The LG V10 has been criticized for being a bit on the chunky side, but that casing comes with the advertised benefit of MIL-STD-810G drop and shock resistance. I’ve been critical of the smartphone industry of late for building pretty phones, but phones that don’t seem well designed to survive daily lifestyle abuse without assistance. I usually use my phones naked (in that the phone is used without a case, not that I am sans clothes). I reserve my case use for specific situations. Trip to the grocery store? No case. Aggressive hike in the hills? Rugged case. Fancy night out? Maybe a wallet case.
I’m not saying a phone should look pristine after a couple of years of “no case” use, I earn my scratches and dents, but the device should still be functional.
My criticisms were partially confirmed last year with the Galaxy Note 5. While walking around Times Square during a trip to New York City, the glass back helped the phone slide out of my camera bag. The phablet fell from waist height onto asphalt and landed perfectly on its aluminum side. To the phone’s credit, the front and back glass were almost completely intact, but there was a tiny dent in the side of the phone. The impact had rippled through the device, liquefying the internals. The screen lit up for a couple hours afterward, but the device failed to charge, sync, or connect to my computer. It’s the only review device I’ve ever destroyed.
Fast forward to last Thursday, and it’s my turn to make a grocery store run. If you remember from the top of this article, grocery store visits are a “no case” situation. The size of the V10 means that it stays in a cup holder instead of a windshield mount, and it’s upside down to keep it connected to my car charger. Exiting the car, my Huawei Watch alerts me to a text, so as I’m grabbing the phone, I flick my wrist to swivel the phone in my fingers like I’m some kind of cool guy who does pen flipping tricks.
The momentum of standing up while performing this move provides the phone enough momentum to leave my fingers. Time slows to a crawl as I watch the V10 lazily arc, a slow parabola with a backspin. It finishes its descent, landing perfectly on its side, and bouncing off the side of a concrete parking divider. My stomach is in my throat. I really like this phone.
The phone is face down on the ground, so I can’t immediately see if there’s any damage. Picking it up, there appears to be a grey scrape from where the phone first hit concrete. I carefully flip it over to see…
The phone looked fine. I hit the power button. The screen lights up and my fingerprint unlocks the device, as per usual. I swipe around the UI for a bit, fire up the camera, everything seems to be working like it should. I run my thumb over the grey smudge on the side rail and it wipes off. A little more thumb buffing, and I can’t see any evidence of the impact on the metal.
The only blemish is on the one accessory I do keep on the V10, a tempered glass screen protector, chipped where I assume the phone hit the concrete. Since the drop, the chip has become a small crack, so I’ll have to replace that soon, but the V10 survived like a champ.
This is of course one anecdotal experience, and not meant to be taken as an endorsement for people to test the ballistic qualities of their smartphones. I got really lucky that the V10 wasn’t damaged by the drop.
Am I more likely to use a case for that grocery store run? Nope. Though I have been a bit more deliberate in how I pull the phone out of my car’s cup holder…