Every phone, once announced, is subject to various tests that examine durability and toughness. The Galaxy Note 7 scratch test conducted by Youtuber JerryRigEverything a few days ago showed that the Galaxy Note 7 “scratches” rather quickly and easily as compared to other competing high-end flagships such as the Moto Z, but Corning, the manufacturer of Gorilla Glass displays (and the Note 7’s Gorilla Glass 5 panel), decided to finally respond to the claim that the Galaxy Note 7’s Gorilla Glass 5 display isn’t tough enough to withstand the elements.
Well, Corning would defend its Gorilla Glass displays (I can’t blame them). Ultimately, the company claims that what is perceived as a scratch on the Galaxy Note 7’s GG5 panel is nothing more than “material substrate” or “pick residue,” that it can appear as a scratch from a distance but could be something entirely different up-close. The Galaxy Note 7 scratch test, thus, doesn’t show anything except that the Gorilla Glass 5 panel can be pressed hard enough to leave pick residue in such a case — and residue and scratches are two different things.
This seems to be a formidable and acceptable response to the Galaxy Note 7 scratch test, however, a question still remains: what are we to make of the pick residue that is difficult to eliminate from the Gorilla Glass 5 display? The Galaxy Note 7 scratch test may not show that the Note 7 can be scratched, but it shows that one can transfer a material to the display that is hard to wipe off (even Jerry had trouble eliminating it from his Galaxy Note 7, even after a few wipes with his trusted cloth).
The Galaxy Note 7 scratch test and Corning’s response leave us with uncertainty regarding Gorilla Glass 5 displays. Ultimately, though, Corning says that the focus of Gorilla Glass 5 was to make the display more drop and impact-resistant, not scratch-resistant. Corning’s claims that GG5 should have “similar” performance to GG4 panels (the prior generation’s Gorilla Glass panels) show that something has happened with the latest panels that puts the former scratch resistance at risk and makes it vulnerable and subject to change. We don’t have any answers, so presume that your Galaxy Note 7 is scratch-resistant and be sure to use a tempered glass screen protector (even a regular screen protector would work). Heck, even use two, if only to keep your mind and wallet at ease.