Please recommend me a smartphone that is actually durable (won't break when I drop it on the floor).
October 9, 2011 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend me a smartphone that is actually durable (won't break when I drop it on the floor).

So I've had a Sony Ericsson C702, which is a normal mobile phone (the style that came before touch screen smart phones). It's really hardy - for example, the worst I've ever done to it was kick it along a road when I was drunk a while ago and it easily survived that. I'm not saying I want a smartphone that I can do that to, I'm just saying that when it comes to using phones, my clumsiness would make having an iphone pointless, as I regularly drop my phone and would easily break such a thing.

Can someone recommend me a smartphone I can get in the UK that is durable. Note, I already have a smartphone sim, so I would need to be able to buy it without a contract. Also, I'm not very interested in spending tons of money, so £100 would be the maximum (I'd settle for it being second hand).
posted by sockpim to Technology (32 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not a phone rec... but try using a silicone case. Mine has saved my phone's life more than I can count. The slight tackiness makes it a lot harder to drop the phone, and if you do, it really cushions the impact.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2011

I have the American version of the HTC Desire Z, and it's a tough little chunk. But even so, I keep it in an Otter Box case (best case I've ever had, btw). Getting a quality case for whatever phone you get is much cheaper and probably more effective than just buying a whole new phone.
posted by katillathehun at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2011

My HTC Desire has survived 3 or 4 drops (one onto tarmac) and come away with just a tiny dent. I don't use a case/skin at all but using one would definitely add to the phone's robustness.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2011

Another vote for HTC re. durability - I'm not entirely happy with mine otherwise, but it seems to be taking the abuse pretty OK.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:05 PM on October 9, 2011

A PAYG smartphone for under £100? That's a bit tricky. I think you're just going to have to trawl eBay, watch HotUKDeals carefully, and buy a good case when you get one.

(FWIW, I've dropped my iPhone countless times and it's not got a scratch on it, knock wood.)
posted by Magnakai at 12:07 PM on October 9, 2011

I have dropped (onto concrete, wooden flooring, carpet, grass/dirt, ceramic tiles) my Samsung Galaxy S innumerable times, and apart from a few scratches it has survived a year's use absolutely fine.

However, it was on contract, and without contract it would be considerably more than £100, I believe.

I'm not sure you would find a smartphone without a contract for less than £100, although someone may prove me wrong.
posted by Petrot at 12:07 PM on October 9, 2011

I dropped my HTC Hero countless times - it would split into three (back cover, battery, front bit) but still works perfectly.
posted by goo at 12:07 PM on October 9, 2011

Have a look at Carphone Warehouse's pay-as-you-go phone-finder to find a smartphone within your budget, and once you have an idea, look for reviews that mention durability.
posted by Petrot at 12:11 PM on October 9, 2011

I've dropped my Samsung Focus on the ground and into water multiple times and it still works great. The screen is made out of some fancy material that doesn't scratch, so you can't even tell how clumsy I am from looking at it.
posted by oinopaponton at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2011

Gorilla glass plus an Otter Box case will get you as close to indestructible as smartphones get.
posted by mhoye at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a blackberry pearl, and I drop it all the time and it still works. It has even survived being dropped into water. Twice. I am super-clumsy and would never buy a fragile phone for that reason.
(also I love it to bits, I think everyone should buy one, so I may be just a little biased)
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My American Samsung galaxy s is really durable. It's fallen onto carpet, wood floors, tile, concrete, and even been accidentally kicked once. It's got a few scratches from before I got a silicone case, and the charger needs a little bit of fiddling to work after the kick, but overall it's pretty durable. I've not dropped it in water, though.

I'll also nth the otter box cases. My boyfriend met the company owner a few years back when the company just got started, and my boyfriend asked what the company did. The guy took his phone out and full-on pitched it across the room. The phone was fine.
posted by lilac girl at 12:32 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

LG Optimus is inexpensive and on every carrier in the US...mine's contract-free on Virgin Mobile. it's a tough little bugger and I've dropped it a bunch...seems to me that the engineers have figured out that if the back pops off and the battery comes out, phones will survive impacts 'crumple zones' in cars...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:40 PM on October 9, 2011

Data point: an otter box has saved my iPhone in several falls on to cement.
posted by itstheclamsname at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gorilla glass plus an Otter Box case will get you as close to indestructible as smartphones get.

This. My partner who's about 250+ pounds sat on his Samsung Captivate S, dropped it and who knows what else (he's rough on phones) and I've dropped mine in coffee and on concrete, both still work and we both use an Otter Box on our phones.
posted by squeak at 1:11 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I asked this previously, albeit for US phones. FWIW, I know three other farmers who use the otterbox for their iPhones and seem pretty pleased with it. My otterboxed iPhone has survived a lot of crap (literally!) on it as well as being dropped all the time and splashed with various fluids pretty regularly.
posted by stet at 1:18 PM on October 9, 2011

I've dropped my iPhone a bunch of times and it works. But I keep it in a leather case, which might pad it a little more than some other cases.

(Although sometimes when I drop it it says "no SIM card". Something comes loose inside, I think. If I hit it enough times it gets back into place.)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2011

I second sexyrobot with the LG Optimus, a great little phone with Android. I dropped mine so many times on a lot of different surfaces and it dismantles itself but always survived!
posted by ddaavviidd at 2:13 PM on October 9, 2011

1. Recommend for me…
2. The Samsung Galaxy S series rules.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing that using a protective case will reasonably cushion any smartphone against falls. Having a case also makes it less likely to slip out of your hand or slide off a table. My iPhone has survived multiple drops thanks to a silicone case, including a fall off a second floor balcony onto cobblestone!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 3:39 PM on October 9, 2011

Seconding the Blackberry Perl for durabilty. Mine was dropped daily fell in water twice and once in salsa with no ill effects after 14 months of use. I finally replaced it when the screen got a small crack when using it to light a night time diaper change I accidently threw it on a wood floor, stepped on it in the dark trying to pick it up and ended up kicking it down a flight of stairs (needless to say this woke the baby). It tended to pop the battery after a hard hit rather than craclking etc...
posted by saradarlin at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2011

Nthing Otterbox, for whatever you get. I use the "commute" (silicone case with a plastic outer bit); there's also a chunkier case that's better drop protection, but not designed to be shoved in a pocket.
posted by Alterscape at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2011

I've seen iPhones break. I've also dropped mine with no injury to it. I really think the case can be a decisive factor here.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:35 PM on October 9, 2011

I threw my old Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro across the room at a wall (3-4 metres away), hard. It bounced off the wall and kept going. It's happened three times. I haven't tried it with my new Xperia Mini Pro, but my anecdata says S-E phones are rugged as hell.
posted by rodgerd at 4:52 PM on October 9, 2011

I don't know if they have the Motorola Defy or something similar in the UK, but it has not been reliable for me despite being supposedly bulletproof. I broke 3 in a row in a span of 4 months. Even my new Galaxy S is more durable.
posted by skyl1n3 at 5:49 PM on October 9, 2011

Get any Nokia smartphone. Symbian is somewhat outdated and Nokia is replacing it with Windows Phone on future devices, but for basic smartphone operation like email, web and some apps should be enough. However, their mechanical reliability is unmatched. I would look into the E6 or E7. If you want the latest version of Symbian, which basically matches it in usability to Android, I'd look at the Nokia 600, 700 or 701, that were just announced and will be available soon (disclaimer: I work for Nokia).
posted by falameufilho at 6:05 PM on October 9, 2011

True dat. My nokia e63 is indestructible under extreme conditions, including ambient temps of 30 below. Clunky and slow but you cannot kill it and the battery lasts forever.
posted by spitbull at 7:19 PM on October 9, 2011

I dropped my Desire (phone not desire) and the screen was cactus. $245 for a fix.

We have purchased 12 Motorola Defies (Defy) at work to be used as inexpensive field audit devices- Camera and approx GPS co-ordinates. These aren't beautiful phones by any stretch, but they are tougher and cheaper than most/ Our rational is if one gets lost or broken it's no big deal. We also have a requirement for Android for ease of development.
posted by the noob at 4:11 AM on October 10, 2011

£100 is a tricky budget for smartphones. My ZTE Blade was £100 on pay-as-you-go, sold in the UK as the Orange San Francisco (it was the easiest thing in the world to unlock so I could use it on O2 and root so I could upgrade to Android 2.3, mainly using the guides on that website). I now have it in a cheapo screen protector and silicone case from Ebay and it's survived many drops onto our (carpeted) floors at home and in the office. I can't speak to whether it would survive landing on the pavement, though.

Advantages of the Blade/San Francisco:
£100 new in the shop; you can probably find it for less online.
800x480 screen; not iPhone 4-bothering but a step up from the 480x320 you usually find on budget phones.
the touch-screen is sensitive enough that I don't notice any practical difference switching between it and my 2010-generation iPod Touch

with a 600mhz processor, it's not powerful. With Android 2.3 installed the interface is slick enough, it'll happily run the Kindle software and various other ebook readers, and even simpler games like Angry Birds are fine. Load a complex web page full of flashing gifs and complex layouts and it gets a bit laggy, though. Downloading the Opera browser from the Market helps with that. Stuff like mefi and anywhere that has a proper mobile site is fine.
It's an older gen of CPU, too, so it won't run Flash and you can't install Firefox.
When I first got mine, the GPS was off by a couple of hundred metres. It's sorted itself out now, but I'll never trust it again!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:02 AM on October 10, 2011

also would second the HTC hero. A colleague of mine has it and says it's been quite good. Having the protruding or slightly raised bottom part of the phone where the buttons are also helps. so when it hits the ground the screen does not come in contact with the ground. I actually think this feature should be kept on most phones
posted by chinabound at 7:18 AM on October 10, 2011

sorry, what I am meaning to say is that any phone that has the design such that it's not possible for the screen to come in contact with the ground would probably be best
posted by chinabound at 7:19 AM on October 10, 2011

Response by poster: That's gives me a lot of different phones and cases to research and think about. Thanks guys.
posted by sockpim at 2:59 PM on October 11, 2011

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