Friday, August 12, 2011

Why it's important to put a screen protector on your $500+ phone

This is a broken HTC Inspire... the less-cool cousin of the not-broken HTC Inspire
This is the second installment in a series of three articles on protecting your smartphone. If you took the advice of the first review and have put an Otterbox Defender on your phone, you have a built-in screen protector and this article is moot. For all of you who went out and bought a case but refused a screen protector... this is for you!  :-)  Read on to find out why, even though you have a cool phone with "Corning® Gorilla® Glass," it still ain't savin' you from those darned keys you have in your pocket (or all that stuff women keep in their purses... whatever that may be).

This is the Motorola Atrix with a scratch on the screen. This
scratch was caused by... well, we're not sure. It just appeared
there one day after we were using it. What type of screen is
on the Atrix? Corning® Gorilla® Glass. It's not
As I have emphasized in the previous article, phones are expensive. To get a replacement screen is expensive as well. It's also a really big hassle in most cases and involves either doing it yourself and voiding the manufacturer's warranty or paying someone else to do it. But why bother with all that? Just get a screen protector when you first get your phone and you have nothing to worry about. If the sales representative is nice, they'll even put offer to put it on for you.

Just like with cases, screen protectors come in a lot of different kinds and protection levels. Screen protectors are kind of like pocket protectors, they're not only practical... they're a good way to accessorize! So let's go over what screen protectors are available and how they stand up to scratches.

First, there's your basic, clear screen protectors. These are usually $10 for a pack of three. They usually come with two pieces of plastic stuck to them (one on each side) to protect the screen protector itself from getting scratched while in transit to your door and during the application process. Casemate is a common manufacturer of these types of screen protectors. They are very simple, but they are anything but easy to apply to your phone. More often than not, you end up with a bubble or two due to a tiny speck of dust getting underneath. This is annoying to me. If you're on a budget or if these are all that are available for your phone, these screen protectors will do the trick. If you're able to spend a bit more, get something else. As far as protection goes, the Casemate brand of these screen protectors is pretty sturdy and will protect your phone, but the screen protector itself scratches very noticeably and very easily. You'll be switching these out every 6 - 8 months.

Next is the second most common screen protectors I see... the Anti-Glare or Anti-Fingerprint screen protectors. These screen protectors are for those types of people that can't stand to have their screens full of nasty fingerprints (like me). They're also the tiniest bit thicker than the basic screen protectors. They're also decently good at preventing glare from the sun. The downside to these is that if your phone has an amazingly high-quality display (like the iPhone 4, HTC Inspire, or Samsung Infuse for examples) than you will notice that they diminish the quality of the display. It adds almost a "pixely" quality to it that I don't much appreciate. Most people don't care about this. I do, however, and I'm not the only one. You'll also be switching these out every 6-8 months.

This is a REALLY scratched iPhone 4. This was done with a
set of keys in 30 seconds.
Now we get into the more fashionable screen protectors. The first up is the Mirror style screen protector. When applied, the screen protector makes your phone look like a mirror (and you can actually use it as one too!). It's very cool and it catches people's eye. It also helps you find it easily when it's in a purse. The downside that I see with this one is that it shows fingerprints more than any other screen protector. I hate finger prints so I just can't do it. This one also shows every tiny little scratch and nick more than any other screen protector so this one is NOT for me. As far as protection goes, this screen protector is pretty standard so it's along the same lines as the basic screen protectors when it comes to actually protecting your phone. You should probably expect to switch this one out every couple of months because it will show the scratches more than other screen protectors.

The next is the privacy screen protector. This screen protector is sweet. What it does is it makes it so that you can only see what's on the screen of your phone when you are looking at it from straight on. If you look at it from the sides, top, or bottom, all you see is a blurry light. It is great for all you spies out there, and also for teenagers trying to trick themselves into thinking their parents won't find out what they're texting to their friends if they have this on their phone. The downside to this screen protector is that it makes the screen considerably darker. Now, I use a trick on all my phones that prolongs the battery life. I dim the display down to about 30% so the battery life is extended. This trick, however, will not work with this screen protector because the screen becomes too dim to see. The upside to this type of screen protector is that it is by far the thickest. This means more protection! Also, finger prints do not show up on this screen and scratches are few and far between, so the life of it is longer too.

Finally, we get to the mother of all screen protectors... the Zagg invisibleSHIELD. This product was first used on helicopter blades in Iraq and Afghanistan because rocks and dust were slowly eroding them. This prevented chips and scratches and preserved the blades, prolonging their life considerably. Then, someone came up with the genius idea to put them on phones. The best part is that they come with a lifetime warranty. If you manage to destroy this thing, you send it back in and you only pay shipping for a new one. Sweet, huh! The downside? There are some people that don't like that your finger doesn't slide across them as easily as other screen protectors. Personally, I don't care about that. It doesn't bother me at all. The upside? They are completely clear so they don't diminish screen quality. They are fingerprint resistant. They never need to be changed out. They stay on better than anything else I've seen. They're the only screen protector that is actually scratch proof (rather than being something that scratches instead of your phone, therefore making you change it out every once-in-a-while). I love these things. Plus, you can buy a version that completely covers every inch of your phone!

Now that you're educated, get out there and get a screen protector! The sooner you do, the better, because once you get a scratch... it's always there.

1 comment:

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