Can a naked MBA survive a drop of 2 to 6 feet?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by arrowtree, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. arrowtree, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013

    arrowtree macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    Can a naked MBA survive drops for these heights?(no case, no bag, no nothing)

    2 feet = fall from height of my bed, landing on carpeted floor

    4 feet = fall from waist height, landing on vinyl tiled floor at the office

    6 feet = fall out of airline overhead bin (which has happened to my iPad)

    in a best case scenario... let's say the MBA makes a perfect landing
    with all 4 bottom corners touching the ground at the same time,
    how likely will it survive? :)
  2. Jesla macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2013
    Tennessee USA
    All depends on how it lands or what it bounces off of on the way down. They are built tough however there is no predicting how they will impact hard surfaces.
  3. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013

    in a best case scenario... let's say the MBA makes a perfect landing
    with all 4 bottom corners touching the ground at the same time,
    how likely will it survive? :)
  4. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    even from 6 feet it will most likely survive. The MBA has no moving parts so there is little that can break from a drop.
    However, aluminium bends, so dont be surprised if a corner is dented in from the drop. If its open when it drops then if your unlucky the screen might bend, breaking the screen or the hinges. Its impossible to say what might happen.
    I've never heard of anyones laptop drop perfectly, 4 corners...., they always land on a corner ;)
  5. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    If the landing surface is perfect flat AND level, then you can drop it from pretty much any height and it won't have any cosmetic damage apart from maybe a scratch if it skids.
  6. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    this is quite ridiculous, any drop can have the potential for serious damage.. regardless of the landing!!!! aluminum also bends meaning you can crack the logic board even if you do a "perfect landing".... not to mention all of the other plastic components...!
  7. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    My only input is that I wouldn't want to find out. [​IMG]
  8. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012

    Hey, lets try this and contribute to science! :D

    4 rubber feet simultaneously on the ground and I'd think that is the best possible scenario, as the feel will somewhat cushion the fall. Will I guarantee it will survive? Of course not.

    Being on this forum for a year I've seen corners dents, while not fatal, but a major cosmetic blemish for sure and not readily repairable other than a completely new chassis. So these are corner, naked drops.

    I have dropped mine twice, both from 3 feet, once on industrial carpet and once on parking lot and it survived both, but then it was inside a WaterField thick ballistic nylon sleeve.
  9. iLuvMyMacToo macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
  10. pikachu2k7 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Carolina


    Honestly, it all depends on what is your definition of "survive." Survive as in no dents or scratches or survive as in it still powers on.
  11. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013

    My MBA isn't here yet...

    I guess the only way I can conduct this experiment is to book several
    hours of supercomputer time at the NASA. It's only a simulation,
    but should be close enough. :D
  12. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    And what are you going to do with the data? Tell Apple to build in an ultra sensitive gyroscope, and actuators to deploy and it always lands the correct way like a cat?

    Probably easier to puf an airbag. ;)

    Architect students are always given this assignment of throwing a egg from 2 story down and is their job to design a system so the egg doesn't crack. Remember?
  13. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    I was in a different major. We pushed a semi-playable upright piano
    out the 4th story window. Suffice to say, it became unplayable almost
    instantaneously. Our first attempt actually failed because we were
    nerdy kids who had no muscles.
  14. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    No it's not. If you assume a pure "free fall" and that the MBA is perfectly level with the ground when it langs, it would take a lot of force to crack the logic board or aluminum. This is fundamental physics. Instead of impact force being applied to a small surface of the material/object, the force is spread across the ENTIRE surface. In that case, it would take multitudes of force more to cause aluminum to bend. In the event of a "perfect landing", the impact force is spread across the entire bottom part of the MBA. Assuming even/near even weight distribution, there won't be any skidding or a negligible amount of it. If it lands at an angle, the impact surface is very small which is why a dropped laptop almost certainly will be damaged. If the impact surface is the entire surface, then there is much less force/area.
  15. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    A perfect landing is it lands on your foot first before skidding onto your floor.
  16. arrowtree, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013

    arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    that's very true.... or land on pets. I once dropped
    my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and it landed on my cat
    before ending up on the concrete driveway. The cat
    was the perfect cushion that saved the phone!

    Edit: in case there are PETA members here... no, the
    cat was not injured by the phone. In fact, she couldn't
    care less that the phone landed on her and went back
    to napping immediately.
  17. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Sorry, I got so excited when I read "naked MBA" that I forgot what your question is.
  18. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    oh no... I just realized what I've done... did some of you read this thread
    thinking the question about "naked MBA" as a naked man/woman who
    with a MBA degree?

  19. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    No, I knew you meant a naked MacBook Air.

    Disturbing, isn't it?
  20. retep42 macrumors member

    Dec 5, 2013
    actual experiment using 2009 MBP, 6 feet on concrete, 1 corner

    Well, by accident I tried this with my 2009 13" MBP this past Summer: As I came to a full stop with my bike on a patch of concrete, the MBP flew past me (I had forgotten to zip my backpack) and hit the concrete with the corner first that has the power connector and ethernet RJ45 jack. After carefully straightening the aluminum of the screen, I discovered that asides from a few wrinkles in the aluminum next to the RJ45 everything was fine. Hard drive, screen, DVD, etc. all survived without issues. Only change in performance: the ethernet connector no longer keeps falling out because it was too loose before. Now its a nice snug fit. I now understand why Apple keeps messing with the connectors as the MB's keep getting thinner, that big fat hole for the RJ45 really was the weakest spot in the casing. And yes, I will insist on my next computer having aluminum casing again!

    As for your MBA, I think it should fare even better than my MBP, so no worries.
  21. ggf macrumors member

    May 24, 2008
    Yes to 4 feet

    I have (accidentally) dropped my 2010 11 inch air in a situation similar to your second option but onto a hard concrete floor and a non perfect landing. I only have a very small dent in the casing to show for it
  22. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    Depends on planetary gravitation. Is this taking place on Jupiter?

  23. Omurices macrumors newbie


    Jun 28, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    My 2012 MBA 11 survived a drop from midway stairs to the first floor. (Roughly 8-9 feet height + 9 feet distance, landed slightly on the side way, then final land on bottom, on the laminated floor. Only noticed a tiny dent and impressed with it's durability. It still works with no issue. I think I got lucky.
  24. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    That video hurts me every time. Also, I refuse to count the water test as a fail. For that kind of a submergence, and with the existing damage, I am absolutely astounded it worked at all.

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