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Home / Technology / iPhone 12 Mini drop test: Everything broke, but not the Ceramic Shield screen

iPhone 12 Mini drop test: Everything broke, but not the Ceramic Shield screen



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Chris Parker / CNET

The iPhone 12 Mini is a tough phone to crack. We have already dropped the tested 6.1

-inch iPhone 12, but we decided to do it again with the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini to see if the smaller phone gave different results. Mainly we wanted to see if we could break the screen. Spoiler: We did not, but we managed to break other things in the process. Covered in Apple’s new ceramic screen glass, the screen on the iPhone 12 Mini proved to be virtually indestructible in our drop test. It also seems to be even better at handling repeated drops than siblings with larger screens.

Read more: Is the iPhone 12 waterproof? We took a swim to test the water resistance

Although it looks just like the regular glass to the naked eye, it is ceramic shield on iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is no ordinary glass. Glass is infused with ceramic crystals, and according to Apple, it is the toughest glass ever on a smartphone. Because our test methods are not scientific, we can not know for sure if this statement is true, but our experience with the iPhone 12 suggests that it has the toughest screen on any phone we have ever tested. The 6.1-inch screen on the iPhone 12 ended almost undamaged after falling on concrete seven times at varying heights. However, the back of the phone is made of previous generation glass, and we managed to crack it on the second drop.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini share the same Corning-made glass and aluminum frame (iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have stainless steel), so we did not expect very different results, but we wanted to find out if smaller and lighter phone will affect the results.

Corning says that in general, larger devices can tend to bend more than smaller, and heavier phones can see higher energy when impacted, but they do not necessarily predict performance during a fall event, as the design can also play an important part.

Chris Parker, senior video producer at CNET, dropped a product red iPhone 12 Mini on the sidewalk for our test.


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Read more: Here are CNET’s reviews of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Release 1: 3 feet, screen side down

This is about the distance from the pocket to the ground and one of the most common heights you can drop the phone from. If the ground is rough, as in the case of a sidewalk, this fall can be fatal to the phone screen.

The iPhone 12 Mini hit the floor at a slight angle and bounced around before settling down, even though Chris dropped it on the screen. After wiping off some dust from the sidewalk, the screen looked like new. However, the metal frame did not look as good. It had a large scraper in the upper right corner where it landed, which rubbed off the red paint and exposed the metal on the bottom. The lower part of the frame received the same visible damage and also had a few small dents. The contrast between the bright red on the phone and the aluminum made the damage to the frame more noticeable than what we experienced on the mint green iPhone 12. This was a trend that we continued to see throughout our drop test.

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The first drop from hip height hit the aluminum frame, but the screen was nice.

Chris Parker / CNET

Drop 2: 3 feet, back down

Chris repeated the same drop, but this time with the back of the phone facing the ground. This was the drop that cracked the back of the iPhone 12 in our previous drop test, but the Mini did better.

The phone hit a bit at an angle again, but this time the side of the phone hit the ground first, and then swung on the opposite side, causing it to bounce up in the air again and then crash down again with its back facing down.

The damage to the aluminum frame was significantly worse, and the upper right corner of the phone on top of the camera had dents. But the back of the phone (and the screen itself) still seemed to be in perfect condition.

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The second drop from hip height dented the frame, but not the glass.

Chris Parker / CNET

Drop 3: 6 feet, 6 inches, screen side down

Although you are less likely to drop your phone from this height, it is still possible if you took a picture (or even a selfie for taller people) from this height.

Again, the Mini screen landed down, but it did not land completely flat. The top of the phone hit first, causing it to take off again and complete a 360-degree turn before landing the screen side down on the sidewalk again.

The screen survived once again, but the frame around it had several dents. One of the bolts in the aluminum frame seemed to penetrate the glass where the two met, and I was worried that it would compromise the screen going forward.

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The damage to the frame almost seemed to carry over into the glass.

Chris Parker / CNET

Drop 4: 6 feet, 6 inches, back down

Then we replicated the drop with the back of the phone facing down.

This time the back of the phone landed almost flat on the floor, but the shock caused it to bounce back and turn, and landed with the screen facing down instead.

The rear glass was still intact, but both camera lenses were damaged. The ultra-wide camera had a visible crack that went through the side, while the frame and lens on the main camera at the back had some small dents. The crack was not visible through the viewfinder when we opened the camera app, but could potentially cause lens flare and may continue to break over time.

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The fourth drop from 2 meters broke the top lens of the camera module of the iPhone 12 Mini.

Chris Parker / CNET

Drop 5 and 6: 9 feet, screen side down

With both the front and rear glass of the iPhone 12 Mini still intact, we decided to raise the stakes and take the phone to 9 meters. Chris had to drop them from a ladder, and it became more difficult to make them fall flat as expected.

The first drop was a wash because the screen barely touched the floor. The phone landed on the upper part of the metal frame and bounced around a bit, so we tried it again.

The second time it landed with the screen facing the floor, the air turned and ended up with the screen up. The metal frame looked like a war zone at this time, but the screen was just fine.

The bulk on the upper right side of the frame continued to grow, but the ceramic screen had survived again.

Drop 7: 9 feet, back down

We repeated this drop with the back of the phone against the floor, but from the high drop it did not hold after the first impact, and did several flips in the air before it landed with its back to the floor.

This fall finally did damage to the back of the phone. It had three hair fractures that started in the lower right corner: two small and one longer that extended upward along the frame almost to the upper right corner.

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Although we failed to break the screen, the end of the iPhone 12 Mini finally cracked after the seventh fall from nine feet.

Chris Parker / CNET

Let’s break it down

Based on our drop tests of the iPhone 12 and now the iPhone 12 Mini, the ceramic shield is the strongest part of these phones. Both the lens and the back of the iPhone 12 Mini cracked in our drop tests, but the sidewalk was no match. for the screen, covered by the ceramic shield, and survives subsequent falls from extreme heights.

That said, you will still want to put at least one slim case on your phone to protect the camera and keep the frame looking like new. At least that’s what Apple suggested when we shared the results.

“The iPhone 12 models have undergone rigorous real-world testing and are designed to be durable but not indestructible. If anyone is worried about dropping the iPhone and damaging it, we suggest you use one of the many beautiful cases available to protect your iPhone. ”


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