Deep inside Samsung’s HQ in Suwon, South Korea, numerous staff spend the higher a part of every day placing the corporate’s newest handsets by way of a collection of gruelling and wince-inducing sturdiness checks. 

Earlier than a Samsung smartphone is ready to attain the market, the electronics big desires to be sure that it will have the ability to face up to a big beating and proceed to operate correctly.

On a current journey to Korea, we had been invited by Samsung to take a tour of its devoted testing facility, and as we made our method by way of the corporate’s labs (every extra diabolical than the final) we got here to know simply how severely the corporate takes its high quality management – even when certainly one of these checks does contain an undeniably quirky robotic butt (wearing blue denim denims, no much less) repeatedly sitting on handsets.

Crafting a devoted robotic behind is an idea that is maybe a bit left of heart, nevertheless it’s additionally one which succinctly demonstrates Samsung’s dedication to the testing of its merchandise in real-world eventualities – and that butt’s simply the tip of the assberg. 

There’s lots extra occurring in Samsung’s Cell High quality Check Lab, the place telephones are subjected to each take a look at you’ll be able to consider – from speaking dummies which take a look at name high quality by way of to chambers that simulate excessive climate situations. There was loads of bizarre, wild and great on show.

Get your thermals on

There aren’t many professions the place you will get paid for enjoying video video games – regardless of the stereotype, that is not even the case for video games journalists – however the group liable for Samsung’s Thermal Lab testing truly is tasked with enjoying video games on numerous gadgets for prolonged durations of time (although basic utilization is examined, too). 

Throughout these intense gameplay periods, the warmth ranges of these take a look at telephones and tablets are studied intently utilizing superior thermal cameras, with the photographs taken proven in a Predator-style warmth imaginative and prescient on close by screens.

Testers are then in a position to view the photographs and pinpoint particular areas on a tool, such because the battery or processor, which can or might not present some stage of warmth inconsistency.

Throughout our walkthrough of the Thermal Lab, we witnessed real-time online game testing of an unspecified Samsung handset whereas it was being charged concurrently. 

On this case the telephone’s warmth signature remained constant throughout your complete gadget, with no particular space exhibiting any indicators of extra warmth.

The warmth (testing) is on.

Picture is the whole lot

For a lot of potential consumers, photographic capabilities are essentially the most integral a part of the decision-making course of when deciding on a brand new smartphone – and as such, it is turn into more and more necessary for producers to actually put their telephones’ cameras by way of rigorous growth and testing. 

In Samsung’s Picture Lab, new telephones should undergo a collection of quantitative and qualitative digicam checks below various mild situations. 

For quantitative testing, quite a few footage are taken to find out concrete information a couple of digicam sensor’s photo-taking functionality. In these situations, decision charts and Macbeth colour charts are photographed to precisely document what the digicam can objectively obtain. 

Qualitative testing, alternatively, is far more subjective. Testers are in a position to take numerous photographs and personally supply opinions on their high quality, together with saturation, publicity and extra.

Samsung's hard work on display in this Galaxy Note 9 night photo.

Samsung’s arduous work on show on this Galaxy Observe 9 night time photograph.

It is that delicate balancing act between the 2 that provides images a definite look; one which goals for brightness and colour accuracy whereas additionally trying to enhance the general high quality of a photograph primarily based on capturing situations and the topic being photographed. 

As anticipated, quantitative checks are carried out utilizing completely different mild sources, together with LED and fluorescent lights in each dimmed and brilliant rooms. 

In the meantime, qualitative checks are administered in a wide range of environments together with managed indoor settings (resembling faux-restaurants and dwelling rooms) and simulated outside areas (full with outside lighting and digital billboards to ).

One of the crucial spectacular checks we witnessed concerned the photographing of extremely detailed miniatures, together with buildings, bushes and extra. Utilizing an elaborate machine, Samsung’s testers had been in a position to increase, decrease and swap out numerous miniature buildings on the fly, giving the testers fast entry to a wide range of environments with out having to bodily change rooms.

Based on Samsung, roughly 50-100 images are taken in every take a look at, including as much as “tens of a whole lot of take a look at images” when all is claimed and carried out.

Strapping sounds

Transferring over to Samsung’s Acoustics Lab, we got some perception into the corporate’s course of for attaining optimum sound high quality for microphones and audio system throughout telephone calls.

The primary room we stepped into was devised to simulate a live performance corridor, full with devices leaning towards chairs and different objects. 

Designed to hold sound throughout your complete room, the live performance corridor simulation is used to check spatial impression, reverberation and different elements that might have an effect on the standard of a telephone name.

Identical to with the Picture Lab, a front room setting can be obtainable to check the standard of a telephone’s calls in a extra common and certain atmosphere.

In fact, it is also crucial that the telephone’s mic and speaker high quality be examined in an especially quiet atmosphere, which is why Samsung has additionally arrange a noise absorbing anechoic chamber.

Don't call him a dummy – he can speak multiple languages.

Do not name him a dummy – he can communicate a number of languages.

Stepping inside this room is an unnerving expertise (and never simply because the partitions are coated in cheese wedge-shaped sound absorption panels), with the absence of any sort of echo making it really feel such as you’re standing inside a pair of noise cancelling headphones.

On this room, we discovered ourselves standing beside a life-size speaking dummy with a telephone strapped to its head. The dummy proceeded to talk into the gadget in a number of completely different languages as testers listened in on the decision from outdoors the soundproof room. This was carried out particularly to check the decision’s sound purity.

The subsequent acoustics take a look at we noticed was held on the different finish of the audio spectrum: a noise-filled room that was set as much as simulate a loud outside atmosphere.

Simply drop it

Subsequent on our tour was essentially the most perversely-satisfying lab testing atmosphere: the Drop Check lab. Sure, it is precisely what it seems like – and for some motive, we actually obtained a sick thrill out of seeing costly handsets take some severe punishment (as long as they are not our private handsets, in fact).

Utilizing a lot of completely different mechanical gadgets that appear to be the world’s most brutal ability testers (together with auto drop testers, tumble testers and steady free fall testers), Samsung’s handsets are repeatedly dropped from various heights and angles onto a wide range of arduous surfaces, resembling metallic and marble.

Throughout our tour of the Drop Check lab, we personally witnessed a Samsung Galaxy S9 being dropped onto a tough floor from a top of roughly one meter no less than half a dozen instances.

Whereas the telephone itself appeared visibly scuffed up, considerably surprisingly, its display and body remained fully intact. That mentioned, we’ve no method of understanding whether or not the gadget was nonetheless absolutely useful after so many falls – the testing chamber was sealed, so we did not get to see the telephone switched on.

Watching phone drop repeatedly is oddly satisfying.

Watching telephone drop repeatedly is oddly satisfying.

After one significantly bad-looking fall, Samsung’s testers confirmed us an excellent sluggish movement video replay of the influence that was captured on a high-speed digicam. Touchdown instantly on certainly one of its corners, the gadget bounced a number of inches into the air earlier than touchdown flat on its again.

Close by, a extra particular automated testing machine noticed a handset repeatedly dropped down a set of Stairmaster-like steps in order that the corporate might precisely document how a telephone could be affected by a steady short-range tumble.

We requested Samsung’s testers what number of instances a single gadget is put by way of the drop testing course of, and whereas they had been unable to disclose a precise quantity, we had been instructed that every dropped telephone is examined “quite a few instances.”

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