When you have two devices with double glass faceplates, neither of them will come out of a drop test without taking damage. Especially when you are dropping both devices to concrete, from a height of nearly 5 feet. The question is whether the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra drop test will see Apple’s durable materials come out on top.
On paper, the iPhone 14 Pro Max has the advantage of the S22 Ultra. It uses stainless steel, as opposed to Samsung’s “Armor Aluminum”, and has a flat display instead of the curved edge screen that Samsung loves so much.
In addition, the front of the iPhone 14 Pro Max features the Ceramic Shield, an exclusive version of Gorilla Glass which according to Apple is the strongest glass on any smartphone. It has been around since the iPhone 12 and seems to have gotten better. Of course, the Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t skimp on materials, with Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on the front and back of the device.
Drop Test 1: Drop facing backwards
The first test, with a backward-facing drop, didn’t bode well for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Instead of having a ceramic shield on the back, Apple used dual-ion glass that doesn’t appear to be that strong. While the S22 Ultra didn’t come out unscathed, the damage is far less severe than the back of the iPhone.
The drop even managed to break the sapphire crystal covering the rear camera, although it had no visible effect on the quality of the images produced. PhoneBuff speculates that this is due to the 14 Pro Max’s camera protruding slightly more than that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Drop test 2: corner drop
The corner test comes in Apple’s favor. Although both phones suffered damage in the corners, the S22 Ultra appeared to have much deeper dents and nicks on the corner. However, the corner drop no longer favored the iPhone’s rear glass, with the glass breaking and peeling off in the affected corner.
Drop test 3: face drop
The face drop managed to give the Ceramic Shield time to shine. Both the 14 Pro Max and the S22 Ultra suffered from shattered screens. However, Samsung performed much worse for wear, with many more cracks covering more screen, while the iPhone damage was contained in the upper right corner.
Meanwhile, FaceID continued to work as expected, and the S22 Ultra’s in-display fingerprint scanner stopped being able to read PhoneBuff’s fingerprint. None of this will change the fact that you need an expensive screen replacement, but at least the iPhone appears to be in better shape for the time being.
Final drop: front on steel
The last straw, going straight to the steel, was pretty brutal. The damage on both displays is worse, particularly on the S22 Ultra, which now has a few dead pixels and a lot more cracks. The cracks of the 14 Pro Max are still contained in only one corner, but they are more numerous and widespread.
The rear glass was in even worse condition, as was the sapphire glass of the camera. This caused some flare in the camera, particularly bad with the front selfie cam.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which is the Toughest?
PhoneBuff has declared the tie, although it is clear that the Ceramic Shield was doing a much better job than the Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. Not that it matters too much, in the grand scheme of things.
The important point to note is that PhoneBuff also tested a second iPhone 14 Pro Max, which comes with a protective case. That phone has not suffered any damage and the case itself appeared to only take a few minor scratches. The lesson here is that no matter how durable your phone is, it will never be as good as protecting it with a case.
So be sure to check out the best Cases for iPhone 14 Pro Max and the best cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultras to keep your phone safe. After all, if you’re spending over a thousand dollars on a device, you want to keep everything in perfect condition. AppleCare Plus and insurance can only handle so much.