Galaxy S4 drop test shows Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 is still not impact resistant

For all the competition that's happening in the smart-device market there's only one company that OEMs turn to when they want a really tough glass screen: Corning. The makers of Gorilla Glass have shot to fame almost overnight thanks to their super strong screens and scratch resistant products. Corning said that Gorilla Glass 3 would be 40% more scratch resistant and 50% stronger than the previous GG2. Unfortunately we still have some way to go until we actually get an impact resistant screen.

Corning's latest, Gorilla Glass 3 may be a lot harder to scratch but it's not impact resistant. The new type of glass is featured on Samsung's Galaxy S4 that's just hitting the markets now.  As you can see in the video below, the new glass is put through its paces in a drop test while going head to head with the older iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III screens, both of which feature Gorilla Glass 2.

Though the screen handles the first two drops remarkably well, you can see how bad it shatters once it gets impacted directly. The glass shatters completely due to the way it's actually strengthened. The process involves creating a lot of tension inside the glass so when the tiniest imperfection appears, say from a scratch due to the drop, all that stored energy is released shattering the whole structure of the glass.

Unfortunately this means users still need to be very careful with their phones if they don't want to replace the screen regularly. 

Source: GizmoSlip (Youtube) | Image via Fonearena

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Next Xbox image suggests "Xbox Infinity" as name

Next Story

Watch this: Samsung's story behind the Galaxy S4 design

41 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

What are the differences and improvements between first Gorilla Glass, GG2 and GG3?

I think incrementing numbers is just for marketing. Am i wrong?

It literally says at the start: "Corning said that Gorilla Glass 3 would be 40% more scratch resistant and 50% stronger than the previous GG2."

Yes, there are real improvements between versions. Just because they aren't as big as everyone seems to want doesn't mean they are there.

And seriously: GG is amazing. Be thankful we have glass of this quality as it is!

I'll never understand all the buzz around Gorilla Glass marketing (and the military stuff marketing). It's still glass just don't drop your phone and you'll be ok.

LaP said,
I'll never understand all the buzz around Gorilla Glass marketing (and the military stuff marketing). It's still glass just don't drop your phone and you'll be ok.

ooohhh, just don't drop it... why didn't everyone who ACCIDENTALLY dropped their phone think of that.

These gadget are light, expensive, not cheap to repair/replace and people are clumsy, it's inevitable that some point someone is going to drop their phone it's great that companies are trying to come up with ways to put the issue to bed.

oh i agree with you it's just that too me Gorilla Glass looks more like Monster type marketing than something really awesomely better than other products of the same class by other companies. I might be wrong it's just what it looks like to me.

Just say the words GORILLA GLASS and MILITARY GRADE loud and all teens will think it's unbreakable and that you can skate and surf on it.

If you are referring to Monster, the overpriced cable maker, then by your logic, any phone with Gorilla Glass would cost what, $1000?

But some people will certainly say that Corning might be overhyping GG a little bit.

And what exactly does one define "impact resistant" as? I'm sure everyone has a different opinion of what that means.

If you are referring to Monster, the overpriced cable maker, then by your logic, any phone with Gorilla Glass would cost what, $1000?

Monster are not only overpriced they are not better than any other good quality cables out there.

I was not talking about the price but the perception it is awesomely better because of good marketing and a cool name.

Is GORILLA F****** GLASS really significantly better than other good quality glass out there ? Anyone thoroughly tested it against other brands ?

I don't know if all phones and mp3 players i owned had GORILLA OMFG GLASS (because i don't care to be honest) but i dropped them here and there and the glass always resisted the impact. I might just have been lucky dunno.

And what exactly does one define "impact resistant" as? I'm sure everyone has a different opinion of what that means.

No doubt. I don't think anybody expect it to resist a 30 stories fall but at least it should mostly always resist a 2 to 3 feets fall to be considered impact resistant anyway to me.

LaP said,
I don't think anybody expect it to resist a 30 stories fall but at least it should mostly always resist a 2 to 3 feets fall to be considered impact resistant anyway to me.

I expect every device to withstand a terminal velocity impact. That's the goal these companies should be aiming toward.
don't stop progress by accepting something as good enough.

Not a fan of these tests either. Rather than dropping it onto something I'd rather see something dropped onto the screen maybe. Just needs more control. Hard to say one would win vs the other when the angle makes all the difference in the world. That margin of human error determines the winner. Aside from that, I want that high speed camera.

It is very easy to replace the screen in the Galaxy model phones. Samsung has designed these phones to be easily repairable. A plus for the Galaxy phones. And anything can crack/break depending on how you drop it. Nothing really new here but hey, I am sure there will be more drop tests down the line giving back the same info. Stay tuned.

And the title to this post is off. Gorilla Glass 3 is impact resistant...its just not impact proof.

Edited by techbeck, Apr 29 2013, 12:59pm :

whats the poiint of the article, i didnt see anywhere that they advertised it as shatter resistant, i see damage resistant, more fud

Nice. I'll be sure to make this argument next time I have to RMA something with a screen ;-) I'd argue it's actually not 'damaged', but 'shattered' - no way they'd refuse warranty.

Of course this is not a controlled experiment making sure that each phone hits the ground at exactly the same velocity, angle, etc. but is still indicative enough for me.

Btw, I'm still using my HTC Desire phone which after abut 3 years of abuse and at least 20 drops works perfectly. Sure, lots of scratches and dings, but nothing really broke. Just my own experience.

Completely agree, I call BS... I've dropped my iphone 4, front face straight on concrete, metal tubing, asphalt, if you're looking to crack a screen, that's what you'll do.

The thing is the more tougher they make the glass they easier it will shatter because it cant absorb the shock. Plastic for example would be much stronger than any glass as it will just transfer the shock but glass will just break like like from a high pitch noise.

Why doesn't everyone just be quiet and get on with their lives. Just be careful with your devices, if it falls, it falls. That is life, live with it. We aren't perfect, nor can any product be perfect. So many people argue over stupid little things. Let's use our energy to help stop wars and poverty FFSSSSSS man.

May I also just add that that Gorilla's bum in the picture is very cute.

Crying bro.

You never dropped your phone? Or don't know people who drop it? Its a little hand device, ofcourse people are going to drop it, it should be able to pack a punch. I picked my phone because of its superb build quality and ability to pack a punch.

Lol I know, I'm just messing, I have dropped my phone a few times, the Galaxy S3, luckily the screen has never been damaged, not a single scratch.

Shadowzz said,
pack a punch
I think you mean take a punch? I don't think people normally intentionally attack each other with phones.

Why don't they just stop making the bloody things with GLASS? Get capacitive screens working properly with plastic, so we can go back to stronger screens.

no worries it's very easy to buff out. I've done so with dremel on my old windows mobile devices. draw back.. you have a limited amount of buffs before you start going through the screen. i'd say 4 or 5 times is the limit.

FloatingFatMan said,
There are other plastics they can use, and coatings for such plastics, such as the anti-scratch coatings found on plastic spectacle lenses.

as someone who wears these spectacles as you call them, those coatings wouldn't last a cell phone contract length.

deadonthefloor said,

as someone who wears these spectacles as you call them, those coatings wouldn't last a cell phone contract length.

I wear them too. Mine are pretty tough and would easily take the daily usage abuse a phone gets.

Is it just me or were they throwing them on the floor instead of dropping? The side test they actually did just let go of it. The other tests looked like a lot more force was being used.

Always annoys me when videos at the end spend ages just plugging other shows and sponsors. 30 seconds tops. Not over a minute.

These tests are always stupid as you can never drop a phone in EXACTLY the same way with the impact always being in exactly the same area. For example if you had 10 of the same phone, and tried to drop each in the same way, some will get shattered screens and others wont. Even a 1 degree impact difference can make the difference between a cracked screen or not.

These tests are completely pointless.

Edited by W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E, Apr 29 2013, 9:02am :

The tests prove that if dropped a certain way, the glass will shatter. Just like holding an iPhone 4 a certain way can drop calls

Neobond said,
The tests prove that if dropped a certain way, the glass will shatter. Just like holding an iPhone 4 a certain way can drop calls

You can drop a phone face down in the same way but it will never mean you will get a cracked screen each time. The chances of you cracking the screen are high, but it wont always happen. The slightest angle difference will affect it, and obviously no human can ever repeatedly drop phones in exactly the same way.

These "tests" would never be acceptable in a scientific paper for instance. People would laugh at you.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
These tests are always stupid as you can never drop a phone in EXACTLY the same way with the impact always being in exactly the same area. For example if you had 10 of the same phone, and tried to drop each in the same way, some will get shattered screens and others wont. Even a 1 degree impact difference can make the difference between a cracked screen or not.

These tests are completely pointless.

We all know reproducing a drop is difficult, but that's not the point. I think the whole point is displaying the fact that if you drop your phone on its face, your screen will be shattered.

Jombi said,
We all know reproducing a drop is difficult, but that's not the point. I think the whole point is displaying the fact that if you drop your phone on its face, your screen will be shattered.

As i just said in my comment above that wont always be the case. For instance, in this video if the iPhone 5 were to land at even at a 1 degree difference it may not have cracked the screen. Then people would be like "oh the iPhone 5 has a better screen!!" ... but nope.

And thats exactly the point of these vids, to compare each phone screen, but whats the point if it's all meaningless.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

You can drop a phone face down in the same way but it will never mean you will get a cracked screen each time. The chances of you cracking the screen are high, but it wont always happen. The slightest angle difference will affect it, and obviously no human can ever repeatedly drop phones in exactly the same way.

These "tests" would never be acceptable in a scientific paper for instance. People would laugh at you.


Haha, you are aware Science doesnt have to be strict right?
That even numbers get evened, 1.3 can be 1 according to science.
Science aint strict mate, it accepts very lose statements and as long as you can reproduce it, its science. And you can reproduce it.
And you could do these drop tests identically each and every time, not to hard. Use your imagination.
If a phone breaks easy, doesnt matter much how it falls, they (samsung) should've made sure the device would last.

And yeah every drop here isnt the same, but dude its just a basic test. Draw your own conclusions and stop completely ripping this off. How else are we going to test the average strength of these phones?

Nokia can make phones that survive these kind off drops, why cant Samsung and Apple.

Shadowzz said,

Nokia can make phones that survive these kind off drops, why cant Samsung and Apple.

Has their been a face down drop test on the Lumias? The ones I have seen are dropped on their sides.

I haven't seen a Lumia drop tested, but I've dropped mine on its back, face and sides and only have minor surface abrasions on the screen.

Nokia did point a pitching machine at it though..... Galaxy S III SHATTERED while Lumia 920 kept goin, like a boss.

How much does actual screensize effect the drops test? Bigger screen, more of a change to shatter? iPhone 5 is 4in while the SGSIII is 4.6 and the SGS4 is 5in

techbeck said,
...

I would expect a combination of factors affect breakability. Thickness of the glass panel adds rigidity as well. A big part of why I chose Lumia 920 over the competing Android.

"These "tests" would never be acceptable in a scientific paper for instance. People would laugh at you. "

Not so fast!
You forget about christian science.
Please apologize to the pope.