The 2 Best iPhone Screen Protectors of 2021 Reviews by Wirecutter tempered glass vs film screen protector for apple
Having installed hundreds of glass screen protectors in the past decade-plus, nothing has come close to the satisfaction we found using the Spigen installation tool. It lines up perfectly, and as long as you clean the screen well prior to installation, there won’t be any air bubbles underneath. Neither Totallee’s Edge to Edge Screen Protector or Caudabe’s CrystalShield include an installation tool, automatically disqualifying them. © 2021 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company We expect the updated versions of our current picks from Spigen and amFilm will continue to be great choices for the iPhone 13 lineup, and we’ll be testing them to confirm in the near future. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment.
Nick Guy is a senior staff writer covering Apple and accessories at Wirecutter. He has been reviewing iPhones, iPads, and related tech since 2011—and stopped counting after he tested his 1,000th case. It’s impossible for him not to mentally catalog any case he sees. He once had the bright idea to build and burn down a room to test fireproof safes. While researching this guide, we interviewed Matt Ham, who has a master’s in mechanical engineering and is the founder and president of Schott . The Home button on iPhones that have one, including 2020’s iPhone SE and older models, makes installation easier than on the iPhone X and the phones that came after it. amFilm offers the best screen protector for these phones, with the same high-quality glass as our picks above. Be sure to get the right version though—some screen protectors originally designed for older iPhones will not adhere properly to the iPhone SE’s edges, leaving a raised halo around the perimeter. But we have tested the amFilm and confirm that the ones sold on Amazon that are labeled as “for iPhone SE 2020” fit properly. This screen protector has the same great installation system and glass quality as our iPhone 12 pick. A good case is more important than a screen protector for keeping your screen intact. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. Wirecutter is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more The Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit Tempered Glass Screen Protector is the best screen protector we’ve found. It’s as clear and as strong as any glass protector we’ve ever tested, but its included alignment frame sets it apart, and you get two protectors in each inexpensive package. We then broke out our Mohs hardness test kit . The Mohs test evaluates the hardness of a mineral based on if it can be scratched by a set of reference minerals, each rated on a scale from 1 to 10 . This isn’t the test that screen-protector manufacturers use or advertise; they instead rely on something called the ASTM Film Hardness by Pencil Test , which is a test designed for coated materials. We don’t think the pencil test is the best way to evaluate screen hardness because even the hardest pencil in this test is softer than tempered glass, so any decent glass screen protector will get a 9H rating, and the pencil test thus won’t reveal differences in scratch resistance between models. More important, many of the things that might scratch a screen or a screen protector are harder than a 9H pencil; the Mohs kit includes materials that can scratch tempered glass. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. Smartish’s Tuff Sheet and Maxboost’s Tempered Glass Screen Protector are both very affordable, but each uses an installation frame that’s not as accurate as Spigen’s system, leaving a little more room for error than our top pick. This is as scratch resistant as any other, easy to install, and very affordable. This is as scratch resistant as any other, easy to install, and very affordable. To confirm that the Mohs test would be valid, we spoke with Ivar Reimanis, PhD , Herman F. Coors Distinguished Professor of Ceramic Engineering and professor of metallurgical and materials engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Although he said that the Mohs test wasn’t a perfect analogue to the pencil test, he concluded that “the ranking would be similar, since you are just evaluating the resistance to scratching with two different probes.” Spigen’s glass is as clear as it gets. We saw no issues with clarity or brightness, and we quickly got used to the Glas.tR EZ Fit on the phone. Although any glass surface will accumulate fingerprints and oil from skin, we found that this one didn’t show them too readily, and they wiped off easily. The touchscreen’s responsiveness was unaffected in any way, as it still recognized even the slightest brush of a finger . This screen protector has the same great installation system and glass quality as our iPhone 12 pick. That last point is key: A screen protector may help prevent damage from a direct impact to the face of your phone , but it’s just a bit of added protection, not an impenetrable shield. And it won’t do much to guard against blows to the corner or edge of the phone’s body, which are far more common: Our friends at good case is even more important than a screen protector. The 2 Best iPhone Screen Protectors of 2021 Reviews by Wirecutter tempered glass vs film screen protector for apple
The 2 Best iPhone Screen Protectors of 2021 Reviews by Wirecutter tempered glass vs film screen protector for apple
If you’re happy with your iPhone, an upgrade can wait. But if you need a new device, the iPhone 13 has a fantastic camera and better battery life than ever. Not only is the Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit much less expensive than the big brands, but the low-priced package also includes two screen protectors. It’s unlikely that you’ll mess up the installation, so that means you’ll have an extra for a friend, or a backup. For each screen-protector model we tested, we followed the instructions in the box to install it on the iPhone 12, 12 mini, and 12 Pro Max. We evaluated how clear the instructions were and how helpful any installation tools proved to be. Once the screen protector was in place, we visually inspected it to look for any obvious degradation of screen quality or brightness, and we ran our fingers along the perimeter, checking for obnoxiously sharp edges. We used the phone in a normal fashion to confirm that the protector didn’t interfere with use of the touchscreen. During this use, we also observed how readily fingerprints showed on the protector, and then we wiped off the screen to see how easily we could remove those fingerprints. The Glas.tR EZ Fit’s installation tray makes the process simple, but it also makes waste. We didn’t do any sort of drop tests with the screen protectors, because we don’t think such tests are particularly relevant. Tests in which a heavy object, such as a ball bearing, is dropped directly onto the screen don’t represent real-world scenarios—not to mention that an impact that breaks a screen protector may not have broken the phone’s unprotected screen. In addition, it’s impossible to re-create every kind of impact a phone may suffer, so the results of a particular type of drop test can’t be generalized to cover all scenarios. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. Having installed hundreds of glass screen protectors in the past decade-plus, nothing has come close to the satisfaction we found using the Spigen installation tool. You shouldn’t spend more than $10 per glass screen protector or buy any model that doesn’t include a great installation system. The following are either too expensive, lack an alignment tool, or both, and as such, there’s no reason to consider them against our picks. Spigen also sells versions of the Glas.tR EZ Fit for the 12.9-inch , 11-inch iPad Pro/10.9-inch iPad Air , and 4th- and 5th-generation iPad mini , with a similar installation system but only one piece of glass per pack. It’s by far the easiest screen protector we’ve ever installed on an iPad. The larger screen sizes means you’re more likely to end up with a speck of dust or two underneath the glass than you are with an iPhone, though. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. Belkin offers four different models of its iPhone 12 screen protector: Tempered Glass Anti-Microbial , Tempered Glass Privacy Anti-Microbial , UltraGlass Anti-Microbial , and UltraGlass Privacy Anti-Microbial . Each of these costs at least twice what the Spigen glass does and includes only one protector per pack. tempered glass vs film screen protector for apple The installation tray is no better than Spigen’s system, and other than the “privacy” models that prevent peering eyes at off angles, the glass doesn’t have any benefits that we could measure. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. If you’re set on strapping your iPhone to your arm, we’ve determined that the Tune Belt Sport Armband is the best armband for most runners. We focused on glass screen protectors because protective plastic films are less scratch resistant, take away from the look and feel of the iPhone’s display, and have been largely supplanted by affordable glass protectors. ZAGG’s InvisibleShield Glass Elite VisionGuard is also very expensive and also includes only one piece of glass that’s not demonstrably better than our pick. We found its installation frame to be similar to cheaper models—and far inferior to Spigen’s—and there’s room for confusion, as it needs to be flipped over to accommodate either the iPhone 11 or XR on one side, or the iPhone 12 or 12 Plus on the other. Spigen makes the same great glass, with the same great installation tray, for all Home button-less iPhones. “While screen protectors aren’t perfect, they definitely help,” said Computer Repair Doctor’s Matt Ham. “The basic science is simple, adding an extra layer of tempered glass protects the original screen. The tempered glass screen protector is not an impenetrable force field of protection, it’s an added layer of defense.” A glass screen protector can’t guarantee that you won’t break your iPhone’s screen. But it can prevent screen scratches, which affect the structural integrity of the glass and make cracks more likely. Glass is more protective than film, a less common alternative, and it comes closer to the look and feel of the iPhone’s own display. Spigen’s tempered glass meets our expectations for clarity and scratch resistance. And for about the price of a movie ticket, you get two pieces of glass, so you can share or have a backup. Nothing we’ve found is as easy to install as this Spigen protector, but the installation system creates waste others don’t. This screen protector has the same great installation system and glass quality as our iPhone 12 pick. The glass quality of the amFilm OneTouch Glass Screen Protector is as good as or better than that of all of the other protectors we tested. Only its installation frame lags behind the Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit. While amFilm uses a similar setup with pre-installed glass, the “one touch” element, which has you press down on an exposed crescent of glass at the bottom of the frame, isn’t quite as effective as a “press and slide” installation. The protector itself is about half a millimeter wider and taller than Spigen’s glass, which doesn’t make a big difference, but is noticeable side-by-side. And because the plastic installation frames are smaller, there’s less waste. We’d stick with the Spigen protector when possible, but if the Glas.tR EZ Fit goes out of stock, the amFilm is still a very good option. In the Mohs test, we started with the number 1 stylus, holding it at about a 70-degree angle and applying a moderate amount of force as we dragged it down the glass protector multiple times in varied directions. For each screen protector, we repeated this test with increasing reference picks until a pick scratched the glass. We then recorded the number of the hardest stylus that didn’t scratch the glass, along with the number of the stylus that did scratch it. Because we didn’t have styluses with hardness ratings between integers, in this guide we note for each protector the range of hardness that includes the actual scratch resistance of that model. A glass screen protector is no guarantee against cracks. The sheer number of factors that can lead to a screen cracking—everything from the height of the drop to the angle at which the phone lands to the material it lands on to humidity —means that it’s impossible to make this promise. Even the tougher “ceramic shield” glass on the iPhone 12 isn’t unbreakable or unscratchable . Given that, is a screen protector worth your money? We’ve assembled a lineup of our favorite MagSafe accessories, including iPhone 12 cases, magnetic chargers, charging stations, power banks, and desk mounts. Expect great glass and the best installation tool for proper alignment. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. We skipped testing glass from well-known brands, including Belkin, BodyGuardz, and Zagg . These protectors are widely available, but they’re almost always expensive, and we’ve found their glass to be of the same quality at best, and sometimes worse. More expensive protectors offer no benefits over the cheaper ones we recommend. It’s much more difficult to install a screen protector on the iPhone 12 than on previous iPhone models: The edge-to-edge-glass display has fewer features, such as a Home button, that you can use to align the protector, so an alignment tool is essential for a good installation. Spigen’s is the absolute best we’ve found, and the visual instructions included make the process clear. In each box, there are two plastic installation trays, with the glass already in place. Once you’ve cleaned your phone’s glass with the included alcohol wipe, dry wipe, and dust removal sticker , you peel off the backing from the screen protector and snap the frame onto your phone. This design ensures you can’t misalign it. The instructions then guide you to press and slide along a sticker on the front of the protector, wait 30 seconds, remove the frame, and peel off a protective film. If there are any air bubbles, you can massage them out with the included squeegee tool. Save Across the dozens of brands of iPhone screen protectors we’ve tested over the past five years, we’ve found most of the actual glass is the same. Instead, the biggest differences are in ease of installation—there are few things more annoying than a slightly misaligned screen protector or a trapped speck of dust. Spigen’s Glas.tR EZ Fit for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro , 12 mini , iPhone 12 Pro Max offers the most foolproof installation system we’ve found with a plastic guide tray that can’t be lined up incorrectly. amFilm’s OneTouch Glass Screen Protector uses glass similar to our top pick, but the installation system isn’t quite as foolproof . We like that there’s less plastic waste though, and the glass itself is a few fractions of a millimeter taller and wider. In most cases we’d stick to the Spigen, but go with amFilm if our pick is out of stock or there’s a great sale. The Glas.tR EZ Fit covers the iPhone’s display but leaves enough room that it won’t interfere with most cases. We appreciate that the glass’s edges aren’t sharp—something we’ve seen with some glass screen protectors, and a design that can make the phone uncomfortable to use. It matches the size and shape of the iPhone’s display, but it swoops down to leave the top “notch” exposed. The Glas.tR EZ Fit’s cutout is just a bit narrower than the actual notch, but it doesn’t cover any sensors or in any way interfere with normal use. The installation frame isn’t as easy to use, but the glass is equally good. In our Mohs hardness scratch tests, the Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit measured between 7 and 8. That’s as high a rating as we found with any other glass screen protector we tested, and significantly higher than some of the competition. We also didn’t see any damage when we tested using house keys, a good sign of real-world protection. And after carrying the phone in a pocket for a few weeks, we didn’t see any significant buildup of dust around the edges of the glass, a problem with some adhesive protectors. “I do think glass protection glass films are a great invention,” Mario Haas of Schott told us. “Such glasses form an additional protection shield against outside influences… If the protection glass film cracks, the display glass underneath stays intact. When that occurs, the protector can be easily replaced.” tempered glass iphone 6 shopee