February 15, 2016

Why you need a 9H glass screen protector

By [email protected] Topic: Devices Tech Specs

Markings on mobile accessories packaging can resemble notes on a music scale — A, mAh, FCC, CE — stacked on top one another, varying in significance and complexity. Just as each note sounds distinct, each mark is a unique tech spec or indicator of regulatory compliance. And when it comes to glass screen protectors, one figure that deserves emphasis is 9H: the hardness rating.

Although most consumers don’t know about it, the hardness rating is probably the most compelling reason for purchasing one screen protector over another. Let’s set the record straight on the 9H rating and see why it’s the major key to protecting your phone.

Drawing a 9H rating from the pencil test

Finding a rating starts with “the pencil test,” which compares the relative hardness of a coating.

To test, drafting pencils, with lead hardness from 6B to 9H, are sequentially pressed on a surface at a 45-degree angle. The code represents the hardest pencil grade that fails to scratch the surface. If a screen protector is damage-free after all pencil-pressing, it receives the 9H rating. Most premium manufacturers, including Ventev, supplement the pencil test with real-life scenario modeling to make sure common personal items like pocket change, safety pins, keys, and paper clips, don’t nick or scratch a 9H-rated surface.

Hardness and thickness play a role in phone protection

Similar to hardness, thickness also varies in screen protectors and ranges from about 0.2mm to 0.5mm. Both factors affect resistance to damage.

When you bump, fumble, scratch, or drop your phone, thickness and hardness work together to absorb and disburse energy to prevent a crack. Most of the time, if a drop is severe enough to shatter the screen protector, you’ll still be able to pull it off in one piece, with your phone itself unscathed. Of course, the likelihood of phone damage depends on the severity of impact, but you can think of the screen protector as your first line of defense.

Fortunately, that ruggedness doesn’t affect translucence, so a glass screen protector’s appearance will mimic your phone’s original, bare screen, no matter the hardness rating or number of layers. There’s no matte finish or unsightly bubbles like you get with plastic film protectors. With glass, colors are vibrant, the display is clear and sharp, and you get the intended visual experience with an added layer of protection – literally.

It’s not an Apple-to-Apple comparison with phone glass and screen protectors

Phone manufacturers are doing plenty of their own hardness tests with glass, but pencil test ratings aren’t usually listed for a device, so we can only scratch the surface in doing a straightforward comparison.

With the advent of Gorilla Glass in 2010, mobile device screens have grown considerably more resilient, and Corning has done an impressive job evolving this technology. But a bare phone is always a liability, no matter how strong the screen might be. Plus, without knowing the actual hardness of your glass, you’re susceptible to more scratches, since you can’t know what to avoid.

While we can’t compare hardness ratings, we can compare price. The cost of a glass screen protector is less than $40, while the cost to replace your phone screen is about $300. Seems crystal – er, glass – clear why you need one!

Tough on damage yet soft on your wallet, a 9H-rated product is the perfect blend of quality and price, giving you a solid level of protection on your new investment – and that’s music to everyone’s ears.

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