Samsung is offering a peek behind the scenes of how a smartphone or wearable is designed. The Reliability Test Group is vital to the process and is involved from the very beginning. As soon as the specifications are determined, the group starts starts planning the tests.
Then a feedback loop forms the manufacturing sites send in prototypes, the group evaluates them and reports on what needs to be improved. It varies by device, but a single model may have to go through as many as 12 different cycles.
Heres a look at some of them.
1. Image quality lab
Tests are performed in controlled conditions that simulate both indoors and outdoor conditions using scaled models of real life scenes. An artificial sunlight system can take a camera from day to night testing and there are specific scenarios like a neon-lit street.
Testing the camera in a controlled environment
The group also takes the phones outside for some real-life shooting. In the end brightness, color clarity, image noise and other factors are evaluated.
2. Heat lab
Whether its playing the most demanding mobile games or running the camera for extended periods, the heat produced by smartphones is carefully tracked by thermal cameras. Not just how much heat, but where it comes from too.
Heat generation is tracked with thermal cameras
3. Waterproof lab
Many Samsung Galaxy phones have an IPX8 rating, so they are submerged in 1.5m of water for half an hour. Samsungs smartwatches and bands are tested to a higher standard (5ATM) to ensure they will survive the added stress of swimming.
Water is the enemy of electronics
4. Drop test lab
This one is a classic dropping the phone from different heights and at different angles to find out weak spots. High frame rate cameras provide clues on how the device can be made more robust.
A high speed camera looks for weak spots
5. Durability lab
This lab follows on with tumble tests, but also tests the gadgets resistance against user-inflicted damage it repetitively presses buttons, plugs and unplugs headphones and opens/closes the SIM card trays. Theres even a test that simulates the owner sitting on the phone when its in their back pocket.
Tumbling Pressing Inserting the SIM tray Sitting on the phone
6. Environment test lab
Just pressing buttons isnt enough does the feel of the buttons change with temperature and humidity? Samsung has users in all environments, so these tests mimic climates from around the world. An employee tries the buttons to provide some real human feedback.
Some hands-on testing
7. Acoustic lab
With the help of dummies and computers, this lab checks everything audio-related from calling (either talking on the phone itself or using a Bluetooth headset) to ringtones. Tests are carried out in two chambers, the first blocks out outside noise, the second simulates a real-world environment.
Two special chambers and computers test the audio performance