It started when I felt a small ridge, a blemish, on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra perfect shot of gleaming Gorilla Glass.
My finger caught on something I couldn’t see. I absently ran my finger back and forth across the screen, which currently displayed my Twitter account. Did I feel something? No… no, wait… there it is.
I stopped reading angry tweets and started scanning the screen as my mind flashed back to two days earlier.
Standing in my kitchen, I fumbled for the 6.8-inch Android 12 smartphone (which I’d been using frequently, especially for its stellar photography skills), it slipped out of my hands and clattered on the tiled floor just a few feet higher. down.
“What was that? Was that your phone?” my wife called from the other room.
I quickly snatched the device upside down from the ground. It’s housed in a Samsung rubber case, so I wasn’t too worried. I looked at it, didn’t notice any breakage, and yelled back, “Yeah, that’s fine.”
“Why are only my phones broken?” my wife asked.
First, I don’t drop phones. In almost 20 years of testing them, I have never broken a review unit. I once dropped a 12.9-inch iPad Pro on a glass table, cracking the screen, but it was arguably an unwieldy tablet. I don’t drop phones…or rather, I didn’t.
Now, on the train, running my finger over what I realized was a crack, I understood what I had done.
Looking closer, I could see a hairline fissure snaking up from the top of the phone, just above and to the right of the selfie camera, almost two-thirds of the way down the screen to the right edge.
When the phone is on, you can hardly notice it unless a letter falls just below the crack and splits into two slightly offset halves.
This should not have happened.
With the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung built a phone from the original Galaxy Note design foundation. It’s a big, solid, stiff, but not unpleasant to hold device at 229 grams which, by the looks of it, should take a drop or two.
The phone is wrapped in Gorilla Glass Victus+ (which is Qualified by Corning to withstand drops of up to 2 meters). It covers that rear and my now damaged 6.8 inch AMOLED screen. Also, I had it in a case.
You may be wondering why I didn’t come to this conclusion when I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The fact is that I do not drop test review units, devices that have been temporarily issued to me by manufacturers and have every expectation will be returned in reasonably pristine condition.
I’m happy to submerge them in water, but not drop them on concrete knowing that, even if they don’t break, they’ll have some unsightly scratches. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do that with a team you don’t have.
Also, my review process reflects how I would use these products if I had them. I usually don’t drop tech (or anything really).
Still, here I am, confronted with the result of an unplanned drop test, and the results are not good.
A three foot (or 1 meter) drop of the cased smartphone should not have resulted in this crack. However, I understand that with any device with a glass screen, all you need to do is find the optimal stress point and where the physics are just right to fracture even the toughest screen.
At least this is a clean crack and not a break, you know, the ones that make the screen unusable and even dangerous to touch (those little glass shards). This is a break that, while substantial, you really have to look closely to see, or turn off the screen, which seems to make it stand out more.
It is also worth noting that the screen crack does not in any way affect the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s as quick and fun to use as ever, until my finger skips that fine, sharp edge. That break also means the device is no longer sealed against the elements. I would confidently not drop it in a bucket of water or use it in the rain for too long.
I’m disappointed in myself for my clumsiness, and a little disappointed in the Galaxy S22 Ultra for not being up to such a short drop.
Not a great look for this Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but I’d caution against assuming all S22 Ultras are prone to brittleness. My guess is that the drop caught the top edge of the phone and that a screen drop first might have had a different result.
On the other hand, get a case for your Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and hold on tight.