You know the familiar feeling of a smartphone slipping through your fingers and those few milliseconds when you realize it’s too late to catch it — it’s going to hit the ground. Oh no, you don’t want to pay it to get it repaired. Or worse, replaced. Your heart jolts and your stomach twists in anticipation as you watch it smack against the floor.
Time speeds up and you go to check your screen. You hold your breath. It’s in-tact. You let out a sigh of relief and pick up the phone. You almost feel silly for worrying so much. You know that there are smartphones nowadays that can pass the most extreme drop tests. Why would your own screen crumble after falling a couple of feet?
The manufacturer Iqoo did an extreme smartphone drop test where they attached their device to a high-altitude helium balloon and then let it plummet from 31, 540 meters. The Vivo smartphone actually survived the drop with minimal signs of damage. The camera could still record, and the screen still worked. It seems like a miracle.
You may have seen less intense, but equally impressive drop tests. Tech enthusiasts and critics test the limits of their new smartphones by dropping them out of buildings, down stairwells, out of helicopters, and more.
It’s jaw-dropping to watch a smartphone plunge from the top of a house and end up with a perfectly smooth, functioning screen, but that doesn’t mean that manufacturers have figured out how to make screens indestructible. That same smartphone screen that survived a drop from the house can crack on the kitchen floor after falling out of your jacket pocket.
The website Live Science explains that smartphone screens can still smash because of the impact surface and the impact angle. When a phone falls flat, the screen will probably be fine. When it falls on an edge, the pinpointed impact can cause the surface to break. So, it depends on how the phone lands, not on the height from which it’s dropped.
For one, avoid drop-testing your smartphone like tech testers on YouTube. They often get paid to pull stunts like this, so they can afford to repair their phone or get a new one if they get bad results. It’s not a good idea for you to follow suit.
If you keep dropping the phone by accident, you should consider getting a grip case. The specialized tactile material will make it harder for the device to slip through your fingers. The simple case swap could guarantee the safety and functionality of your screen.
Most smartphone models have display screens made with Gorilla Glass made from the company Corning. Last year they managed to upgrade the material with Gorilla Glass 6, their most durable version. So, if this material is a viable option, why would any user bother to get a screen protector?
Well, Gorilla Glass is famously strong, but that’s still not an excuse to leave your screen naked. The material can handle high drops and strong impacts. The one thing it still can’t stop: scratches.
If you watch the tech pro JerryRigEverything’s smartphone durability tests on YouTube, you’ll notice that screens can still get scratched up — even with Gorilla Glass. The test involves purposely scraping the screen with tools that increase on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness to see at when marks appear. Most smartphone screens start to show visible scratches at a Level 6 on the Mohs Scale and deeper grooves at a Level 7. Want to know what common material rates between a six and seven on the Mohs Scale? Sand.
Grains of sand are not hard to come by, and they can scrape up your display if you’re not careful. A screen protector adds a simple layer between the abrasives and the actual phone. When you notice the accessory getting too scuffed and scraped, you can easily peel it off and replace it. The same can’t be said for the built-in screen.
A Prism screen protector is a great guard against abrasives. If you don’t want to use a grip case, you should check out these cool phone skins that can give your smartphone complete protection from common abrasives and a little extra grip to prevent slips and falls.
Even if you don’t think sand will get in your pocket and mess up your smartphone, you should still consider applying a premium vinyl skin over the back cover. The high-quality material protects your device from ugly marks made from less-damaging materials like your house keys, credit cards, and pocket change.
Look at some of the user complaints about the Google Pixel 3 and 3XL — the back cover made of frosted glass got coated in scratches and scuff marks almost immediately after unboxing. Unlike sand scratches on the screen, these marks aren’t permanent or difficult to fix. But they are embarrassed to look at and a hassle to constantly remove. It’s better to save yourself the trouble and give your smartphone some extra protection.
Smartphones are getting better and better every year, but they aren’t indestructible. No matter how durable the screen material happens to be, it’s still capable of breaking and scratching beyond belief. Don’t leave your expensive smartphone vulnerable. Give it the basic protection it needs.