Top 5 Most Durable High-end Smartphones You Can Buy

Jan 25, 2013  Print Story

There are a number of factors affecting the purchase of a smartphone, such as the display, operating system, processor power, and price. Among them, I believe durability is also pretty important. There are protective cases for all types of smartphones, although they more or less make the phone look weird. I have never used protective case on my smartphones, although some of them have really needed them.

A few days ago, I picked up one of the most popular smartphones in the industry—Samsung Galaxy S3. I was impressed by the amazing hardware features it offered. However, when I picked it up, I could immediately feel the cheap plastic build of the phone that turned me off a bit. Many of Samsung’s phones lack in build quality, and that is the reason why none of the Samsung smartphones is there in this list. In the low end, probably the only Samsung device that can withstand any wear and tear is X-Cover Xtreme.

The same is the case with Sony. Xperia line of smartphones contains devices mostly of plastic build, save for Xperia P that has an aluminum unibody design.

Compare Samsung devices with those of some other manufacturers in the industry, and you will immediately feel the difference.

There are a number of water-resistant smartphones out there, including the upcoming Sony Xperia Z. However, water-resistance is definitely not the only attribute of durability. How more often do you swim with your smartphone than drop it?

In the following count-down, we have five high-end smartphones, and we will be discussing body-specific features.

6. LG Optimus G & Google Nexus 4


LG Optimus G

Optimus G is LG’s most advanced smartphone to date, and it is built with superb quality. The back of the device is made of tough DuPont Kevlar fiber and it is reinforced with a thin film of Corning Gorilla Glass. You may have heard of Kevlar; it is the same material used for building bulletproof vests.

Google Nexus 4

The smartphone’s display is protected by Gorilla Glass 2. Google Nexus 4 is also manufactured by LG and has similar hardware specifications and build quality. The Gorilla Glass at the back may be susceptible to somewhat rough use. But overall, both of these smartphones are really durable.

Buy Optimus G from Amazon or Best Buy.

5. HTC Windows Phone 8X


HTC 8X

The smartest thing about this phone is that it is pretty thin and light-weight. Coupled with its unibody design makes Windows Phone 8X one of the most durable. On the front, you have Corning Gorilla Glass 2, and the back is made of tough polycarbonate, making it suitable for rough usage.

You can get the phone at Amazon or Best Buy.

4. Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD


Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD

In terms of build quality, Motorola keeps a very high standard. Razr Maxx HD is a smartphone with a huge 4.7 inch screen and amazing hardware features. It is also slightly heavier than its competitors. It uses the first edition of Corning Gorilla Glass (the version 2 and now 3 have come out) to protect the display. This makes the glass less scratch-resistant than some other devices out there.

What really separates Razr Maxx HD is its back, which is not plastic or metal. It is made of DuPont Kevlar synthetic fiber as in Optimus G. This doesn’t make the device essentially bulletproof though! It however survives extreme levels of rough usage.

The only disadvantage is that it uses Gorilla Glass 1, and the glass could break on a six-foot drop.

Get Verizon Droid Razr Maxx HD at Verizon Wireless or Best Buy.

3. HTC One


HTC One Android phone

This is an update. HTC One is one of the most awesome Android smartphones to hit the market. It has experienced a drop test too. In an XDA Developers Forum thread, a user accidentally dropped the phone and posted about it. The phone did have a few chips on its aluminum sides. One thing that places HTC One right below iPhone 5 is the fact that it has a regular aluminum body, rather than an anodized aluminum in case of iPhone 5. The front of the phone is well protected with Gorilla Glass and that will not scratch on your occasional drops.

HTC has done a great job with the design of the phone as well. It is one of the most gorgeous Android phones in the market, and could rival the iPhone in terms of aesthetics.

The phone is available at Amazon

2. Apple iPhone 5


Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5, just as all of the previous iPhone versions, comes with pretty amazing build quality. It is very thin and probably the lightest of all high-end smartphones. Its unibody design is made using anodized aluminum, and it is slightly different from iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, which had their back covered by tough scratch-resistant glass.

We don’t have any indication that Apple is using Corning Gorilla Glass for screen protection. But on multiple drop tests, the iPhone screen didn’t show any sign of wear and tear. However, there have been complaints about scuffs on the edge of iPhone 5 after a few days of rough use. This has been identified by many users. The black ceramic finish of the phone slowly fades away to reveal the underlying silvery aluminum.

Still, we recognize iPhone 5 at the top, because you can drop it from a very tall level and you will still not break the display or the internal hardware. Another important thing is that Apple does have a patent on protecting the device, which does include an orientation device that changes the orientation of the iPhone during a free fall to make sure the phone's most impact-resistant side hits the ground first.

Buy from Apple or Best Buy (several carrier options).

1. Nokia Lumia 920


Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920 is the toughest of all smartphones out there today. Being the heaviest smartphone could have made Lumia 920 fall behind in terms of wear resistance. However, the thickness of the Gorilla Glass 2 on top of the screen protects Lumia 920 from even tall drops. It has a unibody design with the back made of polycarbonate. Read our review of Lumia 920 which offers scratch and drop tests for the device.

Lumia 920 is available from AT&T (through Best Buy) or Amazon.

Conclusion


Durability is one of the important factors that you should look for on a smartphone. With Optimus G, LG has also proved its presence among the most durable smartphone manufacturers. Apple, HTC, Motorola, and Nokia have always excelled at building phones with high-quality materials. On the other hand, Samsung and Sony have given us somewhat substandard build quality.

[Image: PhoneArena]

 
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