6 Types of Screen Protectors – Which is the Best?

INTRODUCTION
PROTECT THY SCREEN

Welcome to a guide on the various types of phone screen protectors. By now, some of you guys may have already heard that screen protectors are not just any piece of “transparent sticker”, but they are actually made from a number of different materials.

Tempered glass, plastic, hydrogel, and more – Does it really matter for something so thin? What is the difference, which one should you choose, and which is the best? Read on to find out!

 

1) TEMPERED GLASS SCREEN PROTECTORS

Advantages: Good scratch protection, good visibility.
Disadvantages: Will still crack. Fingerprint magnet, thick.
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Tempered glass is one of the most common types of screen protectors in the market – Also probably one of the better choices, given the popularity. A tempered glass screen protector is also a multi-layered screen protector. It usually has an absorbent silicon base layer, a PET film layer, then finally the glass layer on top.

While it does offer good scratch protection, you might have already figured it out… All those layers make a tempered glass screen protector thicker than the rest. You can forget an “invisible” screen protector with this one. Sticking one of these bad boys will definitely add a bit of thickness to the device.

One small tip for those who may not know – Hardness level of a glass screen protector is measured from 1H to 10H (Mohs scale of mineral hardness). 1H being the softest and 10H the hardest. The general hardness level of most glass protectors is about 6H. Don’t believe the shady ones claiming 8H and above… Because, only sapphire glass and diamonds can achieve that kind of hardness, and they are f***ing expensive.

 

 

2) POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET) SCREEN PROTECTOR

Advantages: Cheap, thin, lightweight.
Disadvantages: It does not offer a lot of scratch protection.
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Well, the funky scientific name aside, you might already have heard of PET from bottled drinks. Yep. This is essentially the same kind of plastic used to make the recyclable drink bottles. Also, as you can already guess, these drinking PET water bottle screen protectors don’t really have a lot of scratch resistance.

They only act as good cannon fodders, scratch the protector, not the screen itself. Having an extra piece of protection is better than none… At least they are cheap and lightweight. You can purchase a bunch of these for a few bucks.

 

3) THERMOPLASTIC POLYURETHANE (TPU) PROTECTORS

Advantages: Decent scratch protection, flexible, and able to self-heal small damages.
Disadvantages: Slightly more expensive.
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Yet another funky scientific name screen protector. Which, in the layman terms, simply means “processed and enhanced plastic”. But don’t be mistaken that TPU is on the same level as PET… It is definitely better in some ways:

  • TPU has better scratch resistance than PET.
  • It is still elastic, and will not crack easily.
  • It has some self-healing abilities, and can “fix” minor scratches by itself.

So in a sense, TPU kind of like an in-between glass and plastic. While it does not have the same hardness and scratch resistance as glass, it is still plastic, flexible, and can self-heal “minor wounds”. The only downside is that TPU tends to be a little more on the expensive side.

 

 

4) PRIVACY SCREEN PROTECTORS

Advantages: Adds privacy, good scratch resistant.
Disadvantages: Double-edged sword, restricts viewing angle. On the more expensive side.
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Don’t like people looking at your screen while on buses and trains? Then consider getting one of these privacy screen protectors. They are essentially tempered glass screen protectors with a little bit of polarization magic, effectively restricting the viewable angles.

But this is not for everybody… You have to understand that it literally becomes a double-edged sword when you can’t see your own screen easily. Definitely not a good thing for gaming and watching videos. Use this only if you are some kind of superspy or do genuine sensitive work on your device.

 

 

5) HYDROGEL SCREEN PROTECTORS

Advantages: Thin, flexible, will not crack. Self-healing.
Disadvantages: It does not offer a lot of impact protection.
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The hydrogel screen protector is as the name implies, it is a piece of gel that you stick on the screen. Being gel, the biggest advantages are that it will never crack, and it is able to self-heal the small scratches.

But as you might have guessed, gels are soft. It is able to hold the keys and some “common pocket objects” off, but don’t depend on this one to stop a sharp knife… But who the heck will keep an open sharp knife in their pockets?

 

 

6) LIQUID GLASS SCREEN PROTECTORS

Advantages: Fits any screen sizes, “an invisible protection”.
Disadvantages: Dubious claims.
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I know, we live in an age of technology, and it is totally possible to apply a layer of protective coating onto the glass. But this “liquid glass” thing is just very dubious. Some of them even come up with very crazy claims of “self-healing” and 10H hardness, like it’s some kind of miracle liquid.

My take – Some of these can be total duds. They can be just a small bottle of overpriced cleaning solution, and do nothing more than cleaning the screen. But they could be actually adding a protective layer too. No way to verify, so for this final one… I keep my fingers crossed.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST?

Personally, I am leaning toward TPU (plastic) and hydrogel. Because historically, I had many cracked tempered glass screen protectors. While they are hard, that also makes them brittle. One small chip at the edge and the entire protector is gone. Plastics just last way longer than tempered glass for me.

 

 

DO WE EVEN NEED SCREEN PROTECTORS?

Now for the final million-dollar question. With today’s technology of Gorilla Glass, do we even need screen protectors? I mean, the glass itself will still crack on heavy impact; Screen protectors do nothing good when we drop the phone, and Gorilla Glass itself is already scratch-resistant enough.

So my personal recommendations again – There is absolutely no harm in putting on an additional screen protector. Better safe than sorry, and it only costs a few bucks. Also, after you are done the screen protector, remember to get yourself a good shock-resistant case too.

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

CLOSING
WHAT’S NEXT?

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to better understand, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.

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