imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: Why use tempered glass on phones with Gorilla Glass?

Last year, I bought a tablet from a cellphone store in Vigan City owned by a Chinese.

It was an 8-inch local phone for use by my 4-year old kid.

After paying the amount, the Chinese manager said: “Sir, this will get scratches. You need a screen protector.”

I nodded yes. Screen protectors (scratch guards) were very popular then.

I watched him how he did it. First, he removed the outer layer with an ear tag marked No. 1. After removing it, he peeled off another.

“Whoa,” I said. “There is a screen protector after all.”

Without a word, he got a screen protector from one of those hanging on the wall side and stuck it on the front glass.

“Why did you offer a screen protector for P100 when in fact the phone has already its built-in screen protector?” I asked.

“That’s not a good one so we have to change it,” he said.

I felt I was cheated. So when I paid him, I gave only P50.

“Take it or leave it,” I said, then off I sped.

My friend, Tom, said, that this Chinese cellphone seller is really clever.

“He buys his tempered glasses and screen protectors from a Chinese wholesaler in Vigan and sells them to cellphone buyers at exorbitant prices, sometimes 6x the original price. A tempered glass from his supplier there at the back of the Vigan Public Market is only P60 and he sells it at P250 apiece including service” Tom said.

I swore I will never buy a cellphone from this cellphone shop again.

When I bought my Asus Zenfone Max two years ago (not from this Chinese), I thought I had the best glass in it, a Corning Gorilla Glass version 3. It’s so hard it’s scratch resistant.

“I don’t need to install a tempered glass, anyway it’s scratch resistant,” I said.

But after a year, I noticed there were already scratch marks at the center. Something must be wrong, I mused. I decided it installed with a tempered glass. Before I went to Ergo (2nd floor) in Vigan City (tempered glasses are cheapest there), I researched first why Corning Gorilla glasses are scratched, after all when it says it’s scratch resistant.

Posting for Quora, an Indian national by the name of Bharath Singh writes:

“Let us understand the terms here precisely: scratch guard, scratch resistant and scratch proof.

Scratch guard is just an extra cover that protects from scratches over your naked display. Scratch resistant is cunning, because most of them get misguided with the word resistant as proof; so it is just resistant to the scratch caused by any external action but not tolerant enough to sustain it beyond a threshold force. Scratch proof is an angel yet to be discovered, which is what we should be having in near future. So Gorilla Glass manufactured by Corning is scratch resistant and you might result in a helpless situation when you don’t have a tempered guard protecting to your gorilla glass threshold capacity.”

Mudith Himwan, who lives in New Delhi, says: One is scratches. Second is Cracks. Gorilla glass on your phone does not mean it won’t get scratched. On the hardness scale, Gorilla Glass (GG) lies somewhere between 6.5 to 6.9, which means it can easily get scratched by loose sand particles in your pocket. In fact lot of my devices with GG have tiny scratches on them and I always keep my devices in a dedicated pocket with nothing else. So I make sure to use a thin plastic microfilm on my displays with GG (not tempered glass) which easily prevents scratching.

On the cracking part, however, Gorilla glass helps a lot. It is more flexible than ordinary glass (which is what 99% of tempered glasses in the market are made of) so it absorbs impact better and does not crack that easily. Personally I have owned many devices with GG and have unfortunately dropped them many times from waist height onto concrete floors as well as roads. But they have never cracked. Phones with no GG however have cracked twice.

Arnav says its best: “Well, I was looking for this question for quite some time. My phone has Gorilla glass 3, yet I use tempered glass. Toughness is measured by a scale. It refers to Mohs hardness scale of minerals in a range from 1 to 10. On this scale, regular glass is placed at 5 and a diamond is at the highest 10. This hardness is measured by the ability of minerals to scratch each other’s surfaces. Glass can scratch anything below a 5, such as iron, but glass can be scratched by anything above a 5, such as quartz.

Gorilla glass has Mohs value at around 6.4. So, when you think it is protecting your phone from scratches from your keys etc., it is actually impossible to scratch glass with iron.

Now, the best part. Ninety five percent of scratches are due to quartz. But how? Our surroundings has a lot of dust and sand particles. When you see some dust on your phone screen you try to clean it by rubbing it on your shirt etc. When you do that, you actually put a scratch on your smartphone and keep thinking how it happened. Quartz has Mohs value of 7 and NO Gorilla glass provides protection above 6.8 Mohs. Usually Gorilla glass varies between 6–6.5 Mohs.

So, it’s better to use a screen protector even if your phone has Gorilla glass or Dragontail glass. The only possible way (as of now) to get rid of tempered glass and scratch guards are to use sapphire.

Sapphire is a hard, transparent material made of crystalline aluminum oxide. It is 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which means it doesn’t scratch as easily. This is why sapphire is more widely used in luxury watches that are resistant to scratches caused by friction. It is also the reason a watch like this can be used for decades and even passed down to future generations. Indeed, some mobile phone manufacturers have chosen sapphire for the screen of their mobile phones. Today, people paste protective films on the screens to avoid scratches at the cost of reduced brightness and poor sense of touch. When sapphire is used as the screen panel, all these annoyances disappear.

Despite the unparalleled strength of sapphire, the industry is not optimistic about the large-scale use of sapphire for handset screens because it is costly, is less flexible than glass and is in low supply. At present, the manufacturing capacity for sapphire screens is not sufficient to meet demand in the global handset market.”

In conclusion, Andrew Gates says that GG is not glass but plastic. Personally, I hate scratch guards. My phone doesn’t even have a silicone case around it. If you like your device enough to want to protect it from scratches, you’ll treat it nicely enough that you won’t need the accessories.

Hope these things help protect your phone, fellas.