Tempered glass screen protectors avert 4 disasters in 2 months

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/17/tempered-glass-screen-protecto-2.html

1 Like

I wish other cell phone makers had not all rushed to copy Apple’s glass front design, one that does not include a raised rim that would prevent the screen from contacting flat surfaces when dropped.

Glad glass protectors worked. But I have to wonder if a plastic protector could have done the same thing as the sacrificial glass protectors, but without breaking and needing replacement? My savior is a case with a rim and a plastic protector. The rim is the most important feature, but it ads bulk.


I’m not going to recommend any particular make but I have used several glass protectors, and my view is that plastic ones just do not work as well.
The reason is very simple physics. The glass ones have a high Young Modulus, which means that an impact causes them to either break, or spread the impact energy into a small deflection over quite a large area. The underlying screen can tolerate a small amount of deflection so it doesn’t crack.
Plastic covers are OK for preventing scratches, but a sharp object impact just goes straight through and hits the actual screen below; they have no impact spreading ability.
The glass screens have a thin polymer layer to provide bonding, and this results in a sandwich structure like a laminated windshield. The lack of actual glass to glass contact helps with the load spreading and of course holds a broken outer glass in place.
One of my grandchildren decided to test this for me by ramming me into a stone column in Bath’s Roman Baths. The impact was with a sharp corner on the pillar which hit the phone full on. The screen protector and the screen both survived. The impact was hard enough for the corner of the phone to bruise a rib. The same protector died when it was hit full on by a fairly heavy knife; the screen was unaffected. [note that in neither case would a rim have saved the screen. Rims may prevent face-down scratches but it’s rare for an impact to be deflected by them, for simple reasons of geometry.]
I try to keep my accident rate down to one a year…


I always get something like this for every smart phone, and I have never had a cracked screen. Well worth it.

1 Like

I’ve found the Anker ones the best, some of the cheaper ones are very fingerprint prone and don’t feel that great to use. The one I have feels just like the actual iPhone screen in feel, with no fingerprints. After nearly two years it does have some cracks, I think from keys chipping the edge. Still works fine so I haven’t bothered replacing it. Together with a rubbery thin case it’s saved the phone a few times from various drops and day to day hard use.

1 Like

It’d be a lot easier and feel a bit less present if the screens were flat.

I doubt plastic would have done anything in the two breaks of my screen but shatter the screen under them The thin film ones have done that to me a few times, where the film acts to keep glass bits from becoming splinters, but the screen splintered under it. A plastic sheet of the same thickness as the glass would likely fair no better, just transfer the kinetic shock to the screen.

The sacrificial glass really does appear to work.


If there’s a way apply one of these without getting any dust underneath – short of renting out a specialized cleanroom – I’d like to hear about it. Granted, particles of dust are not so bad as irreparable cracks, but they are plenty infuriating nonetheless.

1 Like

I follow the directions and use the included wet wipes and microfiber towel.


The easiest way to do it it to have a brand new phone to start with. Some of the ‘Microfibre’ cloths aren’t really very good and leave bits on the screen. I’ve had good luck cleaning with glasses wipes or IPA and paper cloth.

1 Like

I go for a Belgian ale instead and then clean the screen…


Good god, what an obnoxious little savage!


Dude, Rhinoshield own the ‘actually functional screen protector’ market. Even without the bumper case, my Samsung Galaxy survived a bike accident that left me with a broken hand and a mild brain injury. The back (which was not protected - I originally had protectors front and back, but the rear one had become worn and eventually snagged on something, becoming crumpled) cracked but the front (which took the majority of the impact and had my keys between it and the ground) was untouched, just a couple of little gouges in the plastic of the Rhinoshield.

One tip I’ve used is to take scotch tape and dab the screen. This gets rid of most particles in my experiences. (Maybe dab isn’t the right word. I take a piece of tape longer than the phone is wide, start at the top, apply the tape to the screen, remove the tape, and work my way down. Hopefully, that makes sense.)

I’ve also read that applying the protector in a bathroom that was recently steamy helps as the steam adheres to dust particles and the added weight causes them to fall to the floor. shrug


This package came with a sticker to use for this purpose.

1 Like

Sounds like it would be helpful, and these have come a long way since the days of milky plastic. But I find a grippy case and some care prevents most drops from happening. I’ve never cracked a phone my whole life because I rarely drop it.

@jlw are you putting your phones in a case of any kind in addition to the screen protectors? I’m a fan of these thin transparent hard rubber plastic cases, like so:

That’s a ton of protection for all sides and even the front as it adds a “lip” there for the phone to bounce off of when dropped.


I think I blogged the cheap wood/rubber one i use. I’ll look.

1 Like

Stil not sure why the most expensive phones seem to be the easiest to break.
Gorilla Glass is up to its 5th or 6th version, but I still see people walking around with broken phones (especially Apple ones!).

Apple stores in my area have a special machine to apply Belkin’s glass screen protectors. I’ve had them do several so far and they are perfect every time – both perfectly centered and free of schmutz. Worth the cost premium to a) not have to deal with putting it on myself and b) not waste time waiting for the perfect application which almost always takes multiple attempts and screen protectors.

I love glass screen protectors too. Not only are they durable but they feel a million times better than the plastic ones.

Apple apparently doesn’t use Gorilla Glass (or if they do, they are coy about it). Screen replacements are expensive and people either don’t use cases or don’t opt for insurance. I know I certainly would never buy an iPhone without getting AppleCare. I also always have a case (last few phones I’ve used Tech 21 cases and loved them) along with a screen protector. I guess I’m crazy for wanting to protect my expensive, portable, and easily breakable device that I use constantly every single day…