To demonstrate the toughness of their new Xtouch smartphone and its 3D printed shell, Chinese phone manufacturer Bluboo did something that would give any smartphone owner severe heart palpitations. The phone was dropped from twenty feet in the air, and while it suffered some minor scratches on the case, the screen was left completely intact, and the 3D printed shell didn’t have a scratch on it. While the phone did shut down after the fall, the Android-powered phone booted up just fine once it was restarted. Of course, like any good publicity stunt, Bluboo made sure to get all of it on film.
It turns out that Bluboo has a history of tossing their phones off of things to show off how tough they are, but never from this high up. The West probably isn’t familiar with Bluboo, but they are a popular Android-powered phone brand in China that sells stylish, high-quality phones at low prices. The Xtouch may not look as modern as the newest designs here in the Western Hemisphere, but they are certainly close. And the fact that it’s made from materials strong enough to survive a drop from twenty feet is, frankly, amazing.
The Xtouch has a five inch display, runs Android 5.1, has a pretty good set of specs and actually looks like a pretty decent device. It has a nice HD display, octa-core Mediatek processor, 13-megapixel camera with a Sony IMX214 sensor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a fingerprint sensor on the front. The Xtouch will be available in Chinese stores in December for only $149.99, and while they also sell the phone online so theoretically anyone could buy it, they clearly aren’t really concerned with selling to the West.
The video shows the Xtouch handset being tossed off of a twenty foot balcony onto a hard, tiled floor and bouncing around a few times. Any other smartphone dropped from this height would shatter, so the fact that it survived is amazing. The phone was shown as being powered on and working right as it was dropped, so this wasn’t a dummy phone, and not only did it survive the drop but it only had some minor scratches on the metal case. The display screen was completely intact and the phone, which did automatically reboot due to the shock, powered up with no problems.
You can see video of the twenty foot drop here:
The video is weirdly difficult to watch, even when you know exactly what the outcome is going to be. The phone survived thanks to its full CNCed metal frame, the Gorilla Glass 3 coated display and a 3D printed rear shell which is extremely flexible and virtually indestructible. The 3D printed smartphone shell was designed to add an additional layer between the phone and the outside world that would cushion it from any serious drops or impacts.
The shell is first 3D printed and then coated in a nanocomposite film that not only adds a stylish pattern to the phone, but makes it extremely tough. You can see in this video how flexible the material is, and it can almost be completely bent over in half and not deform, crack or break. It’s actually a little amazing to watch how much the material can be twisted and folded.
Check out some video of the 3D printed case:
Bluboo is claiming that their Xtouch smartphone is the first of its kind to use 3D printing technology in its manufacturing process. There is no word if the technology will spread to the West any time soon, but if it is as tough as it certainly looks then I can’t imagine that we won’t be seeing at least a series of third party cell phone cases with this 3D printed manufacturing process. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Smartphone Shell forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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