With IFA 2014 set to start in a few days in Berlin, one of the buzzwords being bandied about is sapphire glass, particularly because it is rumored to be one of the features of the anticipated iPhone 6. Another OEM has beaten Apple to the punch as Kyocera recently announced the availability of its Brigadier with Sapphire Display through carrier Verizon. But as a supposedly scratch and drop resistant material, is sapphire glass all it’s, well, cracked up to be?
uBreakiFix, a tech repair company, released a video showing the results on tests that they conducted on sapphire glass, as compared to the Gorilla Glass, which is used by several devices from Motorola, ASUS, Samsung and Amazon. They did three “torture” tests to compare the two: a scratch resistance test using a tungsten drill bit, an impact test, and a four-point bend stress test. When it comes to being scratch resistant, sapphire glass more than impresses as it is indeed a good material to keep your device scratch free, since after all, it is ranked in the mohs hardness spectrum.
But while it is indeed harder than most of the smartphone glass materials used by OEMs, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will result in an unbreakable device. As the result of the other two tests showed, sapphire glass is brittle and so it is unable to bend and absorb the impact when dropped or stressed. Its failure strength is 25% higher than gorilla glass, but that’s not what will make it effective and may present a problem for engineers. How sapphire can make a gadget better is “clever engineering and protective features”, which may be something Apple has managed to overcome.
Kyocera, which has made a name for itself for smartphones that can survive rough terrain, released two videos showing off how the sapphire glass has made the Brigadier tougher than any of their previous products. Discovery Channel superstar Bear Grylls starred in one of the videos, putting the phone through various real-life tests while the other video put the phone through the ringer and it emerged virtually unscathed.