Your Smartphone Is Being Scratched By Sand, Not Your Keys

The more recent smartphones have screen with scratch-resistant glass, but every once in a while you'll see that your phone has picked up another fine scratch. XDA Developers nails down the source: it's not the change or the keys in your pocket, it's the sand.

XDA did a bit of experimentation with a number of Spigen screen protectors, which use tempered glass to keep scratches off your phone (not unlike the "Gorilla Glass" that coats most modern smartphones). They tested it against keys, coins, sand and other materials to see what scratches it the most.

Surprisingly, most materials didn't leave a mark, but that hard, gritty sand that's floating around in your pocket actually has the potential to leave scratches on your phone, showing us that screen protectors can still be useful. Check out the video above to see their tests in action (although close your eyes at the end, it gets pretty scary when she does the drop tests).

Truth About Gorilla Glass -- Drops, Tests, Composition [XDA Developers]


    Simple solution seems to be to use a flip case?

      particles of sand still could get in between the case and the screen

      a cheap screen protectors suprisingly could go for a long way

        you'd be amazed at the amount of sand that can get into a phone. Even iphones get it despite the lack of entry point.

        It's normally harmless, but occasionally sand gets between different layers of the screen and scratch it to hell.

    Another danger to the screen is the diamond engagement ring. Not easy to scratch with the stone but possible.

    i find the concrete in my pocket tends to leave a mark

      Why're you carrying concrete in your pocket though? =P

    The LH headine: It's not the sand in your pocket scratching your screen, it's the power drill!

    In a lab, scientists compared a sand-scratched screen with a drill-scratched screen, and shockingly the drill "scratched" right through the glass and made a hole in it (the same diameter as the drill bit, funnily enough). QED.

      Hmm, I just realised my snarky comment probably didn't make the point I intended. This study is flawed. While keys rubbing on a phone screen happens in the real world - in normal everyday people's pockets - sand doesn't. There's this thing called gravity, and it pulls things (like sand) downwards, towards the bottom of the pocket, which makes it no longer in contact with the screen face. This would've been a better study if they put a phone and a set of keys in someone's pocket and got them to walk around town for an hour, and a phone and a handful of sand in that person's other pocket, and then compare.

      Oh, I should also point out that screen protectors are a pet peeve of mine. They're usually more susceptible to scratches than the bare screen itself (making people go "wow, my screen protector has so many scratches - glad I've got the screen protector!") and I'll bet most people never replace their screen protector for the lifetime that they have the phone - they replace the phone before the protector. So the only purposed it served was to uglify the phone the whole time. Ok, rant over.

        True, they scratch easier, but they're also a hell of a lot easier to replace.

          I'd rather have a heavily scratched screen protector than a lightly scratched phone.

    I don't use a screen protector. Once the screen is too scratched for my liking, time to buy a new phone
    This is usally around three years which then keeps me up todate anyway

    If you're gonna get a screen protector get a decent one. Every single time I buy a cheap ass $1 screen protector the thing has massive scratches on it within 5 minutes. If you use your thumbnail and push a little it'll leave a mark.

    Ham juice tends to be the killer for phones in my pocket.

    My phone was fine and clean. I had a case on it that came with a built in screen protector. I went to the beach yesterday and when I came home I found small bits of sand INSIDE the case and panicked. I took off the case and started cleaning my phone and the case but it was too late. very small scratches were on the phone's back and thankfully only one SMALL scratch on the screen itself.

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