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Beware: Vision Pro’s glass is surprisingly easy to scratch

Published Feb 6th, 2024 5:34PM EST
Apple's Vision Pro spatial computer.
Image: Apple

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The first round of Vision Pro reviews didn’t reveal everything there is to know about Apple’s new spatial computers, and that’s because reviewers were more concerned with testing the device’s capabilities than pushing it to its limits. They also can’t use the Vision Pro while driving a Tesla, something that will get you arrested. Nor can they tear down the Vision Pro or perform more advanced durability tests. 

But that’s precisely what folks like JerryRigEverything do with every new product. The YouTuber put the Vision Pro through his usual durability tests recently and made some important discoveries along the way that should help you better care for the spatial computer. For example, the Vision Pro’s glass is covered with plastic, which will scratch easily.

The front side of the Vision Pro features laminated glass. Here’s how Apple describes it: 

A singular piece of three-dimensionally formed laminated glass flows into an aluminum alloy frame that curves to wrap around your face.

Carmakers also use laminated glass for the windshield to increase its durability. Also, laminated glass is safer when it breaks, as the glass will adhere to the plastic layer rather than scatter.

The laminated part means the glass contains one other material: Plastic. In the case of the Vision Pro, the layer of plastic that sits on the outside. JerryRigEverything was surprised to find the outer layer scratched so easily, concluding that it was plastic.

That means that the Vision Pro will scratch easily, so you have to handle it with care. It’s disappointing for a $3,499 device. Sure, it comes with a glass protector, and you can buy a case to transport it. But you’ll also have to be extra careful during everyday use.

Apple Vision Pro AR/VR headset announced at WWDC 2023.
Apple Vision Pro AR/VR headset announced at WWDC 2023. Image source: Apple Inc.

Also, you might want to clean it using the piece of cloth that comes with it or something similar rather than a paper towel or your shirt. The YouTuber makes the same point about the internal lenses, which are plastic, too. These can scratch easily. 

I will point out the obvious here. For the most part, it doesn’t matter if you scratch the outer glass/plastic panel. This isn’t a smartphone display. You’ll never look at it. However, you should be mindful of the sensors and cameras under that glass dome. You don’t want scratches to prevent those sensors from working. 

The internal plastic lenses are equally important. You look through them to experience Apple’s spatial computing. You won’t want to get them scratched. 

If the Vision Pro glass suffers extensive damage, you’ll have to pay dearly to replace it. The cracked Cover glass will cost $800 to replace or $300 if you buy the $500 Apple Care Plus warranty. 

iFixit conducted its own teardown of the Vision Pro a few days ago. They, too, pointed out the plastic layer on top of the glass: 

The glass panel is glued on, of course, and it took a lot of heat and time, but we removed it without breakage. Granted it didn’t come out unscathed—the glass has a protective plastic film that got a little peeled up and maybe a bit melted. Apple’s retail fixers might have faster hands than us—but they’ll charge you $799 to replace broken front glass.

Finally, these teardowns also reveal an interesting detail about the Vision Pro and probably the reason why the headset is rather bulky and heavy. The Vision Pro contains two MacBook-like fans to cool the computer. Check out the JerryRigEverything video below:

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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