The iPhone SE isn't as tough as the iPhone 6s
The new iPhone SE is no different.
SquareTrade, a company that offers extended warranties for gadgets, dunked the iPhone SE in water, put it in a wooden washing machine, dropped it on concrete multiple times, and it placed in a torture bot designed to bend anything and everything.
Despite earlier reports from iFixit that the iPhone SE has similar water-proofing as the iPhone 6s, it stopped working under a minute when dropped in five feet of water. To compare, the iPhone 6s lasted 30 minutes under five feet of water, and the 6s Plus endured 10 minutes in the same test.
In SquareTrade's tumble-bot, which is basically like a wooden washing machine, the SE only suffered "minor scuffing" around the corners and edges. In the same test, the 6s apparently came out like it was new, but the 6s Plus' screen shattered.
And then came the six-foot concrete drop test. That's probably a little higher than the average drop from your hands to the floor, but it's also the most likely scenario you might encounter in real life. The iPhone SE's screen broke after the first face-down drop:
After five drops on one of its corners, the screen broke and it started splitting:
A case may be a wise purchase.
SquareTrade concluded with the good ol' fashioned bending machine. The iPhone SE could withstand up to 160 lbs of pressure before total and "catastrophic" collapse at 180 lbs of pressure. That's 10 lbs less than the 6s, but it's 90 lbs more than the iPhone 6, which bent surprisingly easily at 70 lbs of pressure, which began the #BendGate controversy.
The iPhone SE's small design should also help against bending in your pocket. Otherwise, you could prevent a shattered screen by adding a case to it, but it doesn't look like it'll survive a drop in water very well.
Here's the whole video of SquareTrade's torture tests on the iPhone SE:
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