Testers dropped $18,000 worth of phones, and the toughest model is …

WASHINGTON — News flash: Smartphones are not cheap.

Full of addictive, time-wasting distractions important productivity tools, these tiny machines justify that sizable monthly expense. But with so much money on the line, durability is as much of a necessity as a good camera or speedy processor.

Leave it to the fine folks at Tom’s Guide to do a durability test that involved dropping “$18,000 worth of phones.” (Trigger warning: That link contains pictures and video of the testing.)

“We looked at the ways and the types of carpeting and materials that people really drop their phones onto,” senior review editor Mike Prospero explained, “and then we set up a test to see how well the phones would last once they fell on wood and once they fell on concrete — and even if they fell into a toilet.”

So which phone is toughest? Prospero told WTOP’s Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard that it’s a phone that isn’t marketed as extraordinarily tough: The Moto Z2 Force (with a score of 8.5 out of a possible 10). It survived drops onto 6 feet of concrete and barely had a scratch.

The rest of the tough top five (of 12 models tested) include the LG X Venture (with a score of 6.6), the Apple iPhone X (6.2), the LG V30 (6.0) and the Samsung Galaxy S9 (6.0).

The softest of the bunch was also from Apple: the iPhone SE (3.9). It tapped out during the testing early on, Prospero said, because of its weaker materials and older design.

Even if you’ve invested in one of the better-scoring phones, Prospero recommends that you buck up just a little more for peace of mind.

“Get a screen protector and a case for your phone,” he said, “because as we all know, to our chagrin, phones are going to slip out of our hands occasionally. And even though we found that some phones do survive even from higher elevations, it’s still good to have that extra level of protection.”

(Especially if it falls in the toilet.)

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Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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