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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Display cracked while in my pocket

Yesterday morning the display on my Samsung Galaxy S4 cracked while it was in either the front pocket or cargo pocket of a loose-fitting pair of cargo shorts. The only other item with it in the front pocket was a Chapstick. The display side was facing toward my leg. I carried a Motorola Atrix II like this for 3 years and never had a problem.

The only thing I can figure is either I leaned against something (the counter or the seat of my truck), or I twisted or bent it somewhat while taking it out of my pocket. Just prior to noticing the problem I started to place it in the cargo pocket but then changed my mind. While pulling it back out I remember my hand getting slightly stuck and putting a small amount of pressure on the phone (certainly not enough for me to have been concerned about).

The crack actually seems to be in the display itself, as I can't physically feel the crack in the glass. The crack runs horizontally across the middle of the screen in a shallow S shape. It does not run all the way to either end, but stops short about a 1/4 inch from either edge of the screen.

This phone seems very fragile. I was just thinking the other day about how my dad carries his iPhone in his back pocket and sits on it, and my wife did the same thing with her S3 before she gave it to my son, who always carries it in his front pocket. Of course I didn't buy the protection plan, because it's extremely rare for me to damage anything. Looks like I'll be out $200+ to repair it. The touch screen isn't working quite right now. I get a lot of extra i's while typing, and the swipe to unlock only works if you swipe in the top half of the screen, not to mention the discoloration where the crack is.

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Old September 23rd, 2013, 07:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 08:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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One of the issues that I have noted with the newer, thinner phones with larger screens is that the phone does flex when pressure is applied. Since the S4 has actual glass, this is a crack waiting to happen. Older phones tended to be thicker and had smaller screens and weren't, because of this, "flexible". I used to do the "Naked in the front pocket" thing with my phones, but with the S4 I have opted for a case and belt clip. I like the phone and my money too much to risk it with this handset.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 08:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BigRedGonzo View Post
One of the issues that I have noted with the newer, thinner phones with larger screens is that the phone does flex when pressure is applied.
Thinner phones and thinner bezels make phones more prone to breaking. Personally I'd prefer a more rugged phone, but it's hard/impossible to find a high end rugged phone. Thin sells.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 10:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
Thinner phones and thinner bezels make phones more prone to breaking. Personally I'd prefer a more rugged phone, but it's hard/impossible to find a high end rugged phone. Thin sells.
Isn't that what the S4 active is supposed to be?
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 12:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Isn't that what the S4 active is supposed to be?
I think that phone is waterproof, but not rugged. I remember being disappointed with it in some way.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2287882
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 03:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
I think that phone is waterproof, but not rugged. I remember being disappointed with it in some way.
If you aren't bothered about how thick the phone is, cannot you just put your S4 in a rugged case like an Otterbox?

I hate cases but seeing this (and the thread Sydney99 linked to on XDA) is starting to make me worry. I have never even damaged a phone, much less broken one, but it does seem like something is wrong when the screen can break behind the glass.

Out of interest, does no-one here have household contents insurance? Mine covers me for accidental damage with a small excess (50).
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 03:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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One other point. Besides being thinner, the S4 is likely larger than most phones people are used to carrying in their pocket. That also contributes to more force being exerted on the screen.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 05:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you aren't bothered about how thick the phone is, cannot you just put your S4 in a rugged case like an Otterbox?
I saw someplace else that a guy had his in an Otterbox and it cracked also.

At this point I'm thinking maybe a solid steel box with padding, operate the touch screen with a feather.

Mine has an Incipio featherlight, same thing my Atrix was in for 3 years and never had a problem.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 05:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I doubt most cases would provide any protection against this sort of thing. They are designed more for drops, not twisting action.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 05:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lotus49 View Post
If you aren't bothered about how thick the phone is, cannot you just put your S4 in a rugged case like an Otterbox?

I hate cases but seeing this (and the thread Sydney99 linked to on XDA) is starting to make me worry. I have never even damaged a phone, much less broken one, but it does seem like something is wrong when the screen can break behind the glass.

Out of interest, does no-one here have household contents insurance? Mine covers me for accidental damage with a small excess (50).
Hmmm ... I was feeling secure with my choice of a Note 3 until I read this thread. I'd thought about it previously but may have not given it enough consideration.

Every single Smartphone I've had to date, looked as fresh & new as day one even after one full year. Carrying it in a dedicated front pocket kept it blemish free, but I can imagine a bump or other scenario that might crack such a spacious display as the GN 3 has.

I don't mind some additional bulk of a heavy duty case, therefore I'm going to focus on that goal. Thankfully I still have a little time. Besides the challenge of mfgs not having them ready yet. But at least it's a popular model so there ought to be a few choices.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Hmmm ... I was feeling secure with my choice of a Note 3 until I read this thread.
Or this: Limited Edition Galaxy Note 3 featuring flexible display could be announced next month | TalkAndroid.com
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about that. Were you using a screen protector?
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Suddenly I find the flexible display of great interest. But even if it was shipped as a limited model, obtaining one would rival the odds of winning the lottery
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about that. Were you using a screen protector?
No. The screen (glass) is fine. The display behind the glass (AMOLED?) is what's cracked.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Suddenly I find the flexible display of great interest. But even if it was shipped as a limited model, obtaining one would rival the odds of winning the lottery
Could be, but reading that article and this thread it did occur to that the need for flexible displays might be just due to increasing screen size.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 09:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by gearhead64 View Post
Yesterday morning the display on my Samsung Galaxy S4 cracked while it was in either the front pocket or cargo pocket of a loose-fitting pair of cargo shorts. The only other item with it in the front pocket was a Chapstick.
I'm very sorry to hear about your misfortune.

This really hits home with me since I too have never damaged a phone in any way. You seem very mindful, aware, careful and smart. If this happened to you, it could happen to me. I can imagine your shock upon discovering the failure. And failure it is, it should hold up better than that.

I've read an tremendous amount about the Galaxy line including the Note, but until reading this thread I was unaware this was an issue. While I enjoy taking care of my gear, I don't baby it. It seems that I better do some focused research on this before my Note 3 arrives, as I'm not fond of the idea of having to risk such an event happening to me.

Am I overreacting?

All thoughts, comments or suggestions welcome from any of you.

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Old September 24th, 2013, 04:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm very sorry to hear about your misfortune.

This really hits home with me since I too have never damaged a phone in any way. You seem very mindful, aware, careful and smart. If this happened to you, it could happen to me. I can imagine your shock upon discovering the failure. And failure it is, it should hold up better than that.

I've read an tremendous amount about the Galaxy line including the Note, but until reading this thread I was unaware this was an issue. While I enjoy taking care of my gear, I don't baby it. It seems that I better do some focused research on this before my Note 3 arrives, as I'm not fond of the idea of having to risk such an event happening to me.

Am I overreacting?

All thoughts, comments or suggestions welcome from any of you.

Thanks !
I don't think you're overreacting. Part of the reason I started this post was to give people who are thinking of buying one of these more information with which to make their decision. Buying a new phone (or tablet), and then having to spend $250 periodically to replace screens that haven't been treated roughly is a big consideration.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #20 (permalink)
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For those of you talking about thin phones flexing and being more prone to breaking...
There is a video of Samsung's factory testing of the S3 that showed it in a device that was literally twisting the phone from the corners. It looked unnatural how much it could bend without the glass breaking. I am unable to readily locate that video.

Thinness is not the problem here. The problem is that a pressure point got applied to the glass and it broke.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
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For those of you talking about thin phones flexing and being more prone to breaking...
There is a video of Samsung's factory testing of the S3 that showed it in a device that was literally twisting the phone from the corners. It looked unnatural how much it could bend without the glass breaking. I am unable to readily locate that video.

Thinness is not the problem here. The problem is that a pressure point got applied to the glass and it broke.



GALAXY S4 Factory Testing Reliability - YouTube
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Old September 24th, 2013, 08:41 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Close! At 2:06 you can see how much the screen itself can twist without breaking.

GALAXY S4 Factory Testing Reliability - YouTube
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Old September 24th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Close! At 2:06 you can see how much the screen itself can twist without breaking.

GALAXY S4 Factory Testing Reliability - YouTube
The only thing is, that's not the part that the OP described as breaking on this phone. It's the part behind the glass.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 10:21 AM   #24 (permalink)
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The only thing is, that's not the part that the OP described as breaking on this phone. It's the part behind the glass.
Right, in the S3 video I am thinking of and still can not find, they tested the whole phone, and it was deflecting probably an 1/8 inch off center.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 12:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Right, in the S3 video I am thinking of and still can not find, they tested the whole phone, and it was deflecting probably an 1/8 inch off center.
Probably because at 9/64ths it cracked.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 12:34 PM   #26 (permalink)
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There are so many variables that play into a stress fracture like the one the OP had.

Our office has 5 S4's and 3 S3's out in the field right now. Service Technicians and Sales people. So far we've had no issues with screen damage, with nearly six months on some of the S4s and over a year on some of the S3s.

Mine took a swan dive onto the parking lot about 2 weeks ago. Shattered the spigen glass screen protector, but the phone itself was just fine.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 04:04 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Wow. Like others in this thread, this is really making me reconsider.

I'm one of those people who has never used a case and never had a problem with breaks/cracks/whatever. (OK, there was the slightest little chip on the housing of one of my Bionics, but that was a factory refurb, and I'm honestly not sure if it came that way.) But I keep the phone in a dedicated pouch in my purse, where it seems pretty happy.

I don't like cases because I don't really want anything between me and my phone, but it's starting to sound like preserving this phone for the next 20 months without a case will be a matter of great good luck and (perhaps) divine intervention.
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Old September 24th, 2013, 09:46 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about your screen. (Something I never want to experience.)

I love my S4 and out of all the phones I've had, Motorola Backflip and Atrix 4G, the S4 is the lightest and there is no metal on it. (Its all plastic.) From the first time I picked up my phone when purchased, I felt it would get screen damaged easier because of being plastic and slippery. I have an Outterbox Commuter case along with a Zagg Shield screen protector on. (I carry my S4 in a belt holster as well.) I've drop my S4 a few times on carpet and concert with no damage, I believe, due to the case and screen protector.

For me, I can deal with a little bulk knowing that I have a good form of protection for my phone.
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Old September 25th, 2013, 12:57 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I have no qualms about the Galaxy line of phones being plastic. Unfortunately Apples strong cult like worshippers along with their marketing expertise and influence over people, has convinced the masses that Aluminum is superior.

After very close scrutiny of the inside & outside of my SGS 4, I find it very well designed. Side by side with my iPhone 5, I have a strong preference for the Galaxy S4. In fact my S4 experience has been so impressive that it lead me to pre-order the Note 3, primarily because of its larger display.

I eagerly await the arrival of my Note 3.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 05:08 AM   #30 (permalink)
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The best way to prevent your screen cracking is by keeping it in case. I know it makes it more bulky but I think it's worth it
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Old September 26th, 2013, 05:14 AM   #31 (permalink)
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The best way to prevent your screen cracking is by keeping it in case. I know it makes it more bulky but I think it's worth it
Take a look here!
Samsung Smartphone Cases | Proporta : Galaxy S4
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Old September 26th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #32 (permalink)
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The best way to prevent your screen cracking is by keeping it in case. I know it makes it more bulky but I think it's worth it
Mine was in in Incipio case when it happened. I read a post on one thread where the person had his in an Otterbox and it still happened.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Mine was in in Incipio case when it happened. I read a post on one thread where the person had his in an Otterbox and it still happened.
Nobody said that a case would prevent damage to a cellphone. Having a case on it gives it a higher chance of not getting damaged as opposed to not having one at all and the risk of damage is much higher. Also, not all cases protect the phone well. Some are just for show, while others are for duribility.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 06:57 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Depending on the case you're phone can experience the same amount of shock on impact as it would without one. Cases will protect from scuff marks and scratches. That's why more and more composite cases are being made with hard plastic over a shock absorbing TPU inner liner, yet those also have their limits.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 09:28 PM   #35 (permalink)
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That's why more and more composite cases are being made with hard plastic over a shock absorbing TPU inner liner, yet those also have their limits.
And that might actually help with this "pocket" situation too. Many cases wouldn't do a thing.
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