Screen Protectors are pretty mandatory additions to every phone. Whether you are protecting your investment or have more money that you know how to spend a Screen Protector will make life easier on a day to day basis and some added features such as anti glare and privacy protection actually enhance your phone over stock.
With so many options out there how do you know you are buying the best screen protector for your needs. Notice that I say Your Needs rather than the most expensive and absolute best product because if you are protecting a pay as you go under $25 phone you don’t want to invest in a product that costs just as much. On the other hand if you have a brand new Samsung or iPhone its worth the extra money to protect your screen.
Lets face it you don’t want to send your phone in for repair even if you can and once you get damage to the screen you have to decide is it worth living with or do I need a new screen or even a new phone.
The first thing I should mention is that when you are buying a new phone even if you haven’t made your mind up about which screen protector is best you want to have one installed that could be a custom fit or a generic that the retailer places on the phone before you walk out the door.
I have found that often people will purchase their phone from one retailer and then visit another for accessories like a case or screen protector. This is a good way to save some money but paying a couple extra dollars to have a professional install a Screen Protector isn’t a bad deal. Because they do hundreds of phones a week you can expect their skill level to be much higher than you or I. Actually I recently picked up a new screen protector and had it installed because I find it a bit difficult to get every last piece of dust and bubble out. It cost me under $10 and its worth the peace of mind however I will be buying a better one and installing it myself.
What features are available in different types of Screen Protectors?
The first feature you want to look at when buying a screen protector is the material it is made of. There are three different materials that you are likely to come across in screen protectors.
Tempered Glass is the strongest and most expensive material used in Screen Protectors. Their availability is limited because they can not be easily cut to fit many varieties of phones so you will normally only see them for higher end and more expensive models of phones and tablets. They are said to give the user the same tactile feeling as using their phone without a protector but they are thicker than other options. Since they are made of Tempered Glass they offer the highest level of durability. Impact tests that you can find on Manufacturer and Reviewer websites will often show a variety of pretty strong impacts and abrasion tests. They are not like placing your phone in a vault but if you are in a home where you let your kids play with your new expensive tablet or if you are on the road a lot with it they are a good option.
Siliconized or Rubberized Plastic is used in specialized protectors that offer self healing as a feature. They are often a bit more sticky and have a matt type finish when compared to glass or standard PET Plastic protectors.
PET Plastic is used in the lower price protectors but this material can range pretty dramatically in its quality. The options in this material range from transparent with no visual change to mirrored and privacy screen protectors that guard against others eavesdropping by use of polarizing filters.
What extended features are available in Phone Screen Protectors?
We already hit on a few of the options you can look for when selecting a screen protector but some of these features have tradeoffs.
For instance you might look for glare reduction in a protector it is a very standard option but the addition of glare protection or anything that changes the perception of the phone will reduce your ability to see the screen. Anti Slip or drop protection which texturizes the screen will have the same issue.
Personally I like protectors that don’t change the visibility of the screen but if you are in need of privacy protection because you are on the road a lot in public places this is a good option for you. I think this is the only option I would select if I was to go with anything other than a transparent protector.
Impact resistance is a great option but you can get a little dependent on it. If you add a Tempered Glass protector you should continue to use your phone as if no added protection was provided. You will also want to back this up with a case that is specifically rated for impact resistance because if you drop your phone its not likely to fall flat on its face.
Remember anything that isn’t completely transparent will reduce your visibility. If the protector reduces visibility then you will find yourself putting the phone led into bright setting all the time and this will reduce your battery life dramatically.
If you do need special features then Impact Resistance is probably the best feature however you can’t over rely on it and it may not be available for your phone.
If you are looking for a protector of any type you should get one that has been specifically sized for your phone with the appropriate cutouts for your speaker and camera. If the protector covers the camera you could end up with distortion in your images.
When buying lower cost protectors look for ones that come in sets of 2 to 5 that way you will be able to make a mistake or two installing and also you will have a spare if your keys end up scratching your protector.
Finally price is a consideration so read reviews and view some professional reviews of any product that is outside of the $5 range.