Buying a new mobile phone can be quite an adventure. Each generation device manufacturers try to amaze us by introducing all kinds of innovative features , and one of the most popular trends in the high range is the introduction of various degrees of added resistance. It could be said that everything started with the Gorilla Glass , but things have come a long way since then.
The situation is such that more than one person feels a bit overwhelmed when it comes to knowing how your new phone is protected and against what. Does an IP grade guarantee full immersion resistance? Are there reinforced glasses other than Gorilla Glass? Is there any specific protection against falls? We will try to solve these and other questions.
IP67, IP68 … what is the difference?
If you have been looking at a high-end phone lately you will have noticed that many come with some type of IP protection. This code is an international standard that indicates the resistance of a device against water and particles such as dust. With that said, each numbering has a different meaning .
The initials IP come from the English Ingress Protection, which comes to mean something like protection against the entry of foreign elements. The next number designates its nature (the first digit being the one corresponding to solid particles and the second digit to liquids), as well as the corresponding level.
One of the most common degrees of protection is the IP67. Based on the resistance table, this figure implies that a device certified as such is totally resistant against the entry of dust (6), as well as complete immersions in water at a maximum depth of one meter for 30 minutes.
The higher category phones have been certified as IP-68 lately. In this case the last digit is already assigned directly by the manufacturer and not the standard, indicating the official description that at least one IPx8 device must provide greater resistance in time and depth to what would be an IPx7 level , without defining specific values.
There are also other somewhat less demanding standards, such as IP64. These phones would be completely protected against dust, but their resistance to water is limited to splashing for a maximum of 10 minutes , without enduring a full immersion.
The iPhone X is certified as IP67, while the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the LG V30 reach the IP68 level. None of them has been prepared to take you swimming, but they will withstand a dip in the pool if you drop a case.
It should be noted that generally IP levels only apply to resistance with fresh water. Salt water quickly deteriorates the tight seals of almost any phone, so this type of protection does not have to be valid at sea.
Gorilla Glass: series screen protector
Gorilla Glass changed everything. One day the American firm Corning decided that now that everyone handles the phone by touching the screen there was an important business opportunity selling reinforced glass sheets. With the launch of its high-strength glass, it found an authentic gold vein. Now, not all Gorilla Glass crystals are the same.
Corning offers phone manufacturers several types of Gorilla Glass. The most basic offers a basic protection but sufficient against small bumps and scratches such as those that can occur when rubbing with the keys in your pocket. It usually appears designated in the technical sheets as “Gorilla Glass”, without numbers and surnames.
Next on the list is the Gorilla Glass 3 NDR. This glass has been designed to maintain the strength of the glass despite suffering superficial microfractures , making it difficult to break. After him is the Gorilla Glass 4, more recent. Not only is it more resistant to abrasion, but also incorporates improvements in its composition to prevent the screen from shattering when falling to the ground.
Finally we have the most modern and resistant Corning glasses: Gorilla Glass 5. This type of glass provides the same resistance to compression that Gorilla Glass 4, but drastically improves the values for abrasion and particularly falls. According to the manufacturer, the screen of a phone equipped with Gorilla Glass 5 can survive in 80% of the time falls of up to 1.6 meters on a rigid surface.
Virtually all high-end Android phones launched during this last year come with Gorilla Glass 5 , while phones such as the Moto E4 and Huawei Mate 9 opt for Gorilla Glass 3, which continues to provide an adequate level of protection. The Gorilla Glass 4 is much less usual, something like the missing link.
In addition to these crystals, Corning also offers specialized versions of Gorilla Glass for smart watches and even computers with their own specifications. There are even antibacterials!
At this time Gorilla Glass is the most popular protection surface on the market, although there are other reinforced glasses for phones such as Dragontail and various types of tempered glass. They generally offer less resistance to the latest versions of Gorilla Glass.
MIL-Spec: military specifications
And if what is needed is a bomb-resistant phone (or almost), we can talk about the MIL-Spec specification. This is the name that adopts the standard of resistance used by the United States Army, and that lately has begun to be seen in a very small number of really hard devices.
As the degree of IP protection, the MIL Spec 810G standard (which is what really matters to us) defines a series of tests and the values to be overcome. We are talking about a huge list of eventualities (falls, vibrations, dust, extreme temperatures, explosive pressure changes …), so when we see a device with this certification we should look carefully at the fine print.
Generally speaking, the described MIL Spec 810G phones often pass army tests for falls, which are particularly strict. These are defined by the ability to resist the blow that occurs when falling on a concrete surface from a height of no less than 1.8 meters.
Currently there are very, very few MIL Spec 810G phones. The LG V30 is one of those rare avis, overcoming the fall test. The recently introduced CAT S61 , an extraordinarily tough professional phone, goes even further by also supporting MIL Spec 810G salt spray resistance tests , which are highly damaging to electronic devices.
Other protection factors
In addition to what has been said, there are other levels and techniques of protection that are perhaps less known. For example, Motorola offers in some models a screen especially resistant thanks to the technology Shattershield , in certain way rival of Gorilla Glass.
Unlike Corning’s glass, Shattershield is not a glass surface, but an assembly technique in the form of sandwich components of the screen and an interior aluminum frame. The result is a screen that, while not totally protected against scratches, is incredibly difficult to break.
Other phones may incorporate even more unusual protections. This is the case of the already mentioned CAT S61 , which in addition to being hard as a stone is resistant to especially high and low temperatures, guaranteeing its operation in high mountains. It is not silly, since at temperatures below freezing the touch screens of many phones stop working properly (or even stop working at all).
My phone does not have any of that: can something happen to it?
It depends. Do you talk on the phone under the water? Do you use it to open nuts when you can not find the nutcracker? Jokes aside, the truth is that there are very resistant phones despite not having any of these elements. For example, the iPhone range does not have Gorilla Glass, but nevertheless offers good protection against scratches. Just do not be particularly rough.
If you tend to carry the phone loose in your purse or you tend to give the odd bump, however, it might be advisable to protect it with an accessory. Tempered glass sheets can be a good remedy to avoid scratches on the screen, while a silicone case can cushion the worst of a fall at low altitude.
Just remember that none of these protections will prevent the introduction of dust or water into the device, so do not stop dealing with the care due to your phone just because you have put a protective case. He would never do.