CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition. Device warranty company SquareTrade brings out the big guns to take on the new flagship handset. The past year probably felt pretty torturous to Samsung with that whole Note 7 debacle, but that doesn't mean the torture-masters at gadget warranty outfit SquareTrade were compelled to cut the new Samsung Galaxy S8 any slack. The company subjected the new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus to its battery of breakability tests and found the new generation is a little more delicate than its predecessors, the S7 and S7 Edge.
And this year, the edges on Samsung's flagship phones come on both models, Both the S8 and the S8 Plus have Corning's curved Gorilla Glass 5 on either side of the phone, outlined by a slender metal frame, Corning says its Gorilla Glass 5 can withstand light beneath iphone case shoulder-height drops (1.6 meters, or 5.2 feet) onto rough surfaces 80 percent of the time, Corning's claim applies to flat glass, so the S8's curves may alter the outcome, but in theory, the S8 should be tougher to crack than last year's S7 Edge, which was covered in Gorilla Glass 4, But is it tough enough to to survive our tests? Well, yes -- until it wasn't..
The glass back cracked on the very first drop, while the screen held up to our full gamut of tests. Here's what we subjected our brand new Galaxy S8 to.. Whether you're pulling your phone out of your pocket or slipping it back into your purse, it's likely you're going to drop it from this height at some point. While a drop onto a hardwood floor might be relatively safe, tile and concrete could spell disaster if you don't have a case on the phone. For our test, we dropped the S8 (sans case, of course) onto a concrete sidewalk with the phone held vertically from about 3 feet (1m).
A slow-motion replay showed the bottom metal frame hit the ground first, bounced back and landed screen side up, The three foot drop on sidewalk that caused the first crack light beneath iphone case on the back, The first hit made two small dents on the metal border, and the glass on the back had a small crack on the top-right corner, This damage was minor, though, and the screen was still intact, so we continued with our next test, Most of us take our pics at around eye-level, and for a phone as slick and smooth as the Galaxy S8, maintaining an assured grip can be tough..
We set our next drop at 5 feet, slightly lower than the 1.6 meter claim Corning claims Gorilla Glass 5 can withstand. The S8 was dropped horizontally (edge down) onto a stone tile floor. The edge hit first, slightly angled towards the screen side of the phone, then hit screen side down once before bouncing once more to its final screen-side-up landing. The second drop from eye-level. The metal border had a few more dings and bruises, but most of the damage was on the back. The small crack from the previous drop grew into a web that extended across the entire backside of the phone. But the screen was surprisingly still in good shape. Despite the damage, we decided to put the S8 through one final test to see if we could break the screen.