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I’ll try to post this without dragging my HTC One into this;
Build quality says a lot. Phones that are built the right way can handle extreme force. A unibody phone made out of a decent material can easily handle the force of a car driving over it (apart from the screen, the screen would most like break in every phone you drive a car over).
I’ve had a ton of phones over the years, pretty much 2-3 a year. I’ve had an iPhone, a few Sony phones, a few Samsungs before they started with the Galaxy series, a few HTC phones and even Blackberries. I can tell you this;
iPhones are built in one of the most shitty ways possible. Instead of making sure the force applied on most of the sides gets distributed evenly to prevent breaking it’s like they made it so that it specifically shatters from every angle.
Samsung phones back then were of good build quality. They weren’t Nokia, but they were good. The whole galaxy line is simple plastic that just can’t handle anything. Probably worse than the iDevices.
Blackberry has some decent phones. The Bold series lives up to it name and the Torches aren’t too bad either. The Torch has a sliding mechanism that breaks but it has this ring around the edge that pops off if it falls. Saved me a few hundred bucks since a replacement ring costs $2 and a new phone costs $500.
The two main competitors in build quality (just smartphones) are Sony and HTC. Sony has some amazing phones but also some slip-ups. Sony does risky stuff like waterproofing a phone but not retardproofing it (i.e. if you don’t close all the caps very tightly water will just go in and ruin your phone within seconds).
My HTC One X is still running, my HTC One S is still running, my HTC One is doing just fine. But most importantly, even my HTC Hero is still running. That thing is fucking ancient. It’s unbreakable.
I think what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t fucking matter how much money you spend or whether your phone bends or not; what matters is that the ones who designed it aren’t retarded, which isn’t always to be expected.