Theis a difficult phone to crack. We already tested the 6.1-inch iPhone 12, but decided to do it all over again with the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini to see if the smaller phone yielded different results. Above all, we wanted to see if we could break the screen. Spoiler: We didn’t, but we managed to break other things in the process. Covered with the screen of the iPhone 12 Mini turned out to be virtually indestructible in our drop test. It also seems to be even better at dealing with repeated falls than its bigger screen brother.
Even though it looks exactly like regular glass to the naked eye, the, and is not an ordinary glass. It’s glass infused with ceramic crystals and, according to Apple, the strongest glass ever on a smartphone. Since our testing methods aren’t scientific, we’re not sure that claim is true, but our experience with the iPhone 12 suggests it has the toughest screen of any phone we’ve ever tested. Our iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch screen has survived virtually unscathed after being dropped onto concrete seven times at different heights. However, the back of the phone is made from previous generation glass and we managed to crack it on the second drop.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini have the same Corning-made glass and aluminum frame (the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have stainless steel), so we weren’t expecting completely different results, but we wanted to know if the smaller and lighter phone would affect the results.
Corning says that, in general, larger devices are more prone to sag than smaller ones, and heavier phones can see higher energy on impact, but they don’t necessarily predict performance during a fall, as design can also play an important role. part.
Chris Parker, CNET senior video producer, dropped a Product Red iPhone 12 Mini on the sidewalk for our test.
Read more: Here are CNET’s reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Drop 1: 3 feet, screen down
This is about the distance from your pocket to the ground and one of the most common heights you can drop your phone. If the ground is rough, such as in the case of a sidewalk, this drop can kill your phone screen.
The iPhone 12 Mini hit the ground a bit at an angle and bounced around before settling down, even though Chris dropped it with the screen down. After wiping some dust off the sidewalk, the screen looked like new. The metal frame didn’t look that good, though. It had a big scrape in the top right corner where it landed, which rubbed off the red paint and exposed the metal on the bottom. The lower part of the frame suffered the same visible damage and also had a few small dents. The contrast between the bright red of the phone and the aluminum made the damage to the frame more noticeable than what we experienced on our mint green iPhone 12. This was a trend we continued to see in our drop test.
Drop 2: 3 feet back down
Chris repeated the same drop, but this time with the back of the phone pointed to the ground. This was the drop that cracked the back of the iPhone 12 in our previous drop test, but the Mini fared better.
The phone hit a little bit at an angle again, but this time the side of the phone hit the ground first and then rotated on the other side, bouncing back into the air and then falling back down again face down.
The damage to the aluminum frame was significantly worse and the top right corner of the phone on top of the camera had dents. But the back of the phone (and the screen itself) still looked flawless.
Drop 3: 6 feet, 6 inches, screen side down
While you are less likely to drop your phone from this height, it is still possible if you take a photo (or even a selfie for taller people) from this height.
Again, the Mini landed with the screen down, but it didn’t land completely flat. The top of the phone hits first, causing it to fly again and make a 360-degree turn before landing screen-down on the sidewalk again.
The screen survived again, but the frame around it had more dents. One of the dents in the aluminum frame almost seemed to penetrate the glass where the two met, and I was worried it would compromise the screen.
Drop 4: 6 feet, 6 inches, back side down
We then replicated the fall with the back of the phone facing down.
This time the back of the phone landed almost flat on the ground, but the impact bounced back up and over, landing with the screen down.
The back glass was still intact, but both camera lenses were damaged. The ultra-wide camera had a visible crack running through the side, while the frame and lens on the rear camera underneath had a few small dents. The crack was not visible through the viewfinder when we opened the camera app, but it could potentially cause lens flares and keep breaking over time.
Drop 5 and 6: 9 feet, screen side down
Since both the glass on the front and back of the iPhone 12 Mini were still intact, we decided to raise the bar and take the phone to three meters. Chris had to drop them off a stepladder, and it became more difficult to make them fall flat as intended.
The first drop was a wash as the screen barely made contact with the floor. The phone landed on the top part of the metal frame and bounced around a bit so we tried again.
The second time, it landed with the screen facing the ground, flipped in mid-air, and finally came up with the screen up. The metal frame looked like a war zone at this point, but the screen was completely fine.
The dent in the top right of the frame continued to grow, but the ceramic screen survived.
Drop 7: 9 feet, back side down
We repeated this drop with the back of the phone facing the ground, but from that height it didn’t stop after the initial impact and did numerous somersaults in the air before landing with the back facing the ground.
This fall has finally done some damage to the back of the phone. It had three hairline fractures starting in the lower right corner: two small ones and a longer one that extended along the frame almost to the upper right corner.
Let’s break it down
Based on our drop tests of the iPhone 12 and now the iPhone 12 Mini, the ceramic shield is the strongest part of these phones. Both the lens and back of the iPhone 12 Mini cracked during our drop tests, but the sidewalk was no match. in front of the screen, covered with the ceramic shield, which survives successive falls from extreme heights.
That said, you might want to at least put a thin cover on the phone to protect the camera and keep the frame looking like new. At least that’s what Apple suggested when we shared the results.
“The iPhone 12 models have undergone rigorous field testing and are designed to be durable, but not indestructible. If someone is concerned about dropping and damaging their iPhone, we recommend using one of the many beautiful cases that available to protect the iPhone. ”