Like any computer, a smartphone or tablet is not much use without a screen. It is the access point, the way that you as a human can interact with and harness the technology that makes your life easier. If you’re old enough to remember using phones without screens, you’ll know that they were not very smart at all.
Screens are also one of the most expensive components of a phone or tablet to replace. Although they are designed to be resistant to scratches and cracks as much as possible, the fact remains that a screen on a smart device is somewhat delicate for something that gets so much use. Even those advertised as using Gorilla Glass, Dragontrail, or another high-grade glass are not impervious to scratches or shattering when dropped. For that reason, a screen protector is a necessity for the vast majority of technology owners.
Having tried and sold a range of options, we recommend glass screen protectors as the best way to shield your screen from damage. The other main choice is a plastic film protector. These are thin and easy to use, inexpensive, and resistant to scratches and fingerprints—they certainly have their advantages! However, for real protection against more significant damage, a tempered glass screen protector is the way to go. Let’s take a look at why.
Why choose tempered glass?
Tempering is the process of heating up and rapidly cooling the glass over a period of time. This results in glass that is very durable. The glass used in screen protectors is flexible, not rigid—yes, glass can bend! However tempering can reduce flexibility, so manufacturers aim to strike a balance between the two properties. iGadget screen protectors have all undergone at least a 4-hour tempering process, making them very strong whilst retaining enough flexibility to function well.
A tempered glass screen protector does a great job of guarding your smartphone or tablet screen. They are shatterproof. This doesn’t mean that your screen protector won’t crack—in fact, the point is that it cracks in place of the screen itself. However, it won’t shatter into small pieces, reducing the danger of anyone hurting themselves on broken glass. A good tempered glass protector will absorb the impact of a device being dropped directly on the screen. It can also go some way towards dissipating shocks that come with being dropped on a corner.
Many smartphone users prefer the feel of a tempered glass screen protector over a plastic film. The former feels much more like the original screen and doesn’t bubble up or peel off in the same way as plastic does.
As technology advances, tempered glass protectors are advancing too—and the many options, price and quality levels, and handy features are another reason that they make a great way to guard your expensive smartphone.
Not every tempered glass screen protector is created equal. Here are some of the different features available which might help you to pick the best protector for the job.
This rating essentially means that the screen protector cannot be scratched by a 9H pencil, the hardest of all standard pencils. All glass that goes through the tempering process will carry a 9H rating, so you can rest assured if you have a protector made from this material it will be scratch-resistant. However, it is a good way to compare between types of protectors.
What a name! This feature makes using your device a much more pleasant experience, and we think it’s one of the most important specifications to look for. One of the few disadvantages of a tempered glass protector is that it retains smudges, fingerprints, oil marks, and smears. “Oleophobic” translates more or less to “afraid of fat/oil”, while “hydrophobic” means “afraid of water”, and that’s how the coating behaves. It repels oils, meaning that greasy fingerprints and the like won’t stick—the screen is easily cleaned with a microfibre cloth. Any water that drips on will bead up and is easy to wipe off. iGadget’s tempered glass screens all have oleophobic and hydrophobic properties.
As mentioned above, the shatterproof nature of tempered glass is a safety feature. If your phone falls directly on the screen, the protector will take the brunt of the blow. Although tough, tempered glass is not unbreakable. It may crack with enough force, but the idea is that replacing the protector is far cheaper than replacing the screen. It will not shatter into small shards, and will retain its shape even when cracked—this means minimal cleanup and no dangerous slivers of glass to pierce skin.
There are various strength tests that screen protectors undergo. You might see some advertised as bulletproof, but chalk that up to exaggeration: it’s very unlikely that any protector could withstand a bullet or even a hammer. However, the steel ball test is a legitimate and commonly used indicator of strength for screen protectors. For this, the manufacturer drops a 35g steel ball from certain heights to determine whether or not the tempered glass will crack. As an example, iGadget screen protectors must pass the 75cm steel ball test.
How many Ds?
2D and 3D in the context of screen protectors describe the curve of the glass. A 2D one is flat with squared edges, a basic plane, which may work well for older style phones with higher bezels at the sides but is not ideal on a screen which extends right to the edge of the phone as many modern ones do. 2.5D is flat but with edges that curve down for a more natural fit and feel.
A 3D protector curves to fit the shape of the glass on a curved screen—like those that the Samsung S series feature. If you see a screen protector being advertised as 5D, 6D, or even something outrageous like 11D, don’t fall for the hype. It’s a marketing ploy operating under the assumption that more D is better. Not always true.
A low-quality glue may leave bubbles and can even come loose after the protector has been in use for a while. High-quality silicone adhesives allow it to seal perfectly to your phone but are also easy to remove when necessary. Our products come with Japanese TOYO AB Silicone glue, which self-adheres. This means that when you position the protector the glue automatically absorbs to the screen without leaving bubbles.
Protectors can also come with full glue or edge glue (full coverage or adhesive on the edges only), both of which have their advantages. Full glue offers a close fit and great touch responsiveness, while edge glue application can be easier, particularly on curved-edge screens.
Privacy, anti-glare, and anti-blue light displays
As the tech advances, screen protectors can add functionality to your phone in many ways! A privacy tint means that the screen can only be viewed from an angle of 30 degrees or less, eliminating the risk of nosy people looking at it from beside you on the bus.
An anti-glare display has a matte finish which makes it much easier to look at your screen outdoors. An anti-blue light display filters most blue light in the 400-480 nanometer range, which some studies claim is harmful to the retinas. While that remains unconfirmed, it is known that viewing this “blue” light does make it difficult to sleep. So in this case, the protector does double duty looking after your screen and also your slumber.
Protection for every device
Along with the natural strength of tempered glass and the superior protection it provides, the extras, options, and quality ratings listed above make tempered glass screen protectors an obvious choice. They come in many different forms to suit a variety of needs! From a smartphone that you want to be able to use seamlessly indoors, outdoors, and on the go to a tablet which stays mostly in one spot and is used primarily for pre-bedtime reading, there’s a glass protector for every device.
We always suggest using a screen protector in conjunction with a protective case. The protector lies on top of the screen, protecting it from scratches and impacts directly onto the screen. If your phone falls onto a corner, a case will provide far more protection.
Take a look at iGadget’s range of tempered glass screen protectors. We have options for a range of devices by many leading brands, and all of our products are chosen to be high-spec and top quality.