Xperia Z1 drop test: the glass, the metal, and the concrete

October 4, 2013
40 11 86

sony xperia z1 black drop test aa (4)

We’ve heard you loud and clear, folks. You wanted us to drop test a Sony device, we are drop testing a Sony device. And not just any device, but arguably the most premium Android phone out there, the new Xperia Z1.

With its sturdy metal chassis and two uninterrupted slabs of chemically strengthened Dragontrail glass, the Sony Xperia Z1 sure feels like it’s worth every penny. It’s a marvelous piece of tech, neatly packaged in a seamless assembly of metal and glass. But will that beautiful glass be the Z1’s undoing?

Sony claims the screen protector on the Xperia Z1 is “shatterproof”, though we were not sure a plastic film could make a difference. Fortunately, our Josh Vergara was able to verify Sony’s claims in a drop test. As usual, he dropped the Xperia Z1 from the same height in three positions: on the side, on the back, and on the front.

There you have it. The Xperia Z1 survived our three drops intact. On the outside that is. We were disappointed to discover that the phone’s display only showed random noise.

We’re not sure what really happened, but we can speculate that the rigid chassis transmitted the energy of the impact to the phone’s innards. It’s possible that a less sturdy frame would absorb more energy and better protect the internal components, similarly to the crumple zones built into automobiles. Take the Note 3, for instance – while its screen glass shattered completely, the display remained functional after our drop test.

The fact that the Xperia Z1 remained in one piece is very encouraging and a testimony to Sony’s engineering prowess, but ultimately, that may not be enough. Sadly, we’re nowhere near having truly shockproof devices, and until then, our best protection is to case them up.

Does our Xperia Z1 drop test change your plans in any way? Are you still buying the Z1? Sound off in the comments.

Comments

  • RarestName

    D:

  • hood

    Yeah, First to comment!!
    Can you drop a bit of the Z Ultra please, I currently own one, but don’t want to drop mine XD
    Thank you so much for doing these test, must be fun to having able to do it!!

    • MasterMuffin

      you don’t want to break your Z Ultra? What’s wrong with you ;D

  • Kato

    I guess Sony phones can only get more durable from here on!

  • raj

    Yes yes
    Xperia Z Ultra pls..
    I have one..
    but dont want to drop mine…
    I want to see someone drop it :D :D :D

    • Kazuya Mishima That Nigga

      do you still have itt

  • Jaun Lombard

    So glass is okay but screen is not working? which is more expensive to replace?

    • er4

      a sony fan’s shattered expectations☻ mine, for example.

      look, the glass is perfectly fine! great!
      look, the device is no longer working… ???
      ???
      ?
      ??…

      really???

      • Jaun Lombard

        haha!

    • Adam Koueider

      Well if you’re lucky you could just lie and say that it just stopped working suddenly one day. 50/50 chance that the guy would believe you, that is unless he reads Android Authority ;).

  • DanDingello

    that was really cool! Good job Josh! Good job AA!

  • er4

    it’s not that a lighter chassis absorbs lower force. it’s that it creates less impact or shock. i’m not sure if that’s still repairable.

    • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

      Galileo would disagree.

    • Jake Marshall

      ‘faster acceleration due to gravity’???? Gravitational acceleration is a constant with little deviations due to wind resistance and buoyancy.

  • Teo Jia Rong

    Can you just keep dropping until the screen crack?

    • Colby Leong

      Just need to keep in mind that Sony does provide the phone with a shatter proof screen protector on there newer phones. It was intended to catch any shards of a broken screen, but I’m not entirely sure if it can catch the broken glass and still provide as screen that isn’t webbed.

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    Another thing of note…the port protectors popped on impact. So, if it’s raining and you drop it, instant moisture sensor hit, warranty issues. Nice strong chassis tho…

    • er4

      phones are usually not damaged by quick exposure to water. you can see iphones, galaxies, and motos getting water soaked for a while and they don’t instantly die. you just need to pick it up quickly.

      • EvenInTheDarkestHour

        But, I think there is a moisture tab inside one of the port covers (might just be on the Ultra). If the internals get messed up, and you need to send the phone in for repair, it could be trouble. I don’t have any experience with Sony repair/customer service, so it may not be a real issue…

        • marorun1982

          no moisture tab in my Z1 at all!

          • EvenInTheDarkestHour

            cool.

  • Kettzy

    But according to iFixit, Xperia Z series is almost non-repairable. So, if the internals get damaged, the phone becomes pretty much useless… Doesn’t it?

  • Kettzy

    So, if the internals are intact, at the cost of easily replaceable body, going for replaceable body is a smart thing to do according to me.
    I guess, Samsung has thought these things through instead of making just useless, good looking device.
    Z1 is like a dumb blonde that looks awesome but lacks thinking ability… :P

    • TY

      Most smartphone displays on flagships nowadays, including AMOLED displays on Samsung flagships are fused to the glass, i.e. when the glass breaks, you need to replace the display +glass+touch component together. That’s around $200.

  • Q.

    Dissapointing. Atleast other phones actually work when dropped.

    • er4

      could be just a case for this unit, though. not conclusive unless tried on several other units. it’s the same as those broken glass and not broken glass in other dropped devices from other companies. this is just one drop test (could be the first and only one at the moment).

      still, it’s quite disappointing. looks like that’s what you get for having a very heavy phone.

      • Q.

        I agree these tests are subjective and not scientific. I’m just dissapointed really by this performance.

        • AsakuraZero

          oh tell that to my S4 whichs screen died on me without the glass shatter, from a fall from the hip, that sucked a lot, and it had a tpu case with a flap for the screen

  • jangaleon

    you can just give it to me. God, these people. :D

  • Mamoon Noorestani

    That’s why you should always buy a Otterbox Defender series case for your smartphone, no matter what. lol

    • Fievel

      Until your 2 year old (with evident Major League Baseball pitching potential) picks up your wife’s phone with said Otterbox Defender and throws it – screen side first into the corner of a granite countertop. then you’re left with a demolished phone….. but the sides and back are spotless! :D

      • dogulas

        That really sucks. I guess this with kids need to even protect the front glass with a cover. Have you found a solution or Soo you just how that never happens again?

        • Fievel

          Kids are the impossible variable with electronics. They’ll never make a kid-proof case. If that happens, I’ll do a campout when they go on sale that puts those iPhone loonies to shame! Just have to keep things out of reach. That…. and cattle prods*.
          :D

          *DISCLAIMER: Cattle prods were not used on Fievel’s children before, during, or after the composition of this post. Fievel does not actively endorse the use of high-voltage livestock persuaders to correct the behavior of human children.

          • DaireConstantineOReilly

            well then stop leaving your expensive Android phone around your kids, put it in you damn pocket , and dont be stupid to give your kid a smartphone.

          • Fievel

            I hope you are blessed with two sets of sextuplets within a year’s time….. and then another set ten years down the road. Maybe somewhere down that journey you’ll find a sense of humor.

          • marorun1982

            I know a phone who is Kid proof… The Sonim! check youtube video its amazing. They currently making a phone with same resistance but running android.

  • itzvarma

    one thing proved is sony glass(dragontail!!) is stronger than gorilla glass .. sad it didn’t work .. but considering the screen still turned on .. it might be only an issue with loosened connections .. which might cost less than shattered screen replacement…

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    We obviously can’t have it both ways at moment.

    • needa

      sure you can. galaxy s2. og droids. its the ‘thin is in” part that screwed it all up.

  • pauldrew18

    How do you fix a damage like this one?

    • marorun1982

      you press the lil red reboot bouton and there you go!

  • aeta

    That is so funny and sad at the same time.

    I have the Z1, looks like I wont be throwing it at my enemies anytime soon.

  • dogulas

    Dang. If only it had survived. That is support impressive for having a glass back! If only the nexus 4 had that kind of glass!

  • Chuck Norris

    t wanna inform, rhe glas is Shatter Proof. You’ve written it wrong.

  • Balraj

    Wow….
    Next drop test = lg g2 or nexus 5 :/

  • Rogue

    I’m confused in all other drop test including the note three you turned on the screen after the second test yet you tried after the last test in this one I thought that these test were supposed to be consistent?

  • Southall87

    So that’s how to get the port covers open when you have no nails!

  • OldNick1990

    Thank you very much guys,ANDROID AUTHORITY

    i mean really,knowledge comes outta experience,
    BIG help.

  • pjbnz

    So, you have done a drop test with screen protect film on. Any the phone with the film will survive? Is that what you mean?

  • DaireConstantineOReilly

    IM not a fan boy and im getting a Z1 but after owning iphones for nealy 5 years iPhones are actually the most durable phones on the market. spill water on them, hit them of a table, leave them out in the snow and throw it on the ground, STILL Works. Androids, one hit..NO Phone

    • Jimbo

      Do you realise how utterly thick your comment is? Androids, one hit, please expand…

    • pdbq

      iphones you say? Nokia 3310 would like to have a word with you.

  • R_petroll

    Could you do the LG G2 drop test?

  • BB BB

    after three drops its still better than iOS 7

  • Dave Weinstein

    Josh,

    It looks like the ribbon cable for the screen has dislodged (or partially dislodged) from the phone’s motherboard.

    I’m 90% sure you can fix it without replacing an of the parts.

    Maybe you can make another video opening it up and reconnecting the cable. ;-)

    Best of luck fixing it!

  • Jarl

    what happens to those drop-test phones afterwards anyway?

  • Ric

    try reset it?

    • androidiani.comdario

      what about it? what is this feature?

  • Jason

    Taken from comment in youtube, 11 hours ago

    by Sagar Raj
    “In Xperia Z1, and in recent Xperia models, there is a PHYSICAL HARD RESET BUTTON lies under the SIM card flap area. You see a small red dot,
    where “OFF” is written. In case your phone hangs or freezes or IF IT
    SHUTS DOWN WHEN YOU DROP IT may times like this, you can restart it by
    just pressing it with an object like pen/pencil for a few seconds and
    then phone vibrates and restarts, it’s like another physical power
    button. I’m surprised Android Authority don’t know about this.”

    LOL XD really, Android Authority?

  • Leewing

    Drop test for Z Ultra please

  • BG

    One of the things that does slight concern me with my Z1 is that doesn’t appear to be any way of opening it up. I’ve fixed things like phones and laptops in the past that have been damaged by being dropped – dislodged ribbon cables is one of those things I’ve found. I guess the Z1 ‘pops’ open if you lever it in the right place, but I won’t dare try it ! Just hope the battery never needs replacing.

  • mode893

    Well, being cracked is not covered in warranty, not powering on does though so if I’m choosing a device I’d rather settle for the device being in one piece if it drops because obviously, no device can survive that without cracking or being internally damaged

  • Reid Mack

    Don’t buy the Z1 since it will have the same flaw as the Z. Initially the screen may seem durable but within days or weeks, it can crack on its own. The screen will likely crack on its own like on my Z (and to thousands of others) and Sony will ignore you. Google Xperia Z screen cracks and you will see how “premium” thousands of os screwed Xperia Z users feel with Sony consumer treatment. I am never buying a Sony product again.

    Sony is a disgusting and dishonest company. And they lie to consumers they are the only ones this happened to. In Netherlands, the national watchdog publicly warned Sony to
    stop cheating customers whose screens broke on their own..

  • Asif Aziz

    on heating it will show cracked glass !!!!

    i guarantee you that !

    • marorun1982

      Yeah i use mine when i go smoke outside ( 0 celcius or less ) and then continue my game when going back inside ( and yes its heat up ) and its not cracking lol if its crack for me its would be a manufacturing deffect and none came back with thats at my cellphone store since this phone came out so…

      • leong

        it happen to me that, my z1 body bended after a quick coffee break at 4 degree and continue gaming and oniline. at night the alum body bended…

        • marorun1982

          Really? omg this is really strange.
          Mine i go out to smoke everyday at least 3/4 time and its way under 4 degree lately and i do play grand theft auto vice city and its make the phone get really warm.. I guess maybe you had a manufacturing defect?

          • leong

            I do remember using the phone out in cold weather…walk back to my hotel whic. Takes me 25 minute slow walking. Play game And online same time. Only realise it when I need to charge m
            my phone

  • Kevin

    I read somewhere that what happened with the screen is security shutdown. In order to make the phone work again, you need to press the dedicated reset button. I wonder if this is true.
    Josh might be able to help :)

  • darren leonard

    I have a Z1, I love it, but my only issue is that the glass scratches way too easily :-(

    • Lucian

      What you’re scratching is not actually the screen, it’s a screen protector that Sony put on it. There’s a video on YouTube on how to remove it, but the Sony logo comes off with it and with some carriers if you remove the screen protector your warranty will be void.

      • darren leonard

        Interesting thanks for the info, but that doesn’t change the fact that a large percentage of the phones outer surface scratches easily… Not cool :-(

        • marorun1982

          Well most screen protector i have used was possible to get scratched. The one the used is quite good quality as its resistant but its scratch yes can always remove it after 1 years and use others screen protector after thats ( warranty over after 1 year anyway)

      • Memphis May [S]unjay

        It’s not really a screen protector. It’s the shatterproof film that holds your display in place if it ever shatters. Sony has been doing this for years, I don’t advise taking it out. It would be better to get a real screen protector.

  • dstonez

    i dropped my z1 on the road, it there something that the sony company can do?

  • Pulp

    I dropped one of my kids and the same thing happened.

  • Brian Fajilan Panaligan

    very sad for z1 but still give that phone i gonna fixed it …lol poor and obsessed me hhahaha

  • Michael

    I dropped my Z1 from about 30cm. The display cracked and I wasn’t even able to unlock it anymore.

  • mattjb73

    Have to say NO its just as bad as the phone in the Sony xperia Z line. I had my phone in my pocket it was fine before a meeting when I got and got my phone out it was smashed so dont talk crap

  • mattjb73

    Here is a pic so you can see it can happen with the z1

    • marorun1982

      Thats must have been an incredible hit.
      Mine droped on my concrete stairs and beside nasty scratch ( had to remove the built in protector lol ) its has no damage at all. It did freeze the screen like on those drop test but using the lil red reboot bouton its working good now. this kind of hit on any others smartphone would had shattered all the glass not only the top corner like here.

  • Gary Aramayo

    But even so the likelihood that happen with another person and the screen SURVIVE IS HIGH. may be that in this case the screen is noisy but overall, very well supported.

  • brasil

    era pra eles colocar a resistência da tela do sony active na nova linha deles principalmente nesse xperia z1….

    olha so ai :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F92CvRflk18#t=0&hd=1

  • Elias Fazel

    If I want to make decision based on ur reviews (specially drop-tests) i should NOT buy any smartphones!
    S4, Xperia Z, Note3, Htc One, Xperia Z1 & etc… all of these flagships destroyed in ur droptest (or others videos) SO u must continue drop-test video cause it s fine but not that important for our decisions ;)

  • tony solinan

    Yes well that was 4 months ago, now I’m waiting for the Sirius or Z2,from Sony,also the SsgGs5,LGg3,and the HTCm8,if they come to Ireland, the Lgg2,were not in the stores here,Argos was only one to sell the LGg2,2months now for €580 for 16gb,model,in uk.i can get the 32gb model for €430 £330about or £350 Sterling!in the R.O.Ireland we dont have the same choice of phones that other Country’s get even though we’re in the EEC,its scandalous, and what we do get we pay far more than our European
    Allies!

  • Fadhil Parewangi

    vote to Z Ultra drop test… too!