With smartphone screens getting bigger and bigger, dropping a phone on concrete floor is often a death sentence for the screen. While technological development had a big impact on scratch resistance, a massive amount of iPhone or Android phone screens break on a daily basis. While the best protection from breaking your phones screen is to not drop it in the first place (duh), there are ways to protect it from breaking when it hits the ground.
While plastic screen protectors were quite popular in the past, a recent trend is using tempered glass screen protectors. But why would you put another layer of glass on top of your screen, which is already protected with a glass layer on top of it? Simply put, adding a glass protector to your screen won’t change your every day experience much. Controlling your phone still feels nice, your screen is protected from scratches and the glass protector almost completely absorbs impact damage when dropping the phone.
While a plastic protectors typically try to “keep your phone” together like security glass, tempered glass protectors have similar features as your screen itself. Consequently, when dropping your phone, a glass protector is more likely to shatter. However, your screen is very likely to stay intact – and replacing the screen protector is rather inexpensive compared to completely replacing the screen.
Glass protectors usually don’t effect screen sharpness, meaning that you don’t see a difference on your screen when having a protective layer on top of your screen. If you’ve ever installed a plastic protector, you’ll know the pain of properly attaching it to your device. Luckily, the majority of glass protectors use a full-adhesive or bezel-adhesive technology which make the installation process quite easy and convenient.
Tempered glass screen protectors are not perfect and have their flaws. In my opinion, one of the biggest issues with them is their thickness. While plastic protectors are usually around 0.1mm, glass ones range between 0.3 and 0.5mm. In other words: You’ll notice that there is a glass protector on your device. Luckily, this usually does not affect cases or protective bumpers. While 0.5mm might seem like a small number, you can definitely feel a difference when using on screen buttons like the iPhone’s Home button.
Another trend that is working against tempered glass screen protectors are “curved” displays like the iPhone 6S+ or Samsung Galaxy S6 is running. In this context I’m not talking about really curved displays, but display that are not completely flat. The issue with tempered glass protectors is that its really hard for them to build clear real full-screen protectors. So when you usually buy a low priced screen protector, the edges are usually not protected. The solution for this is a full-screen, end-to-end protector, which is usually a little bit more expensive. In many cases it also comes with a coloured bottom and top part, because it has to optically cover uneven edges.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend to go with one of the cheaper tempered glass protector options. This has two reasons: Depending on the adhesive technology used, installation can be trickier with low-price options and fingerprints might be more present. For around $15 you’ll get a quality screen protector, end-to-end protectors usually start around $30 to $40. The most popular options are Zagg InvisibleShield and Armorz Stealth series.
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