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iPhone: The Scratch Test

Mike Musgrove

I've made a serious effort to keep my iPhone in my pocket without change or keys over the last month or so -- but dang, if the screen doesn't have a few light scratches already.

Early reviews of the iPhone emphasized how damage-resistant the screen is supposed to be. One crazed reviewer even filmed himself gouging away at the thing with a key and pitching it at the ground (this video is not for the gadget- or Mac-lover who is faint of heart).

So I'm happy to see that an iPod skins maker, a company called GelaSkins, announced yesterday that they have their first line of iPhone skins ready to go. I bought one of their arty covers last year to protect my video iPod and may be an early customer of their latest line of protective "skins."

They're not the only company jumping into the iPhone cover market, of course. A Utah-based company called NLU Products has made a transparent film cover called Bodyguardz that I might try. Otterbox, maker of a waterproof iPod case I wrote about a month or so ago, has an iPhone case on the way. I bought a cover from a company called Incase at the Apple store recently, though it doesn't protect the scratch-resistant (though not unscratchable) iPhone screen.

Apple says it doesn't have any recommendations for taking off iPhone scratches. The folks at the Apple store last night encouraged me to send the thing back to the mothership in Cupertino, Calif. -- though they had no idea whether the scuffs could be fixed.

By Mike Musgrove  |  August 23, 2007; 6:52 AM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I use a ShieldZone protector on my BBerry and it works great. See for information on an IPhone protector.

Posted by: free ad | August 23, 2007 9:32 AM

The iPhone has had so much hype around it that any minor issue (ie: screen being easily scratched) will be magnified, and maybe rightfully so. Apple hyped these things up so much that consumers are correct in expecting great results. You should check out for some good alternative views on the iPhone

Posted by: JC | August 23, 2007 11:36 AM

You might be harder on your phone that you thought. I have the
iPhone, keep it in my pants pocket with keys and sometimes in my shirt pocket with my reading glasses and yet I am hard pressed to find any scratches whatsoever.

Posted by: SidinKeyWest | August 23, 2007 2:42 PM

I got my iPhone on June 29, I've never used any kind of case or protection, and I have no scratches on it. My wife also got one the same day I did, she's kept it loose in her purse, and she has no scratches, either.

Not sure what happened to yours...

Posted by: Craig | August 23, 2007 9:07 PM

the screen protectors that the apple store sells work really well too. It seals down on that sucker like water on glass. Amazing, durable so far, and seems to add some skid to the screen which helps minimize mispresses.

Posted by: thatchman1 | August 23, 2007 10:23 PM

I have kept my iPhone "naked" almost since the beginning the only mars I see are on the chrome edge and on the apple logo on the back. The glass screen on mine is so far clear of scratches.

Posted by: Mike Nowak | August 24, 2007 12:15 AM

We also have two phones purchased on the 29th. We are somewhat careless about how we carry them. Niether one has a hint of a scratch.
I think you'd have to have grit (sand) filled pockets to put a scratch on hardened glass...

Posted by: john | August 24, 2007 8:40 AM

I do not believe it. I think you are trolling for posts. I want to see proof. Where are the photos?

Posted by: Notlikley | August 24, 2007 8:44 AM

I'm not trolling for posts.
I think the iPhone rocks, mostly - but I was able to scratch mine without even realizing it in the last few days.
As a result, I'm definitely getting one of the screen protectors thatchman1 mentions...

Posted by: Musgrove | August 24, 2007 8:58 AM

I've had my iPhone since early July, and carry it in my pockets without regard to other contents. I've also dropped it a few times, including on my concrete driveway.

The glass is as yet completely scratch-free.

The chrome edges are a little scratched, and one corner of the aluminum case has a couple pockmarks from the rocks that were on the driveway (it impacted on that corner first when it fell out of my shirt pocket as I bent over to get something out of the car).

I have a spot on the lens of the camera that doesn't seem to want to come off, but that too is not a big deal; the camera still takes pictures fine (the debris is, I guess, too close to be in the focal range to affect the image).

Overall, a fantastic phone, better coverage here in the DC area than T-Mobile overall.

Posted by: Mark Boltz | August 24, 2007 12:46 PM

I have a suggestion, for taking out scratches. This same technique, works for fixing scratched CD's, and it should have the same effect on the glass.

Take clear shoe polish, rub in a fine coat. Brush in with a cotton cloth. Rub in small, smooth circles all over the glass. Once you can no longer see the film of the polish, then take a polishing cloth, and do the same. The polishing cloth will just help to clear out the film. Once you are finished, you should no longer notice any scratches on the surface.

Try this on CD's as well. A quick, and easy fix.

Posted by: Military guy | August 25, 2007 7:00 AM

I've had my iPhone since the end of July and I have managed to scratch the screen as well. I keep it in my pocket with my keys and one day I noticed the screen had a nice little gouge in it. I have since purchased the iSkin Revo case that comes with a privacy/scratch protection filter. It works great, but it does noticeably alter the screen clarity when watching videos.

Posted by: Ray | August 27, 2007 6:37 PM

I bought the Power Support Crystal Film set on the 29th to accompany the two iPhones I bought. I love it. It is imperceptible and offers excellent protection. I catty mine in my pocket and drop whatever else I need in with out worrying about scratches. My wife keeps hers in her purse with God knows what else and hers doesn't have any scratches either. The screen protectors were 14.95 for two and the show no signs of wear after two months. I highly recommend it.

Posted by: Latty M | August 30, 2007 11:55 AM

I've had my phone for about 3 weeks and I keep it in my pockets but I am careful not to put anything in my pockets with it. I have yet to drop it as well. I will say that I do pamper it like all of my other devices so I have no scratches! There are scuff marks on the chrome edge but I ordered a case from for it and I love the fit it has. Expensive but makes it look even better. I'm ordering something for the screen because if it gets one scratch on the screen, I'm the type of person that would not want it anymore!

Posted by: Chauncey D | September 13, 2007 5:46 PM

Come on, this article reads like an advertisement... oh wait... thats what it is, isnt it?

Shame Shame Washington Post... Dont disguise adverts as news articles.

Posted by: BS_spotter | August 15, 2008 7:55 PM

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