Galaxy Z Flip vs. Motorola Razr drop test: We broke both on the first try


Thanks to the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr and their foldable screens, flip phones are making a comeback. And while modern-day flip phones are fancier and have tons more features than their old-school flip phone predecessors like the original Razr, they also aren’t as sturdy or as cheap (about US$1,500). The Z Flip is all glass on the outside and on the screen, while the Razr is made of a combination of glass, plastic and stainless steel. Part of the charm of those flip phones of yore was that they were practically indestructible — those phones could be dropped, beaten and tossed and still manage to survive. 

To find out how much these new class of clamshell phones can handle, and which one is toughest between the two, we subjected the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr through a series of three real world drops.

This is by no means intended to be a scientific test, and results may vary depending on the drop and surface these phones land on. It’s also worth noting that the Z Flip comes with a clear case in the box, but for the purposes of our test we decided to drop them both without a case. 

Drop 1: From about 3 feet, front side down (closed) 

Otherwise known as “pocket height”, this is a common height for many a break. In this case we dropped both with the front of the phones facing down on the rough sidewalk outside of our CNET San Francisco offices.

Motorola Razr: Cracked

The Razr landed front first as intended and sustained a hairline fracture across the glass. Though it did break on the first drop, the camera nor the touch panel on the front were damaged and everything was still in working order. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip: Shattered

The Flip suffered a similar fate, but the break was a lot more visible. While the backside and the camera remained intact, the front of the phone had visible spiderwebs stemming from the bottom and side of the phone with loose shards coming off during our inspection.

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The Galaxy Z Flip cracked after drop 1 from hip height. 


Charles Wagner / CNET

Both phones opened and closed as usual, and the screens inside were intact.

Drop 2: From about 5 feet, screen side down (open) 

For the next test we opened both phones and dropped them facing down, which is exactly how they landed. 

Motorola Razr: Screen survived, frame broke

While the screen on the Razr still looked pristine and worked well, the top of the frame which houses the earpiece was shattered and a few loose particles ended up on our fingertips. 

razrdrop2

The top part of the frame that houses the earpiece on the Motorola Razr shattered on the second drop. 


Charles Wagner / CNET

Galaxy Z Flip: Screen survived with a few minor scuffs on the frame

There were a few dents and scuffs along the frame of the screen where the phone first hit the floor, but the screen didn’t look any different than it did when we first took it out of the box. 

Drop 3: The flip open fall from about 5 feet

For this test we reenacted what would happen if you carelessly flipped your phone open and let it drop. Because it wasn’t a straight forward drop, there was no way to control what side they landed on. 

Motorola Razr: Original damage got worse, but still works!

Both phones landed screen-side down and continued to break. The Razr gad a few more cracks on the front, but the touchscreen still worked well, and the screen inside was still in working order. We did notice the metal grill that covers the bottom of the phone had started to come loose at this point, but the worst part was still the shattered frame inside that made the earpiece hard to use. 

flip-drop3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip: More cracks, but gets a passing grade

The damage on the front had gotten worse, and now there were spiderwebs on the bottom half of the outer shell, but the screen looked great and it still opened and closed correctly. 

The verdict

Considering I went into this test thinking each phone would split at their hinges, I’d say they both did better than expected. They may have cracked on the first drop, but their screens didn’t and that’s more than we can say for the screens of some of the other phones we’ve dropped over the years.

That said, they’re not even close to being as sturdy as the original flip phones so we advice you to definitely take Samsung up on their offer and put the free case on your brand new, expensive foldable phone. 



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