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Galaxy Note 7 display with Gorilla Glass 5 just one step above plastic on hardness scale, test shows

By Shawn Knight · 29 replies
Aug 18, 2016
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  1. Update: Samsung and Corning have semi-officially responded to this, more information here.

    “The glass is designed to improve the drop performance and not necessarily designed to improve the scratch performance,” Amin told me. He went on to say, “When we consider all hardness tests, GG5 is actually harder than GG4. Based on our testing, for scratch performance as well as the hardness testing we do that’s widely used in the industry, we believe that GG5 should be performing similarly to GG4.”

    In the early days of smartphones, owners were just as concerned about scratches to the display as they were damage from drops. This has largely been mitigated thanks to continued refinements to hardened cover glass which has allowed companies like Corning to turn their attention to better protecting devices against gravity.

    Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 is among the first (known) smartphones to ship with Corning’s latest hardened glass, Gorilla Glass 5. The handset has been receiving rave reviews online but according to YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, you’ll almost certainly want to outfit your new Note 7 with a screen protector.

    In his durability test of Samsung's latest, the YouTuber found the Note 7 with Gorilla Glass 5 to be just one step above plastic on the hardness scale. Where most phones he tests don’t scratch until around level six, the Note 7 exhibits scratching at level three.

    Assuming this isn’t an isolated event, it would seem that in Corning’s quest to make a cover glass that is less susceptible to drops, they’ve significantly sacrificed its scratch resistance properties. This doesn’t bode well for the next generation of mobile devices as many – including the upcoming iPhone 7 – are expected to use a coating of Gorilla Glass 5 over their displays.

    A simple tempered glass screen protector will solve the Note 7’s scratching dilemma but it’s hard not to feel like this is a step in the wrong direction for Corning, even if Gorilla Glass 5 is more shatter resistant.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2016
    atcapistrano likes this.
  2. gazmatic

    gazmatic TS Member Posts: 20   +7

    Damn. I guess you can't have it all. I'll wait for another year before I buy another phone. Nothing innovative is out yet. No must have devices. Only overpriced status symbols.
  3. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 629   +599

    Its just like these companies actively chasing metal backs, despite interfering with signal, and making devices with worse battery life then phones from three years ago.

    But I guess it's what the market wants.
    DaveBG likes this.
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,157   +547

    I have never scratched or damaged a screen in 6 years I've owned smartphones (3 of them).
    I don't jam them in my pocket with keys/money. I don't sit on them, drop them or anything else.
    I treat them like the expensive piece of electronics that they are. Sounds like Corning traded off
    scratch resistance, for impact durability. Now everyone will go after them for having a smart phone
    that can be scratched. Just can't please everyone. Come on transparent aluminum! ;)
  5. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Guru Posts: 321   +62

    A more shatter resistance, with slightly less scratch resistance, I can live with that. Just put it in a pocket without keys or money like you should do anyway.
    MoeJoe likes this.
  6. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    **** shatter resistance. I dont pay hundreds of dollars for a phone I can throw around and drop. Sure accidents happened, I've broken ONE phone screen out of a dozen in my lifetime, using each phone at least a year, sometime two or three years.

    I would trade shatter resistance for scratch resistance, maybe its my OCD but scratches bother the **** out of me!

    I usually sport my phone with a somewhat thin case, no screen protector... I've found that most screen protectors dont feel the same as the nice sleek glass that is on the Note 5. Plus, then you get a difference in drag resistance with the Spen. Noticable enough to me.

    Very disappointed in this discovery...

    Edits I'd like to add. I always keep my phone in a pocket by itself. I've tried several tempered glass screen protectors. Maybe I buy cheap ones? I get them on Amazon if anyone knows... are there different qualities of these screen protectors? They always seem like shoddy knockoffs. Once I got a screen protector that came in packaging that said "Screen Protecbor:" on several sides of the box. It wasnt just one typo, it was everywhere. lol
  7. Invizibleyez

    Invizibleyez TS Enthusiast Posts: 65   +18

    This has always been a tradeoff. Shatter resistant or scratch resistant. Hard is brittle, flexible scratches. I personally think that shatter resistance is more important. You have to add an entire thick case to your phone to make the screen safer from drops, but only a thin piece of what is basically tape will save you from scratches, and for pretty cheap too,compared to the cost of many cases.
  8. melkiik

    melkiik TS Enthusiast Posts: 42   +10

    I can relate. I've been a smartphoner for 3 years starting next month, and so far managed to keep them all intact with this very same principal. If you pay as much as we pay from good smartphone hardware, you should treat it like it's worth the purchase, not a piece of toilet paper, as I have seen happen.

    In nutshell, in my industry we tend to tell thing or two when the customer isn't listening;
    "True problem is not the device, but it's user" Or one of my favourites "The device is as smart as it's user" :)
  9. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 593   +58

    I have no idea what the fascination with metal phones is. Not sure why "Premium" equates to metal. To me Premium is anything that feels solid and that does not creak or moan when squeezed and also doesn't have parts that jiggle around such as volume buttons.
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,966   +2,866

    No. That's what manufacturers foist upon the market. It's a case of like it or lump it and they know full well the consumer/market can't lump it so they'll just have to suck it up.
    melkiik likes this.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,966   +2,866

    I've been using a mobile device since the mid 90's and in all that time only once have I succeeded in dropping one onto a hard surface. That said, I don't care how premium or gorgeous a device looks and feels, I'll always shove it into a case because I want it to stay that way. If I want to ogle or admire it I'll take it out of the case and do just that.
  12. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,487   +3,481

    Shatter durability > scratch durability. A pack of good screen protectors will set you back about $20 for the high-end stuff. A cracked or shattered screen will set you back at least $400.

    Not even a contest.
  13. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,780   +1,528

    Obviously all gorilla's are not created equal! This one just be a little closer to that one in Cincinnati and may need to suffer the same fate! Of course buying a high qualify screen protector isn't that expensive or difficult, but it sure is disappointing that you aren't getting the top banana. Apologies to Hanna Barbera for too many George of the Jungle comparisons .....
  14. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    A simple $20 case SHOULD save you from most of the SMALL drops when you seriously malfunction and drop your ~$800 device. MOST drops are on the corner of the phone, some are on the front, but with a case that has a lip over the front bezel, this will save you. If you really think you need more protection than this, maybe they should really consider a different device.

    Nothing is worse to pay a premium for a device, just to see it's screen get easily scratched up and have that constant annoyance on that premium viewing device. I mean, VIEWING it IS what you do with this device, just about as much as TOUCHING it... I dont pay $800 to touch a subpar $20 tempered glass screen protector. My friend takes that a step further and says that about cases, but my $20 case has saved my ~$800 devices screen from breaking and major scratching so many times more than not.

    I'm so disappointed that this is what the "market" wants, and that people actually think they need this. Learn to take care of your **** and you wont have to worry about broken screens. When the toughness of these screens gets this low, just about ANYTHING will scratch it. So disappointing! Some will argue with me and say that if I take care of it that it wont get scratched, well that argument goes both ways of course. I would rather have a small barely seen scratch than a broken screen, but I'd rather have a new phone than one with a scratches that I can see while the phone's screen is on. lol
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,487   +3,481

    Or a phone with stronger glass.

    I've been telling people the same thing about seatbelts and air bags since I was a kid. Learn to drive and you don't need them.
    Invizibleyez likes this.
  16. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    LOL This can be taken as extreme sarcasm. You need them because people crash into YOU. But I suppose it can be just as possible that you drop your phone because someone else is being stupid. I guess I shouldnt word my comments with such strong opinions. lol
    Phr3d, melkiik and davislane1 like this.
  17. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,517   +512

    Transparent Aluminum is already available. Read about its ability to stop a Barret M107. :)
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  18. Mike89

    Mike89 TS Booster Posts: 37   +13

    I'm a cheap bastard. I only paid about $160 for my last phone (xaomi Redmi Note 2) and it does all that I need it to (after I ditched the mi firmware and got an aosp one). That's about all I'm willing to spend on a cellphone so I can forget about the Gorilla. I just use a glass screen protector and it works well.
    atcapistrano likes this.
  19. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,230   +229

    Where the heck is transparent aluminum (star trek tech) which is hard as steel and as transparent as glass?
    I guess the imaginations of science fiction writers are still out of this world...
    atcapistrano likes this.
  20. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    wouldnt it be an aluminum alloy then? aluminum's properties does not make it hard as steel, by itself. Also, aluminum is not very scratch resistant either... maybe this alloy is something fabulous, but it must be expensive, because it have not seen it in any consumer products yet... are there?

    Edit: It doesnt sound optically preferable. Sited from Wiki: AlON is optically transparent (≥80%) in the near-ultraviolet, visible and midwave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum
  21. JasonMason

    JasonMason TS Rookie

    Soft metals like keys or coins won't scratch a glass screen. Dust and sand will scratch it, which contain traces of hard crystals and rocks. And you can't fully protect against that short of putting a screen protector on.
  22. poohbear

    poohbear TS Addict Posts: 119   +67

    Never had a problem with any of my smartphones in the past 7 years. Then again I've always bought cases for mine. I'm always perplexed when I see ppl with cracked/shattered screens, they couldn't invest $15 to buy a case?
  23. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,133   +624

    But how are people going to see how thin your phone is if you buy a fat case?
  24. slamscaper

    slamscaper TS Booster Posts: 184   +34

    Honestly I don't like this at all. Previous Note series phones with Gorilla Glass 3-4 were very hard and only something a 7 or above could actually scratch it. The most common thing we had to worry about scratching our phones was sand, as it is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. Sandpaper to the phone would be a good way to show this. But even sand in your pocket can scratch your phone while it's in there, while your car keys never would. Hell you can take a steel key to the previous versions of Gorilla glass and scratch the hell out of your screen with it, then just wipe it off to a pristine finish. With the Note 7 this won't be possible. I don't think the older, harder versions of Gorilla Glass shattered easily enough to warrant such a drop in hardness. I have NEVER used screen protectors and I honestly hate them. I don't wanna be forced to use them either. Thankfully they've been fairly redundant for me since every phone I've had didn't scratch very easy at all. Corning is going to have to do more than simply refuting this evidence (look all over the net to see what I mean) if they want to make buyers feel safe about GG 5 again.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  25. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,157   +547

    My first phone was the Motorola Dyna-Tac "the brick". Out of all of the phones I've owned, from the analog & digital Star-Tac, several motoroals, a couple Sony-Erikson's, HTC pda phones, to the smartphones, the only phone I've dropped was a Motorola flip phone that went down 4 floors plus the sub floor of an elevator shaft. After their engineering department found the back case & battery, I put it all back together and it WORKED! Little scratched up, but worked. Called at&t, made up a story about the audio cutting in/out since I KNEW 2-3 days after the warranty expired, it would probably start acting up ;)
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.

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