Does the 5s side/back seem less scratch prone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by vaultwit, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. vaultwit macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2012
    When the 5 first came out, everyone was raving about the durability of the back and sides since it is made out of "anodized aluminum" only to find that it was extremely scratch prone, and the smallest impact would scuff it.

    And let's not forget the "scuffgate" where many people had scuffs straight out of the factory packaging.

    So how does everyone feel about the 5s? It's been a full day, so have most people gone through the day without any scuffs?
  2. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
  3. user-name-here macrumors 65816

    Aug 31, 2013
    There's not a chance in hell you are going to get me to test this statement sir ;)
  4. vaultwit thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2012
    Haha! not asking anyone to test it, just wondering because I know many people got a scratch within the first day with the 5 because it was so scratch prone.
  5. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    The finish on the 5S is identical in durability to the 5 with no differences whatsoever. The only advantage that the 5 has is that the Space Gray color is closer to the natural aluminum under the anodizing.

    Also FYI anodizing is one of the most durable chemical processes known to man. The anodizing material, aluminium oxide is second in hardness only to diamond.

    I've had an iPhone 5 since launch day and I treated it like absolute dirty to the point where most smartphones would have nightmares. In fact my 4S under the same abuse looked abused, and my screen protector has deep horrific gouges all across it from keys concrete etc. The bare exposed aluminum back? It looks 100% brand new.

    There's a reason why Apple chose anodized aluminum to make many of their products out of. It's an incredibly durable material.


    The weak part of the phone is the edges that are polished which means that they have very few pores for the aluminum oxide to enter and have a much thinner poorly adhered layer of the material. Cover the edges and you will never scratch your phone. Same goes for the 5S.
  6. vaultwit thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2012

    Except for in this video, which I found randomly after posting this thread, that shows a guy easily scratching the back of the iPhone 5 with a knife (last test in the video). Surprisingly, if you watch the entire video, the guy leans towards the fact that the space gray (which he calls graphite) is more durable than the 5.

    Not disagreeing that anodized aluminum is durable, but it seems from watching this video that the 5 can in fact be scratched on the back. Having said that, most people of course won't be going and knifing their phone though...
  7. Radiating, Sep 20, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013

    Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    Again there is no difference in durability any more than there is a difference in durability between different colors of paint you buy at Home Depot.

    Your assertion is that the iPhone 5 is "easily scratched" is also not reasonable. Calling a surface weak after it shrugs off all sorts of extreme damage and only shows any after multiple heavy impacts with a fine point of a hardened steel knife is like claiming a bank vault is weak when you throw it into the sun. You're not using a reasonable measurement.

    Furthermore if you look closely at the video all the phones had the exact same performance with no difference whatsoever on the matte area. Each of them had no damage after strong scratches at maximum force from keys or coins, and all of them were dented when they were struck with a knife at the part where the tip of the knife hit the phone.

    If you download the video and actually look at the sound clips from when the guy was damaging the phones with repeated strikes with the knife you can see that the volume has a much stronger peak when he hits the slate phone than when he hits the graphite phone. He hits the gray phone several times more than the slate phone but with much less force, yet both phones only show damage from the strong hits. If you count the number of gouges on the graphite and slate phone, the guy gouges each one every single time he hits one of them hard, and never when he hits one of them weakly, meaning they chip under the exact same circumstances and only chip when those circumstances are met. This would mean they have the exact same durability.

    Clearly when you hit something harder it shows more damage, and the slate iPhone shows more damage because it was hit harder.

    I don't think you understand how surface hardness works. If something is harder than something else that doesn't mean that it's invincible to being scratched by something softer. It just means that you need to apply exponentially more force to scratch it. You can scratch diamond with chalk if you apply enough force.

    The iPhone 5 showed literally no damage on the matte portions after long periods of full force attempts to scratch it with keys and a coin. That is a very high level of durability. You would destroy any other material such as glass or plastic and end up with it covered it with scratches if you did the same. You can easily etch glass with the point of a key. Yet the iPhone 5 shrugs this off with zero marks. There is no material in the world, not even pure diamond that can withstand being hit at full force with the pointy part of a hardened steel knife. Anything on earth will chip from that, so I'm not sure what you expect. However only when the devices were hit with the point of the knife and only when they were hit with a stronger level of force did they show any marks. If you plan to be repeatedly stabbed I suggest you look for a different phone. Otherwise the matte portion of anodized aluminum back is going to be very very resistant to scratching.

    The video also highlights the weakness of the iPhone 5, which is that anodizing polished chamfers does not work, you need to anodize matte aluminum if you want durability, especially if you're doing so on the corner of a device.
  8. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    There are grades of anodising and your statement that the 5 is incredibly durable is just plain false. We had scuff gate last year and even apple responded publically. I had a black iPhone and I found it to scratch. We all know the iPhone 5 scratches and is not incredibly durable, 5s buyers will want to know if Apple has improved the anodising process . FYI just google anodising , though we covered the grades of anodising to death last year
  9. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    Apple uses the exact same surface prep and the exact same primary surface methodology to anodize all the iPhones. They are all the same grade which is why they are identically as strong

    Anodizing when done properly is one of the most durable finishes on earth. This is not an opinion. I do consulting for materials science and this is a fact. You obviously did not read my post. Apple essentially chose to "break" the anodizing process by anodizing polished aluminum to get a two tone finish for appearance. ONLY the polished surface has issues with scratching. The matte portion of the iPhone is ridiculously strong, this is a proven fact that is demonstrated in the video above.

    Apple uses the best anodizing process in the industry creating one of the strongest surface finishes possible. This is not something they will greatly improve. Again, the fault that Apple has faced is with their two tone polished finish. Not their regular anodized finish.
  10. danilko1 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2010
    I have had a bumper on my silver/white phone since day one. The issue, the back looks fine. The screen has a hair line scratch you can't see, but you can feel it with your fingernail.

    The sides, although covered in tape, to reduce friction polish, and then on top of that the bumper, has scratches on the top. I don't know how it happened; it's more gouges than scratch. I think sand got under the bumper.

    Anyway I had no keys in the same pocket for the whole year, took great care, and still it's not perfect.

    I would like to resell a nice clean phone.
  11. itjw macrumors 65816

    Dec 20, 2011
    Wait. You used a phone for a full year and it's not perfect?!?!? No way. I refuse to believe it.

    Sheesh you folks and your OCD. I really do feel bad for you. You must not know how great life is when you don't have to constantly worry about a tiny imperfection on a device you use for a full year several times a day...

    You don't know what you're missing
  12. ajm222 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2012
    Just got my 5 replaced with a brand new one under warranty (based on what Apple employee told me and the serial number) and though the chamfers and sides are perfect, the back had some rub marks on it. Not scratches really, just some areas that appear more smooth than others that gives it sort of stained appearance in spots in the right light. A little annoying but not the end of the world. I put sticker boy metallic matte sides on it yesterday - the ones large enough to cover the chamfer. So hopefully I will avoid those issues.
  13. danilko1 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2010
    OCD, yes. I had no idea the nicks were there, util I replaced my bumper with a new one, just recently. So I don't really obsess about how perfect it is, at all times, just when I intend to hand it off to my wife, or get ready to resell.

    I must say, that the iPhone 5 has been the most marked up phone I've had, and the back looks really clean. The glass has scratched the most on this one. No you try your best, and whatever comes out, it is what it is.

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