What is an item you use every day? Something you can’t live without? Many people answer these questions with “my cell phone”. This important device can easily last three to four years, but how is that possible? In this article, we take a look at the rigorous testing that manufacturers put their mobile phones to the test.
The standard tests that each manufacturer performs
Mobile phones are tested before mass production. But also during production as a sample. This way the manufacturer is sure that they can take a beating. These are some of those tests.
- Dropping the smartphone
The best-known and perhaps the most notorious test is the drop test. Compare this with the crash tests a car undergoes. There are several variants of this test. For example, there is a kind of long cupboard that rotates and in which the mobile always falls to the other side. There are also glass display cases in which smartphones are hoisted up and released from a height of approximately one meter. Sometimes there is an employee who maps out any damage.
- Switching the smartphone on and off
Switching a mobile phone on and off all day long: it must be one of your duties. Fortunately, this is a job robots can do. With phones from the Oppo brand, all buttons are pressed no less than 100,000 times.
- Press volume buttons
The physical volume buttons on mobile phones should last as long as the device itself. That is why they are sometimes pressed for days on end by a button-pressing robot that does not get tired of this. He can easily dedicate 100,000 repetitions to this!
- Screen testing
No longer are screens and buttons separate; the touchscreens must therefore not only maintain good image quality, but also continue to detect our touches. There are machines for testing this use thousands of times in a row. Extreme pressure is also put on screens to see what they can withstand.
- Turning airplane mode on and off
Airplane mode is not only useful on the plane, as more and more people are discovering. This handy function is therefore turned on and off again and again. A similar robot is used for this when the robot tests this screen touches.
- Testing the charger port
The phone needs to be connected to the charger almost every day. It is therefore important that the charging port continues to work flawlessly. At manufacturer Oppo, the charger is plugged in and out no less than 10,000 times. And Nokia has been known to twirl its cell phones in a drum of denim to simulate the friction and lint of trouser pockets.
- Extreme temperatures and humidity
Cell phones are used all over the world: from the tundra to the jungle and from the desert to high mountain peaks. They must therefore work in any climate. Manufacturers, therefore, test their phones to withstand temperatures between -40 ºC and 70 °C. They also test the smartphones at high humidity. In addition, rapid temperature fluctuations are simulated.
Tests that depend on the manufacturer or phone model
The above tests are done on all brands. But there are also tests that depend on the model or features of a phone.
- Testing the headphone jack
Even though phones are increasingly equipped with USB connections or simply work with Bluetooth earphones, there are still phones with a headphone jack. To test it, the plug is plugged in and unplugged thousands of times.
- Keeping intruders out
The IP rating, which measures dust and water resistance, is also put to the test. How deep and how long will the cell phone last in a container of water? And can it handle a trip through a tank of ultra-fine sand? There’s only one way to find out.
- Stone centrifuge
There are manufacturers who spin their mobile phones in a kind of centrifuge with stones to test the scratch resistance of the screen.
- How many times can it unfold?
The ‘flip’ mechanism of foldable smartphones is being tested. It is important that the hinge can handle tens of thousands of repetitions.
Are smartphones getting weaker or stronger?
The Nokia 3310 from 2000 is a phone that many of us have owned. It was built to the Finnish values of durability and reliability. For this, this manufacturer used polycarbonates: a type of plastic that is also used for police shields and safety goggles.
The extensive testing that Nokia was known for helped to create a rock-solid design. On YouTube, we see how he effortlessly survives a fall from a height of more than 300 meters.
Cell phones that came out in later years seemed to become more and more fragile. Experiments were carried out with materials that were perhaps more attractive to the eye, but which made a crack or a defect in a small corner.
Also, as many gadgets as possible had to be crammed in, which brought the vulnerable elements closer to the surface.
Is there a trend to go back to the indestructibility of the Nokia 3310? It appears so. For example, manufacturers want increasingly higher dust and water resistance ratings for their smartphones.
How to take care of a sturdy mobile phone yourself
Despite rigorous testing of cell phones, they remain fragile devices. Protect your mobile phone with a phone case. Preferably choose a model with raised edges to prevent the screen from breaking.
You can supplement this ‘phone case’ with a screen protector. Safety glass is the best material for this; it absorbs and distributes the impact, breaking the protector, but the screen of your mobile remains intact.
Time for a new smartphone? Then take a good look at the materials it is made of. Plastic can be very fragile. Aluminum and glass offer greater resistance.
And if you really want a very strong telephone, take a look at the special construction phones that are available on the market. They don’t need covers!