I have owned over 200 phones since 2001 and have a track record of safety. In all these years since I got my first mobile phone, I have only broken the screen of two of them – my Samsung Galaxy S4 and my Infinix Zero 4 Plus (is there a thing with the number 4 here?)
Using phones with a glass back panel comes with peculiar challenges that complicate matters with my sterling record. My record with phone screens remain intact, but it is clear to me now that if I choose to continue to use phones with a glass back panel, I have to start fighting to keep a separate record.
With other kinds of smartphones – those with plastic and metal back panels – all you ever have to worry about is the screen. Keep your screen safe and you are good.
But with phones with glass back panel, you have to worry and care about more than just the screen. There’s another slab of glass that is a huge potential point of failure – the back.
I have used a Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro for the last one year. Apart from the fact that it is one of the most capable smartphones I have ever used, it is also a gorgeous device, and the glass back panel is a part of that beauty.
The trouble with phones with glass back panels
Unfortunately, that also means that it is a very fragile smartphone. It is not the first smartphone with a glass back panel that I have owned and used. Not too long ago, I had the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which has a glass back panel as well.
I used a leather protective case with it for the most part, as I had read up a few user accounts of how fragile it was. I also remember the Lenovo Vibe S1 from 2016. It was a slippery eel and a delicate device that had a death wish. I didn’t use a case with it.
Phones with glass back panel are delicate. One drop on a hard surface, or a chance hit, and you can easily end up with a cracked back.
They are also slippery. If you are going to leave them lying on a table, make sure that table is flat or else they might begin a moonwalk for the edge and ultimately have an unscheduled meeting with the floor.
Which was what happened to my Mi Note 10 Pro late last year. When I picked it up, it had just a small nick on one edge. I out it back in its case (I had removed the case during the time the accident occurred) and thought no more of it.
Last week, I took off the case to admire the glorious beauty of my beloved phone once again, and found this:
Yes; that nick on the glass at one edge had spread like cancer and the entire upper section of the glass back panel now had a complex web of cracks.
That is the thing with cracked glass. It can start with one small scratch and stretch out into something more complex.
If you have ever had a small crack on your vehicle’s windshield, you know this pattern. Did I mention that something similar happened to my Vibe S1? Have a look:
The cracked back glass panel wasn’t as elaborate as what I have on my Xiaomi now, but it wasn’t a pleasant sight either.
My sterling record with phone screens has stayed intact. But my record with glass back panels isn’t looking so good, and I am one of the most careful people with phones.
If you are going to use a smartphone with a glass back panel
I have one piece of advice for you if you choose to buy and use phones with glass back panel: buy and use a protective case for them. Keep the case on all the time.
If you take the case off for any reason, put it back as soon as you are done. Back when I had the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, I purchased and used a USAMS Joe leather case for it (photo below).
The problem, in my own case, is that I am not a huge fan of putting my smartphone in a case. I love to feel the quality of my devices in my hand. I love to see their beauty. So, while I have been compelled to use cases in recent times, that is not how I prefer to use my phones.
I currently use a case with my Xiaomi but had it off during the time it dropped and cracked. I’d rather just not have a case on my phones. So, I am not going to take my own advice – at least not this one. The advice that I shall stick to going forward is to not buy phones with glass back panel.
I shall stay away from them. There are lots of beautiful smartphones out there with polycarbonate and metal back panels. I shall see to it that I satisfy myself with those.
My Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro still works well and is such a capable device that I will have a hard time replacing it. But eventually, it will become dated and no longer be able to keep up with newer devices.
When that time comes to replace it, its replacement will not be a smartphone with a glass back panel. I shall be getting a phone that I can use freely without needing the protective services of a case. This is not my first smartphone with a glass back panel, but it will be my last.
For now, it has a protective case on it. Sadly, I can’t enjoy its beauty any more.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.