Digital Tech

Why are smartphones so easy to scratch in 2019?

As the central component of our smartphones, screens are continuously subject to the hazards of everyday life. However, at the price at which manufacturers sell some terminals, we can be surprised when looking at the speed at which we scratch our screens. However, that’s not necessarily bad news for the manufacturers.

Smartphones are becoming more and more like luxury items. Once reserved for the high-end segment, the use of materials such as glass or aluminum has become widespread. However, look around you, in public transport or on the street, and see how many shattered screens you see around you.

Of course, using an object mostly made of glass, sometimes even on both sides, is pretty much exposing yourself to this kind of damage in the event of an unexpected fall on a sidewalk or a tile.

Scratch or breakage: you have to choose!

However, one thing is clear on the latest generations of smartphones, especially high-end smartphones: without even carrying them in a pocket next to your house keys, they scratch very easily. Much more than older models! Moreover, at the same time, manufacturers are praising their durability. So, is there any dishonesty in these statements?

Not necessarily. We must understand that glass is a double-edged material, with no pun intended. It can be scratch-resistant or made more flexible and less prone to breakage, qualities found in the tempered glass. Both, on the other hand, are difficult to achieve and smartphone glass manufacturers must offer the best compromise.

To add a variable to the already complicated equation, manufacturers are demanding increasingly thin and light materials from their suppliers, including Corning and its Gorilla Glass. This demand has led them to make choices, and instead to focus on shock resistance, a priority for users. The current generations of Gorilla Glass, by the manufacturer’s admission, have somewhat regressed in scratch resistance.

On the other hand, smartphones like the iPhone XR, OnePlus 6T or LG G7 ThinQ may have a better chance of surviving their encounter with tiling. At least under ideal conditions: many crash tests have overcome recent models, from the most serious ones such as Consumer Reports to the craziest ones that have fun testing the reaction of a phone to a Japanese sword attack.

So, are both possible?

There is still hope for a more acceptable compromise.

Still on the Corning side, the Gorilla Glass SR+, used in particular for the Samsung Galaxy Watch, visibly offers the resistance that has made the manufacturer’s reputation, while guaranteeing protection against scratches that is closer to the sapphire crystal, which is a reference in this field. However, the process seems complicated to implement on a large scale. Will a decent solution emerge from using folding screen technology?

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