Nexus 5 drop test, straight from Google’s Android lawn

November 7, 2013
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We’ve done drop tests in many places, some of them quite exotic, but today brings a first: we’re dropping the brand spanking new Nexus 5 right in the heart of the Googleplex. Forgive us, Matias Duarte, we had to do it!

Going for just $350, the Nexus 5 is definitely worth its price tag, and then some, but some have wondered if its build quality is up to snuff. For sure, the Nexus 5 is more durable than its glass-backed predecessor, but just how durable?

Our Josh Vergara took upon himself to find out, and what better place to test the endurance of a Google-designed phone running a Google-made operating system than in front of building 44 of the Googleplex, home to the world famous Android statues.

Josh dropped the Nexus 5 from three positions, to gauge the phone’s resistance to shocks applied to its back, sides, and front. We tested the white Nexus 5, which swaps the soft touch of the black edition for a firmer texture, but the black version should generally behave the same. Note that the white version has a glossy plastic black strip on its sides, that might be more prone to scratches than the soft strip on the black version.

The results are interesting. Dropping the Nexus 5 on its side did a bit of cosmetic damage, and the back plate (held in place by plastic clips) tended to come off, though it’s easy to snap it back in place. But just one dreaded face drop shattered the screen of the Nexus 5, even exposing some of the circuitry behind it. However, even in that sorry condition, the display remained useable, and Josh was even able to use the navigation bar, where the screen was most damaged.

There you have it – the Nexus 5 failed our test, by breaking at the last drop, but the silver lining is that the display remained, more or less, in working condition. Now, tell us, did you buy a case for your new Nexus?

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