iPhone 12 (and its mini version) was the mainstream flagship Apple smartphone for 2020. The device features a gorgeous OLED display (6.1 and 5.4-inch), dual-lens camera, the famous A14 Bionic chip, and 5G support.
The phone looks and feels like one of the latest Apple designs, with a gorgeous display (first model with a Super Retina XDR OLED display with edge-to-edge design), a glass back, and an aerospace-grade aluminum enclosure.
In short, the iPhone 12 looks and behaves as expected. The software moves and reacts quickly to the users’ requests, while the design is stylish, simple, and impressive. However, there’s a new element we’d like to discuss – the Ceramic Shield.
This is a special protective glass coating that’s supposed to be four times more resistant than previous iPhone displays. It should also be more resistant to scratches and provide users with a clearer optical performance. This aspect is important since Apple smartphones are not famous for their durability. They are gorgeous, but if you drop them the wrong way, they’re done for (at least the design is).
Is the Ceramic Shield More Durable?
This is the million-dollar question that should already have a clear answer, seeing that Apple already announced the launch of the next model.
Since the Ceramic Shield was a new addition to the iPhone 12, it was only natural that reviewers and people who do device quality assessments would have put it to the test. According to what you can find on specialty blogs and YouTube, the Ceramic Shield is indeed a lot more durable to drops and scratches. However, it is not invincible.
Did the Ceramic Shield Pass the Waterjet Test?
A waterjet, or a water jet cutter, is an industrial tool that uses an extremely high-pressure jet of water (sometimes the water is mixed with an abrasive substance) to cut various materials. Depending on settings, a waterjet can cut through stainless steel, plastic, brass, even titanium (to name a few). However, materials like ceramics may be too hard.
Does this mean Apple’s Ceramic Shield will hold its own?
Sadly, it didn’t pass the test. The waterjet cut through the iPhone 12 without any issues (even though we don’t know the exact settings). However, this doesn’t mean the new glass coating is not more durable (as we already mentioned).
Quick tip: if you want to do the test on your own, you can find a wide range of used waterjets online. However, before buying one, make sure you understand how it works and what it can do.
Why Should the Ceramic Shield Work Better?
According to Apple, the glass matrix used to make the Ceramic Shield is infused with nano-ceramic crystals. Plus, the fusion between the glass and the nanocrystals happened at a high-temperature crystallization manufacturing process, which creates an interlocked structure.
As a result, the entire surface absorbs and deflects shock a lot better. Also, the glass is further strengthened by a dual-ion exchange that helps keep the surface together in the event of damage. This process also helps reduce the signs of scratches.
A bit extra: Since ceramic is not the most transparent of materials, the ceramic crystals were manipulated to optimize for clarity.
The iPhone 12 didn’t pass the waterjet test. On the bright side, this is an extreme test that involves forces and actions that are difficult to replicate in real life without an industrial tool. Therefore, as long as you don’t put your phone through an industrial machine, the Ceramic Shield does a good job at protecting your expensive device fromdamage. Plus, if you really want to keep your iPhone nice and clean, you will need a proper phone case.