Bend tests have become a talking point after Apple's iPhone 6 Plus was found to have issues in this department. So, whenever a new flagship smartphone comes out, you can expect someone to make a YouTube video showing how easily - or not - it can be bent. They have become so popular that reviewers can expect millions of views.
And because such tests are a given, manufacturers are also expected to learn from others' mistakes and come up with smartphone designs that fare well in these kind of conditions. So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw Google's new Nexus 6P bending - and, as a result, breaking - with very little effort. Has its manufacturer, Huawei, learnt nothing from Apple's mistake?
In this bend test, YouTubber JerryRigEverything manages to bend a brand-new Nexus 6P after seemingly applying a modest amount of pressure on its back. The result? The back bends so hard that the metal frame breaks and the screen pops out, also breaking in the process, while some parts of the device come flying out of it. It's like Hollywood was asked to produce a smartphone bend test video, only without being given a big budget to produce it.
There really is no excuse for releasing a flagship smartphone in late-2015 that fails a bend test so easily. No matter what some apologists would like you to believe, a flagship smartphone has to be durable. It is a tool, first and foremost, one which will be used in all sorts of conditions.
Users will drop it, throw it, and subject it to all sorts of forces while in their pockets, so it has to withstand that kind of abuse. And even if it's only going to be used for a year, it has to look pretty good at the end of that year.
A flagship smartphone should not be seen as a delicate thing, one that has to be handled with extreme caution. For the kind of money people are spending on one, this should not even come into discussion. If they want a very expensive thing that is delicate, they might as well buy a Ming vase.
Even Apple has conceded that a smartphone should not bend easily when it decided to use a stronger aluminum alloy in its new iPhone flagships, even though it initially said few people had this kind of issue with last year's models.
I am really surprised that Huawei has given the green light to a hardware design that is obviously flawed from a durability point of view. And it really is not that hard to test a device in-house to see how it performs-- you just bend it. No professional tools needed. If it holds up fine, great. Otherwise, it's back to the drawing board. So why didn't Huawei fix it?