How Does My Screen Protector Work?
Although smartphones have come a long way in durability, even the most expensive cell phone is still susceptible to damage. It seems like common sense to spend just a few extra dollars to protect such a pricey and necessary device, but do you really need a screen protector? And how do you know which one to choose?
Different Types of Screen Protectors
PET film, TPU and tempered glass are the three main types of screen protectors. These terms may sound complex, but once you know the basics about each one, you will have no trouble differentiating between them. The least expensive option is PET (polyethylene terephthalate) film. This type of plastic is thin, clear and generally has a scratch resistant coating on one side and adhesive on the other. PET film screen protectors are inexpensive and easy to use, however they offer virtually no impact protection and are prone to discoloration due to sun rays and natural skin oils.
Thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU, is another type of enhanced plastic used in screen protectors. TPU is used in a wide variety of products, from cell phone cases and screen protectors to military fuel hoses and inflatable boats. TPU screen protectors are scratch and oil/grease resistant. The elasticity of TPU will provide impact protection from small drops and falls. For a slightly increased price, TPU screen protectors offer the same protective qualities as PET film, but with impact protection and a softer touch.
By far the best option in screen protection is tempered glass. Tempered, or toughened, glass is a type of safety glass chemically enhanced to make it stronger than standard glass. Tempered glass screen protectors are multi-layered, providing ultimate screen protection. With layers of shock absorbing silicone, PET film and tempered glass, these screen protectors have a material hardness rating of up to 9H, meaning they can resist scratches from nearly every natural element including rocks and sand. Tempered glass provides a clearer display because of its anti-reflective, glare reducing qualities and oleophobic coating which repels fingerprints. Even with all of this protection, tempered glass screen protectors are still very thin and no more intrusive than any other type of screen protector.
Regardless of which type of screen protector you choose, make sure it is designed to match your specific cell phone model. Screen protectors are cut to fit your device exactly with appropriate holes for buttons and other features.
How To Apply Your Screen Protector
Some screen protectors have a self-containing adhesive, but for those that don’t have a sticky back, there are two basic application methods. The dry method requires no adhesive and utilizes static electricity and a tight fit to keep the screen protector adhered to your device. The wet mounting method involves spraying the screen protector with a generous amount of rubbing alcohol on both sides, applying it to your device and letting it dry for approximately 30 minutes.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when applying your screen protector. First, make sure that your screen, the protector and your fingers and hands are clean. Dust and debris can cause the protector not to stick properly. Take the time to ensure that the screen protector is aligned correctly and that all buttons and features are accessible. If you get air bubbles under the protector, use a credit card to smooth them out. Tempered glass screen protectors are just as easy to apply as TPU or PET film.
Do You Need A Screen Protector?
Even cell phones that boast Gorilla glass as their screen materials can benefit from a screen protector. Gorilla glass is harder than common items such as coins and keys, but can still be scratched by sand, while tempered glass screen protectors cannot. Regardless of the actual cell phone that you have, it is less trouble and far less expensive to replace a screen protector than the entire screen of your device.
Along with actual protection, some screen protectors have other advantages. Matte screen protectors provide glare reduction, helpful for those who spend a lot of time in the bright sun or other intense lighting. Privacy screens limit the angles at which others can view your screen. These are often applied to laptops and tablets, but can be useful if you are concerned about privacy.
Choosing a suitable screen protector for your device depends on your specific needs and how much you are willing to spend. Less expensive screen protectors like PET film provide less protection but may be acceptable for older devices. Tempered glass screen protectors are more expensive but deliver far more protection and are the best option for expensive cell phones. No matter what the device, adding another layer of protection with a practical and durable screen protector is highly recommended.