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Dropped, knocked and dunked: Nexus 7 and iPad put through paces in durability test

When a new gadget or gizmo hits the market, most tech reviewers will carefully consider the new device, taking time to evaluate the user experience, commenting thoughtfully on its look and feel, examining carefully what’s under the hood, looking at available apps, and analysing how it fits alongside its competitors. They may even spend time caressing it in a quiet room away from prying eyes.

Not SquareTrade. When a new gadget comes its way, reviewers there drop it from a great height. They knock it off a table. They even chuck it in a bathtub full of water. Essentially, they try to destroy it.

It may seem an odd way to treat a brand new tech toy, but knowing that SquareTrade is in the business of providing insurance cover for consumer electronics explains a lot and hey, it’s kind of fun to see what happens to an iPad or some such device when it acquaints itself with a block of concrete.

When conducting its durability tests, SquareTrade likes to pit two devices against each other. This time it put Google’s new 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet up against Apple’s new iPad.

In the first test, both devices were dropped at the same time, face-up, from about shoulder height by two individuals.

Both tablets slammed into the ground with some force, but whereas the Nexus 7 suffered only minor damage (to its back), the iPad took a real beating, with one corner totally messed up. The screen cracked too.

However, slow-mo footage from this admittedly unscientific test reveals that the iPad, the heavier of the two devices, took the full force of the fall on one corner, whereas the Nexus 7 got away with a less damaging, flatter landing. Still, 1-0 to Google’s new tablet.

Next, the devices were knocked from about table height onto a concrete floor. Again, while the Nexus 7 only suffered a few marks, the corner of the iPad was a little mashed up. It was another win for the Nexus, but only just this time.

Finally, bath time. Apparently there are plenty of people who lie in the bath while using their tablet, which means, on occasion, they inadvertently join the bather in the water. When SquareTrade threw the tablets in, both were playing videos with sound.

After an unspecified amount of time, the devices were removed. The Nexus didn’t even seem to realize it had been under water, and carried on as if nothing had happened, playing music and video and responding to touch commands as usual. The iPad, on the other hand, continued playing the video and responding to touch commands, but had no sound.

So there you have it. If you’re the clumsy type and are in the market for a new tablet, perhaps the Nexus 7 is the one for you. However, in case you wanted to know about the user experience it offers, how it looks and feels, what’s under the hood, available apps, and how it fits alongside its competitors, head over to DT’s comprehensive Google Nexus 7 review.

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