Opinion, Smartphone, Tablet

Are Bend Tests Really Relevant?

We don’t really know the origin of the bend test, but it really took off after the iPhone 6’s infamous “bendgate” fiasco back in 2014. Since then, almost every single prominent device is subjected to that test, and more recently, a bend test of the iPad Pro 2018 caught a lot of attention.

This brings up the question: are bend rests really all that necessary? Realistically, there’s no scenario where you would want you apply so much pressure to your expensive new gadget, let alone try to bend it. In this article, we’ll explore if – and perhaps why – bend tests are more than just to satisfy people’s need for…well, destruction.

So what’s the video that got so many people talking about the durability of the 2018 iPad Pro? It’s none other than a durability test by Zack Nelson of JerryRigEverything on YouTube, where he subjected the brand new iPad Pro to various tests.

In the last part of the video, Nelson started bending the iPad Pro, and the tablet folded like it’s made of paper – well, sort of. Basically, Apple’s latest tablet can be bent very easily. Considering just how costly the new iPad Pro is, this level of durability is quite concerning. No one likes paying so much for a device this fragile.

That being said, it’s not entirely fair to judge the durability of the iPad Pro based on this bend test alone. As mentioned, a regular consumer wouldn’t bend the tablet (or any tablet, for that matter) in any possible usage scenario. At least, not in normal, everyday use.

On top of that, other tablets subjected to a bend test also “failed” in a similar fashion. Snazzy Labs, for one, released a similar video, where he did a bend test on a Huawei tablet. As expected, even that tablet bent and cracked under pressure.

The thing is, tablets are large devices. With so much surface area, it’s not surprising that tablets (in general) will bend under pressure. However, does that mean bend tests serve no purpose? Not quite. While this test doesn’t necessarily apply to tablets, we’ll argue it can be relevant for certain devices – especially smartphones.

For example, bend tests actually show how durable a particular phone is. The more resistant it is to bending, the better its build quality – in theory, anyway. While you wouldn’t be bending your own personal device, it’s a reassuring feeling to know that it can be bent without permanently damaging it.

In a sense, a bend test is similar to a drop test – both serve to test the durability of devices. Of course, the latter is much more applicable; you’re a lot more likely to drop your phone.

But what if a device fails the bend test? This doesn’t happen very often, but there are cases here and there. One of the most noteworthy ones is the Nexus 6P, which snapped in half right at the power button. But did this deter consumers from getting the phone? Not really.

A bend test can show how well-built a phone is, but phones that fail the bend test aren’t necessarily bad. They could’ve been better designed, that’s for sure, but they will serve its users just as fine as any other smartphone. You will have to keep in mind that they will bend under pressure, but let’s be honest – there are hardly any usage scenario where this will be a concern.

Well then, let’s get back to the question: are bend rests relevant? Only to a certain extent. It can be used as an indication of build quality, but even if a device fails the test, you shouldn’t be too concerned about it – just be a tad mindful.

Besides, in normal usage, it wouldn’t matter that much whether or not a phone passes the bend test. If it does, it’s just nice to know that your device is solid enough to not be bent. Should you put a lot of thought into this before you buy a new phone? Especially if it fails the bend test? You really shouldn’t. There are other more important features to look at.