Consumer Reports test shows iPhone 6 Plus less 'bendy' than iPhone 6, suggests 'Bendgate' may be overblown

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Adding its voice to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus "Bendgate" debate, Consumer Reports on Friday released results of a scientific test showing the handsets may not be as "bendy" as some claim.

For its assessment, Consumer Reports put the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as a few other popular devices, through a "three-point flexural test" using a precision compression testing rig. The process involves a machine that exerts measured force across the back of a device as it is propped up on two ends with static supports.

Along with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the publication tested the last-generation iPhone 5, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One (M8) for comparison. According to the results, the iPhone 6 is actually less durable than the larger iPhone 6 Plus, an unexpected outcome considering media reports over the past few days concentrated specifically on the 5.5-inch iPhone.

Looking at the numbers, the iPhone 6 showed signs of deformation (bending) at 70 pounds of force, compared to 90 pounds for the iPhone 6 Plus. Complete screen separation occurred at 100 pounds for the iPhone 6, while the 6 Plus made it to 110 pounds before breaking.

The most resilient device tested was the plastic-backed Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, which bounced back from stepped stress tests until the screen finally shattered at 150 pounds of pressure. Following the Galaxy Note was Apple's last-generation iPhone 5, which took 130 pounds to bend and 150 pounds to break. LG's G3 shared characteristics with the Note 3, returning to an unbent state after each successive test, but succumbed to breakage at 130 pounds.

The HTC One, considered by many to be a sturdy large-screened device, faired the worst with signs of deformation at 60 pounds of force, followed by case separation a 90 pounds.

Apple highlighted an identical three-point test to reporters during a tour of its stress testing facility on Thursday, saying the latest iPhones could withstand at least 25 kilograms (about 55 pounds) of force. Consumer Reports says that amount of force is enough to break three wooden pencils.

Earlier this week, new iPhone 6 Plus owners began to complain of bending, claiming the phablet flexes to the point of bending under seemingly normal circumstances like sitting down with the device in a front pants pocket. Apple quickly responded by saying it had received only nine complaints from customers regarding the issue.

As Apple SVP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio said during yesterday's media tour, "The bottom line is that if you use enough force to bend an iPhone, or any phone, it's going to deform."