The Nokia Lumia 900 & Gorilla Glass: Scratch resistant but not proof

Good night, sweet prince...

We’re not bringing anything new here to the table about the otherwise excellent Corning Gorilla Glass and our trusty ‘Stormtrooper’ Nokia Lumia 900, but we did want to share this terrible photo with you as a service message.

Yup, we tossed our phone in our gym bag the other night for no less than a few minutes, but it only took one set of keys (or maybe the locker padlock) to do what you see above.

Screen crack? Nope, that’s a deep scratch. It’s so deep that it casts a shadow on the screen and you can feel the ridge when using the phone. Text even gets slightly distorted when scrolling. It's still usable, but ouch does it catch the light just wrong.

C’est la vie.

Gorilla Glass 2 (featured on the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X) will be even tougher than the first version, but make no mistake people, you still need to be careful.

You can send your condolences in comments.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • My condolences
  • I bet he did that on purpose to have a legitimate reason to get the 920.. (jk)
  • Mine cracked last night as well, was leaning against a ladder and heard a crack from my pocket. Looks the same
  • Weird. Who would have thought that keys or padlock in a gym bag would have done what nails and various other objects couldn't. Its still better than what iPhone uses.
  • Agreed. Blew me away...was almost convinced someone did on purpose but obviously it never leaves my clutches. 
  • it seems things with monofiliment edges can scratch the glass.  Fortunately I have a screen protector on mine (who wouldn't?) and I see where a burled edge of my work badge scratched the protector.  I imagine that would have been the screen had I not protected it.
  • In 10 years of smart phone use I have never once used a screen protector. A belt holster is all I've ever used and it has worked well all this time.
  • 10 years ago screens were plastic so I'm sure they looked like crap at the end no matter how hard you tried to take care of them.
  • No scratches ever. Belt holster is the way to go, at least for me. I couldn't imagine walking around with a giant phone in my pocket.
  • No worries gramps;)
  • What??? Belt holsters are cool!!! Right? haha
  • Better than putting phone in pocket with lint and fuzz and crap that get into speaker openings etc. You gotta be nuts if you put your phone in with keys, coins, who knows what else you put in your pockets. No friggin way phone goes in my pocket. I'm with lippidp. Amzer case for my L900 on the way..
  • hahah yeah... the holster is cool for uber-geeks, but deeply unfashionable otherwise :P I use a leather pouch/slip case... it works great in the pocket, I can chuck it in a bag, and I've even dropped it a few times over the past 2 years without incident.
  • I'm doing well without protector. No protector can look and feel as good as the smooth gorilla glass.
    While not in use my Phone rests in one of those protector bags kinda things with integrated screen wiper, so it's protected and when I take it out it's clean too.
  • I probably would have put a screen protector on my L900 anyway (I always have - call it a habit), but while I was waiting for my AT&T rep to pull my pre-order out of the back I noticed that the display L900 was a real fingerprint magnet. Think I wiped the screen 3 or 4 times with my shirt in those 5-10 minutes.
    Had the rep put a Moshi protector on while I was there (I hate trying to get them just right). Since then  I wipe my screen maybe two or three times a week, and I am what you would call a heavy user. I have yet to see an actual fingerprint. Mostly wiping dust (or the remnants of a snack) away. So while my screen clarity may have been reduced by a whole 5%, the protection plus the always clean screen is enough reason for me.
  • iPhone uses the same glass.  Incidentally, I used to scratch test my iPhone 4 with keys to show off the scratchproofing.  I did the same with my Lumia 900 and was quite embarressed when the scratches did not wipe away...
  • Not only that, it was Steve Jobs who pushed Corning into developing Gorillas Glass in the first place.
  • It's true - but now many believe that only the first iPhone used GG...which is wrong.  Apple doesn't really show off the branding for any of the components of their hardware, probably because it prevents certain other companies from saying "we use the same glass as the iPhone".  But the fact that so many just assume that Apple is using some cheapo generic glass or that that specific glass is worse than GG is disturbing - especially when they say this from a position of authority.
  • I have had keys and other metallic pieces in my pocket, and accidentially tossed my L900 into said pocket.  No scratches.  Not a single one.  Heck, I was showing off my L900 to a friend of mine who just got his iFruit 5, and proceeded to use a fork, just like the L920 video showing how sensitive the screen is, to simulate the same thing.  No scratches or marks.  But, that doesn't mean you may not have recieved a phone with a screen that was manufacturere slightly off, but the wifes Stormtrooper has gone through similar rumblings in the pocket with no scratches.
  • Oh, and I hope the folks at WPCentral are working on a fix for IE10 compatibility. The HTML editor does not respond to the ENTER key adding a new line.
  • I would scratch a fork across my iPhone 5 for you if you need to see that it is indeed Gorilla Glass 2.  However, that was not the only 900 that I owned and both of them were scratchable.  At first I thought it was just the oleophobic coating being scratched but it never rubbed away.
  • Gorilla Glass is just marketing hype. 
  • Disagree. It is certainly more resilient than regular glass and what the iPhone uses. I'll take a phone with it over a phone without it. It's not perfect and indestructible but it's better than the alternative.
  • Why are you under the impression that the iPhone does not use Gorilla Glass?  It's been pretty well documented that it does use GG, and that a factory was built near Foxconn with Apple's funding for Corning to provide the glass for the iPhone.
  • ... and that it was Apple that pushed Corning to develop it in the first place.
  • Yeah, I really didn't want to open that can of worms here.
  • As an LG Optimus 7 owner who's dropped his phone onto stone/tarmac on multiple occasion from height of up to 5 feet, I disagree.
  • That's just dumb luck. Gorilla Glass does absolutely nothing to prevent screens from shattering. It helps, marginally, to prevent scratches, but you should be using a screen protecctor anyway. 
  • So is it dumb luck that through a construction job mine never cracked busted or scratched either? I will say I was not easy on my phone at all.
  • A screen protector ruins the best daylight screen out there currently on the L900. Its a waste!
  • Screen protectors are a total waste - the glass will still shatter if the same amount of force is applied to the sides, which is where the real damage happens.
  • Then don't drop it. It helps with maintaining the looks of the phone in case you want to resell it. I always put on on and when I sell it I can tell people that they can peel off the screen guard and it'll have a perfect screen underneath.
  • i disagree i had an optimus 7 still do 5 days old droped once from pocket im 5'8 tall and to my horror is absolutly shattered but to be fair it works still 
  • Why do the good always get deeply scratched young =(
  • Dag.  I put my L900 in my pocket with some coins thinking its Gorilla Glass and it would be fine.  took my phone out, and there is a big scratch right down the middle. I can only see the scratch when the there a finger prints over it. 
  • You know what, I'm sensing willful sabotage... no reason not to get a 920 now. How much will a replacement screen set you back? Got insurance?
  • right
  • About $105 USD if you know where to look.
  • I just replaced a shattered 900 screen. It was so simple it actually blew my mind. The screen was only $88.00 from Shenzhen and with shipping cost $108.00 had the screen in 2 days to eastern US. I had gotten a quote from Nokia and before shipping it was $205.00.
  • $88.80 now.
  • Made my day. Just ordered to fix my shattered L900!!!! Thanks!
  • I think you are a samsung customer. That's why you're thinking about screen replacement.
    My friend its nokia's lumia...... It will serve more than 5yrs surely without any maintenance
  • While the Lumia 900's body is strong, the glass is just as breakable as any other phone on the market.
  • I know the feeling... Last week at work something not even heavy fell on corner of my Lumia 900 while it was on table and broke my screen too.
    Screen still works but huge cracks on it and really bug me to see it like this.
    It was a big surprise to see all those crazy tests people do on videos and their screen is fine but mine broke this easy!
    Now I have to spend $160 to replace the screen and digitizer!  :'(
    They have it for cheap and they have the un AT&T branded glass too if you're feeling rebellious :P
  • THANKS, i have been looking for a cheap place for lumia parts. I have been thinking about etching in megaman into the back of my cyan lumia 900 but i am afraid to do it without a place to get a replacement.
  • I have two very small scratches on mine and I have no idea where they came from. I treat this thing like it's the Hope Diamond and still managed to scratch it in some unknown way.
  • My heart hurts for u...hey 920 around the corner....
  • That poor, poor Lumia ;(
  • When I went in to purchase my Lumia 900 at the ATT store last spring, I knew that all the employees had been given phones. And when I asked to see their own handsets I was extremely distraught to see a horribly scratched display on most handsets. I thought glass was glass. I mean I can't scratch a window pane, why should I be able to scratch my phone screen? Then I turned it over to see the horribly scratched "zeiss" label as well. Two immediate bad impressions combined with the sub par camera initially pissed me off. But when I discovered that is was almost impossible to scratch the unibody, and that I did not have to have a case at all, I was delighted. Unfortunately my Lumia 900 lives with the bubble proof screen protector on it which severly limits the brightness of the screen and the sun viewability. I can't wait for my 920 but at the same time I really expected more from Nokia last spring. Love the phone though, and the last update fixed much of the camera embarassment.
  • This happened to me after my 3rd day of use. I had in pocket with keys and it had a broken in like that but on the top part of screen. I went to art about getting replacement, sorry but they can't help better have insurance!
  • that is why I keep my left pocket for my phone (nothing else) and my right pocket for change and keys.... Just something I do..
    Everyonce and a wile paper cash will end up with my phone but, no change. My HTC Trophy has a few, very few, minor scraches but, I bet that is from my little girl....
  • Glad to know I'm not the only one with a dedicated phone pocket :)
  • Me too :D
  • same here. left front pocket.
  • Me to :)
  • and I thought I was the only one..... lol
  • Left front pocket as well. I dont put anything in there with it. It was always the pocket I used for MP3 players and cd players before that (Yes I'm old). So naturally that's where my phone ended up going as well.
  • Right front for me. Easy right-handed access.
  • I sit here typing while a tear rolls down my cheek. I try to console my 900 saying that all phones have their day and they might see each other again on the other side...
  • Original focus scratch free (cira 2 years of unprotected use)
  • Same here. I've dropped this thing so many times and left it in the pocket with keys and everything and nothing has happened to it (except a few minor marks/very faint scratches). The screen feels like a blend of plastic and glass but whatever it is, I'm not complaining.
  • My wife and I both have had the original focus since it was released. Neither of us use a screen protector. Her screen is beautiful and unscathed. Mine fell from my pocket on exiting a car and landed just right, cracked all to hell. The paint is chipping off my battery cover edges too. Great phone, nonetheless. :)
  • My sister scratched her 800 with surgical scissors
  • I have never had a less scratch-resistant screen on any device, ever. I've gone through 3 iPhones and umpteen Androids. I was fairly, but not excessively, gentle to the iPhones, but the Androids frequently got thrown in with my keys or into my backpack (they already look cheap so I didn't care as much). I've never had a scratched screen on any of these. Then along comes the Lumia 900. It's a beautiful phone, so I've been super careful with it. But after a couple months, a centimeter-long scratch appeared for no apparent reason. A couple months later, another couple appeared. Now the screen has 3 scratches. They are not deep but cause discoloration, so the screen looks awful now. This is the main reason I am considering an 8X instead of just getting the 920. Nice features don't matter if the screen's expected non-terrible-looking lifespan is 2 months.
  • Sorry for your loss but, that white L900 looks awsome. It just confirms I want a 920 on Verizon in White !!!!!
    Does the white get stained or is it cleaned and easy to look in it's origial color ?
  • Angry girlfriend?
  • Just a question to those of you using a screen protector: Which do you use/prefer? I have tried Zagg invisible shield and I hated the "orange peel" texture so it was pretty unusable for me. I also tried a wrapsol but it caused the screen/color to look worse (weird vertical lines in the screen/color) so I have ditched that for now.
  • I am referring to a screen protector on a lumia 900 btw
  • I use CaseMate's protector. Better than the ubiquitous Terrapin. Just try to do it in as dust free a room as you can!
  • That must be a matter of luck, my 9 month old lumia 800 presents only one small scratch invisible when the screen is on and I don't use any protection nor really pay attention.
    IMO, much better than the iphone 4 that I had before.
  • My 900 got lightly scratched from being in pocket with keys.  I was quite disappointed.  My old Focus never got a scratch.  I even tried to scratch it and it wouldn't.  
  • Two words: don't go to the gym
  • Not surprising. I've noticed very light scratches on mine just from normal use. You can only see them under the right light at the right angle, but they are there. I'm very careful with it so I'm sure it's a common issue.
  • Looks like a fake photo..
    Because you wpcentral people, you owned a black nokia lumia not it pic shown white one
  • Engrish Funny!
  • I don't think l900 has the real gorilla glass...
  • hmmm this is interesting. I had a 900 that dropped what must have been at leas 10 to 15 times screen down and nothing happened besides a very small dent on the corner. I have stabed it with knives and forks to show people its reistance and nothing ever happened. That being said, when it dropped for the 15th time the screen cracked and stopped working. I though well it´s tough but not invincible, but now these news about simple keys and coins scratching is really disturbing to me and hard to belive. Maybe in those cases the phone was scratched on another ocasion and people just noticed it latter 
  • I once sold a hp 48g calculator to a friend, and on the same day he broke it the same way: by dropping it in a gym bag just before he dropped his locker padlock in as well. No Gorilla glass then though.
  • I cracked my screen after two weeks, but its been fine for two years still....Samsung focus
  • The thing is, I've never wanted gorilla glass. I've seen horrible looking screens that were cracked really bad on people's phones. I have an original Samsung Focus and had it for the past two years. One tiny little scratch on this plastic screen. Honestly, I was a little disappointed when I found out that ALL the new WP8 will come with gorilla glass 2. I hope the new versions is much more durable. I do use a case with my phone but, no screen protector. Hopefully, there will be some sturdy low profile cases for these phones, if someone decides they want one.
  • The focus does not have a plastic screen nor a plastic coating, contrary to popular belief
  • I don't care what screen a phone does not get used until it gets a screen protector and a case.
  • My White 900 was scratched by a padlock, as well. Damn. I feel the pain, seriously.
  • Got my 900 in April, never managed to get a screen protector that worked so it's been naked since, no scratches. Kind of surprising though to see people complain when they put keys in the same pocket as their phone then find its scratched the screen, would have thought the possible result would be obvious.
  • My condolences, but come on guys, be realistic. It is a phone. I can scratch a blended hummer's windshield with a key. We always have to be careful.
    I shattered mine when it dropped 3 feet as I took the phone out to take a picture and it slipped out of my hand.   When I talked with my friend at Nokia, his response.... Yeah, its still glass. GG or GG2 is only different in terms of thickness.  Its still glass.  Shattering and cracking is common.
    Replacing the glass is next to impossible because of the way it has been heat glued to the digitizer.  Be careful though, now that the glass is non-continuous, it can easily crack the digitizer underneath.   
    I had put a screen protector on mine after it shattered to prevent the shards from entering my finger.  This made it usable.  But the other day, it dropped out of my picket from 6 inches.  This happened to be enough to flex the digitizer enough that the material inside to leak out.. the whole screen turned black little by little.
    So put a nice hard case around it and put a screen protector on the phone.  Be more careful, or you will need to pay ATT $125 for a replacement (if you can add the mobile protection to your plan for $5.99 a month.)   When you call in for a replacement, tell them you lost it and say that you lost some wireless headsets as well.  They will replace the whole thing.  If you say cracked it, then you will need to return your older set.
  • I have dropped my hd7 on cement, face down and not gotten a single crack on the screen. I check gorilla glass website when i first got the phone. My wife's mytouch 4g has it too. I do have small bumps on a couple corners from said drops, but that's it.
  • That key or padlock has an incredibly steady hand.
  • No kidding!
  • That key or padlock has an incredibly steady hand.
  • The fact is, when you drop your phone to ground and the Gorilla breaks, they don't warrent for that, and you need to pay 150 bucks for repairing, that's even more expensive than a 2-hand phone.
    I would rather use a plastic screen with protector to immune on scratches. At least plastic does't break on drop!
  • +1
  • WOW... there must have been a LOTnof force behind those keys.I wasn't even aware scratch resistance was a feature of gorilla glass mind you. Although have noticed it as an application.Lots of misinformation going on here. The iphone (apart from early models) does not use GG. They use glass manufactured by a chinese company that is supposed to be manufactured with the same processes (one finds this difficult to believe seeing real world application). GG is shatter resistant (not proof).That's its primary function. GG is designed to flex instead of remain stiff to the point of shattering. Sort of gives it some shock absorbtion.
  • Strange, glass should be harder than most metals, especially the keys.
  • It looks like caused by cllision rather than scratching. Glasses not immue to collision, that's for sure.
  • My 710 gg has held out very well, nothing major, no screen protector, and its 5 months old. I do look after it but it has been put in my pocket with keys a few times etc, and I've dropped it on tiled and concrete floors loads of time!! Even at force! Im happy with it, but then I have insurance included with my bank account so it doesn't worry me much anyway.
  • 710's size is relatively small. I've heard many cases that 800's screen got broken on drop.
  • I seriously doubt the Lumia got scratched by keys in a silly gym bag. Maybe a gorilla was tossing your bag around but NO WAY did it get scratched like that solo. I could put my Lumia in a gym bag full of keys and I couldn't reproduce that scratch. If you look the picture closely, it's clear that someone applied a lot of pressue to the screen in order to make it that deep. BOGUS..
  • What's the big surprise?  It's still glass.  Until they start using diamond screens, you should never think that your phone won't get scratched. And what a perfectly straight scratch it is...
  • Americans and their belt holsters!! Haha :-D
  • Hate to break it to you guys, but according to the Mohs hardness scale steel or nickel plated bronze could NOT do this. METAL IS NOT HARDER THAN GLASS! In fact only a few things are harder than glass. Topaz, Diamond and Corundum are a few of those few.
  • Heartless people! Here have my condolences. I love my stormtrooper so know how you must be feeling. Don't think of it as a scratch, more of a battle scar!
  • Phone goes in right pocket, nothing else, no scratches...
  • It's very simple. Your phone goes in one pocket with your wallet ( you DO keep your wallet in a front pocket, right?) and your keys and coins go in the other.
  • Yeah after 4 years of keeping iPhones in my pocket without any issues on the glass I was surprised when one day my Lumia came out and had a scratch on it.  And I still have no idea what did it.  All I have in my pocket is my phone.  I was pretty disappointed.
  • That looks almost more like a crack than a scratch.
    My N8 turned 2 years old a few days back, I believe it was one of the first Nokia phones with Gorilla Glass. 2 years later there is only 2 extremely minor scratches that you can only notice in a very weird angle when there is a lot of light coming at the screen. In normal use you cant see them or feel them.
    I've never used and never will use a case or a screen protector. I have no urge to buy a great looking phone just to ruin it with some ugly case. Screen protector might not make it ugly, but I dont feel they are needed. I always keep my phone in the left front pocket and there is never anything else there. Wallet is right front pocket and keys are in the back pockets attached with a metal chain to the jeans.
  • I've had the original Focus since it's introduction, no case,no protector,( in pocket with keys etc.) not a single scratch! I guess it will be wise for me to stick with Samsung for WP8 also.
    I'm extremely careful with my Lumia 800, but has already 3 scuffs on the glass. Don't know… maybe my little daughter brushed the floor with it (she always wakes up before me and grabs my phone). One thing for sure is I won’t let that happen to my upcoming 920. Gorilla Glass is not really...