Do you judge a smartphone by its weakest components? In his most recent durability test on the JerryRigEverything channel, YouTuber Zack Nelson identified one slightly-less-sturdy element of the otherwise highly durable Samsung Galaxy Note9: the buttons, which are removable and pop out easily just by prying with a fingernail.
Is this actually an issue? In reality, probably not. The buttons are tethered in strongly enough that a fall wouldn't likely send the buttons tumbling. The most likely avenue for abuse is if someone near you feels like playing an extremely unpleasant prank. But after popping the buttons back in, Nelson says everything still functions fine. What's more, it's unclear whether the same thing could be said for previous Samsung flagships — Nelson gave the S9's sides a good scraping as well, but didn't really pry under them like he does with the Note9. More likely than not, buttons would pop off a wide variety of devices given a good pry.
But, hey, this is the Note9 we're talking about. As our own David Ruddock writes, it's probably the best phone you can get right now. Since standards are so high, it's only reasonable that us tech journalists and analysts get a little nitpicky.
Apart from the button issue (or, rather, non-issue), the Note9's durability falls in line with the Samsung Galaxy S9, which also performed well against JerryRigEverything's series of trials.
The most satisfying part of the durability test: the S Pen snap.
The smartphone's tempered Gorilla Glass 5 begins to scratch when Nelson uses a level-6 pick, which is on par with most smartphones, and should mean that the device will hold up well when rubbing up against keys in your pocket. That glass covers the camera lenses as well. The only piece on the rear or front that isn't protected is the fingerprint sensor, but even that continues to work well after scratched, according to Nelson.
Among the most impressive trials Nelson put the handset through was the burn test. The AMOLED display lasted 15 seconds under a burning flame from a lighter before the screen was marred with a white blotch. Even so, it recovered quickly, going fully back to normal (minus the evaporation of the oleophobic coating).
While the device itself stayed rigid when Nelson attempted to bend it, the S Pen naturally snapped with ease — which is to be expected, but is still fun to watch in a demented sort of way, which generally sums up JerryRigEverything's durability tests. Want to see a beautiful phone marred beyond decency? Nelson's got you covered. Just make sure to keep your hand on the mute button to avoid metal-on-metal screeching when you watch. Or not, if that's what you're into.
- Jerry Rig Everything