Extended warranty service provider SquareTrade put the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus through a series of supposedly scientific durability tests meant to rate Samsung's engineering and the overall ability of its new Android flagships to survive mechanical damage, with its conclusions indicating the latest phablets are still relatively breakable, even if their durability has been improved compared to the Galaxy S8 lineup and is superior to that of Apple's iPhone X. Unlike most other durability tests on the Internet, SquareTrade attempted to perform its experiments in relatively controlled environments and subject the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus to identical conditions, with the company ultimately concluding that the 6.2-inch handset is slightly less resilient to damage than its 5.8-inch counterpart.
Following a face-up drop test from a height of six feet, the back panel of the Galaxy S9 Plus experienced both starburst and hairline cracks, in addition to being left with shattered loose glass and generally being completely shattered, whereas the Galaxy S9 fared slightly better and still had all of its glass in one place after an identical drop despite exhibiting identical cracks. A face-down fall from the same height loosened the glass of the Galaxy S9 and caused additional hairline cracks, whereas it left the larger phablet full of starburst fractures and largely shattered its screen. Neither Infinity Display panel survived the drop, though some previous testing indicated both should be able to do so from approximately three feet, i.e. the height of an average desk or one's pocket.
According to SquareTrade's findings, the Galaxy S9 bends with 230 pounds (104 kilos) of pressure being exerted on it, whereas the Galaxy S9 Plus can be structurally compromised with 210 pounds (95 kilos) of force. A tumble test that saw the two handsets being individually subjected to 60 seconds of pure centrifugal force inside an empty box left both with corner damage and hairline cracks, though still functional. In overall, SquareTrade awarded the Galaxy S9 with a medium-risk rating of 71 on its breakability scale, whereas the Galaxy S9 Plus was rated at 76 points, having had its risk of being permanently damaged rated as medium-high. Samsung's latest Android flagships officially went on sale in 70 countries on Friday and should reach 40 more markets by the end of the month.