Before we take a look at this every day crisis let’s just consider how incredible modern glass has become and where it’s going.
In 2005 Steve Jobs had a meeting with Wendell Weeks the CEO of Corning Inc. He told Jobs about a glass developed by Corning in the 1960s, originally called ‘Muscled Glass.’ It was used in only some specialist applications and was not in production at any of Corning’s plants at the time.
Suffice to say Jobs wanted to use a modern equivalent in the new iPhone that Apple were working on and within six months ‘Gorilla’ glass was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Gorilla Glass is engineered to be thin, light, and scratch resistant. It is a wonderful solution that has delivered the touch screen displays we all use today but unfortunately it can break and cause untold misery when a smart phone or tablet is dropped.
Gorilla glass has a coating (part of the manufacturing process) which gives it a Vickers hardness test rating of between 622-701 – that’s hard…but it seems not quite hard enough.
But oh no! Horror! I’ve smashed my phone screen!
So what next? Apple is again leading in this area and is investing heavily in ‘Sapphire’ glass, the type used in top brand watches and to protect iPhone camera lenses. No one is quite sure where this is going but just as a comparison Sapphire glass has a hardness test rating second only to diamonds. Sapphire laminates promise much better performance than Gorilla glass so maybe in future you will be able to drop your phone or tablet and come away crack and scratch free.
In the meantime what happens if you drop your smartphone and your beautiful screen ends up as a mass of crazed and cracked glass? Here’s what you should do:
1. Is it really that bad? Does the phone still work? Perhaps you could live with it if it does, especially if you are only a few months away from the end of your contract. One thing you could do in the interim is apply a smart screen protector which is very cheap….oh and if this is a regular occurrence, get a damned good case – there are some really tough ones out there from the likes of OtterBox and Case Mate.
2. If your device is pretty new check out your phone’s warranty – it might be feasible to get the screen replaced at reasonable cost. In some cases the manufacturer will replace the whole device.
3. If your phone is out of warranty you could choose to replace the screen yourself but by screen I mean the whole screen not just the glass which is normally adhered very well to the underlying LCD screen and ‘digitizer’ electronics. There are a couple of options here:
• Buy one of the many, many kits out there for your phone and do it yourself. Do your research well and read through the instructions if you can download them before you buy. There are also quite a few videos on YouTube which take you through the process. The kits come with all the tools you will need and full instructions but beware you will need to be confident dextrous and patient. This is not something for the feint hearted.
• The other option is to entrust your phone to a third party repairer. There are many out there. Again take time with your research and choose one that has a good reputation.
Light scratches and cracks might seem to be superficial and some recommend polishing using polishes that contain fillers. These are good for treating car paintwork but not smartphone glass. If your phone screen has an oleophobic coating – the type applied to iPhones for example, that helps to prevent smudging – any application of polish is likely to destroy this and it will be noticeable. Recommendation: DON’ T TRY TO POLISH OUT SCRATCHES!
Always keep a back up
One last tip. If your phone is important to you keep a regular back up so if you lose it through damage and replace it you can always restore from your back up. If you have a back up and value your data privacy wipe the phone before you send it out for repair. When you get the phone back just restore from your back up.
If you need any more information on your phone and how to keep it secure then give us a call on 0208 232 1190.