ZG 21

The touchscreen is both the greatest and most annoying part of a smartphone. On the plus side, you’ve got clear images, vibrant colors, and the simplicity that comes from bypassing a bunch of buttons and menus. At the same time, though, you’ve also got to deal with unsightly scratches and cracks.

We recently heard about a new protective sheet that’s supposed to be able to withstand almost any kid of abuse, so we put it to the test against a variety of damaging instruments including what one shopkeeper told us was the legendary sword Excalibur.

The packaging for many companies’ protective films and sheets for smartphones don’t list the materials used in making them, but that’s not the case for the new Z’us-G (pronounced “Zeus G”). Manufactured by optical glass maker Hoya, Z’us-G is made out of aluminosilicate glass, which is itself a compound that includes aluminum oxygen, and silicon.

With such high-grade materials, you’d expect the Z’us-G to be sturdy, and it certainly seems fitting of the label in this video released by Hoya that shows it resisting scratches even after being scrubbed with steel wool.

Hoya has also showed off the product’s toughness with tests of how far it can bend without cracking, plus dropping it from a height of 150 centimeters (59 inches), with no noticeable damage to the screen.

Still, we weren’t just going to take Hoya’s word that the Z’us-G would keep our screen safe, so we obtained a sheet to run some tests of our own. The sheet was easy to attach, leaving behind no air pockets between itself and the screen’s glass. It’s smooth to the touch, and comes pre-treated with a coating to prevent grease and grime from sticking to it.

For our first experiment, we called on ace reporter Mr. Sato to simulate a plausible screen-damaging scenario. If you carry your smartphone in your pocket, along with a pen, there’s a pretty good chance that eventually the tip of the writing instrument is going to nick the glass.

ZG 1

If it’s something that can easily happen by accident, scratching the surface should be no problem if that’s what you’re actually trying to do, right?

ZG 2

Try as he might though, Mr. Sato wasn’t able to leave as much as a mark on the Z’us-G.

ZG 3

Most of our staff was satisfied with this, but another of our writers, Harada, had a dissenting opinion.

ZG 4

A dissenting, X-Acto knife-based opinion.

ZG 5

Taking the phone to a park near our office (because if you’re going to do something crazy, it might as well be in public), Harada bumped things up a level by seeing how the Z’us-G would hold up against a tool actually designed to cut things into pieces.

ZG 6

Once again, though, the protective screen did its job perfectly, finishing the test looking no worse than before we’d started. It seems the 21st-century science and technology of Hoya’s production process is too strong for any modern edged instrument, so Harada decided to expand his search to the lore of ages past by looking for a legendary blade that could cleave the Z’us-G.

Following the logic that the nearby town of Kamakura was home to many generations of samurai, Harada hopped on the train headed to the city’s famous Sankaido souvenir shop. Located not far from Kamakura’s gigantic Great Buddha statue, Sankaido sells all sorts of touristy knickknacks like keychains and baseball caps. They also have a huge selection of replica weapons.

ZG 7

ZG 8

We were a little surprised that Harada didn’t select that sweet-looking Master Sword from the store’s weaponry, but in the end Link’s blade lost out to King Arthur’s, and Harada walked out of Sankaido with the fabled Excalibur.

ZG 10

▼ To obtain it, Harada had to part with 16,800 silver pieces/one-yen coins (US$165)

ZG 9

Of course, if you’re lugging around a broadsword in broad daylight, you also need a warrior’s headband. Really, you’d just look silly without it.

ZG 11

ZG 12

Harada placed his smartphone on the chopping black, and readied himself to strike.

ZG 14

ZG 15

ZG 16

…when suddenly, a thought occurred to him.

ZG 17

Even if the Z’us-G could stand up to the might of Excalibur, that didn’t mean the internals of Harada’s iPhone wouldn’t be crushed by the blow. Realizing that mercy is one of the truest virtues of a noble swordsman, Harada tempered his slash, altering the test from a full overhead strike to a light blow with a sawing motion at the end.

G 18

ZG 19

Once again, the protective sheet was unscathed.

ZG 20

Really, there was a lot to be happy about here. Our writer’s iPhone is safe and sound, and it’s always nice to find a product that works as advertised. We even have a nice new company hand-and-a-half sword for all of our melee-related business needs. The only downside is that we’re not sure whether Harada’s blood-lust has been quenched or not. Hopefully he’ll stop by Kamakura’s beautiful Hydrangea Temple and calm himself down before coming back to Tokyo.

Related: Z’us-G
Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]