Extensive scratch testing: Findings on Iphone4,3GS/3G

ItsJustafnPhone

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 26, 2010
659
0
So I needed to replace my iPhone 4 due to something being wrong with my ringer switch ( the switch worked but the vibrate function didn't, not sure if it was hardware or software).

Anyways before returning it the next day I wanted to help answer some questions/personal curiosity and did some scratch tests. two things

1) I don't own a camera, so no pics, but lots of detail
2) Sorry for the long read scroll down to conclusions if you want just the findings

Definitions​

Light scratch: Cannot be felt with fingernail, didn't affect screen quality
Deep scratch: Could be felt with finger nail
Rainbow Scratch: Deep scratch that affected the screen quality (basically the scratch would be visible as a rainbow line when the screen was on)

I had at my disposal 3 naked phones

Pre-test​

iPhone 3G
Front: lots of light scratches, some deep
Back: Tons of scratches
iPhone 3GS :
Front: Moderate amount of light scratches, one deep scratches
Back: Same lots of scratches
iPhone 4 :
Front: Some light scratches, one medium-deep scratch that affected screen quality ( I call it the "rainbow scratch)
Back: A lot more light scratches, 2-3 deep ones

I tested all three under a powerful desk lamp and used an e-xacto blade, a paper clip, and my keys to test it (keys and paperclip didn't make any new scracthes so not discussed)

Scracth Test Results

iPhone 3g:
Front: X-acto blade left light scratches
iPhone 3GS: Same as the above, but the light scratches tended to disappear to some degree with rubbing ( not sure why.. could be that the coating can fill the scratches or that the scratches are only in the coating ?)
iPhone 4
Front: Much harder to scratch with the x-acto blade. Grabbed a new blade just to make sure it wasn't getting dull. Light scratches would disappear almost completely when rubbed.
Rear: The rear glass reacted EXACTLY like the glass from the iPhone 3g, so my conclusion is that its just normal glass, no oleophobic or scratch coating.

Making New Deep Scratches

While testing I noticed that light scratches didn't show up on any phone 3G/3GS/4G when the phone was on. What I did notice was that the deeper scratches didn't show up on the 3G/3GS, it did show up on the iPhone 4 ( ie "Rainbow Scratch)
To test this out I needed to make some new deep scratches. Just scratching harder on the surface didn't make any deep scratches ( I broke 2 x-acto blade tips lol). But I did find that If I started my scratch on an existing scratch I could make it deeper, or use it to start a deeper scratch.
I was able to make a new deep scratch on each phone.

Results​

Iphone 3G/3GS : Deep scratch was able to "catch" my nail, but it didn't distort the screen quality that much ( it was more of a line ( like lint) than any kind of rainbow)

The iPhone 4 was different. It was much harder to actually make a deep scratch but once I made it, It made the Rainbow scratch, where it would distort the image.


Conclusions

1) iPhone 4G front Glass is much harder to scratch, and many light scratches disappear just by rubbing them.
2) iPhone 4G rear glass is just plain "iPhone 3G" glass
3) Deep scratches showed up and distorted the screen
4) I couldn't make a deep scratch without first having a light one

So why #3. I think the biggest reason is that the iPhone 3g/3gs has an inherent "graininess to it" so you really don't notice the deeper scratches as much. Plus you usually hold the phone a lot farther

With the iPhone 4G, the quality of the screen is so damn good, that almost any defect will show up. Also since the resolution is higher I tended to hold it closer to me and therefore notice the damage a lot more.

So its not that the 4g scratches easier ( it doesn't) but I think any defects show up like crazy.

Also #3. So basically if you can prevent making any light scratches, it makes it a lot harder to make a defect that you will notice. I'm sure its still possible to make deep scratches with quartz (sand) or something harder than glass, but that's pretty rare.

I thought about it for a second, and I think its the reason why on my new replacement iPhone I will be putting on a screen protector for the first time.

Cheers !

Update ( still no camera) but since you guys need pictures

this is a light scratch



this is a deep scratch



(still searching online to find a good example of a rainbow scratch)
 

doolin.nc

macrumors member
Aug 2, 2010
74
0
Wait, you had an iPhone 4 at your disposal to scratch up!? That's awesome. :eek:

I want some pictures, though, if you get a chance. I'm interested to see these three phones! (I know you said no pictures, still). :(

How about from your replacement phone, haha.
 

ItsJustafnPhone

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 26, 2010
659
0
Let me put it better

Neither the 3GS/4G could pick up enough detail ( no true macro/focus settings) to satisfy the need for posting pictures.

Its a moot point now though, my replacement iPhone 4 is wrapped in a microfiber until I can install the SGP shields I ordered.
 

AdamA9

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2010
1,216
344
My iP4 is scratched ALL over. Despite me only ever keeping it in my pocket with NO keys, and placing it onto soft surfaces. Not happy with the poor glass at ALL :mad:

My 3G was kept in the same way and never in the 2 years did I have the scratches that I have now :(
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,414
33,063
Boston
My iP4 is scratched ALL over. Despite me only ever keeping it in my pocket with NO keys, and placing it onto soft surfaces. Not happy with the poor glass at ALL :mad:
One of the first things I did with my wife's IP4, was to get ghost armor on the puppy. So far I'm pleased with it, actually so much so, I've had it done to my Droid X as well.

Based on the threads here about the glass, I can easily say I'm disappointed in the quality/hardness of the glass. Too many threads about it cracking/shattering/scratching for my comfort.
 

iammike1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2007
736
12
O'fallon IL
My iP4 is scratched ALL over. Despite me only ever keeping it in my pocket with NO keys, and placing it onto soft surfaces. Not happy with the poor glass at ALL :mad:

My 3G was kept in the same way and never in the 2 years did I have the scratches that I have now :(
Yet I give it the same treatment you speak of and not a blemish on it.

Who knows who to believe anymore. Plenty of people say it's better then the previous iPhone's and plenty of people say it's worse. All claim to treat their phone in a delicate manner.

I will simply go on my own experience which, thus far, says the glass is just fine.
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,627
291
My iP4 already has 2 scrtaches on it, both of which can be felt with my finger naill. I have no idea how they got on there. Maybe they are actually cracks in the glass?
 

kimtyson

macrumors member
Aug 26, 2008
32
0
I think the OP was too preoccupied with the "3 naked phones" at his disposal. What did you do to those poor things???
 

ItsJustafnPhone

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 26, 2010
659
0
Wow talk about ungrateful. Why would i need to own a camera the iPhone 3G and 4 are more than enough for my needs. I can post a picture of my genius bar repair form ( showing the vibrate function as the reason for replacement)
 

Fernandez21

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2010
4,660
2,903
I think the reason the rainbow effect was more obvious on the 4 is because the actuall screen is much closer to the surface than the 3g/3gs.
 

Blorzoga

macrumors 68030
May 21, 2010
2,557
65
So I needed to replace my iPhone 4 due to something being wrong with my ringer switch ( the switch worked but the vibrate function didn't, not sure if it was hardware or software).

Anyways before returning it the next day I wanted to help answer some questions/personal curiosity and did some scratch tests. two things

1) I don't own a camera, so no pics, but lots of detail
2) Sorry for the long read scroll down to conclusions if you want just the findings

Definitions​

Light scratch: Cannot be felt with fingernail, didn't affect screen quality
Deep scratch: Could be felt with finger nail
Rainbow Scratch: Deep scratch that affected the screen quality (basically the scratch would be visible as a rainbow line when the screen was on)

I had at my disposal 3 naked phones

Pre-test​

iPhone 3G
Front: lots of light scratches, some deep
Back: Tons of scratches
iPhone 3GS :
Front: Moderate amount of light scratches, one deep scratches
Back: Same lots of scratches
iPhone 4 :
Front: Some light scratches, one medium-deep scratch that affected screen quality ( I call it the "rainbow scratch)
Back: A lot more light scratches, 2-3 deep ones

I tested all three under a powerful desk lamp and used an e-xacto blade, a paper clip, and my keys to test it (keys and paperclip didn't make any new scracthes so not discussed)

Scracth Test Results

iPhone 3g:
Front: X-acto blade left light scratches
iPhone 3GS: Same as the above, but the light scratches tended to disappear to some degree with rubbing ( not sure why.. could be that the coating can fill the scratches or that the scratches are only in the coating ?)
iPhone 4
Front: Much harder to scratch with the x-acto blade. Grabbed a new blade just to make sure it wasn't getting dull. Light scratches would disappear almost completely when rubbed.
Rear: The rear glass reacted EXACTLY like the glass from the iPhone 3g, so my conclusion is that its just normal glass, no oleophobic or scratch coating.

Making New Deep Scratches

While testing I noticed that light scratches didn't show up on any phone 3G/3GS/4G when the phone was on. What I did notice was that the deeper scratches didn't show up on the 3G/3GS, it did show up on the iPhone 4 ( ie "Rainbow Scratch)
To test this out I needed to make some new deep scratches. Just scratching harder on the surface didn't make any deep scratches ( I broke 2 x-acto blade tips lol). But I did find that If I started my scratch on an existing scratch I could make it deeper, or use it to start a deeper scratch.
I was able to make a new deep scratch on each phone.

Results​

Iphone 3G/3GS : Deep scratch was able to "catch" my nail, but it didn't distort the screen quality that much ( it was more of a line ( like lint) than any kind of rainbow)

The iPhone 4 was different. It was much harder to actually make a deep scratch but once I made it, It made the Rainbow scratch, where it would distort the image.


Conclusions

1) iPhone 4G front Glass is much harder to scratch, and many light scratches disappear just by rubbing them.
2) iPhone 4G rear glass is just plain "iPhone 3G" glass
3) Deep scratches showed up and distorted the screen
4) I couldn't make a deep scratch without first having a light one

So why #3. I think the biggest reason is that the iPhone 3g/3gs has an inherent "graininess to it" so you really don't notice the deeper scratches as much. Plus you usually hold the phone a lot farther

With the iPhone 4G, the quality of the screen is so damn good, that almost any defect will show up. Also since the resolution is higher I tended to hold it closer to me and therefore notice the damage a lot more.

So its not that the 4g scratches easier ( it doesn't) but I think any defects show up like crazy.

Also #3. So basically if you can prevent making any light scratches, it makes it a lot harder to make a defect that you will notice. I'm sure its still possible to make deep scratches with quartz (sand) or something harder than glass, but that's pretty rare.

I thought about it for a second, and I think its the reason why on my new replacement iPhone I will be putting on a screen protector for the first time.

Cheers !
So, let me get this straight. Your new iphone4 has an issue with the silent switch, so you're planning on returning it for a replacement, and you figure, aw what the he'll, I'll just scratch it up with an exacto knife. That's really f'd up. What do you think Apple is going to do with the phone, throw it out? No, they're going to fix the switch and reissue it as refurbished. But now they have to replace the glass that you so ignorantly scratched up. It's people like you that cost companies money which they then pass on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. You're a real piece of work.
 

ItsJustafnPhone

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 26, 2010
659
0
No wonder everyone makes fun of you Apple fanboys

someone tries to do some actual research ( don't know how taking pictures would change what I found)

I've read dozens of threads about scratches in this forum, and almost 95% of them don't have pictures, but you guys don't complain then ?

I guess it is true, you guys will and do complain about everything
 

ItsJustafnPhone

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 26, 2010
659
0
So, let me get this straight. Your new iphone4 has an issue with the silent switch, so you're planning on returning it for a replacement, and you figure, aw what the he'll, I'll just scratch it up with an exacto knife. That's really f'd up. What do you think Apple is going to do with the phone, throw it out? No, they're going to fix the switch and reissue it as refurbished. But now they have to replace the glass that you so ignorantly scratched up. It's people like you that cost companies money which they then pass on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. You're a real piece of work.
the screen already had scratches on it, therefore they would need to replace it to refurbish it

When apple refurbishes a phone they replace all the external surfaces

There are about 5 threads I have read about people wanting to have their phones replaced for free from apple, but nothing is wrong with the phone, you should post your comment in those threads, my phone had an actual hardware defect
 

Blorzoga

macrumors 68030
May 21, 2010
2,557
65
the screen already had scratches on it, therefore they would need to replace it to refurbish it

When apple refurbishes a phone they replace all the external surfaces

There are about 5 threads I have read about people wanting to have their phones replaced for free from apple, but nothing is wrong with the phone, you should post your comment in those threads, my phone had an actual hardware defect
Intentionally scratching your phone is still f'd up. If you want to do some research, pay full price for a phone and scratch away. You remind me of the guy who posted about his smashed screen who was wondering whether he could buy some insurance coverage to be able to make a claim after the fact. Despicable.
 
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