Consumer Reports: Scratch resistance of Apple Watch sapphire and Ion-X glass is impressive

“For the Apple Watch, the question of durability translates pretty directly into cost, since the base-model Apple Watch Sport is made from different materials than the more expensive Apple Watch version,” Glenn Derene reports for Consumer Reports. “The face on the $350 to $400 aluminum-bodied Sport model is constructed from what Apple describes as ‘Ion-X’ glass, which is essentially a hardened glass similar to the Corning Gorilla Glass found on many smartphones.”

“The stainless-steel Apple Watch ($550 to $1,100) and gold Apple Watch Edition ($10,000 to $17,000) models have a sapphire-crystal face, a super-hard material used on high-end watches from manufacturers such as Rolex and Breitling,” Derene reports. “Since a base-model Apple Watch is a $200 premium over a base-model Apple Watch Sport, we wondered just how much tougher the sapphire crystal is than the Ion-X glass.”

“The sapphire crystal performed as expected, which is to say very well. It survived a 9-rated pick from our [Mohs material hardness testing] kit. The Apple Watch Sport made it up to a 7-rated pick without damage, but was scratched by an 8-rated pick,” Derene reports. “So the face of the Apple Watch is definitely harder than that of the Apple Watch Sport. But the performance of the hardened glass of the Sport model is pretty impressive as well. An 8 on the Mohs scale is equivalent to topaz, just one step below sapphire, and it means that it takes quite an abrasive material to scratch Apple’s glass.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re only covering this because Consumer Reports (of which we couldn’t have a lower opinion) used an actual standard test – Mohs – which gives accurate results and gives buyers a sence of how Ion-X glass fares vs. sapphire crystal.

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    1. That attitude seems very short-sighted to me. While I do not read CR much now, I used to have a subscription. For some stuff – electronics, for example – I paid very little attention to their dot ratings. But the other aspects of their evaluations could still be helpful. Mostly, I looked to CR to help with mundane things like hand tools, tires, stain and paint, etc. They performed standardized aging, durability, strength, and corrosion tests that were informative for me. I also found their consumer survey results for reliability, etc. to be interesting.

      Few things are all good or all bad. A wise person extracts value from all sources.

  1. I ditched CR back in the early 70’s. When I read their reviews of stereo receivers and realized that they based the majority of the score on FM tuner performance. I didn’t use the FM that much. The only time I agreed with CR was a review of canned hams.

  2. To be fair, CR did chime in immediately after the bogus ‘bendgate’ bullshit and point out exactly what force it took to cause a significant as well as destructive bend in an iPhone 6 Plus. CR also measured the bendability of some Android knockoffs, pointing out that they had equal or worse ratings. IOW: They have attempted to redeem themselves after years of willful Apple ignorance and hate.

    1. They do seem to be trying to redeem themselves, though they have some blemishes in their history not limited to Apple. Years ago they rated a Remington as the best electric razor. Remington advertized that fact, to which CR of course had strong objections. Remington ignored them and kept advertizing. The next year the Remington razor somehow plunged to near the bottom of their reviews. Their defense? “Oh no, the advertizing thing had nothing to do with it! All the others just got better. Honest.”

  3. I’d be surprised if the glass used on the Watch Sport is not “similar to” but exactly Corning’s Gorilla Glass. Apple’s just being coy with the name because it really does want to move to sapphire screens for everything, when it can.

    1. I would be more surprised if Croning allowed Apple to call its Gorilla Glass something other than Gorilla Glass, since Corning has spent quite a bit of money marketing the Gorilla Glass brand the past few years.

  4. Awareness of something as a meaning is spelled “sense” not “sence”, gentlemen. May I suggest you correct the misspelling in your MDN take? “Sence” is a river in Leistetershire, England with Tributaries such as the Saint and the Tweed.

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