Corning Gorilla Glass microbial test shows cleanest Phandroid staffer has dirtiest phone [VIDEO]


Yesterday, Corning announced a new version of Gorilla Glass that is infused with antimicrobial solutions that will help keep your smartphone free of germs and bacteria. We were wondering how Corning would “demo” this technology at CES, so we just had to stop by their booth to check it out. It wouldn’t be right if our resident germaphobe Chris Chavez didn’t go along, so he and Rob Jackson trotted over there to check it out.

To put it simply, Corning used an industry-standard microbial test that is often used to check contamination levels of restaurants in health safety checks. They simply swabbed the phones’ displays with cotton swabs to gather up the bacteria and mixed it with a solution that can be read by a machine. The result?

Chris Chavez, who can’t touch as much as a doorknob without an immediate urge to wash his hands afterward, had a Nexus 5 that scored a 475, which is seen as moderate for a smartphone. We weren’t sure how that fared up against some of the other results, so Rob Jackson wanted to throw his Galaxy Note 3 down and see how it compared.

Interestingly enough, Rob’s phone came back as a 57, which apparently means it’s cleaner than most smartphones out there. That sort of discrepancy just goes to show that you can be as clean as soap and still be exposed to tons of germs.

I guess that’s the reason Corning found the need to develop something like this. The company claims that the glass’s antimicrobial properties will last for the duration of your smartphone’s life cycle. This is made possible thanks to the ionic silver used in the compound, an agent that allows the glass to be as clear and durable as other reinforced glass.

It’d be interesting to see follow-up tests on phones with this sort of glass after a few months of rigorous use. We’re not sure when to expect the first smartphones with this material, but we suspect it won’t take long for manufacturers to pick up on it and add yet another marketing bulletpoint for future devices. Be sure to take a look at the big germy showdown in the video above.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Makes me wonder what they would have found on Chris’ phone had they brought out the blue UV light ;)

      1. Chris – when the tester swabbed your phone – he sloppily swabbed his own hand (palm) a few times by accident. he should have worn gloves or been more careful. watch the video – he contaminated your results. dude probably shook hands all day at the booth not to mention took a few massive dumps during the breaks and wiped fecal matter from his azz all over his hands. this guy is worse than “Poppie” from Seinfeld!


  2. I have developed a habit of swiping alcohol swabs from my work’s first aid kit at least four times a week and wipe down the phone and the case. It’s probably still pretty dirty but day I was thinking about how often I pick up my phone after touching something and then I’ll wash my hands and go back to my phone. I’m not even that much of a germaphobe but it’s gross to think about what could be all over my phone.

    So yeah I’m so down for this shiz!

    1. Sleepy Hollow fan :D. The thing i found funny is that he kept swapping over the surface over and over spreading out the contaimation on the screen which would give a high test result lol

      1. I think I see you over at SpoilerTV a lot. Your name sounds familiar. :D

        1. So i see my reputation preceeds me lol

      2. And the swab touches his hand a number of times…

        1. I was going to post the same thing. Touching your hand voids the test because our hands are filthy.

          (I remember in highschool when I ruined a biology science experiment because I wasn’t thinking and used my finger to move the specimen in the petri dish)

    2. You would be surprised the number of living organisms coating your body right now. Its normal, not gross.

  3. Gorilla Glass FTW…

  4. Chris are you sure you didnt have that thing in a Vegas strip club last night?

    1. pretty sure he’s a closeted f@g, so that’s doubtful

      1. Top lel

      2. Pretty sure that was super uncalled for

      3. You’re just jealous because he has better hair than you

        1. That. Hair is epic like a slender Johnny Bravo

  5. Lets just say you don’t have a 5″ screen for nothing… Amirite Chris?

  6. I heard that 99% of phones have fecal matters on it. something to keep in mind when using someones phone.

    1. Probably because they’re using them while on the toilet

      1. yup, and im guilty of that too lol

      2. Taking a dump right now and reading phandroid.

        1. Got any t p I can borrow :)

    2. Whenever you smell a fart or poop youre actually breathing in fecal matter. Small particles, but still breathing in fecal matter.

  7. I work with a bunch of germophobes at work. Oddly, they tend to be sick the most. Coincidence? I think not. They’re usually doing themselves in by being too clean and not “innoculating”.

    1. I’ve read stuff like that before about exposing your body to bugs to help strengthen your immune system. It’s interesting stuff. I forget where I read also about a small population of earth being immune to some of the most deadliest diseases. Something about coming from the deeper parts of the gene pool. I feel like watching Outbreak now.

    2. Medical student here – the whole priming/inoculating of the immune system refers to the development of allergies due to lack of exposure to pathogens *as a child*, not to avoiding pathogens as an adult. The objective as an adult should be to avoid germs.
      As understandable as it is for someone to misinterpret the “immune system priming” theory (and I hope I don’t sound preachy or condescending here), it’s important for misinformation not to be widely distributed, which is why I posted here

    3. Tali’Zorah nar Rayya Approves

  8. This fear of germs in this country is ridiculous and embarrassing. Bacteria and germs are essential to building a strong immune system. Whats even more ridiculous is peoples confidence in washing hands and wiping things down. Have any of these people thought of all the things you breathe in on a daily basis ? Sure, washing your hands and wiping your keyboard down and having anti-microbial glass on your smartphone is helping with that. Ha !

  9. Why do you think the FDA is banning triclosan? We’re too clean and we’re breeding superbugs that will soon kill us all. The zombie apocalypse is neigh folks. Neigh it is indeed.

    1. Your point is not to be ignored, but as someone who works in an urban emergency room with patients with some heinous infections around, I welcome this technology with open arms

      1. Then you should know that this does more harm than good.

        1. The fact that we overprescribe antibiotics seems to be wayyy overly generalized by the people on this forum to “pathogens are good, sanitation is bad”. Sterile phones would have nothing to do with that issue. There is no downside

  10. Whoever is against tech that involves anti bacteria is obviously some one who can pick there nose, and touch what ever and still touch there food without cleaning there hands. Nasty people

  11. Hehehe the Dirty Chavez.

    1. Dirty Chavez, Dirty Sanchez and Dirty Dirty Rodruigez walk into a bar…

  12. Hah! I knew it was going to be about Chris :P I carry Alcohol wipes for my phone, I suggest the same! Also no one touches my phone ever… not so much because of germs (okay mostly) but also because what if they drop it, have a hard time saying ok dude now you owe me 500 bucks.. I know that once a broken screen is replaced the phone is never quite like new..

    1. Doesn’t the alcohol wear down on your screen if you have an oleophobic screen or screen protector?

      1. Does it? I am not sure… I haven’t noticed anything so far and I have been doing that since the Samsung moment days… I don’t use screen protectors though, Often I use these though instead of actual alcohol wipes. http://www.amazon.com/Zeiss-Pre-Moistened-Lens-Cloths-Wipes/dp/B0030E4UIQ

        1. I buy these cheap windex wipes from the 99 cent store. Always keep them in my bag and wipe down my electronics every day :P

          1. But they don’t work very well apparantly ;) I wonder if there is a way I can get that test done on my phone after using the Zeiss wipes I use and see if they work better?

      2. Yeah, but you know what’s good for wiping anything down?

  13. I’m far more suspicious of the tech used to make these germ free surfaces than I am of the germs themselves. I just don’t see the benefit in eliminating our smartphone as a source of pathogens (most of which are run of the mill bacteria that very rarely cause issues in healthy people vs cold viruses that you actually benefit from eliminating) when every other surface I touch will still be just as dirty. If you are immunocompromised or work in a hospital then this sounds like a great idea. For the rest of us I’d rather they work on something else…

    I also want these antimicrobial methods to be thoroughly tested by the FDA. I touch my smartphone several hundred times per day and I don’t want repeated exposure to something hasn’t been thoroughly tested for safety.

    1. From the article, it sounds like they’re just adding silver to the glass, which has natural antimicrobial tendencies.

      Even if it doesn’t work as well as some say it does, there’s little risk from skin contact with silver.

      1. silver in various forms is toxic to humans. Hopefully not in whatever form is found in gorilla glass.

        1. Are you normally prone to licking your screen, then?

          Because I’m not aware of any solid form of silver that is skin-contact toxic. And they do use colloidal silver in bandages (with questionable effectiveness, but no toxic side effects.)

    2. A dollar alone is nothing, but hundreds of them can make you wealthy.

      What I’m trying to get at is that this one thing may not help at all, but if different things start incorporating this idea, then it adds to a growing list of protecting from germs.

      So your phone, steering wheel, doors, keyboards, etc, start incorporating this idea, then together they become strong.

    3. I wholeheartedly agree

  14. And this is how we breed super virii and bacteria.

  15. Does it even matter? Most people I know will put on a screen protector as soon as they get the phone… So does this even matter at all? I mean great, no bacteria on glass but there will be all over my screen protector… So now what?

    1. I don’t put screen protectors on my phone because it kinda ruins the way it looks. Yes, I WILL suffer from possible scratches, (which I have a small one on my One)

      It has sadden me, but it’s the price I pay.

      1. Actually, you can use tempered glass screen protectors…does not ruin the looks or the feel. Absolutely clear and feels the same as the original…provided you get a good brand. I got one called Zeos screen protector for my iPhone 5s and iPad Air, and they also have it at ZeosDirect com and works great. It’s made of Corning Gorilla glass…the same one used to make most smart phone screens. Bit on the expensive side, but awesome quality…I Love it.

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  17. we never thought you guys were clean, don’t worry

  18. I generally avoid anti-germ anti-microbial stuff. Yes, really.

    Microorganisms are a fact of life. They have been so for billions of years (with a Carl Sagan “B”).

    Limiting your exposure to them means you are weakening your immunity to them.

  19. I honestly don’t see the point of this. Germs can be cleaned/removed from a screen; scratches, on the other hand, cannot. I use a screen protector to prevent the latter, which renders this product useless. Gimmick designed to appeal to paranoia.

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