Tablet Crash Test: iPad 2 vs. BlackBerry PlayBook

Not only did your tablet cost $600 or more, but you've become addicted to using it. So what happens if you drop it? Will it survive, or are you out all that money and unable to satisfy your tablet craving unil you get a repair or replacement?

That's the question the folks at SquareTrade asked -- and answered -- by dropping an Apple iPad 2 (with and without a Smart Cover attached) and a Research in Motion BlackBerry PlayBook onto a concrete floor from a height of about three feet, roughly waist height. SquareTrade is one of several companies that sells insurance for mobile devices, so it has a vested interest in understanding what kind of risk it assumes when by offering policies for these devices -- and in making you want to buy insurance by publicizing such videos, of course.

[Also on InfoWorld: "Tablet deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom" | Compare and calculate your own scores for the iPad 2, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, PlayBook, and ViewPad with our tablet calculator. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter.]

You can see the results yourself from the videos below.

Apple iPad 2 Drop Test

The screen of the iPad 2 without a Smart Cover shatters on the first, glass-down drop, although the iPad continues to function. But the screen of an iPad 2 with a Smart Cover installed survives undamaged and the iPad continues to function after being dropped glass-down. When SquareTrade dropped the iPad 2 with Smart Cover from a higher position (about five feet), the Smart Cover became detached and the iPad 2's screen was damaged, but not nearly as badly as the unprotected iPad 2 screen dropped at three feet. The lesson is clear: Get a Smart Cover or other sleeve or cover.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Drop Test

The PlayBook functions after being dropped glass-down, with some damage to the screen edges. A second glass-down drop shatters the screen, which of course debilitates its touch capabilities and could cut your fingers. But at least you can sync the device before getting the screen replaced.

I can't say the results are surprising; after all, glass breaks when it hits a surface hard or it is hit with a surface. Still, it was interesting to see that the PlayBook survives a glass-down drop a little better than an unprotected iPad 2 does -- and that the Smart Cover does make a huge difference in protecting the iPad 2's screen.

This article, "Tablet crash test: iPad 2 vs. BlackBerry PlayBook," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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