It all started when I felt a small ridge – an imperfection – on the perfect shot of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s shimmering Gorilla Glass.
My finger caught on something I couldn’t see. I absently swiped my finger across the screen, which was currently showing my Twitter feed. Did I feel something? Nah… no, wait… that’s it.
I stopped reading angry tweets and started examining the screen as my mind flashed back to two days ago.
Standing in my kitchen, I fumbled around with the 6.8-inch Android 12 smartphone, which I used frequently, especially for its stellar photography chops. It slipped away from me and slammed onto the tiled floor about a meter below.
” What was that ? Was that your phone? my wife called from the other room.
I quickly ripped the lying device off the ground. It’s tucked away in a white rubber Samsung case, so I wasn’t too concerned. I looked at him, noticed there was no pause, and yelled back, “Yeah. It’s okay.”
“Why are only my phones breaking?” asked my wife.
First, I don’t drop phones. In nearly 20 years of testing, I have never broken a review unit. I once dropped a 12.9-inch iPad Pro on a glass coffee table, shattering the screen, but it was no doubt an unwieldy tablet. I don’t drop phones…or rather, I didn’t.
Now, on the train, running my finger over what I now realized was a crack, I realized what I had done.
The closer I looked, the more I could see that this thin crack, which starts at the top of the phone just above and to the right of the selfie camera, and meanders like the Amazon down nearly two-thirds of the face of the screen to the right edge.
When the phone is on, you can barely notice it, unless a letter falls right under the crack and then splits into two slightly misplaced halves.
It shouldn’t have happened.
With the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung has built a phone brick from the original Galaxy Note design base. It’s a big, solid, stiff, but not uncomfortable to hold, 229-gram device that, from the looks of it, should be ready for a drop or two.
The phone is wrapped in Gorilla Glass Victus+ (which is rated by Corning to withstand drops of up to 2 meters). It covers that back and my now-damaged 6.8-inch AMOLED screen. Also, I had it in a case.
You might be wondering why, when I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, I didn’t come to this conclusion sooner. The reality is, and I’ve made no secret of this, that I don’t do drop tests with review units, devices that are temporarily given to me by manufacturers that they expect them to are returned in reasonably immaculate condition.
I’m happy to drop them in water, but groping them on concrete and knowing that even if they don’t break their smooth, shiny bodies will get unsightly scratches, I don’t think that’s a good idea. to do that with equipment you don’t have.
Also, my review process tends to reflect how I would use these products if I owned them. I generally don’t let technology (or really anything) down.
Yet here I am faced with the result of an unplanned drop test and the results are not good.
A three foot (or 1 meter) drop of the smartphone with case should not have resulted in this crack, although I understand that with any glass screen device all you have to do is find the point of optimal stress and where the physics is just right to shatter even the toughest screen.
At least it’s a clean crack and not a shard – you know, the ones that render the screen unusable and even dangerous to touch (those tiny shards of glass). It’s a break that, while substantial, you really have to watch closely to see it or turn off the screen, which seems to put it on display a bit better.
It should also be noted that the screen crack does not affect the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in any way. It’s still so quick and fun to use – until my finger jumps over that thin, pointy edge. This break also means that the device is no longer weatherproof. I wouldn’t confidentially drop it in a bucket of water or even use it for too long in the rain.
I’m disappointed in myself for my clumsiness and, a bit, in the Galaxy S22 Ultra for not being up to such a short fall.
It’s not a great look for this Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but I caution against assuming that all S22 Ultras are prone to similar fragility. My guess is that the drop caught the top edge of the phone and the first screen drop might have had a different result.
On the other hand, get a case on your Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and hold it firmly.
- I want to know what I was thinking