Watch how Verizon uses "The Tumbler" to drop a phone over 100 times in 30 minutes
How many times a year do you drop your smartphone? For most people, this is something that usually happens multiple times over every 12-months cycle. If you're lucky, with each drop the phone might somehow end up unscathed, or with a tiny mark that no one can see except for you. The worse case scenario is a cracked screen that resembles a spider web. Or is it? Actually, screens can be replaced. The worst thing that can really happen is having an internal component get damaged so badly, the phone no longer works. In a case like that, repairing the phone could cost almost as much as buying a new one.
To make sure that a fall or drop doesn't automatically doom a phone to the handset graveyard, Verizon runs a series of tests that simulates years of customer use in only 30-minutes. To make sure that the internal parts remain in working condition, while the test is run, the phone is connected to a call for the duration of the simulation. This stress test machine is called "The Tumbler" by Verizon employees involved in using it. Besides "The Tumbler," a second machine used by the carrier will drop a phone over and over and over again on a specific part of the device. A high-speed camera records the action. This machine drops phones onto the floor at a speed of 4.3 meters (14.1 feet) per second.
Both machines drop a phone more than 100 times over 30 minutes. While there are plenty of tests required by regulators that every smartphone model must pass, interestingly drop tests are not among them. These are optional tests that Big Red puts its phones through in order to make sure that the handsets sold to its customers can take an impact without going down for the count. Overall, there are 12 tests that Verizon puts its phones through before they are cleared for sale to its customers.
Check out "The Tumbler" in action by clicking on the video at the top of the story. If you cringe a little watching that phone getting tested, it just means that you care.