No Gorilla Glass on the Pixel 3a. What is Asahi Dragontrail and will my phone scratch up easily?

No Gorilla Glass on the Pixel 3a. What is Asahi Dragontrail and will my phone scratch up easily?
When Google announced the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, it really shattered expectations. We were getting rumors about light editions of the tech giant's latest flagships, but their price point was so aggressive, many predict they will truly shake up the midrange market. You can get the Pixel experience with the very same superb camera for only $400, after all, which is exactly half of the Pixel 3's starting price.

But at what cost?

Corners had to be cut, obviously, and we get plastic shells, no wireless charging, and a less powerful processor. There is also no Gorilla Glass protecting the display — you may have noticed that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are both outfitted with an Asahi Dragontrail panel instead.

What is Asahi Dragontrail?


It may not be as popular as its main competitor — Corning's Gorilla Glass — but the Dragontrail has been around for quite a while. It's manufactured by a global glass manufacturing company based in Japan, called AGC Inc. (formerly Asahi Glass Co.). The very first Dragontrail was officially launched 8 years ago, in January of 2011. And its durability is nothing to snark at — it's 6 times more durable than your conventional household soda-lime glass and can withstand a hit with a hammer.

No Gorilla Glass on the Pixel 3a. What is Asahi Dragontrail and will my phone scratch up easily?


The way Drogontrail and Gorilla Glass are made is pretty similar. A chemical process, which forces ion exchange within molten glass allows the companies to make glass panels with densely packed top layers. The compression and residual stress allow the material to withstand bumps, scratches, and other random damage through daily use.

Dragontrail is not some off-the-wall brand, either. Its marketing push may not be as strong as Corning's, but there's a high chance that you've touched or at least seen a phone with Asahi Dragontrail glass before. Notable models that were outfitted with it in the past are:


Asahi Dragontrail vs Gorilla Glass


No Gorilla Glass on the Pixel 3a. What is Asahi Dragontrail and will my phone scratch up easily?

So, did Google cheap out? Is the Dragontrail worse than the Gorilla Glass 4 that's on the Pixel 3? Not really. Both the Gorilla Glass 4 and the Asahi Dragon trail are rated at about 6.5 on Mohs scale of hardness, which means both will not get scratched by your keys or coins, but keep them away from sand (quartz is rated at 7).

To get a different perspective, we can check out their Vickers hardness test score. This measures a material's ability to resist deformation through pressure. The higher the score — the more your glass can flex without breaking (so, better drop resistance). The Asahi Dragontrail got a rating of 595 to 673, while Gorilla Glass scored 622 to 701.

In other words, Gorilla Glass 4 may be slightly more durable than the Dragontrail, but to a neglectable degree. Bottom line is — don't drop your phone, no matter what model it is. Maybe even get a case or two, they might save you from a broken screen and broken heart.

Related phones

Pixel 3a
  • Display 5.6" 1080 x 2220 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh
Pixel 3a XL
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3700 mAh

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11 Comments

1. andriodfanboy1

Posts: 163; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Thanks for a reminder that my Sony Xperia z1 shattered on very 1st drop so no way this dragotail, whereas i have dropped multiples and in worse my honor 8 and its glass is stil flawless

3. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1158; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

I dropped my Xperia Z1 several times, from one meter up or so and it never broke. Bad luck perhaps.

6. ssallen

Posts: 127; Member since: Oct 06, 2017

I have dropped exactly one phone, it had Gorilla Glass, and it shattered. Maybe don't base your judgments based upon such a small sample size.

10. Plutonium239

Posts: 1144; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

It also depends on what generation of gorilla glass.

2. andriodfanboy1

Posts: 163; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

I hate admit there many occasions i have seen that gorilla is only option u have......

4. liteon163

Posts: 24; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

The Dragontrail glass on my Sony Z3 Compact was thoroughly unimpressive. It scratched after just a few seconds in my pocket with a stapled receipt. I have since made sure this never happens again, with ANY phone, by using different pockets for the occasional stapled receipt.

5. amir1999

Posts: 35; Member since: Feb 05, 2015

Thanks for the information

7. bucknassty

Posts: 1295; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

ok i can get with that... i dropped my galaxy nexus s from a carnival ride at least 25 ft in the air and it survived.. .although the battery had a dent in it somehow the screen survived... but i think that was a freak lucky incident my friends could not believe it.

8. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1207; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Xiaomi used dragontrail glass in its old Redmi phones (Redmi1S) and there is not much real life difference comparing with Corning equipped phones, especially comparing the price. But, a glass is a glass, whether its Gorilla or Chimpanzee..

9. foreverNOOB

Posts: 143; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

Or even Dragon..

11. Dadler22

Posts: 204; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Just picked up pixel 3a today from tmo, ported from verizon galaxy s10e. Couldn't stand the ergonomics of the galaxy phone, corner presses galore. Also wasnt friendly for left hand talker, as the screen would always come on and activate RTT call. Needless to say it was a fun 20 days lol. Haven't had pixel long enough to have firm opinions but from an ergonomic and ease of use standpoint it seems like i am going to enjoy this phone more.

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