Inside Nokia’s Hardware Damage Labs

Like everybody, we sometimes get a little frustrated with our cellphones. Probably one of the most annoying things is when we drop our phones once and they stop working. At Nokia’s hardware damage labs in San Diego, they physically test their phones for extreme uses. They test things like flip tension, water resistance, and even UV resistance. Recently, the folks over at MobileCrunch were given a tour of these labs and were nice enough to post an in-depth article about what they saw. In addition to the impact testing video above, there are many more videos posted that demonstrate the tests they perform.

11 thoughts on “Inside Nokia’s Hardware Damage Labs

  1. i dont get how they can test them that thoroughly and then release a flimsly heap of crap like the N96!? they are so cheaply made, its just crap, weak plastic wrapping up an N95 with a different name. grr.

  2. I live in New Zealand. In 2006 I purchased a Nokia 6234 from Vodafone. This cost me six or seven hundred. It plays movies and music. It can record videos of any length, and can format and use MicroSD. It has bluetooth, infra red, a shiny metallic case, a pop port, a very big screen…. Yes, I can play full length movies on it if I put them on a memory card.

    I noticed a small defect in the phone and I called Vodafone to report it. It wasn’t major, just a tiny annoyance which I didn’t really want fixed.. I just wanted to place some feedback. The voicemail icon was just aboutr always on, it wasn’t updating properly. Also, if I tried to play an entire movie in full-screen mode it would crash and reset the phone. So, I had to keep track of my voicemail manually, and wait 500 or 1000 milliseconds to go to full screen after starting a video (no, pause doesn’t help).

    These faults would catch me every time and make me swear, but maybe not worth getting the phone repaired over. Regardless, the charming individual on the other end of the phone insisted that I send it back for warranty repair. I said “OK, sure”. He told me to take it to a Vodafone store. I pointed out that there were no Vodafone stores within 3 hours of here (so total six hours of driving to get my phone fixed…. This could quickly approach the cost of a new phone). Disbelieving, he had to look it up. “OHHHH” he says, and sends me a courier bag to ship away the phone.

    Amazingly, the address on the bag doesn’t say who I’m actually sending the phone to.

    So, I wind up with a loan phone. It has no bluetooth, doesn’t take memory cards, doesn’t hnave a colour screen, and is inferior in every way to my real phone. I mean this thing must cost a hundred bucks or so, a real low budget phone.

    A couple of months later, my phone comes back to me. I’m overjoyed, it’s been so long!
    It won’t turn on.
    If it switches on, it takes half an hour to start and drains the battery in ninety minutes. Completely useless, it’s bricked.

    I send it back, they decide the phone can’t be started and replace it. Eventually they get around to sending me a faulty replacement phone.

    Anyway a few iterations of this, a year goes by and I have a cellphone which can make videos but can’t take photos. This is what the repair shop sent me.
    The repair shop is called MOBILE FONE REPAIRS and obviously is useless ;-)… My advice to anyone buying cellphones in New Zealand is IMPORT THEM. It’s cheaper. Don’t worry about the warranty, it’s a waste of money because they will always send you back a broken phone under warranty. Every single time.

    If you send your phone back under warranty, be prepared to lose it. Don’t make my mistkae, don’t believe in a mobile phone warranty, it’s a myth.

  3. Yeah, I got my phone last december. Nokia 5300. Awesome phone, but shoddy build quality and battery life. 2 weeks after I bought it, I dropped it, on a carpeted floor, and the screen cracked. The only thing left readable was the time. I paid 50 for the phone, they wanted 100 to fix it. I paid 20 or so on ebay and changed the screen myself.

    Since then, though, I understand how cheaply constructed it is and baby it so it doesn’t break on me.

    these testing chambers must be for the freebie phones, because those do tend to be indestructible.

  4. I had a Nokia 6800, a 3620 and then a N82 and they were pretty much indestructible.
    The 3620 was a tank as to survive all sorts of drops etc.
    I did break the screen once but only because I dropped it and ran over it with a welder.
    I ended up fixing the screen with one I bought off ebay it was a very easy procedure and took only 15 minutes.
    Though none of these phones were built in China.
    One was in Brazil and the other two in Finland.

    BTW it seems these phones also were thick thin phones do tend to be flimsy.

  5. I have a Nokia 9300, the battery life is a little short, but the phone is pretty durable. I was running to the train station a while back, it plopped out of my chest pocket, fell on the concrete and made a few flips down the hill. I found it with the front cover off, but the plastic was intact, and amazingly both screens were still ok, it only has a few scratches but was fully functional.

  6. hehe… I’ve seen some pretty bad cases of mobile phone blunt force trauma including one unfortunate Samsyng E720 where the screen was hanging off (!)

    the nokias seem to be the toughest though, someone i know had a 3310 which survived repeated drops on concrete, the only thing which finally broke the screen was falling off the top of a car and the phone dismantled itself. New screen £6 on Ebay, AFAIK its still going. These things will probably be used by the roaches after WWIII ;-)

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