Why is the Galaxy Watch 5’s sapphire screen so special?

The Galaxy Watch 5 is just another step in a series of very good smartwatches that Samsung has put together. At first glance, there isn’t much that elevates the Galaxy Watch 5 to the next level compared to its predecessor. Dig a bit, and you’ll find that the Galaxy Watch 5 uses sapphire glass instead of Gorilla Glass. So what’s the difference? This guide will go a little deeper into that.

On paper, the Galaxy Watch 5 is a very impressive smartwatch that has some of the best sensors and features available. The Galaxy Watch 5 has the Exynos W920 – like the Galaxy Watch 4 – and Samsung’s biometric sensor chip for greater activity monitoring. As for battery life, the Galaxy Watch 5 sees a major upgrade over the previous version with an extra 10 hours or so of juice. The Watch 5 Pro, on the other hand, is set to be capable of 80 hours – a huge leap forward in battery life.

What is sapphire glass?

Besides these changes and similarities, there is one major new improvement on the Watch 5 line, and it relates to the regular Watch 5 as well as the Pro. These new wearables have sapphire crystal displays, often referred to as “sapphire glass.” Sapphire is not so much glass as it is crystal that is designed to be incredibly strong and colorless, which makes it absolutely perfect for wearable screens.

The crystal forms when aluminum oxide reacts with the sapphire crystal material chemically in the laboratory. From there, it is managed through a long cooling process to facilitate the correct structure. Once the block is formed, it can then be shaped and separated into thin sheets for screens.

Sapphire paper is very hard. On the Mohs hardness scale, sapphire ranks 9. For reference, diamonds are ranked 10 and are known to be very hard. In theory, it would take something just as difficult, if not harder, to scratch the surface of a sapphire crystal screen.

Of course, perfection has a price. The engineering, production, and implementation of the Galaxy Watch 5’s sapphire displays cost more money. Of all the displays out there, including Gorilla Glass, sapphire is the pricier option. Even with this case, we don’t see a huge price jump from the Watch 4’s to the Watch 5’s $279 starting price tag.

Apple uses titanium and stainless steel sapphire displays in Apple Watches, while most of the smartwatch market still uses Gorilla Glass. Of course, an Apple Watch with sapphire will get you $500 or more. For the price tag that the Galaxy Watch 5 series comes with, it’s impressive that Sapphire shares.

Advantages of the sapphire crystal on the Galaxy Watch 5

Sapphire crystal, as mentioned, is extremely durable and scratch-resistant. Whatever Corning Gorilla Glass Victus can do on the Galaxy Watch 4, Sapphire definitely gives it a run for its money. While we’re not ready to test it yet, the Galaxy Watch 5’s face is much harder to damage due to the crystal structure, which makes it difficult to dig into.

Wearable devices in general are prone to a lot of abuse. Just wandering around crowded areas, in narrow hallways, and on the side of brick buildings may cause you a little anxiety because you know it only takes a slight movement to rub your watch screen on those abrasive surfaces. With sapphire glass, there is a much higher chance of you avoiding a lot of accidental scratches, leaving you with a clean screen.

The argument often made is that gorilla glass survives falls more often, which is understandable because a more rigid material cannot flex as much and will shatter easily. While that may be possible, it’s not very true of the Galaxy Watch 5 series, which will likely never fall off your wrist. If you hit something with it, you’re probably hitting the entire screen and letting the entire sapphire absorb the shock. In the application of smart watches, sapphire glass is quite suitable.

As an upgrade to the previous Galaxy Watch 4, sapphire is a game-changer for the Galaxy Watch 5. Better scratch resistance provides added peace of mind when wearing something as an extension of yourself. It remains to be seen how well the sapphire holds up in the Galaxy Watch 5, although we expect it to perform well as a Gorilla Glass alternative.

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