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Galaxy Note 7 scratch test revisited

The Galaxy Note 7 has been unfairly, unjustly treated. I’m sure you’re aware of the Galaxy Note 7 so-called “explosions” these days that the media continues to propagate as fact when the truth of the matter is that 26 of the initial claims before the replacement units were sent were false and designed for financial gain. Well, the Galaxy Note 7 was also given terrible treatment in terms of scratch resistance. The Galaxy Note 7 is the first to come with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 panel, so tech reviewers decided to conduct a Note 7 scratch test to see just how durable the latest-gen. panel tech really is. What YouTuber JerryRigEverything discovered to his knowledge was that the Gorilla Glass 5 panel scratched at a level 3 on the Mohs Hardness Test (which seems sub-par compared to all other high-end smartphones that didn’t scratch until level 6).

Well, Corning provided its own response to Jerry’s Note 7 scratch test, some of which I’ll add here:

The hardness pick that was used in the video was a 3, that’s considerably softer than the glass material. Oftentimes when you have a softer material like that, and depending on what kind of loads you have used, you tend to see material transfer on the test substrate.

Material transfer on the test substrate is not necessarily a scratch but it can appear to the untrained eye as a pretty visible scratch. We don’t know whether or not that is what is being seen in the video. Certainly in the testing we’ve done internally, we don’t see that issue at all with similar picks on the Mohs hardness scale. We have conducted controlled pick hardness tests on GG5 (Gorilla Glass 5) and we have demonstrated that this material transfer phenomena can occur. It is characteristic of the lower pick hardnesses during the tests.

The goal of supplying all this here is to give the full context of Corning’s response to Jerry’s initial Note 7 scratch test. What Corning says is that, even if the glass is as durable as it can be (which GG5 is the most scratch-resistant there is on the market for 2016), if the pick used to scratch the glass has a low hardness score, it can transfer materials from itself to the glass panel and appear as a visible scratch when it isn’t.

Some saw Corning’s Note 7 scratch test response as that of a typical company trying to save face, but JerryRigEverything has now published a video in which he investigated his own initial claim. His new finding? Corning is right. Here’s what Jerry says about the Note 7 scratch test results and why he’s overturning his initial conclusions:

After my initial scratch test on the Note 7, I did purchase a second Note 7 to double check my results, since they did seem kinda strange and the second device scored the same — scratching at a level 3 — so at that point, I felt confident in publishing my results to YouTube. I did not think that my Mohs picks would be the inconsistent and incorrect variable.

When purchasing this $100 set of Mohs picks, they come extremely sharp since you need a sharp object in order to perform a scratch test…this particular kit that you see me opening on screen right now was purchased after my Note 7 scratch test and before the release of the iPhone 7. It’s important to note that the iPhone 7 screen and camera lens test were performed with a brand new set of Mohs picks…with this new set of picks and a new phone, the Gorilla Glass 5 scratches at a level 6 and at a level 7. These results are perfectly on par with previously-tested smartphones.

So why was my previous Note 7 scratch test so drastically different? It actually took quite a while to figure out. My investigation and this update video was slightly hindered by the worldwide Note 7 recall, but here’s what happened: included with the Mohs kit is a sharpening stone. This is meant to keep the tip sharp so it can perform scratch tests. But as this stone is used, little fragments of the sharpening stone become embedded in the pick tip. This stone is made from a combination of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide, both of which are around an 8 or 9 on Mohs’ scale.

And since these little fragments of stone are microscopically stuck in the tip of 3, instead of the “3” being a “3,” the “3” becomes an “8” — and since a level 8 is outside of the normal glass realm, glass gets scratched. This wouldn’t be a problem in the real world of testing rocks and minerals and concrete hardness, but the contamination is clearly an issue with glass scratching. My picks failed me during that first test, and in turn, my results were skewed. The Gorilla Glass 5 definitely does not scratch at a level 3, as I erroneously stated in my previous video. Gorilla Glass 5 is the same relative hardness as other tempered glass screens like Gorilla Glass 4. In the future, I will not be sharpening any of my picks with this stone; I’ll just purchase a new Mohs kit when I need to (bold font mine).

Jerry’s mistake was to sharpen the Mohs picks with the sharpening stone that gets aluminum metal fragments stuck in the tips was used to leave aluminum residue from the sharpening stone on the Note 7’s display, in turn skewing the results. In other words, the display is not meant to be scratch-proof to things like aluminum metal, but it is meant to be scratch-resistant to most elements we encounter regularly (provided that they’re all a single element and not a composite involving aluminum fragments). With that said, the Galaxy Note 7 scratch test revisited proves that the Note 7 is as tough and durable as all the displays before it (if not more).

Still, you shouldn’t let its scratch resistance and durability prevent you from buying a screen protector for your device (protecting your financial investment is always a wise idea).

What do you think of the revisited Note 7 scratch test? Does this convince you to pick up a Note 7, or were you a Note 7 fan before Jerry’s results and already own your Note 7?

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