Log in

View Full Version : Horror of Horrors: Dropping Your Smartphone

Jason Dunn
04-24-2007, 03:00 PM
A couple of weeks ago, I was getting out of my car, and the T-Mobile Dash in my jacket pocket wasn't shoved in all the way because I had just had it out when receiving a phone call. Imagine the look on my face when I saw the Dash slam into the parking lot pavement. 8O I grimaced, but thankfully the screen is ok and scratch free. I tend not to use any sort of case or screen protector for my smartphones because I value how thin they are and don't want to bulk them up. This incident had me re-think that a bit. At any rate, the brunt of the blow was taken on the bottom back of the Dash, so that lovely rubber is a bit scuffed up now. Everything still works thankfully, including charging, but being the type of person I am every time I look at the aesthetic damage I cringe a little.

What about you? Has your smartphone survived a dangerous tumble, only to emerge (mostly) unscathed? Have you dropped your smartphone on any interesting surfaces and been surprised it still worked? Tell me about it, and I'll select the best story: the winner will receive a Smartphone Thoughts micro light and a $30 Amazon.com gift certificate. In order to win your smartphone has to have survived the experience - I'll do another contest later on where I'll ask about how your smartphone got killed. ;-)

And speaking of putting your smartphone in a dangerous position, here's a picture I took of the aforementioned Dash at CTIA 2007 - it was going for a ride. ;-)


04-24-2007, 03:38 PM
When Microsoft Smartphone 2002 was all the rage, I left my well cared for SPV100 on the hood of my truck. I drove from home to the hardware store and back - and when I got home I realized what I had done.

Luckily, the hardware store isn't very far from my house - so I traced my steps and found the pieces of my phone scattered about the first intersection.

The phone was in four pieces, the battery door, the battery, the phone itself, and the SIM card/SIM card holder. Luckily there were no scratches on the screen, and no one had run over the phone as it sat in the intersection for about 15 minutes (residential streets - probably only a couple of cars every 5 minutes).

Put it back together again and it worked just fine. The only thing that broke was one of the little nubs that attached the SIM card holder door to the phone.

This was before these phones were available in the US - I had bought this one as soon as Arne at ppcw.net started selling them.

04-24-2007, 03:53 PM
Where to start... my current Blackjack has only taken a tumble once or twice and has survived both relatively unscathed.

My previous SMT5600 is another story... First dump was from a shirt pocket down a flight of stairs. Cracked the external LCD cover and caused a few scuffs on the corners, but otherwise unharmed. Second dump was from a shirt pocket into a toilet (luckily BEFORE any business was taken care of). A little torx driver and a fan brought it back to life, except for the 7 key, which was intermittent from then on. Third dump was also a toilet (also from a shirt pocket - you'd think I'd learn eventually, eh?). Again, a fan and a torx driver fixed it up. Forth dump had it bouncing out the door of my Jeep into a stream. Same fix. Fifth dump had it falling out of my pocket while riding down the interstate on my motorcycle. This was the closest to "true death" that my SMT ever got. Luckily, it was in a leather case, so it was held together, but a few keys popped out and the volume buttons stopped working.

The final dump was when my belt clip broke while off road in the Jeep again. It bounced a few time before plummeting down a 30 foot drop. Managed to get to it and retrieve it, but the screen crack had gotten much worse and the power button no longer worked, which wasn't real easy to work around. I ended up pulling it apart and found that the micro-switch had broken free from it's mount on the motherboard. The third attempt at soldering it worked! :) I also fixed most of the other dead keys at that time (except the 7 key, which is still quite erratic). That was the final drop for my SMT5600 before my wife finally said my phone was too ugly and I needed a new one. It does still work and I occasionally use it for testing stuff, but otherwise it's having a nice retirement.

I invested in a Vaja case for the Blackjack, which so far has stopped me from putting it in a pocket, so it's relatively unscathed.

04-24-2007, 04:31 PM
Not a SmartPhone story, but ...

My first PDA was a Toshiba E330. It was my first introduction to Windows Mobile, and I loved it. I was showing it off to my friend in the kitchen of her house and I dropped it on the stone floor. I picked it up, Amazingly it was fine.

I was back in the same house a few days later and was showing the same PDA to her husband. Dropped it agin, on the same stone floor!!!!

STILL it was OK. Just a little looseness on the cover. Amazing.

04-24-2007, 04:55 PM
I've dropped my Moto-Q phone three times now and each time I grimmice when I pick it up to look for damage. For all three times, my phone fell out of my front shirt pocket when I was bending over (to pick up something or tie my shoes, etc.). Fortunately, the phone still works and the screen wasn't damaged. The only evidence of damage was some small scuffs on the corners of my phone.

I know that one of these days I'm going to totally destroy my phone by dropping it down a street drain, down the toilet, etc. and I hope my company will buy me a new one to replace it! :)

04-24-2007, 05:13 PM
For all three times, my phone fell out of my front shirt pocket when I was bending over ...

I'm beginning to see a pattern ...

I know :idea: You gus all need a 'shirt pocket case'. One that slips into your shirt pocket and holds your toys firmly in place. :P

Arne Hess
04-24-2007, 05:19 PM
This was before these phones were available in the US - I had bought this one as soon as Arne at ppcw.net started selling them.
Ouch, this hurts even twice! :( I vote for you as the winner of the contest! :wink:
But funny enough - I had bumping devices in my mind as well why I recently ordered a Javo Skin case (http://www.theunwired.net/?itemid=3789) to better protect my brand new i600 (http://www.smartphonethoughts.com/index.php?action=expand,14311) I don't want to scratch.

04-24-2007, 06:30 PM
I've got a 2GB card on my SP5m WM5 phone and have it loaded down with a ton of music.

One night I took it to the hottub to relax and listen to some tunes. Long story short, the cord got caught on my elbow as I changed positions and the phone got pulled into the hottub.

I quickly removed it, but it was under for a good 7 seconds or so. The screen had a really cool puddle in front of it and I freaked. Unfortunately my buddy was borrowing my special tool set that had the screwdriver that would have allowed me to open the phone up and dry it out immediately--and properly. Alas, all I could do is place it on the floor in front of the refrigerator so that the warm exhaust from the fridge would (hopefully) evaporate the water.

The next morning the phone powered up, the blob was mostly gone, but 30% of the keys/joystick didn't work. I decided to turn on the WiFi since that tends to generate a lot of heat--and hoped it would further evaporate out the water. It worked--by 2PM or so the functionality of all the keys returned.

Unfortunately over the next week I noticed that my phone discharged _extremely_ quick...after a full day of use I used to have 80% battery remaining--now I was having about 20% battery remaining.

I disassembled the phone and took a toothbrush to gingerly "scrub" the circuit boards in case some small particle was causing the phone to discharge. Re-assembled, popped it on the charger and tested it the next day.

It's been 6 months since that fateful run-in with the hottub and my phone is as good today as it was the day I got it 8)

04-24-2007, 08:59 PM
The OEM case that came with my SDA had a clip that slipped easily off the belt. So, I bought a case that had a loop for the belt, not just a clip. No way the case could come off the belt.

I was loading my luggage into a rental car and had to come around a pole in the parking lot. The case with the phone in it stuck against the pole and out popped the phone out of the case and fell on to the ground. My pristine phone was no longer pristine. It had scratches all around except for the screen. The good thing was it still works fine.

Jason Dunn
04-24-2007, 09:01 PM
Wow. Some great stories guys, keep them coming! I'll do the drawing sometime next week...

04-24-2007, 10:15 PM
I had dropped my SP5 in a parking garage (trying to do/carrying too much), Dodgers game (got knocked out of my hand), and on the concrete bike path here in Santa Monica as I was tooling down the beach on my cruiser. Each time I breathed a deep sign of relief as I picked it up with only a minor scuff on the corner of the casing as a reminder of my carelessness.

Having survived the above, I was completely flabbergasted when I dropped it as I was walking from my living room to the office. It slipped from between my shoulder and cheek and caromed off of an empty cardboard box onto our nice squishy carpet. I could not believe my eyes when the screen was garbled beyond recognition and there was clearly a 1” long crack across one of the lower corners.

I guess my story is ‘The time it should not have b0rked’.

04-25-2007, 12:13 AM
One of my chores around the house is to do the laundry (you can see where this is going already). My wife keeps her phone in her back pocket and left it there when she put her jeans into the clothes hamper...okay, fairly obvious by now that I washed it...what's not so obvious is that it has happened twice! Sometimes we appear to be slow learners. :)

Kris Kumar
04-25-2007, 12:30 AM
Amazing Stories! Amazing Recoveries!

04-25-2007, 01:35 AM
Short story shorter:

Walking to the package room at my office. Have to walk down 3 stories of stairs. I have my Cingular 8125 in my hand, and it catches my pants pocket as I am walking. I've made it down 3 steps. Goes out of my hand, so first thought is "It'll land on the next set of stairs hopefully. NOPE! You know that 12 inch gap in between the stair wells? Straight down! Of course, it's right by the pool, and I yell "@#$%" at the top of my lungs, and walk down, because there is NO WAY this thing survived, it's Friday, which means I won't have a phone until Monday, ggggrrrrrrr! I get down there, the battery cover is still attached, I hit the power button expecting the worse, and what do ya know? The screen turns on and is at the home screen. It didn't even shut off!

It lasted another 2 months after that, and started pulling this restart on me crap. Freezing up when I get on the internet. Then it turned into a freezing up on me whenever. Then it wouldn't reboot. Received a replacement from Cingular last week, wouldn't charge. Received another replacement yesterday. It works! HA! Same internet crap. Same won't reboot crap. Called and talked to them, and what do ya know? 8525 is on the way for free. :)

Mike Temporale
04-25-2007, 02:01 AM
8O Crazy stories! Where's the Smartphone love? :? I'm in awe at what you guys have put your devices through.

I'm happy to say that my devices have never fallen in a toilet, down the stairs, off the hood of my car, .... I might have dropped my old SMT5600 on the pavement once or twice, but nothing like what you guys have done to those innocent little devices.

04-25-2007, 02:18 AM
I was pumping gas and had set my 8525 on the seat of the car while I was looking for something in my pockets. Being the dutifully driver I am I had the headset plugged in, well I guess that cord isn't as long as I thought, the phone did a nice nose dive towards the concrete. I quickly did a grab for the headset cord and it stopped, just long a enough for me to take a short sigh. As it proceeded to break away from the headset and fall into a oily, gassy puddle. But low and behold when I picked it up it was working. I quickly wiped it down, and other than smelling like gasoline for a few days it has worked fine.

Once when I was heading off to work, this last January, it slipped out of my hand and it landed in a two foot drift of snow. It took me about a minute to find it in the snow as it had once again come unconnected from the headset, after having entered the drift. When I got it out of the snow I could not get it to turn on. So I took it all apart including taking the SIM Card out. When I got to work I put it near a heat vent and let it sit there for about half an hour. It still was not working, no power, no lights, no indication that it was getting any power. When I got home I decided to try one more time and what do you know it turned right on.

It also has taken a few nasty bumps from being dropped. One of the best was that I dropped it, with the keyboard opened. It hit just right to close the screen and do a face plant across the street. The front of it got pretty scrapped up, but the screen was unscathed and still running.

After all of that I would have to say I am quite impressed with the durability of the device. But then again maybe the mobile gadget gods were just looking favorably on me those days.

04-25-2007, 03:46 AM
About 2 weeks after i got my dash, on my daily commute home from work, i got to the train station a little late and whilst running to the platform to catch the coaster my 'precious' fell out of my jacket pocket and onto the hard cement floor. The battery cover flew off and i froze in horror; there was actually a split second there where i considered leaving it behind for fear of missing the train (what was i thinking?) but i ended up making it. I was really suprised that the dash survived with very minor scratches, one on the metal surrounding the indicator light, a tiny one on the top right soft rubber, and one on the center select button. It took me a couple days to recover from the trauma, and about a week to decide against returning it for a replacement (somehow i got over my vanity).

04-25-2007, 05:33 AM
This when I was using my good ol' Treo 600 (consigned to a trade-in ever since the radio reception went wonky), so it's not quite a Smartphone, but still a smartphone story. That's the one and only time I dropped it though. I generally don't drop my phones much. So no stories (thankfully) about the time I had a MPx200! Here goes:

Heading out for an interview in a hurry, I made a mess of stuffing the Treo into my pocket after recieving a call...

Then the Treo dropped.

Right when I was entering the subway train.

The thought of my Treo dropping into the gap between the train and the platform nearly made me faint. Luckily it didn't! It landed on the train side nicely.

Best part? No scuffs, save a very tiny chip of paint no more than 2mm in width and length. No problems with it working either!

04-25-2007, 07:32 PM
I once dropped my MPX200 when at a concert in Toronto's Kool Haus.. it was dark and everyone was moving around jumping up and down!! (I was on the floors) <agh!!!> Luckily was able to find it and wipe off the grit, grime and spilt alcohol!!


04-25-2007, 08:49 PM
The joystick on my Cingular 2125 was getting increasingly frustrating - trying to push it to move "down" had gotten to the point of rarely working. My warranty was expired but I did not qualify for a phone upgrade yet with Cingular. I was thinking about switching back to my old SMT5600 or trying to buy a used one on eBay. Then one day, as I was getting out of my car (with phone case on my belt) and inadvertantly knocked my phone off and it fell hard onto blacktop on the toop corner of the phone. I picked it up to see only minor damage and then checked to see if it still worked. Not only was it working, but it fixed the problem with my "stuck" joystick, and it has worked perfectly ever since!

04-26-2007, 12:05 AM
I use my T-Mo Dash as my alarm clock and one morning when it rang I turned it off instead of choosing a 5 minute snooze. Needless to say I overslept. When I realized it I rushed out of my bed while reaching for my glasses on my night table. Well, my Dash is also on my night table and plugged into the charger. As I grabbed my glasses off the night table I swung my arm out and it caught the cable of the charger. Because I was rushing due to having overslept, I swung my arm out rather fast and hard. As a result I flung the Dash and it flew across the room smashing into my door. I panicked since I had just purchased the Dash within the month and I thought I had just "destroyed" it. When I ran across the room and picked it up, the screen was fine and the device was functioning just fine. It's still working good right now. :)


Rocco Augusto
04-26-2007, 12:38 AM
this story doesn't involve a Smartphone (you know since I'm not as clumsy as the rest of you :twisted: ), but once when I was working for a small third party dealer of cellular service I was given a company phone, which just happened to be a Nextel phone.

A few weeks after I started that job I was at a friends birthday party. His apartment was located on the 15th floor of a downtown apartment complex here in Portland. Everyone had gathered on his balcony to talk and enjoy and the fresh air. I pulled out my phone so everyone could laugh at its gigantic size and I just so happened to pull it out of my jacket pocket just a bit to fast and it flew out of my hands and over the balcony. Everyone gasped as we watched it slowly fall 15 stories.

After we all heard it hit the ground, another friend and myself went to go get the broken pieces. To our surprise, when we got there the phone was still in really great shape! The only thing that was damaged was the screen, which was a quick fix when I got back to work. Those Nextel phones are built like champs! If it wasn't for the fact that they're so ridiculously huge, I would have probably kept the service when I moved over to work for Cingular :)

04-26-2007, 09:14 AM
So, there I was in the parking lot of our local gym at 5:30am yesterday morning (just in time for this discussion thread!) in the hard pouring rain, pulling my stuff out of the backseat of my car to go in for a workout. "Whoops," I think, "my gym bag is on it's side. No biggie, I'll just grab it by the straps and put it on my shoulder." Unfortunately, I neglected to notice that the side pocket on my gym bag (the one where I keep my wallet, pager & T-Mo Dash) is open. So, heartily I pull the bag and I hear a little clatter of plastic.

You know where this is going.

Aghast, I realize that my Dash flew out of the bag. I look next to my car and notice that the battery cover is sitting next to my Dash (which is screen-side up) in the same puddle of running water. Quickly, I pick it up, pull the exposed battery out and tap the water out of the unit.

So begins my day.

Thankfully, I tapped and blew all the water out of it that I could. I left it to dry in my locker. A couple of hours later, towards the end of my workout, I get a page from work as I'm on call for the hospital I work for. Reluctantly, I put my battery back into the handheld and make a phone call to an end user that's having problems accessing one of our systems. She says, "I'm having a really hard time hearing you" which makes me think (but not say), "Do I sound like I'm under water?" (groan). I then re-pull the battery and set a cool-temped hair dryer at the Dash for several minutes while I finish brushing my teeth and shaving. About 45 minutes later, I dry the handheld under the hand dryers at work for several cycles.

Then I put the battery in and try to turn it on...

...and it works!

I have no idea how long this is going to continue to work...but so far so good.


p.s. the kicker to this act of carelessness (Doh!) is that I have two cases for my Dash - the holster that it came with (that is quite decent, BTW) and a silicone skin. Had it been in either of them, the story would have been quite different and less hair-raising. So, back in the skin it goes!

05-01-2007, 11:56 AM
This problem is caused by the fact that I have always had a compulsion to volley any falling objects, in fact my ex once turned and knocked a glass off of a worktop with her elbow (so clearly it was her fault) and got annoyed at me for shouting 'GOAL' as the glass shattererd into thousands of tiny pieces on the far wall of the kitchen.

One morning on my way to work, with my i-mate SP5m in my coat pocket, I got a call and as I took the phone from my pocket to answer it, it slipped from my hand and went tumbling towards the paving. 8O

Naturally and instinctively my arms flew out, my back arched, I can see the 'keeper off his line 'BACK OF THE NET' I think to myself... but wait, this is my shiny smartphone, what am I doing? :?:

I manage to stop myself just in time to avoid connecting with the rapidly dropping cuboid, unfortunately in doing so I stumble and along with my electronic genious crashing into the solid floor at some speed, this is them comounded by my full twelve stone crushing down on it via my size nine shoes! :(

Amazingly, despite large scale scuffing and part of the frame being bent off at 45 degrees, after a reboot it seems to be fine - I could never get the part of the frame back down and ended up snapping it off, but apart from it being far easier to press the camera button by mistake it has worked to this day. :)

So then, the moral of the story? If it's dropping at a nice height then don't hesitate - SHOOT! well... it might have landed in a small bush! :lol:

05-04-2007, 06:37 AM
I've dropped my dash a few times, and nothing much has happened to it, with the exception of the battery covver being slightly loose now, and this also doesn't involve a smartphone, but a few years ago I had an Ericsson R289 with the pre gsm at&t, it was sitting on a shelf above the company toilet charging, you can guess where this is leading.......somehow it got knocked off straight into the drink.

While the phone itself actually functioned afterward, the display was shot and rendered the phone essentially useless :cry: .

It was a nice phone too.