Have you ever ruined a phone? [Roundtable]
The Android Central editors take their turn telling you about that one time (or those many times) they ruined a phone.
It’s happened to everyone, and it’s almost always in slow motion — at least that’s how the brain retains it. A slip, a knock, a jolt — whatever verb is appropriate, the end result is the same: a phone, lying on the floor, your heart somewhere in your throat. You pick it up to examine the damage. Dented. Cracked. Smashed. Doesn’t matter the adjective, it’s still your phone, in a heap.
It seems amazing considering the number of phones I’ve used, but I really can’t recall a time I completely ruined a phone.
My Moto X Pure Edition, with its beautiful walnut back, took a really bad drop onto concrete just a couple months into using it that completely smashed one corner and bent the metal frame enough to pop the wood back up … but the screen was actually okay and the phone was usable so I couldn’t call it ruined.
It still hurt so so bad to pick up that beautiful phone (one of Motorola’s best designs, I have to say) and see the corner was in such bad shape and the wood back irreparably damaged. But I should consider myself lucky that I haven’t ever completely broken a phone to the point where I was unable to keep using it.
My photo, my hands, old website
I have actually never broken or ruined a phone, at least not without external forces at play. I was once showing a brand new review unit of the Samsung Galaxy S Glide (a rebadged version of T-Mobile’s Galaxy S Relay) to a friend and the moment she took it in her hand it slipped and crashed to the floor in dramatic fashion. It was raining at the time, too, and the glass screen completely shattered, sending small shards all over what was, despite the tumultuous weather, a very busy patio.
I had to return the review unit, dead as the Harlem Shake, to the PR agency that had let me borrow it (I was very new to the industry at the time and didn’t have much cache with the representatives) and my point of contact was not very happy. While they eventually got over it — mistakes happen to the best of us, after all — I was henceforth known as “the phone breaker” and teased relentlessly every time a new Samsung phone was released.
Oh, the good ol’ days.
I’ve never destroyed a phone myself. I had a phone short out on me the night before I started a new job, but I didn’t electroshock it or throw it in the tub or anything.
The closest I ever came to wrecking a phone was two years ago on my birthday. My Moto X was getting a little full so I’d plugged it into my computer to more quickly delete some stuff off of it. Long story short, I deleted like half the system, but the half that remained let me get to the Settings and factory reset it, so that was at best a morning’s annoyance rather than a true wreckage. Happy birthday to me…
I am Queen Butterfingers, dropper of all things breakable, she who will destroy a phone without even realizing she has done it. Meaning, of course, that I have demolished more than one phone by accident. There have been incidents with my phone jumping into toilets, and out of pockets to ruin screens on concrete.
My absolute worst run was the summer of 2015 as I was just starting to write for Android Central. Over the course of four weeks, I destroyed three different LG G3’s by dropping them. One fell between the slats of my porch, and hit those slats hard enough to make the entire screen shatter. The next came five days later when I was trying to take a picture of a phone, and it fell out of my hand and bounced down cement steps. The last one in this horrible triad happened when a friend surprised me, I jumped, and the phone went flying into a fountain at the mall. It not only got soaked, but the screen cracked in about seven places.
I did say I was great at accidentally killing phones, didn’t I?
To date, I wrecked three phones — the Galaxy A7 2016, OnePlus 3, and the OnePlus 3T. I was out shooting images for the Galaxy A7 review last year, starting out with the back of the device. I turned the phone around to take a few photos of the front, put it back in my pocket, and came back home to realize that the back was cracked. I can only assume I placed the phone down too hard on the ledge.
The OnePlus 3 and 3T were both straightforward. Both devices tumbled out of my hand onto the pavement, with the OnePlus 3 picking up a spiderweb of cracks over the entire surface of the screen from a single point of impact. The OnePlus 3T, meanwhile, fell two feet onto a cobblestone, but the phone fell face-first, hitting the right corner of the display and shattering the panel. Considering how clumsy I am, it’s surprising I haven’t destroyed more phones.
I’ve been really, really lucky when it comes to the destruction of phones. I’ve used a lot of non-waterproof phones out in the rain (it rains a lot in England) without breaking anything. Nevertheless, I still value the peace of mind you get from knowing a phone is water-resistant.
The most catastrophic drops happened a few years ago — again, mostly luck, I think, that nothing more recent has taken a similar tumble. First was an LG Optimus 3D, onto hard concrete, which survived. Then a Sony (Ericsson) Xperia Arc, onto jagged rocks, which also survived. Then a Galaxy S4 onto a hardwood floor (when I was wiping fingerprint smudges off the back, amusingly) — the removable, replaceable plastic back panel saved my bacon.
Oh, and there was the back of a Nexus 4 that cracked from the removal of a Dbrand skin. Go figure.
The only device I’ve ever smashed completely was an Xperia Z3 Compact, which slid its way off a couch arm and landed on the display — a short fall, but enough to kill it. Fortunately (again, my luck) there were reports online of Z3 screens cracking spontaneously around that time, and Sony, without asking me how it had smashed, replaced my display for free.
Yep. But only a bunch of times. 🙂
I have a bad habit of taking phones apart. There’s no particular reason I have the urge (we leave teardown vids to iFixit because they’re pros and they can do it without drinking) but that urge is strong. I like to see what’s inside, and I look for anything cool or different a manufacturer is doing. Needless to say, a lot of times those phones don’t go back together the same way. I’ve mostly stopped doing this since the companies making phones think glue is a substitution for screws, but it still hurts thinking about the two Galaxy Nexus phones I absolutely ruined because I wanted a Texas Instruments part number.
I’ve busted a few by accident, too. I loved my Nexus S until I dropped it in the toilet. I loved the replacement until I did the very same thing in the very same toilet. I no longer set my phone on the edge of the sink so I did learn something. I ran over my Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition with my wheelchair. 6.4 inches of glass stands no chance against a fat guy and his wheels. Most recently, I dropped my V20 and busted the camera glass and am looking all over for a true OEM replacement part. I get clumsy like anyone else from time to time.
I won’t mention the time my wife dropped her Galaxy S5 from the New River Gorge bridge (“I’m going to get a picture of the bungee jumpers, hon”) because that would embarrass her.