Most of us have dropped a smartphone at some point and felt that lurch of panic as we bent to pick it up and inspect the damage. Chipped frames, rattling buttons, and cracked or shattered screens are all too common. Half of the world鈥檚 population has experienced a cracked smartphone screen, according to Motorola research. And they鈥檙e so expensive and inconvenient to get fixed that 43 percent of people don鈥檛 bother 鈥?they use the phone as is, or they get rid of it.
Little wonder, then, that smartphone case sales are booming. The mobile accessories market worldwide was worth $81.5 billion last year, according to ABI Research. The top category, and also the fastest growing, is protective cases.
鈥淐ompanies can conduct their own tests and therefore make their own claims.”
We test a lot of smartphone cases here at Digital Trends and we know that drop protection is one of the key concerns for buyers. That鈥檚 why we often recommend cases that boast military drop test standards on the box. You鈥檇 expect to be able to drop your phone on the sidewalk and find it undamaged if it鈥檚 wearing a case that鈥檚 tough enough for the military, wouldn鈥檛 you?
Sadly, these standards may not be as stringent as you think. It turns out that not all military drop tests are created equal. We spoke to the experts behind some of the best smartphone cases on the market to find out what those certifications really mean.
Military drop tests vary greatly
At Pelican, the same case is dropped 20 times from 1.2 meters (4 feet) and then from 1.8 meters (6 feet) onto hardwood over concrete.
Related:聽10 best iPhone 7 Plus cases to protect your Apple phone
鈥淲e don鈥檛 want to see any damage to the device, if there鈥檚 any damage to the device, we go back to the drawing board and redesign the case,鈥?Andy Comerford, Consumer Sales Manager EMEA for Peli Products told Digital Trends. 鈥淪ome people only drop it a few times and call that a military drop test.鈥?/p>
This lack of consistent standards that can be verified is a real problem and it undermines the reliability of the military drop test standard claim.