Tablet crash test: iPad 2 vs. Galaxy Tab vs. Xoom

It's the moment every tablet owner dreads: dropping the device. See whether the iPad 2, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Motorola Xoom survive drop tests in this video

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Admit it: There's a vicarious thrill in watching explosions, demolition derbies, and the like -- especially when you know it's done for entertainment. But it's not so fun when you drop your $600-plus tablet. Will it survive, or are you out all that money and unable to satisfy your tablet craving until you get a repair or replacement?

Back in June, I shared two drop-test videos that showed how an iPad 2 -- both with and without a Smart Cover -- and a Research in Motion BlackBerry PlayBook fared when dropped from various heights. The iPad 2 with Smart Cover survived fairly well, but the iPad 2 sans cover and the PlayBook didn't look so good after the tests, which the folks at SquareTrade filmed. (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 offering policies for these devices -- and in making you want to buy insurance by publicizing such videos.)

[ Also on InfoWorld: "Tablet deathmatch: Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs. iPad 2" | 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. ]

Now, SquareTrade has done new drop tests from waist height of the two leading Android tablets -- the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Motorola Mobility Xoom -- and repeated its iPad 2 drop test without the Smart Cover. You can see the results yourself from the video below.

The screen of the iPad 2 without a Smart Cover shatters on the first, glass-down drop, although the iPad continues to function. As you can see from the earlier video, an iPad 2 with a Smart Cover installed survives undamaged and the iPad continues to function after being dropped glass-down.

The Motorola Xoom sustains even worse damage than the iPad 2 in the drop test, likely due to its heavier weight. But the Galaxy Tab 10.1 suffers minimal damage in the drop; although its weight, thickness, and size are about the same as the iPad 2, its structure handles the drop better.

What does this mean? One, that like me you are fascinated by such crash tests. And two, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (or the Smart Cover-equipped iPad 2) is a better option for butter-fingered tablet buyers.

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