S21 telephones telephones going into our drop take a look at, regardless that Galaxy telephones have not been essentially the most sturdy in our earlier assessments. The S21, S21 Plus and S21 Extremely‘s curved shows aren’t as pronounced as earlier fashions and all of the screens are lined within the strongest Gorilla Glass. However let’s simply say my hopes proved optimistic, and for those who’re contemplating going case-less along with your new Galaxy S21, you could need to learn on. 

Whereas the three Galaxy S21 telephones could look related, the backs are all made of various supplies. The S21 Plus and Extremely have glass on both aspect, whereas the again of the common S21 is made from plastic. As a result of this distinction might have an effect on the sturdiness of the cellphone, we determined to check out each the $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849) Galaxy Extremely and the $800 (£769, AU$1,249) Galaxy S21 concurrently.

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Numerous components go into the sturdiness of the display screen, together with the form and thickness of the glass the producer decides to make use of. We all know from our earlier Observe 20 Extremely drop take a look at that even the strongest Gorilla Glass Victus isn’t any match for pavement, with the display screen cracking on the second drop from hip top. However that does not imply the S21’s display screen will share the identical destiny: The 2 have totally different designs and the thick steel casing defending the digicam appears sturdier than the all-glass module on earlier Galaxy telephones. 

For our drop take a look at, CNET Senior Video Producer Chris Parker dropped a model new phantom violet Galaxy S21 and phantom black Galaxy S21 Extremely onto a concrete sidewalk. 

Drop 1: Pocket top (3 ft), display screen aspect down

The drop from pocket or hip top is among the commonest causes of cracked screens, particularly in case your cellphone lands on a tough floor like a sidewalk. We begin all our assessments at this top. 


The cracked display screen of the Samsung Galaxy S21 after the primary drop from hip top. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21: Damaged display screen

The highest left hand nook of the cellphone reverse the digicam hit the bottom first, then the underside nook hit, then the whole proper aspect of the cellphone. This precipitated it to bounce again up a bit and land screen-side-down on the ground.

The underside left hand nook of the glass had shattered with just a few bigger cracks stemming outward from the purpose of impression together with a giant dome-shaped one operating via the center of the display screen. 


The S21 Extremely after the primary drop from hip-height: one small crack on the high. 

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Galaxy S21 Extremely: A small crack 

The preliminary impression of the drop gave the impression to be distributed comparatively evenly because the cellphone hit the ground, with the highest fringe of the display screen hitting the sidewalk only a bit sooner than the remainder. It then jumped again into the air, flipped round and landed screen-side-up. 

The highest fringe of the steel body on the S21 Extremely had what seemed like silver sand particles the place the paint was scraped, however the display screen seemed OK. That’s, till we seen a tiny crack on the highest left-hand nook of the cellphone. It was sufficiently small that it in all probability would not trouble you for those who stored utilizing the cellphone, nevertheless it was broken nonetheless and never the best state of affairs after only one drop.

Drop 2: Pocket top (3 ft), again aspect down 

To check the sturdiness of the again, Chris dropped the telephones from the identical top with the display screen dealing with up. We clearly weren’t anticipating the plastic again on the S21 to interrupt, however we wished to see what sort of injury it might incur and the way the digicam would maintain as much as the autumn. 


The again of the Samsung Galaxy S21 had just a few minor scratches after the second drop from hip-height. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21: Minor scratches

The highest half of the cellphone hit the bottom first, then the underside edge inflicting it to leap within the air and full a few flips earlier than touchdown again on the sidewalk with the again aspect dealing with up. 

Save for just a few tiny scrapes on the underside, there was barely any injury on the plastic again cowl, as we anticipated.

The digicam was additionally in good condition, with no seen injury to the module or any of its three lenses, that are carved into the steel casing. In contrast to earlier Galaxy fashions the place the whole digicam bump is roofed in glass, the module on the S21 is generally steel and solely the lenses are glass.


The damaged again of the Galaxy S21 Extremely after the second drop from hip top. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21 Extremely: Shattered again

The cellphone hit the ground virtually flat, bounced a bit and flipped on its aspect inflicting it to land with its again dealing with up. 

The glass again on the S21 Extremely did not survive. It had a number of fractures stemming from the underside left hand nook and operating up the whole again of the cellphone and some free items of glass coming off the nook the place it hit.

The digicam module however survived comparatively unscathed, aside from a pair small dings on the steel casing.

Drop 3: 6 ft again aspect down (S21), display screen aspect down (S21 Extremely) 

Each telephones had been cracked at this level, however we determined to drop them one final time on the aspect which had sustained the least quantity of harm. 


The again of the Galaxy S21 sustained minimal injury after three drops with just some scratches on the steel casing. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21: Scuffs on the digicam module

The burden of the digicam module should play a component within the touchdown, as a result of that is what broke the autumn but once more. With the digicam hitting first, the cellphone then bounced on the other aspect and did just a few flips within the air earlier than settling screen-side-up on the ground. 

As anticipated, the again of the cellphone was nonetheless in good condition, however with some extra pronounced scrapes in the direction of the underside. The highest left hand nook of the steel digicam module, which broke the autumn, additionally had noticeable scratches. However the lenses remained intact. 


The shattered entrance of the Galaxy S21 Extremely after a drop from 6 ft. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Galaxy S21 Extremely: Fully shattered display screen

The cellphone landed virtually fully flat, bounced up a bit after which hit the ground once more face first.

The tiny crack on the highest nook multiplied into a complete net of cracks overlaying virtually the whole entrance of the cellphone. Some had been deep sufficient to penetrate the display screen and black out a part of the OLED panel. The display screen nonetheless responded to the touch, however there have been tiny shards of glass coming off it, so that you would not have wished to maintain utilizing it, even with a display screen protector on high. The cracks on the again had additionally continued to develop, although they weren’t practically as unhealthy as those on the entrance. 

A second opinion

Allstate Safety Plans performed an identical drop take a look at on all three Galaxy S21 fashions with related outcomes. The screens shattered after the primary drop (on this case from 6 ft). The again aspect of the S21 Plus and S21 Extremely additionally shattered after the second drop from the identical top (again aspect down).

The breakdown

Whereas our assessments are certainly not scientific and your outcomes could also be fully totally different for those who drop your cellphone, our Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Extremely cracked on the primary drop, which was disappointing. The S21 has an edge over the Extremely because the again in all probability will not break even for those who drop it a number of occasions. However you will nonetheless must put a case on it to defend the display screen and I would contemplate investing in a display screen protector as an added layer of safety as repairing the S21’s display screen begins at $200. The silver lining is that the digicam modules on each telephones, that are dearer to restore, appear to be sturdier than in earlier modules due to the brand new steel casing. 

We reached out to Samsung for touch upon our outcomes, however didn’t hear again at publication time.

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