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Spoiler alert: We weren’t able to crack these phones, but we did manage to break the cameras. What will it take to crack the glass on the iPhone 11 and ? That’s the question I’m asking myself after putting these phones through eight different drop tests, each time onto hard concrete. Try as I might, the glass on these phones just wouldn’t crack. But that doesn’t mean the phones were damage-free.
At Apple’s September event, Kaiann Drance, Apple’s senior director of product marketing, said the iPhone 11 glass is the “toughest ever in a smartphone, on the front and back.” We know that glass is , the company behind Gorilla Glass.
It’s not the first time Apple has made such claims. Last year, marketing chief Phil Schiller said the iPhone XS had “the most durable glass ever built into a smartphone.” .
The iPhone XR, however, wasn’t so lucky. On the .
We decided to change things up with this year’s drop test. Our test zone was a concrete floor and to make the drops as consistent as possible, CNET Managing Producer Chris Parker built a system that helped each phone fall directly on the screen or on the back. While the drop machine didn’t guarantee the phones would land in the desired position every time, it did help us test in a controlled way.
Of course, these tests were not scientific, but they do give us an idea of how the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro fare when dropped without a case.
After each drop, I checked:
- The screen for scratches or cracks
- The back and camera for scratches or cracks
- If the screen still worked
- If the camera still worked
Here’s what happened.
Drop 1: 3 feet on the screen and the back
For the first drop I positioned the iPhone 11 to land screen side down. Falling from 3 feet (1 meter), which is about hip (or pocket) height, the phone was not damaged at all when it landed on the screen.
The iPhone 11 Pro gave the same result. There was no visible damage and everything still worked as expected.
I repeated the drop with both phones, except this time they fell on their backs. Same as when they fell screen-side down, there was no damage to report.
Drop 2: 6 feet on the screen and the back
For the next round of drops we took the machine to 6 feet and repeated the same drops.
The iPhone 11 had no damage at all when dropped on the screen or the back.
But the results were a little different for the iPhone 11 Pro. After it fell screen down on the first drop, I could see a small area of discolored or damaged pixels towards the bottom of the screen. There were no cracks on the glass itself, however, and the screen still worked as normal.
Drop 3: 8 feet on the screen and back
I wanted to take these phones even higher, so we set our machine to its limit: 8 feet, 7 inches.
Dropping the iPhone 11 on its screen, the glass again did not crack. But when dropping it on its back, it sustained some damage: a minor scuff on the aluminum bumper and a cosmetic scratch on the top lens housing. The camera itself still worked.
The iPhone 11 Pro fell on its screen first and added a few more small damaged pixels, this time higher up on the screen. Like the iPhone 11, it had some minor cosmetic damage to the camera housing.
While it’s unlikely that you would drop your phone any higher than this, we took it to the next level — these phones were still usable and the glass didn’t show any signs of cracking.
Final drop: 11 feet
For the final round, we dismantled the machine and reassembled it as high as we could take it: 11 feet.
I only dropped the phones once from this height, screen-side down. The iPhone 11 fell first on a corner, flipped, then landed screen side down. The iPhone 11 Pro fell first on its side, flipped and landed on its back.
Again, the glass did not break on either of the two phones — on the front or back. The iPhone 11’s rear camera stopped working altogether and just showed a black screen when I opened the Camera app, although the TrueDepth camera was fine. I restarted the phone just to double-check and the camera still showed a black screen.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s SIM card tray popped out when it landed but I was able to push it back in. Then, I ran my finger around the edge of the phone and felt a small bulge where the screen did not sit perfectly flush with the stainless steel frame. There was also an area of discoloration at the back of the phone (click to enlarge the photo below).
Does that mean the glass on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro is stronger than on previous iPhones? That’s a tough call to make given that our previous tests were not conducted in the same way. But it does show that this year’s phones can withstand a lot more drops onto concrete than we were expecting.
While neither of the phones cracked like we’ve seen in previous years, they didn’t emerge totally unscathed: The iPhone 11 Pro had some damaged pixels and the iPhone 11’s rear camera stopped working after our final drop.
I reached out to Apple for more information and the company provided the following statement: “iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro both are made from the toughest glass ever shipped in the smartphone industry on the front and back. iPhone 11 features an aerospace-grade aluminum band and iPhone 11 Pro features a stainless steel structural band. All go through rigorous real-world testing and are designed to be durable, but not indestructible. If anyone is concerned about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we suggest using one of the many beautiful cases available to protect iPhone.”
I wasn’t the only one who tested out the iPhone 11 Pro and found the glass didn’t break when dropped from extreme heights. EverythingApplePro got similar results when dropping the phones from 10 feet. However, the glass did break on the final drop, likely because one phone landed on top of the other.
For the ultimate peace of mind, we still recommend putting a case on your phone, as getting it repaired if the glass does crack can be expensive: up to $329 for the screen or $599 for the back if you don’t have AppleCare Plus coverage.
Originally published in September.
Photography expert Austin Mann pushes new MacBook Pro to its limits with incredible results – 9to5Mac
Image by Mann made from 100 stacked TIFF files on MacBook Pro
Following up on his amazing test of the iPhone 13 Pro camera in Tanzania last month, photography expert Austin Mann has shared his review of the MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip. Spoiler, Mann concludes the new MacBook Pros “will substantially affect absolutely everyone,” not just pros. Read on for a closer look at what Mann accomplished with the new notebook and the performance he saw.
After Tanzania for his incredible iPhone 13 Pro shoot, Mann spent time in Flagstaff, Arizona “testing the new MacBook Pro M1 Max w/ 64 GB RAM and 8TB SSD!” Off the top, he said, “This thing is nuts and I love it.”
Answering a question many will be asking, Mann believes these notebooks aren’t just for pros:
“Is the upgrade just for pros or is it for everyone, too?”
My resounding answer is: the upgrade in the M1 MacBook Pros will substantially affect absolutely everyone… the battery life is not just slightly better, it’s on a radically different planet. This machine stays cool and handles whatever you can throw at it, whether that’s making a family photo album in Photos or rendering an animation in After Effects.
After covering his thoughts on the return of all the I/O, sharing he is glad to see the Touch Bar removed and more, he got into testing the performance of the new MacBook Pro.
While speed is always attractive, I’ve been most curious about the efficiency and power management so I ran a few non-scientific tests… one of them went as follows:
I charged the 16″ MacBook Pro M1 Max to 100% and then disconnected from power.
First, I ran an image stack in Starry Landscape Stacker on 100 TIFF files (150MB each)… it took 4m24s to render and battery life was still at 100% (the fan remained inaudible.)
Stacking 100 TIFF files (150MB each) took 4m24s.
Second, I ran a Cinebench test, which finished in just a few minutes and still the battery was 100%.
Third, I went back the 100 TIFF image files and opened them into StarStax and processed a “Gap Filling” blend of all 100 TIFF files. This intensive process took another 2m36s and still the battery was at 100%.
To get the battery to go down even 1% here’s what he did next:
So I opened 8 images into Adobe Camera Raw and used Photomerge to create a giant panorama… this happened quickly and guess what, the battery life still showed 100%.
At this point I kind of ran out of options so I went back to Cinebench to run the test again on loop… about 2.5 minutes into that test, the battery life FINALLY dropped down to 99%.
Overall, Mann was highly impressed with the speed and efficiency:
In summary, the most impressive performance from new MacBook Pro M1 Max wasn’t just speed (it was about twice as fast) but it was insanely efficient in how it managed both its power and heat which matters as much or more than pure speed.
Mann also detailed his experience with the new Liquid Retina XDR display:
Rendering this detail was previously not possible on the MacBook Pro and it’s going to be really nice to have this display power with me in the field as it’s helpful to know what detail is there and how far I can push an image.
As for changes, Mann had two wishes:
1) I wish the SD Card slot was similar to the slot in the Sony A1 which takes BOTH SD and CF Express. This would be really handy for me today and I think more practical and useful for most creative pros in the near future.
2) Really wish there was a matte/non-glare screen option. Years ago, this was an option on Apple’s laptops and with the recent Pro Display XDR “nano-etch” anti-glare option, I was crossing my fingers we might see something similar on the M1 MacBook Pro.
Be sure to check out the full review from Mann on his website here.
Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners will need to install day-one update – MobileSyrup
According to a post on Google’s ‘Pixel Phone Help’ site, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners will need to update their phones “to get all the features.” The post explains that once users complete the phone setup, the update “automatically downloads silently in the background” and will prompt users to reboot the phone once it’s ready.
The post also recommends updating apps to the latest versions as well to ensure access to all features.
The Verge further elaborates, noting that users should look for build number ‘SD1A.210817.036’ (or ‘SD1A.210817.036.A8’ for Verizon customers). You can find that number either by opening the notification shade and swiping down again to reveal the quick settings widgets (the build number will be visible below the widgets but above the edit, power and settings buttons). Alternatively, you can head to Settings > About Phone and scroll to the bottom to see the build number.
Day-one software updates seem to be the norm these days, whether you’re picking up a new phone, laptop, game or other tech. As a reviewer, I’ve started making it common practice to set new devices aside to update after I first set them (I’ve had more than a few scenarios where a laptop performed really poorly because I hadn’t installed some critical software update yet).
As for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the day-one update is likely the cause behind some of my woes during testing. I noted in my Pixel 6 review that several features weren’t available or didn’t work (I even made sure all my apps were up to date and, as far as the Pixel 6 was concerned, Android was fully updated too). Naturally, after publishing the review, the day-one software update arrived and fixed several problems, although some features still aren’t available because I’m in Canada.
All this is to say, update your phones (and other tech)!
Self-driving “Roboats” ready for testing on Amsterdam’s canals
Visitors to Amsterdam may soon spot a self-driving watercraft the size of a small car cruising silently through its ancient canals, ferrying passengers or transporting goods or trash.
It will be the electric-powered “Roboat”, a catchier name than “autonomous floating vehicle” for a project shortly due to start test journeys aimed at improving the crowded city’s transport options.
“We have a lot of road traffic and congestion, e-commerce, logistics cluttering the small streets in the city,” said Stephan van Dijk, Innovation Director at Amsterdam’s Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, which is designing and engineering Roboat with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“At the same time we have a lot of open water available in the canals … So we developed a self-driving, autonomous ship to help with logistics in the city and also bringing people around.”
After four years of trials with smaller versions and refinements of the concept, the makers showed off the first two full-size, functional Roboats on Wednesday
One of the first test applications of the craft will be for an unglamorous but important task: trash collection.
The job is normally done by trucks, but they are a safety hazard on the city’s narrow streets and cause traffic jams. Instead, Roboats stationed at the waterside will act as floating trash containers, scooting back to base when they’re full.
The city, which is backing the project, is considering locations for a trash collection pilot project starting early next year, Van Dijk said.
Roboats will need to be connected digitally to the city’s water traffic management to avoid collisions, but Van Dijk said one big advantage is that they don’t require human drivers and “see” as well at night as during the day.
“So we can use also night-time to pick up waste and bring in construction materials into the city, while for instance leisure boating is more (active) during the day,” he said, leading to better distribution of water traffic.
Technical details of Roboat are at the project’s website https://roboat.org, including its battery performance and wireless charging system.
Below the waterline, it works somewhat like an upside down air drone: two propellers, fore and aft, and two thrusters on either side of the bow, allow it to manoeuvre nimbly, including smooth berthing that would put most human skippers to shame.
Laser imaging at the front, GPS systems on front and back, and multiple cameras on the sides help with positioning. Programming the Roboat is done from computers on shore.
It is not yet permissioned to enter the city’s normal water traffic with passengers. But longer term, the medium size and slightly boxy chassis of the 1,200 kg (2,645 lb) craft can be used for passenger, trash and transport models, and it was developed so that Roboats can link together.
Linking Robats will open the door to more one-off uses, Van Dijk said, such as creating a floating concert platform, a temporary bridge, forming a barge, or, in sea-faring versions, to form a circle of Roboats to help contain an oil spill.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling and Piroschka van de Wouw, Editing by William Maclean)
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