This years flagships look mighty beautiful but also delicate. There is glass everywhere, both front and back. That is true for the LG G6, the HTC U Ultra, and, of course, the Samsung Galaxy S8. With the new style of smartphones comes a pressing question: how durable will these smartphones be? Will their classy look lead to more spider web fractures than we can care about? Will scratches abound as much as fingerprint smudges? Will they crack under the pressure of your posterior? Based on JerryRigEverything’s test of the Galaxy S8, the answer to those is a reassuring “no”.
The glass used in our smartphones isn’t exactly the fragile glass we think of when we hear the word. Especially when you talk of the Gorilla Glass that graces many smartphones these days. The latest iteration, Gorilla Glass 5, used on the Galaxy S8 makes the smartphone impervious to coins and car keys. With the glass covering even the front sensors and a metal speaker grille, the Galaxy S8 has a perfectly scratch-proof front. Unless you happen to have a Mohs level 6 pick or higher.
The back is similarly protected by glass except for two parts. The slightly protruding rim around camera lens is metal and the fingerprint scanner’s surface is scratchable as well. That said, unless you have a sharp blade in your bag or pocket, you’re pretty much safe. And even then, the fingerprint scanner worked flawlessly, most of the time, with scratches. That is, if you do place your fingertip on it and not the camera lens.
As the glass on both the front and back are tucked under the totally metal frame, which, by the way, is also totally scratchable with a cutter, the phone has a structure integrity you might not have expected from such a delicate looking device. No amount of force by the extra strong Zack Nelson managed to crack open the Galaxy S8, something HTC should probably take note of.
The one chink, though not a fatal one, in the Galaxy S8’s glass armor is the AMOLED screen. Burn tests, though ultimately useless, are practically negligible on most LCD screens that can recover after shutting down under 10 seconds of direct lighter flame. Samsung’s AMOLED screens, however, behave differently, causing a permanent white spot to appear under the same circumstances. The slightly bad news is that the Galaxy S8 still has that problem. The good news is that it took 3 attempts of 30 seconds each to produce it. As Nelson says, that’s enough to let the Galaxy S8 survive a mild apocalypse.