Smartphones are expensive, at least for the most part, although today you can easily find a smartphone for up to HRK 1,000. But if you have spent 2, 3 or more thousand kuna for your device, the least you want is for your smartphone to end up with a damaged or scratched screen after some time of use.
Many users still buy screen protectors to give them even better protection. But are protective films still necessary for smartphones, given the advances in screen protection technology and Gorilla Glass, which is present on more and more smartphones?
It is true that there was a time when it was practically mandatory to put a protective film on the phone. However, the materials used in modern smartphone displays have changed a lot over the years. Although there is no harm in using a protective film, but the thing is that you may not even need it.
Smartphone screen protectors: Purpose and purpose
A screen protector is simply a clear plastic or very thin glass that you stick onto your smartphone screen. The protective layer is cut to fit the exact shape of your device along with cutouts in the appropriate places; that’s why you buy different layers, depending on what kind of device you have.
To apply a screen protector, you usually need to clean your device’s screen with a microfiber cloth, apply some soapy water to the screen protector, and then press it onto the top of the screen. You can use an eraser to squeeze out water and bubbles, leaving a perfectly flat surface, so the protective layer should not even be noticeable on the screen.
The main purpose of the protective layer is that it will suffer minor damage, instead of your screen. It’s much easier to put on a new screen protector than to replace a scratched or cracked screen. Apart from the fact that replacing a scratched screen is more expensive, the process itself is much more complicated and you will need to wait a certain amount of time, from the moment you take the device to an authorized repairer until you get it back repaired. However, there are two types of screens that are sufficient by themselves, that is, that do not need protective layers.
What is Gorilla Glass?
The vast majority of Android phones today use Corning Gorilla Glass protection; most often Gorilla Glass 3, while the more expensive ones use Gorilla Glass 5, and the flagship models use Gorilla Glass Victus.
What is Gorilla Glass? In short, it is tempered, hard glass that is scratch-resistant. Corning has been releasing new versions of Gorilla Glass for years. At the time of writing, the latest version is Gorilla Glass Victus.
The two things that Gorilla Glass tries to protect your device from are scratches and screen cracks. However, depending on the model of Gorilla Glass protection, tempered glass will serve more to protect against one than the other. Some versions were more scratch-resistant but less shatter-resistant, and some were easier to scratch but harder to shatter. Each version strikes a balance between the two, with Corning continuing to push the boundaries of performance in terms of protection with each new Gorilla Glass model. According to Corning, Gorilla Glass Victus has been tested to ensure that the device survives drops onto hard, rough surfaces from a height of up to 2 meters. Scratch resistance is measured by the Knoop hardness test. Victus withstood a load of 8 Newtons, while other protective alloys failed the test at 4 Newtons, which only speaks to the quality of Gorilla Glass.
What is ceramic protection or “Ceramic Shield” and what is special about it?
Apple does not use Gorilla Glass for its iPhone smartphones. Instead, it uses glass that is exclusive to the iPhone called “Ceramic Shield”. Introduced with the iPhone 12, Ceramic Shield is a protective alloy also produced by Corning.
Ceramic Shield isn’t just a fancy brand name; the protective alloy actually includes ceramics. Ceramic Shield glass is embedded with ceramic nanocrystals that are smaller than the wavelength of light, making it appear as transparent as normal glass.
The result is a solid material that is resistant to falls and scratches. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t share many technical details about the Ceramic Shield. It simply claims to be “four times better” than the protections that were on devices before the iPhone 12. There’s really no way to compare Ceramic Shield to Gorilla Glass, but it’s safe to say that these are durable alloys produced by the Corning company.
Disadvantages of protective, tempered glass
One of the biggest disadvantages of protective alloys is that they reduce the feeling of touching the screen. Obviously, plastic isn’t as pretty as glass, which is why glass screen protectors have become more popular.
Placing a sheet of plastic or thin glass between the user’s finger and the screen can subtly change the appearance of your device’s screen, especially if the screen protector discolors over time. Since screen protectors aren’t as tough as Gorilla Glass or Ceramic Shield, they pick up unsightly scratches that wouldn’t actually scratch your smartphone screen. This is all assuming you put a screen protector on your device’s screen properly. If you are not careful, there could be some air bubbles under the protection, which will only further reduce the overall purpose of the protection itself, and may contribute to the protective alloy peeling off.
Do we need extra protection for smartphone screens or not?
Some common materials can scratch the smartphone screen. One of the biggest things to watch out for is the sand, it’s surprisingly hard. If you go to the beach and end up with sand in your pocket, that sand can rub into your smartphone’s glass screen and scratch it. Of course, hard stones have a similar effect, only worse, because they are stones after all. Other types of glass, rare metals and very hard materials such as diamonds can also scratch Gorilla Glass or Ceramic Shield protection.
Screen protectors also boast anti-fingerprint coatings, but modern smartphones have “oleophobic” coatings, which repel oil on fingers, reducing unsightly fingerprints. Even if you get fingerprints, you just need to quickly wipe the screen; ideally with a microfiber cloth.
Screen protectors are no longer a must-have for your smartphone. You can safely use a modern smartphone with a “bare” screen, and even if you put your smartphone in your pocket where you have the keys to your apartment or car, its screen should not be scratched, regardless of whether you put tempered glass on the screen or not.
Written by: Ivan Hečimović