Types of screen protector and how to apply on screen

Types of screen protector and how to apply on screen

A bit of a disappointment in the past, today's screen protectors are easier to install, cheaper, and better than ever in every aspect. There are three varieties - PET film, TPU (polyreuthane), and tempered glass. And then there are two methods to get them on your display – dry and wet. So here's more about how screen protectors work and what they offer.

PET Film

Obviously, PET doesn't stand for a dog or a cat. It means "polyethylene terephthalate" - a type of plastic that's available in many variations depending on specific applications. In the manufacturing industry, it's used for mundane stuff like liquid and food containers. But this doesn't mean that PET film protectors are glorified water bottle plastic. They consist of polyester film with a scratch resistant matte coating on one side and a silicone adhesive on the other. Quality ones are quite clear and add a functional anti-scratch layer to your screen, but have no impact protection. And their scratch-resistance isn't better than what Gorilla Glass already has - it's limited to fingernails, coins and keys. They are cheap, and usually come in packs of three or more. Their downside is that plastic is the easiest to discolor from sun rays and oil buildup from your fingers, and it doesn't feel as nice as glass does to the touch.

If you have a cheaper or older phone, or you're fine with the most basic and affordable screen protection, get a PET protector. The manufacturer doesn't really matter, but if you have a soft spot for a particular brand, there's no reason not to go with theirs. Chances are that protectors from established brands will be better cut-out for your device and won't leave loose edges that can catch on to your clothes and peel the protector away (it has happened before).

TPU (thermoplastic polyreuthane) is chemically-enhanced plastic whose properties include scratch resistance, elasticity, oil and grease resistance, and increased toughness. Since the material is elastic, it has limited "self-healing" abilities. This means that its slight softness gives it the power to absorb non-extreme impact, such as most drops and lighter scratches, while retaining all or most of its original composition. For example, lighter scratches usually leave just a small dent in the soft plastic, which slowly returns to normal.

The "military-grade" tag most TPU protectors proudly carry is worthy of an explanation. One manufacturer says that this material is used "to protect jetfighters". And what do you know, it's true! Skim through this Aerospace Surface Protection brochure - it's full of polyreuthane protective tapes used for "aircraft and windmill leading edge protection". However, getting a TPU case or screen protector doesn't guarantee it's made of the same quality of material. But your smartphone also isn't a fighter jet, right?

If you are willing to pay a slightly higher price, a TPU protector is, logically, better choice than PET film. At the very least, it's going to provide better impact protection (although you shouldn't be pushing your chances). It's also nicer to the touch, although it isn't glass-smooth. Arguably, the best part is that you'll get to explain to your friends and acquaintances how your phone has "fighter jet protection". Pretty cool, huh?

Tempered glass

Protection with a temper! Tempered glass (TG) screen protectors are the absolute best you can buy. Material-wise, a high-quality TG protector is multi-layered, usually starting with shock absorbent silicon on the bottom layer, followed by PET film, and an optically clear adhesive to 'sandwich' the previous two layers with the next two, which are tempered glass and oleophobic coating. All of this scratch, oil, and shock protecting goodness is compressed into a <0.4mm-thick sheet that's no harder to apply than a PET or TPU protector, and none heavier or otherwise obnoxious. 

A glass protector is superior to its alternatives in every way. It has better light transmittance, making for a clearer display. It's anti-reflective and glare reducing. It has oleophobic coating, which heavily reduces fingerprints. It has the smooth feel of actual glass under your fingertips. Unlike Gorilla Glass 3, it resists sand scratches, making it the only viable option for beachgoers. And let's talk about shock protection. T-glass protectors boast a material hardness rating of 8H to 9H, meaning they are hard enough to resist scratches from anything that's not topaz or corundum (extremely hard aluminum oxide). Yet, they aren't completely shatter-proof. Since this is toughened glass we're talking about, in the event of a fatal drop, the protector will absorb all the damage and break into tiny shards. Chances are pretty good that your display will end up unscathed underneath. Thus, instead of having to replace the entire screen, you'll only have to get a new protector. Which is easier on both your soul and your wallet.

As you probably expected, tempered glass protectors are the most expensive kind. Most renowned brands can charge up to S$40 for their products. And although that's money well spent if you are rocking an expensive flagship smartphone, excellent tempered glass protectors can be found for less than S$10 online.

How to apply screen protector on you screen?

Your smartphone is properly a big investment and one of the most easily damaged parts of it is the screen. It is understandable therefore that you want to protect it. This article provides the basic instructions of applying a screen protector.

Step 1 Preparing and Cleaning your screen
Use the included microfiber cleaning cloth to remove most of the grease and dust from the screen. Remove as much dust as possible, especially if it just came from the factory packaging.  The most common issue with screen protectors is the appearance of air bubbles, but these bubbles are more often created by specks of dust than by random pockets of air.

Step 2 Prep your Screen Protector
Lay your microfiber cloth on the screen while you remove the screen protector from its packaging to prevent dust from sticking to your screen.  Examine your screen protector and check the alignment with your phone, tablet, eReader, or laptop.  Pay attention to the alignment of any cutouts on the screen protector that are specific to your device (i.e. camera lens, light sensor, trackball, hard button cutouts).  Many GizmoDorks screen protectors come with 2 guards around the actual screen protector.  Refer to the instructional tabs on the screen protectors if they are available.

Step 3 Applying your Screen Protector
Remove your microfiber cloth from the screen.  Peel one side/guard from the screen protector to expose the adhesive side of your screen protector.  Gently align the screen protector with your device and adhere it to the screen.

Step 4 Finishing
If any air bubbles have formed (they probably will!), use the side of a credit card or driver's license to push the air bubbles out from under the screen protector.  If there is no second guard on your screen protector, we recommend sliding your microfiber cloth under the credit card to prevent any scratches; however, most of our products have another guard for your screen protector.  When you have removed all the air bubbles and are happy with the look and feel of your new screen protector, remove the second guard on the top of your screen protector


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