The glass-heavy design language of Samsung’s mid-range and flagship smartphones these days warrants the use of a case for anyone not willing to risk seeing the glass shatter and pay a huge price to get it fixed. When your phone has a slab of glass on the front and back, it’s prone to damage no matter how durable it may be. Of course, luck’s a huge factor in deciding whether a drop will let your phone get by with a few minor scratches or make it shatter on impact, but Samsung isn’t sitting around idle, either. For its latest flagships, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, the company has made a few key design changes to improve durability compared to the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Stronger metal, thicker glass equals higher durability
First, the front glass has been made slightly thicker – the S9’s front glass’ thickness value stands at 0.6T, while the S8’s was 0.5T. Just thicker glass isn’t enough, however, so Samsung has also upgraded the metal on the sides of the device. The company has used AL 7003 high-strength aluminum on the S9, and AL 7003 doesn’t deform as much as AL 6013, the aluminum used on the Galaxy S8. The metal rim on the S9 and S9+ is 0.2 mm thicker, and thanks to the stronger type of aluminum, the metal transfers 1.2 times less shock to the glass around it upon drop impact.
That might not seem like much, but when that glass is curved, as on every Samsung flagship these days, we’re guessing even such small improvements can do wonders. These build changes do mean the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are slightly thicker (0.5 and 0.4 mm respectively) than the S8 or S8+, but we’re told that’s also partly because of the repositioned fingerprint sensor and because Samsung wanted to keep the same battery capacities (3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh).
Again, when fortune smiles on you, you can get away with dropping a flagship phone bought with your hard-earned money without much damage. But there’s only so much luck can do for you, so it’s great to see Samsung has taken the necessary steps – however minor – to make its latest flagships more durable than the ones that came before.
For more on the Galaxy S9, check out our extensive coverage.