OnePlus announced its new flagship phone a few weeks ago, but you might not have heard about it. The OnePlus 10 Pro is currently only available in the company’s home market of China, but YouTube phone torture channel JerryRigEverything has one in hand — the remains of one, that is. The durability test revealed significant structural problems with the OnePlus 10 Pro.
The modern smartphone is a sandwich of glass and aluminum, which is usually more durable than you’d expect. Glass has meager tensile strength, so it cracks and shatters if dropped or struck. However, it has incredibly high compressive strength — orders of magnitude higher than the tensile strength. So, if you stick a slab of glass between some aluminum end caps, you get something that’s extremely rigid.
That brings us to JerryRigEverything, a YouTube channel that tests the durability of phones by scratching, burning, and bending them. This test will reveal structural weaknesses that can kill a phone before you’re ready to give it up. Most phones with glass backs survive the bend test just fine — even foldables like the Z Fold3 remain intact and working after being bent.
When the disembodied hands give the OnePlus 10 Pro a twist, the glass shatters. A few seconds later, the phone has actually folded in half, and no, this is not a foldable. So, this is a catastrophic failure, but what’s wrong? The OnePlus 10 Pro is priced at the Chinese equivalent of $1,000, competing with phones like the Galaxy S22 and Pixel 6 Pro. Those phones don’t snap in half, even though they’re made of the same materials.
Since the phone disassembled itself, the end of the video includes a little exploration of its innards. For one, the aluminum frame is thinner than most phones, and there’s an area of limited reinforcement just above the battery cavity. On one side, you have a volume rocker, and on the other is an antenna line. These weaken the already thin frame, giving the glass someplace to unload all that energy from bending — it cracks. And once a sheet of hardened Gorilla Glass cracks, all its structural strength is gone.
We’ve seen similar design flubs in past years — one of Google’s 2019 Pixel phones snapped in half under similar circumstances, and the Asus ROG Phone 5 suffered a similar fate in 2021. Apple’s 2014 iPhone 6 Plus also tended to fail due to structural failures caused by bending. However, this comes at a time when OnePlus is hoping its hardware and not unbridled enthusiasm will carry it through. The company is now operating as a subsidiary of Oppo, focusing less on the enthusiast market and more on carrier deals. But if the hardware is flawed, OnePlus is in for a bad 2022.