Dec 12 AT 5:00 PM Brooks Barnard 161 Comments

Why I don’t use screen protectors: An engineer’s perspective


Phones are expensive; you probably spent a couple hundred dollars on your phone. Plus, you typically sign a two-year contract when you buy a phone. So, it’s worth it to keep your phone in good condition–not only for potential resale value, but because you’re going to have to look at it and use it for a long time.

Obviously, there are a couple of things people do to take care of their phones, like use screen protectors and cases. I’ll leave cases for another post and discussion, but these are things you’re probably super familiar with and may even be using on your phone right now. They’re cheap and offer an extra layer of protection between your phone and the brutal world that is trying to destroy it.

That said, I don’t use screen protectors.

Why you ask? Well, for several reasons. First, I suck at putting them on. I can’t think of an experience installing a screen protector where I didn’t end up with some hideous air bubbles. Second, I don’t love the way screen protectors feel. Depending on how much money you spend on your screen protector, they can absolutely alter the experience you have while interacting with your device. They can be slightly grippier, or softer. For better or for worse, the experience can change. Third, I’ve seen a lot of screen protectors that discolor over time. I’m not sure if they collect the oils from your fingers or if it’s some sort of degradation of the plastic, but your viewing experience might not be as clear as it could be. And lastly, I don’t feel like I need it. Phone manufacturers use materials on your device’s display that are engineered specifically to not scratch under most conditions. I’ll do my best to explain.

Material hardness

Hardness is a word used by scientists or engineers to classify materials. Maybe you’ve discussed hardness in other situations, but I don’t think I’ve ever used the word hardness in this context outside of class or some engineering conversation. Regardless, one way that the hardness of materials are classified is by actually using different materials to scratch other materials. In general, a harder material cannot be scratched by a softer material. For example, diamonds are at the top of the hardness scale. I don’t suggest you try this, but the only thing you’re going to find out there that may scratch a diamond is probably another diamond. However, the gold wedding bands that are held by the diamonds scratch pretty easily. Gold is a pretty soft metal, so there are many materials out there that can scratch it. Therefore, to keep rings pretty, they need to be replated every once in a while. Once, being the nerd I am, I told my wife that her diamond could scratch my proclaimed unscratchable tungsten carbide wedding band. So she tried it out, and now my wedding band is scratched.

Anyway. Back to phones. Typically phones these days have glass on their displays, and most have an enhanced glass called Gorilla Glass by Corning Glass. I’ve briefly tried to do a little research and figure out how hard Gorilla glass is compared to other materialsmohs en. According to Corning’s spec sheet for Gorilla Glass 3, the glass had a hardness between 534 – 649 kgf/mm^2. (Interestingly, this is softer than the original Gorilla Glass). If we check out the hardness scale to the right, we see that this value falls under the category of scratchable by a steel file (which is typically a hardened steel). This means that anything softer than a steel file like household knives, keys, or coins would likely not scratch your display. In addition to the hardness of Gorilla Glass, Corning uses special coatings on the glass surface to reduce its ability to collect fingerprints and also improve abrasion (scratch) resistance.

So what does this all mean? There are limited number of materials that we come into contact with on a daily basis that will actually scratch your phone’s display. With some easy-to-learn strategy, you can avoid both using a screen protector and accumulating scratches on your display.

Strategy to avoid scratches

Here’s what I do: I have a designated pocket where a put my phone that nothing else ever goes into besides the occasional plastic pen or chapstick. This could be a pants pocket or a purse pocket. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is keeping your phone away from accidental contact with materials that can scratch it like other glass, some rare metals and what I think is one of the biggest display scratching culprits: sand.

We all know it’s a thing. Pocket sand can wreck a phone. I know purses get it too. So you obviously need to think this through and make a plan that works for you. I personally am rarely around sand or dirt and never put anything in my designated phone pocket except for my phone, so I haven’t run into the pocket sand issue. But sand, especially beach sand, is the hard material left over from thousands of years of waves crashing and wearing it down. It’s hard stuff and will easily scratch all parts of your phone. When I go to the beach, I put my phone in a plastic sandwich bag and don’t take it out until I’m sure the coast is clear.

Additionally, if you use the same pocket for your phone every time, you won’t have to frantically search for it when someone calls. You may even misplace it less. This is a life hack for using your phone that’s worked for me and kept my phones pretty. It may work for you, too.

The naked option isn’t for everyone

Obviously, using your phone without a screen protector isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re a lifeguard on a beach or your life circumstances mean you’re around a lot of sand or materials that may scratch your display. Or you don’t mind the annoyances that come with screen protector use. I have nothing against you. My intention in writing this post is to improve awareness. I feel like there are a lot of people out there who feel like they NEED a screen protector to keep their display scratch free, and that’s not the case. Companies have spent a great deal of time and money on research to make your phone’s glass tougher and more scratch resistant. Some simple strategies or routines can help save you a bit of money and hassle with screen protectors and keep your device pretty.

What do you think? Can you brave using your phone without a screen protector? Do you already not use a screen protector? What are your strategies for keeping your display scratch free? Chime in and let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

Brooks is an engineer living in the Bay Area recently dislocated from the Great Northwest. He's an Android enthusiast who decided to start doing something (productive?) with his countless hours Android modding and theming. He has a hot wife, is a father of three, an avid F1 fan, and enjoys watching sports when he can. His current devices include the Nexus 6 and 7 (2103) both running stock roms and may or may not be rooted. You can follow Brooks on Twitter @Brooks_Barnard.

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  • paola

    I `ve never ever used screen protections … I usually change my smartphone every 2 years or even less (I love technological stuff) so I think.. .why bother with protections. ..futhermore screens now are made of glass and very resistant! I simply cleaned it and.. .that`s iit.. .ready for another day . :-)

    • Lynn Cee

      Same here; excellent piece by Brooks, n’est-ce pas?

  • ben

    Good point but there’s one protector is a tempered glass. That’s another story. Easy to install and feels so smooth, glass like.

    • Brooks Barnard

      What’s the point of putting glass on glass?

      • kazahani

        As “scratch proof” as Corning says their Gorilla Glass is, you would be surprised how it will scratch and scuff if you drop your phone onto concrete or asphalt. I don’t think their tests take into consideration the rate of speed at which your phone will scrape along the sidewalk when you drop it and accitentally kick it while trying to catch it with your foot. I speak form personal experience. Horrible, personal experience.

        I now use screen shields.

        • Brooks Barnard

          Your point is valid. You can’t prepare for everything. The *safest* thing you can do is cover your phone up. But is a life without risk worth living?

          In standardized testing you need to be able to replicate results. And although kicking a phone across concrete is probably a somewhat common occurrence, it’s pretty difficult to prepare for everything a phone could come into contact with in concrete. I suggest not dropping and/or kicking your phone.

          • Kirk

            I have a tempered glass screen protector from Spigen and I love it! Several have asked me why cover it up with the same thing. The simple answer is because a naked screen will scratch no matter how careful you try to be. Covering it with the same thing yields the same results, but the frequency of scratches is only equal to what the screen would normally have received which is ***far less than a plastic screen protector***

            So, when it gets to a point that you don’t like the number of scratches simply throw out the old protector and get a new one. No harm done to the original screen and you’re back to a perfect screen. Can’t do that with the actual screen now can you?

          • Willy Foo

            I have for the longest time demonstrated scratching the surface of the Gorrila Glass on my HTC One X+ with a key to demonstrate the hardiness of the surface. It always gets the wow response when I seem to be abusing the surface and no scratches can be seen. However, once someone asked about the floor, I was so confident since the key test has never seen any marks, so I simple put it down facing the floor and dragged it back and forth once for about 15cm. To my horror, it’s the fine sand on the ground that will terribly scratch Gorrila Glass, not the big keys or coins in your pocket!

          • dreamcore

            What’s more, there is an oleophobic coating on the glass, as there is on my Nexus 4, which wears away under the thumb, primarily under the keyboard.
            Fingerprints then stick, moisture sheets, the grippy drag that you sought to avoid from a screen protector takes hold.

            My strategy now is put a screen protector on a new phone immediately out of the box, when it would bother me most if it were to scratch. Refresh as desired, and eventually enjoy the phone naked in the last several months to a year that I use it.

          • AbuAyyoub

            Well, for you guys in the USA it might not be THAT big of a deal if you jack up your phone because chances are that the vast majority of you got your phone on some kind of contract and were only out of pocket a couple hundred bucks and your cell provider will replace it for you it gets damaged.

            So, for you dropping your 299$ iPhone it’s not THAT big deal but for someone like me I have to pay full retail up front and if I drop it and it gets smashed I’m out 1,000$ for the same phone and no one is going to replace if for me.

            I saved for 2 months to buy my Xperia Z Ultra and if It gets scratched, smashed, cracked or otherwise destroyed I’m screwed.

            I’ve dropped my phone a couple times and it’s been saved from certian death by it’s case so I will swear by them forever. Also, screen protectors, if you pay for a decent one ( I Always have them install it for me) you get a lot of benefit from it. especially the anti-fingerprint ones. I haven’t had to clean my screen in months because it really does keep fingerprints off it, where is glass even with the coating is a fingerprint magnet.

          • JOEL MAGLASANG

            RISK YOUR ASK!
            where only talking phone screen here not LIFE you dingbat!

          • Adam B

            “But is a life without risk worth living?”

            Well do you have a alarm on your house, or a bumper on your car? Maybe we shouldn’t wear helmets when riding motorcylces because life isn’t worth living without risk?

            From your comments and arguements it’s clear you are just being cantankerous.. Screen protectors are essential to the longevity of phones and with phone upgrades roughly every two years it’s not feasible to leave a phone unprotective. That’s why so many people have them…logic.

          • AdamB

            “is life without risk worth living?”

            Well do you have a alarm on your house, or a bumper on your car? Maybe we shouldn’t wear helmets when riding motorcylces because life isn’t worth living without risk?

            From your comments and arguements it’s clear you are just being cantankerous.. Screen protectors are essential to the longevity of phones and with phone upgrades roughly every two years it’s not feasible to leave a phone unprotective. That’s why so many people have them…that is logic.

        • LUNiiTi

          Well, what could help avoid your phone from being kicked across the concrete is a phone case with a raised lip

      • Ljay

        I know this is late, but I figured I’d give it a go. I just recently started using tempered glass protectors. These things are actually awesome. Not one bubble after installing, and the screen looks and feels as if there is nothing there. Plus a 9H hardness. I accidentally dropped my Note 3 and with no protector there were tons on slight scratches. This protector feels and looks so much like my regular screen it’s amazing with the added bonus of keeping my original glass safe. Since that will be a plus when I sell the phone. It was beyond easy to install. Maybe not for everyone as they cost a few bucks more, but as you can probably tell I’m a glass protector fan now.

      • TJRB

        Ever heard of sand? I rather do a cheap $10-$20 tempered glass replacement then a device screen replacement. Not around sand? Think again. It ican be commonly found in dirt and gravel can be made up of harder then glass materal. Got a potted plant in the house? You got sand. A stylus or key drop would most likely be absorbed across the surface of the tempered glass breaking it, absorbing the energy, saving the device’s screen. Yeah you hear of this not happening, well you most likely surpassed the tempered glass’s ability to absorb the amount of energy aka the impact you threw at it, example, dropped a cinder block on it.

        2 inches of tempered glass would most likely hande anything on a mobile device, it is all about weight, thinning down these screens is the easiest way these manufacturers can do this, and to me, this is another reason to add some thickness to the device. I know someone who totally cracked an iPhone screen via of lightly hitting the phone on the corner of a bass amplifier with the phone in his pocket. Plasma TV which have become very light weight over older models are a good example of overly thinned screens. They can not be transported or lightly drop with their screens parallel to the flood, they must remain upright, the screens flex, they can barely support their own weight in this position. In my opinion, with mobile devices, I prefer a little more weight vs a device that has to be babied. But the trend is to make phones larger, all screen, thinner, lighter. There is something to be said for a flip phone. Worst thing there is you break the hinge.

  • ben

    And its harder to crack a screen with it. Unless people wants to pay an insurance or buy a new one.

    • Brooks Barnard

      It may be true that a screen protector may improve the toughness of a display. I’m going to think about that one a little more…

      • SGB101

        Not the most scientific, but I’ve seen a few drop tests, (like watching a car crash, you know you shouldn’t but can’t help lookimg), anyway, the phones with screen protectors always take more punishment before cracking.

        There is a good one kicking around on YouTube, not an oem vid, a user vid, where he does drop tests of ball bearings one two identical devices, the iirc the same BB that broke the naked phone, didn’t break the cover phone at twice the drop height, he ended up highering it substantially and using a header gage BB, before the covered on broke.

        This was the first time since my g1 I’ve given a protector a second thought. Still not got round to fitting one though.

        • Jau

          That’s the reason I use glass protector. The glass can stand up to a lot of abuse when it comes to scratches, but the glass shatters to easily.

  • Joe

    I used to work on a farm and I had the Verizon person put mine on a do it worked out very well. When I got done with that job, I looked at it and the corners started to peel, so I took the protector off.

    I like it so nice better off.

  • jerrbomb

    This is a great informational read… I only keep my phone in a case… Usually in an Incipio case or Otter Box

  • Tom

    Screen protectors are difficult to apply the first few times, but practice makes perfect. :) Use a creditcard to remove air bubbles and scotch tape to remove dust from underneath the protector. I’ve got a screen protector + slim case on both my Nexus 7 and Nexus 5. Both don’t have a single speck of dust or scratch, and I feel way more secure -> anywhere (hello beach!).

    • Jau

      And remember to do the masking-tape trick for perfect alignment every time.

      • pat

        what’s the making tape trick?

      • IAN

        masking tape trick do tell?

  • ZRod

    Maybe if he didn’t use the $5 5 pack of screen protectors he’d have better luck.
    I saw a very scratched up iPad 2 the other day and it made me shudder.

    • Brooks Barnard

      I’m not saying today’s displays won’t scratch. I’m mostly trying to help people know that scratches are pretty avoidable.

      I also agree with you though… you typically get what you pay for.

  • Kerri

    I can possibly see the use if you are someone who drops your phone a lot, but I very rarely drop mine. I just throw it in my bag with keys and many other things that could scratch it and I’ve never gotten a scratch. Plus, I also like the feel with it off. I’ve had a couple protectors that I had in the past that I liked, but the feel and the crispness of the screen just wasn’t the same using them.

  • ashok

    I have a phone I used it more carefully by screen protection but it has voltage damged from charger it wasted and I now using phone Sony I dont protect any screen cards it lives long. the thing we care lot may damge in any way it fate

    • jimmy

      Bubbles suck, no doubt, as do off-center shields. Unless its perfect, it can interfere with the lip of the case. If these things seem insignificant, most likely scratches will be too.
      Tempered glass screen protectors are extremely fragile. Glass that thin is going to crack, soon enough. Just buy an oem replacement screen. They are cheaper than the upper end shields and believe it or not, easier to install.

  • renyo

    Well I did try to put a screen protector on… That’s when a hair decided to fall on the protector… Trying to remove that was a war that I eventually lost… So for now I’m rocking a Nexus 5 without a screen protector but with a cover case… I am looking forward to your post on protective cases…

    • Brooks Barnard

      I do plan on doing a post on cases soon. I also prefer not using cases because of the added bulk, but when I do use a case I have a pretty strong preference on materials.

      • Zach Guithues

        I’m very particular about phone cases as well. TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) cases seem to work the best. I’ve been very partial to the “s-line” cases you can find on ebay. I’ve ordered one for my last 3 phones, as well as for all my friends/family.
        Case i got for my note2 –

        These cases add the protection without too much bulk. and the ridges on the sides help hold it, also help keep it from sliding when you prop it on a table to watch a video.

        • Brooks Barnard

          Looks like Zach has already written my post on cases for me ;-)

          I kid… but I do really really like TPU cases.

        • crazypau

          How do you get rid of the air bubbles from the TPU case? I just got one from eBay today and the back of my Xperia Z2 looks so “sweaty”

    • Devedander

      Just a heads up – to remove a hair/dirt from under a screen protector, get two pieces of clear tape. Put on on top to pull the protector up, then slide the other under and the sticky side to remove the hair/dirt.

      Then press out air bubbles.

  • DavidDesu

    Very sensible and how I see it. I don’t understand people like my girlfriend who just throws her iPhone straight into her handbag which has coins, pens, makeup grit and all sorts of stuff swirling about inside. I always keep my phone in my right trouser/jeans pocket. Convenient, I always know it’s there (I can usually feel it against my leg or give my pocket a quick pad down to check). I rarely have anything else in that pocket unless I know it’s not a threat to my phone’s screen. It’s a pretty foolproof system so far, I’v not broken or even seriously scratched any of my phones for years, and I’ve owned a couple of glass-backed iPhones and the similar Nexus 4 (Nexus 5 now).

    Your phone’s screen will look clearer and should work best without a screen protector and if you seriously drop your phone the protector will do little to stop it shattering anyway. If you like the freedom of throwing your phone in a bag or in pockets with keys and coins then maybe a screen protector is a good idea.

  • Thomas Biard

    Brooks, I am an engineer also and have my dedicated pockets like you do. My right pocket is for my phone, chapstick and flash drive. My left pocket is for my keys and wallet.

    Another point I don’t think I saw you make is that the screen protectors get beat up and it REALLY takes away from the appearance of the screen. People are in a race for 450+ dpi and yet they put a grainy screen cover on it that ruins it.

    I don’t use a case either anymore. Do you?

    • Brooks Barnard

      I typically don’t use cases. I might use them if I hand my phone to a kid, but I strongly dislike the added bulk.

      • SGB101

        I don’t use cases, but on my note2 I have the smart case style back with a flip front.

        Main bonus of these is it keeps the finger smudges off, and I have my phone to power on/off with the proximity sensor, very useful.

  • ihatefanboys

    Id rather have the screen protector with a bubble or two then have to consciously remind myself which pocket to put my phone in. As it is my phone is usually sharing pocket space with car keys or whatever. I also have my HTC ONE in a bulky Speck case which makes it about twice the thickness of the actual phone. I like it like that, i feel its safe from most drops and the screen is protected from most scratches. Id rather have the protection and not need it then not have the protection and cry about it afterward. But to each his own i guess.

    • Thomas Biard

      Yeah you and I are quite different. I NEVER drop my phone and it is second nature for it to go in a certain pocket. To me, I can’t imagine it any different, but then there is you…and the rest of the smartphone world that don’t share my neuroses.

      • kazahani

        You will now drop your phone. It is fate.

      • ihatefanboys

        Believe me , i never plan on dropping my phone but it happens. You make it sound like its a choice. I always put my phone in a certain pocket as well, but i cant guarantee from day to day whats going to be in there. Lol, dont worry, people that worry about their smartphones protection dont have neuroses, we have brains.

  • Adam

    Can anyone tell me what case is being used in the title image (HTC One)? I’m considering getting a case for mine but so many are unsightly. The one in the image looks pretty nice though. Thanks!

    • Brooks Barnard

      The phone in the feature image is an HTC One Max and it does not have a case on it.

    • ihatefanboys

      Id rather take unsightly then have a phone in five thousand pieces on a sidewalk.

    • Antonio Hopson

      I use Supcase Unicorn Defense. It can come with a clear back so you can still show off your phone $19.00 on Ebay

  • Zach Guithues

    I would be interested in seeing some data regarding phone screens breaking. I feel like my screen is far less likely to break with a screen protector on it.

    My experience = never broken a screen, always had a screen protector (knock on wood)

    I know lots of people who have broken their screen, none of them had a screen protector on it.

  • duffguy123

    I use those cheap amazon screen protectors (just put one on my Nexus 5).

    They were hard to put on but I read that if you go into the bathroom, turn on your shower with hot water for a bit, it will keep from too many dust particles from trying to ruin the application. It worked and I can put screen protectors on pretty well now.

    They probably do ruin the display a little but I like having a thin case & a screen protector. It just make it feel better in my hand since I’m used to it, I guess.

    My nexus 7 2012 doesn’t have a screen protector but never leaves my house. Other than a few smudges, the screen looks great.

    But with my phone, I don’t want to worry what I’m putting in my pockets. I, of course, keep my keys in my left pocket, phone in the right.

    I don’t have insurance on my phone so I like to take slightly better care of it than if I did have insurance.

  • Sebastian

    I stopped using a screen protector when I dropped my HTC Desire (which had one on) and still managed to literally smash the screen. Probably bad luck but I’ve not used one on any phone since and I’ve had zero scratches and cracks. I also do the pocket thing. phone on the left, wallet, keys and etc. on the right. works a charm for keeping your phone safe.

    • ihatefanboys

      A screen protector doesnt protect the screen from falls. It protects it from scratches. You stopped using them for the wrong reasons.

    • SGB101

      I don’t use cases, but on my note2 I have the smart case style back with a flip front.

      Main bonus of these is it keeps the finger smudges off, and I have my phone to power on/off with the proximity sensor, very useful.

  • kazahani

    I sell phones and accessories and take phone payments all day at work. I see DOZENS of smartphones every day. I can tell you from that, as well as from an unfortunate incident with one of my recent phones, Gorilla Glass WILL SCRATCH AND SCUFF. You can post all the videos and charts that you want, but here in real life, screens scratch. And if yours scratches, you will have to look at it every day for the rest of your contract.

    Take the time to learn how to get a screen shield applied correctly. Get the tempered glass ones that don’t feel rubbery. It’s just a good idea.

    • Brooks Barnard

      Never said Gorilla Glass won’t scratch. I only said it’s not too hard to keep your display away from materials that will scratch it. It’s SCIENCE!

      • kazahani

        [/Spongebob rainbow GIF]

      • ihatefanboys

        Yea its easy to consciously keep your display away from materials that will scratch it, but its the things you cant plan or anticipate that will do the damage. It’s LIFE !

    • Nina

      I use a tempered glass screen protector on my note 3, along with my otterbox defender…I took the plastic screen shield off and only use the tempered glass…best protection combo ever!

  • rodri

    I don´t use screen protectors. I have one pocket for the phone like you said and I use a protective case.

    The bubbles are a hasle but there is a screen protector I tried some time ago that came with a gel to put between the protector and the screenso the bubbles weren´t a problem.

  • Tony

    I too decided not to use screen protectors when I got my HTC One and dedicated a pocket for it. Then one day, while viewing my HTC One at a certain angle, I saw minute shallow scratches. That was the first and last time I decided against using screen protectors. Every new phone from now, I am going to use screen protectors.

    Doesnt matter how clean you try to be, doesnt matter how often you wash your pants. Tiny tiny sand particles will enter your pocket and stay there until washed. So long as it stays there, those demons will scratch your phones for you. And I dont live somewhere where sands are carried around by the wind.

  • thymeless

    Sand will scratch Gorilla glass fairly easily. I take my phone into the outdoors with me routinely. It encounters lots of things including sand. I have sand around my house from when I installed pavers, as part of my xeriscape, a sand box for my kids and so on. How often have you found grit in your pockets of the sandy variety. And you put your phone in those pockets? You’re asking for a scratch. Not to mention the times I’ve dropped a device in the outside world, or had it slip from my pocket while driving and then onto the pavement when I open my door. Recipes for scratches.

    I need a screen protector.

  • jwhap

    As an avid outdoorsman and hiker, I use screen protectors. Many times I have pulled them off stuck my phone in my ” designated pocket” and it came out with scratches. I have done the zip lock thing and it works but I would rather not have to think about it. I prefer the feel of glass but hate scratched screens more than a bit of coverage.

  • matthew

    For my Nexus 5, I bought iSmooth HD screen protectors at Amazon and you cannot even tell there is anything on it. 3 for $9 with a lifetime guarantee and free replacements….Apply it with a fan blowing on the phone and zero dust particles. JUST DO IT.

  • MiniMinhMo

    I totally agree with this article. You don’t need a screen protector if you can just take better care of your phone. I’ve own my Samsung Galaxy SII (T-Mobile) for 2 years now, and the screen on it still looks totally brand new. Smartphones should be used the way the company designed it.

    • ihatefanboys

      Now you just jinxed yourself. You can plan to take care of your phone but crap happens that you cant anticipate. I say youve just been lucky. You can protect your phone with a case and a screen protector and still use it the way the company designed it. When you drop your phone and its in a dozen pieces on the floor, or the screen gets scratched you will cry.

  • Scrypps

    Fantastic article. Now just explain how my 100% plastic pot scrubber can leave scratch marks on my stainless steel pot? Are you using a different definition of scratch that what we use? If I get a plastic scrubber (like steel wool but plastic) and I push down and scrub HARD I will leave visible scratches in the same pattern I just scrubbed. Not sure if you are using science or what.

    • Les Ferch

      Was it a green scrubby pad? Those are abrasive. Blue and white ones are not.

  • sachin_goral

    I’m using an Anti-Glare screen-guard… and it has reduced the reflection when under sun to a certain extent.
    But I’m not so happy with the pixels it displays :-(

  • Gabe

    I’ve had a skinomi tech skin, on my HTC phone for almost 2 years now. It was a breeze to install with th e included solution and squeegee, that left no bubbles or defects. I work outdoors and like to be outdoors a lot, hiking, fishing, boating in the bright, hot Southern California sun, there’s zero yellowing and it’s difficult to tell it’s there. My work also includes hours of sandblasting, my pockets and phone can’t avoid it. Zero scratches, looks new. All for $3 shipped. You can say I’m happy.

    • ihatefanboys

      My protector just sticks to my screen. I steer clear of any protectors that include using a “solution” to apply it to the screen.

  • David Ron

    There is a very important caveat. Ear rings. My wife has diamond ear rings, and they wreak havoc on her phone screens. I suppose that any hard gemstone, or even costume jewelry (made of various glasses and hard crystals) are hard enough to do damage. The Samsung flip covers are built to talk with the cover over the screen for this very reason.

    • Brooks Barnard

      Good point. Nothing harder than diamonds. I’m too cheap for my wife to have real diamond earrings so I didn’t think about that, but that’s a very real opportunity for a phone display to come into contact with a material that will scratch anything.

      • Anna

        Also, I like putting my phone in my shirt pocket at work, and the button leaves billions of tiny scratches in one particular spot… so annoying. I must have diamond buttons, ;)

  • asdf

    I too use a screen protector. They are dirt cheap and no matter how careful you are there will always be *THAT* moment when your aren’t. My phone is always in my right front pocket – and nothing else. Still there are scratches on the screen protector. Just change it out and they’re gone :)

    This one weird old trick helps you applying a protector to a screen:
    When you fail and there is some dust stuck to the protector you’d have to throw it away, as you never will get that off again, right? WRONG!
    Lay down the protector, adhesive side up on your table. Put packaging/sticky tape over it. Nothing too fancy/powerful. Massage any bubbles of air between the tape and the protector out. When your remove the tape the dust will be stuck to it and your protector is ready for your trying to apply it again! Just go ahead as you would when removing the protective foil while applying the protector regularly – no need to buy protectors in large quantities just to get one of them applied right!

  • denny

    I will never use any screen protector because, I will have no chance to touch the real phone
    until the next owner might have a chance to break it’s virgin instead of me.

    • Anna

      I held my phone before they put the screen protector on it. Plus the thought of it being practically Brand new if I were to ever remove the protector and case is enough for me.

  • Anders

    The protective sheet that is already on a Xperia phone when you buy your is not for scratch proof it’s for shatter proof the phone. Remove it and the phone can’t survive a drop from 1m anymore.

  • Tangent

    I haven’t used a screen protector since my first Android phone, a myTouch 3G Slide. It’s replacement, an HTC Sensation 4G, and my Current HTC One have no protector. None of them have ever worn cases either. I got in the habit of keeping keys, wallet, chapstick, etc in my right pocket, and my phone and nothing but my phone in my left. It’s been years since doing that has even needed to be a conscious decision so it’s not the tiniest inconvenience. It’s actually *more* convenient because I don’t need to rummage past any other items in the pocket when going for a ringing phone.

    The myTouch that I had the screen protector on still is in use to stream Slacker in my garage, and it’s screen is in perfect shape. Of course the protector I used (Zagg Invisible shield) is long gone, having been removed a little before a year’s use because putting the phone into and pulling it out of my pocket eventually lifted a corner of the shield that then started collecting dust. I also just didn’t like the feel of the protector. The smooth glide of a bare clean screen just can’t be matched by any screen protector I’ve ever come across.

    My Sensation after nearly two and a half years of daily use, and a handful of drops onto concrete, asphalt, etc has a couple of very minor scratches, and the body has a couple of very tiny dings that you can find if you’re really looking.

    The durability of the Sensation’s aluminum body and glass were a big factor in my decision to replace it with the HTC One, and also why I’m not bothering with protection of any kind on it. If you tend to be more clumsy or keep your phone in a jumble of other items in the same pocket/purse/whatever I see the value in it. For me, it would just be spending a few dollars to make it feel worse and protect it from theoretical damage I’ve never done to a device yet.

  • Harold Goldner

    Been using screen protectors on everything portable with a screen since my first Palm Pilot in 1999. One scratch, just one bad scratch, completely screws things up. It’s like an umbrella insurance policy. Has held fractured LCD’s together long enough for me to replace the unit; has kept a handful of near misses from happening; has helped resale value for every device. I’ve also gotten pretty decent at both installing made-to-fit screen covers as well as fabricating them for devices for which they aren’t made. Yeah, I guess I prefer the feel of a “naked” screen, but I really hate the feeling when that screen is scratched in the slightest.

    • Anna

      If you haven’t already tried it, I suggest a tempered glass screen protector. They last and feel like the screen is naked… and depending on where you get it and what brand you get they can be anywhere from $5-$50. Also I suggest using a case with it so the edges don’t peel… I have an otter box case and it covers up and holds down my edges perfectly!

  • Gr8Ray

    I don’t think you have to spend time at a beach to get sand in your pockets. I just bought 6 brand new pairs of jeans, and they came with sand already in the pockets (more or less depending on the color). I’ve washed them 4-5 times now and some of them still have sand in them.

    • Brooks Barnard

      Where are you buying these jeans with pre-installed pocket sand?

    • Anna

      The sand is so bad at my house, my dryer is full of it… and no, I don’t live anywhere near a beach.

      • Jau

        It means you have children

  • James Murphy

    honestly I only use a screen protector to keep a smooth finger action on my screen.. smudges tend to need to be cleaned off regularly so that you can keep with a smooth experience .. to me a screen protector provides better function over protection ..

  • Frost

    It may be highly uncool to some, but I actually wear a holster for my phone. It’s a very nice all leather Krusell Hector, so it’s not unsightly in any way… and I don’t mind it at all, I just think it’s a professional thing. I’m a professional, I need to be reachable, I need my phone protected and always with me. Having it on my belt in a beautiful, high-quality leather pouch is super convenient and you literally always know where the phone is and don’t have to take it out of a pocket and risk forgetting it. I too don’t bother with a screen protector, i have yet to see any signs of wear on any phone with a touchscreen, so I don’t worry about it.

  • Nicolas Alexandre

    I had 2 phones without screen protectors. Broke the glass of the first one and scratched the glass of the 2nd one when a grain of sand got inside my Otterbox case.

    Since then I’ve put a Zagg screen protector on the N4 and N5. I applied them perfect, no air bubbles or anything. The screen protector is virtually invisible.

    Might be weird, but I like the touch of the screen protector better than the actual glass screen. It seems to collect less fingerprints smudges, has less sun reflection, seems a bit “grippier” to the touch.

    Then there’s the environmental factors. I live in Canada where we go from hot & humid summer days where every part of you sweats; to cold and dry winters where whipping your phone out with gloves or mitens on increase the risk of rubbing something bad on your screen; plus everything that can fall from the sky (20 different types of snow) will fall on your screen.

    That plus not having a car so always being outside commuting by bus or bike means my phone can fall on a whole bunch of different surfaces. Things nobody wants to touch or rub against their screen.

  • Beq

    I use a case with a screen protector but I work in a very hostile environment for any electronic device. There is no pocket that won’t get some kind of dirt or sand in it.

    That being said if you are fortunate enough not to need one good for you. Save some money and aggravation. :)

  • KpaBap

    Perhaps you should be aware that there are excellent screen protectors made of real glass that is harder than Gorilla Glass 3. They’re dead simple to apply, do not alter the feel of the phone, and do not degrade over time. Pretty much invalidating all your complaints about screen protectors.

  • Kracken

    I’d be careful with that tungsten carbide wedding band. If you fingers every swell up bad or you get the ring caught in something, they wont / cant cut the ring, they will however cut off your finger.

  • Dyan Raly

    If ODB ever taught me anything, it’s that keeping it raw is the way to go.

  • David

    I really don’t agree abut the resistance of your phones screen. My phone is scoffed to shit on the screen, and it actually effect how well you can see what is on the screen. Mind you this phone is pretty cheap, as I can find no use for an expensive phone. I don’t really think you provide a concrete reason not to use a screen protector, only reasons why you may not have to.

  • Chaf

    Zagg shields come with a lifetime warranty and the extreme invisible shields look amazing and feel like a normal screen. Also at Best Buy Mobile we will install it and it will be bubble free or we will do it again at no charge to you. Screen protectors that are cheap will yes discolor and are hard to install. Go with Zagg and this issue is solved. Come by Best Buy Mobile we will set you up the correct way the first time.

    • Anna

      +1 for correct information… -1 for advertising. That’s kinda rude.

  • Eli Gaffke

    Zagg Shields suck. If you use a Swype type keyboard your finger sticks. I have never used a phone with the tempered glass shields but they seem like the way to go. Personally I just buy the plan at Best Buy, it covers everything and I use the phone like I stole it.

  • donger

    Screen protector FTW.

  • Hey Brooks

    Hey Brook,

    Could you please let me no how did you get your HTC One to look how it is in the picture. Is it modified or is that a case?

    Thank you

    • Patrick R

      That’s a One Max or the mini version of the One.

    • Brooks Barnard

      It’s an HTC One Max, not a regular HTC One.

  • Patrick R

    Gorilla Glass is a joke. I’ve had many cell phones that have Gorilla Glass and EVERY SINGLE ONE HAS SCRATCHES. GORILLA GLASS IS MODERN DAY SNAKE OIL.

    From now on I will always use a tempered glass screen protector. I have the Nillkin tempered glass screen protector on my Nexus 5 and it’s wonderful. No air bubbles under it. No lint under it either. Looks and feels like a glass screen because it is glass.

    I paid $14 including shipping from aliexpress .com and it arrived in less than 2 weeks time.

  • Richard

    I have been using portable electronic devices since my original Radio Shack Rolodex handheld (which I still have) and I never use screen protectors. Nor do I use cases….well at least up until my iPhone 4S.

    Like the author, I like the “feel” of a naked device and I go out of my way to look after it. It resides in my pocket and only comes out when I use it or put it in my car dock, then back in my pocket.

    The only reason I bought a case (LifeProof) for my iPhone is for when I go out in my boat, just in case it gets wet.

  • kuddus

    Is it better for me to use the screen protector on my Naxus 7?

  • Michael Lo

    I have no problem accepting the hardness of gorilla glass. The very narrow scratches you can see at oblique angles is most likely due to the oleophobic coating being scratched. I doubt those hairline scratches actually reach the glass most of the time but they seem to get to me and annoy me. Thats why I still use a protector even though the surface feel is degraded.

    There are also other types of screen protectors that claim to have a shock absorbing layer. Those I feel are beneficial to people who do seem to hold bars of soap. But I feel the best way to protect the screen from cracking is to have a raised edge/lip with a dense deformable material that will increase the force transfer time to the edge of the phone since it is not likely to hit the floor screen first. Its rare to drop a phone with the impact right on the glass surface

  • Paul

    I have Xperia Z Ultra – fanatastic tech and beautful to look at BUT i didn’t use a screen protector and the anti shatter film Sony pre-install has small faint scratches over it where ive been gaming. I live with it as Id rather have that than air bubbles and a cheapened appearence that screen protectors introduce. Spent ages trying to put screen protectors on and I fail every time. The only place where you can apply a screen protector flewlessly is deep space.

  • Rod

    I put my phone, a HTC One in a “Sena” leather pouch when it goes into my pocket. When I want to use the phone, I take it out of the pouch. It’s the best of both worlds, a protected phone when in the pocket and a naked phone in the hand.

  • raymonsmith

    I have an Otter box and I haven’t dropped my phone yet because it clips on my belt. That way I’m not in the habit of laying my phone down when outside. It totally protects my phone n has a very good screen protector that sprint store installed. Accidents can happen and I’m prepared

  • Nozza

    I wish it were true but I’ve managed to scratch the screens of my phones without trying. I think occasionally they get put in a pocket with coins. I’m not entirely sure what does it, but they get scratched no matter what the glass hardness is. I’ve heard that it’s sand type particles in your pockets that rubbed up against the glass over time. Could be true. I bought an Otterbox case for my HTC One and it came with a screen protector. I hate protectors and have never managed to get one on looking and working well but this one was different. Went on like it wanted to stick to the screen. No bubbles. You cannot tell it’s there and the function of the phone is exactly the same. Now I’m converted.

  • unit63x

    For purposes of accuracy, I always use a stylus. With a screen protector I see a noticeable haze develop within 3 to 4 months where I contact the screen most often. My fear in going naked is the effect of persistence rather than direct shock or harsh abrasion. Like river on a rock. If a SP will delay that and by changing be able to refresh the clarity.. It’s a small price to pay.

  • Steve

    I used to think phone screens since the advent of Gorilla Glass were pretty tough, I’ve had a few iPhones over the years, a couple of Nexus phones and never got a single scratch on any of these screens, until I dropped my Nexus 5 the other day and all these fancy claims about Gorilla Glass 3 seem like total BS.

    I dropped my phone just outside my workplace and it landed on the back which was protected by a plastic case and then it bounced an inch or two after impact and sort of flipped and landed on the screen so it’s basically a 1-2 inch drop onto the screen. The back of my Nexus is fine due to the case despite it dropping like 5 feet or something, this is where the main damage should have occurred but nothing happend, and some very minor impact on the front of my screen has resulted in some scratches that I can definitely feel. So yeah, Corning’s claims about the quality of Gorilla Glass 3 seem really far fetched, just looks at some basic drop tests on Youtube, the Nexus 5 without a case dies a death after a single drop on concrete.

  • Tim

    Seems like a lot of engineering hand-waving and assumptions. 534-649 is a modest range, assuming it is accurate. Sure, the steel file may be “hardened”. If so, what alloy and tempering process were used and what is its exact hardness? According to this information, it appears even some generic knife could be slightly harder than gorilla glass 3. I imagine keys, keyrings, nail files, coins and other common objects in pockets and purses have varying hardness as well. Do their hardness range maximums exceed the minimum hardness of gorilla glass? If so, there’s a good chance that even a gorilla glass screen will become scratched over time. Maybe gorilla glass 3 is harder than most all common items likely to contact a phone screen, but this chart and commentary are not sufficient to demonstrate this.

    I have keys that have certainly scratched various phone screens. That’s not enough evidence to say someone else’s keys will or will not scratch their phone screens, but it’s enough to know it is possible. I wish I could do the “dedicated pocket”, but as an absent minded physicist, that’s not likely to happen.

  • T

    I’m new to using a smartphone, but my strategy is to pay no more than $100 for a phone, and don’t get sucked into the 2 yr price gorging plans from the major carriers. This won’t work for everyone, but I bought a new LG Optimus F3 for $75, and I’m using Virgin Mobile’s unlimited data plan for $35/month, no contract. The phone is actually pretty nice, especially with the 32Gb sd card I installed. It’s on 4G LTE Sprint network. Equivalent data limited plan on Verizon was $100/month total and $370 to get out of the contract early. Plus, the insurance was an extra $10-$15/month. What a ripoff.

    So, now, if my phone gets scratched or broken or lost, I’ll just go buy another one for $75(or prbly cheaper in the future). Don’t have to worry about screen protectors or losing a $500 investment.

    I calculated that I’m saving about $1000/yr over a major carrier. I could but a new phone every month and still come out ahead.

  • cheryl

    I am a cosmetologist and in my line of work use Los of sprays and gels. A screen protector for me is necessary to protect my screen from the build up of gunk that is left behind that seeks from the hair products. I do live how my glass feels naked but I need the protector for work.

  • Andy

    Someone at my job dropped an iPad 2 and it cracked the screen pretty bad. It worked fine but the little pieces were coming out of the corner and cutting fingers. They were going to throw it out. I got a screen protector and now I have a pretty nice iPad to use at work.

  • Dan

    I see all kinds of paranoia people here that purchase a phone they cant effort and look at it like is a god after…I bet they don’t even take the phone with them when is raining :)
    People really, why buy a phone you cant handle? Why go for a phone with specs like 0.89mm thin or 130 grams , or last generation gorilla glass when you going to double his size with a cheap case , make it thick and heavy and put a screen protector that wont save you if you drop it from your hand anyway and also if you change few S.P. in one year of suffering from not viewing your screen at his 100% potential , not enjoying you phone at his real thinness?
    How you feel after a year of pay insurance and no event happened?
    I have S3 since they came out, I did drop it once from my own fault and glass cracked and I don’t think any S.P. would protect me at that fall. Even if would protect my glass from that foul the edge chipped also and I would never stay with the phone like that. Yes I did pay 40% of the phone cost to change my screen and case at Samsung but it look new.
    I try to buy a bumper and a case after that ….I could only hold them few days and take them off because I felt stupid warring them. Why I pay for a phone with gorilla glass, think with nice design if I walk around with a big brick?
    I see people here with comments and reasoning just so they can justify their S.P. idea and paranoia. Sorry but I don’t agree with them.
    They are better off buy a tough phone like the ones from Caterpillar or just buy a phone that don’t cost that much with plastic screen and that don’t cost that much to replace one/year.
    Really guys, if you could I think you would put SP on you car tires so you don’t scratch or something happened to them, Or on new car keep the plastic bag from dealer for ever on the seats, or I bet the remote control on your TV is still in the bag it came with even so the TV is outdated……I cant believe so many people buy phone just so they can hide them in all kinds of stupid cases or make them ugly by sticking cheap S.P. on them.
    Life is not a life if you going to think this way or buy something to make you paranoid and not enjoy it at it’s full capability…..just so you can say you have that too.
    Better leave the phone there in the store window and say it is yours new with no scratches.
    I see all kinds of people that sale for a living accessories come here with stupid arguments making people buy their crap and if you snick up on them their phones are just like the manufacturer made them.
    Guys if the S.P. are tougher than what the phone comes with don’t you think a big manufacturer of phones would use pure glass and buy the invention off one of this S.P maker?
    What gets me is right now I want to buy my self the S4 black edition witch I hear comes from Samsung with a S.P. on already. This I like to know why and it bother me. This is the reason I read all this comments and others. I like to know why they decided to put a S.P. on the Gorilla Glass 3? what kind of S.P, they used? And why I see no articles explaining this anywhere?

  • Doraemon

    The more expensive the device is, the more people use screen protectors on it.
    That’s what most humans take as ‘common sense’. If it’s expensive, try to protect it. Sounds reasonable? Maybe. But this should be the opposite if you think a little. Cheap devices use cheap screens, that will scratch up easily. Expensive devices use very expensive screens, designed for not to scratch up, and display very clear images. And they really work. It is ultra-high technology.
    The question is: why do you expend 200 or 300 $ more in such an expensive device, that comes with a screen harder than some steels, and then you cover it with a screen protector? It’s like throwing the money in the trash. Buy a cheaper one, if you don’t mind to see less clear images and don’t matter about touching a plastic surface.
    I can only think on people spending more just because of snobism (of course there are exceptions where a protector can be a good idea). They’re saying to the world: hey, I can purchase a $600 phone, that’s my status and I’m worth it, look at me everyone. But at the other hand they’re thinking for themselves: this is too expensive for me, I don’t need really it and I don’t give a damn about this device features at all. Let’s put a plastic over it even if I miss everything that makes it expensive, so I can sell it at a good price when the new model comes up, so I can continue to show the world my status.
    Maybe I’m too engineer or too nerd to understand it.

  • Alex

    I felt the same, with my brand new Razr m with fancy glass i loved how clear the display was.

    Until i went for a run with it in the mesh side pocket of my backpack. The nylon weave (or whatever it was) left hair fine scratches across its mirror finish.

    My first screen protector was rubbish and blurred the colours, but what do you expect for 5 bucks?

    Paid 20 and got one that feels and looks perfect. Also, if you spray distilled water (sometimes comes with really expensive screen guards) on the screen before you put it on, you can then slide the screen protector into place and squeegy it out and you will have a perfect screen guard with NO bubbles or dust!!

  • Erictron

    My reason for screen protectors actually comes from my wife, who scratched her screen terribly simply from holding it to her ear making a call. Diamond earrings were the culprit

  • Sheila davies

    Been unlucky today dropped and broke my screen on my galaxy s4 does any one know what cost a new screen will cost me

  • Faz Manji

    I recently dropped my phone and sure enough the screen cracked even though it had a protective case. I read that repairing cracked screen is a $6B industry. Why can’t phone manufacturer use a better material for their screen? Is it a question of nickel and dime? What about the overall customer experience? HTC corporation has a program where it replaces the first crack screen for free (within 6 months). Would that money not be better spent designing the screen that does not crack in the first place?

  • Matthew

    Great explanation on hardness; I found that quite interesting. I also have a designated pocket, but since it’s summer and we have sand volleyball courts at my work, I think it wise to get a protector. :)

  • Tabrez Alam

    One of the ways in which my phone constantly was exposed to small scratches was when I used to charge my phone. Like a general user, I used to have my phone on normal mode with vibrations on. During the evening when I got back home, I used to put my phone of charging and leave it.

    However, I observed after some time that my phone’s back was getting small scratches. Also, there was once that I found my phone lying on the ground and not on the table (it had fallen off table during the night). This all was happening as my phone used to vibrate with all calls and alerts while I kept it on charging.

    I realized that the phone’s vibration was just a nuisance when the phone was charging (as the only use of the vibrations is when the phone actually is in physical contact with any part of your body). Therefore, I started to look out for an App that could just suppress the vibrations whenever I put my phone on charging. I know I could have done it manually each day before charging, but it is difficult to remember to change profiles each time and then put them back to normal.

    What I believed was that this was a simple idea and there should be a lot of App already available that could do this for me. To my surprise, there was none!

    It was then, that I decided that I shall make the App myself and came up with the Scratch Protector App.

    You can download the App from Google Play by simply searching ‘Scratch Protector’ or search Pluggdd.

    Another benefit of the App is that when you leave your phone away from you on charging, while it was on the silent mode, it automatically puts it on a ringer mode. As a result of which, you would never have missed calls!

  • j!tz

    Never use Protector’s if u wanna feel phone’s full experience .. :) and That’s the Truth !!

  • Kevin

    I have an Armorglass HD Tempered Glass Screen Protector and it is by far the best you can buy.

    This looks and feels like your original screen and gives you protection from cracking your screen.

    The author of this article obviously knows nothing about these new glass screen protectors

    I can’t speak for all of them but the Armorglass HD by Tegotek goes on seamlessly and is unbelievably easy to put o.
    You lliterally just line it up and press the middle of the screen and the Glass’ self adhesive melds to the screen.

    Unbelievable product.

  • M.

    I too use a designated pocket for my phone. I never place it on a hard surface face-down. I barely ever drop it (and if I do, I always check for scratches right away). I’m rarely around sand.

    I’m doing it right, aren’t I? Yet, I still get scratches. Honestly, they just seem to come out of nowhere sometimes. It might take over a year, it has, twice, but they happen.

    And I really don’t like it when scratches happen.

    I’ve noticed the oleophobic coating on these displays wearing off over time, too. It gets bothersome after a while.

    I now use tempered glass screen protectors. I would advise anyone who is *seriously* worried about scratches to consider doing the same.

  • what?

    I think it,is,much better to have a good quality screen protector than,carry it in,plastic bag or being paranoid andtreating phone like “that”!
    I thin author have no idea that it is not only about screen hardnes. The speed how object moves on screen makes difference. Even with a fingernail with proper speed you can scratch it. Use protectors,unless sapphire glass comes out!

    • Brooks Barnard

      False. Your fingernail will not scratch your screen.

  • Anna

    Kay, I thought I’d leave my 2 cents on here. First off im a klutz. Like omg i jist tripped over nothing. Also, i live on a farm, so there is sand EVERYWHERE! I think its fair to say, i need a screen protector, especially since I can’t stand scratches. I also can’t stand those crappy plastic film screen protectors. So i got the 9h tempered glass for my galaxy s5 (i love technology) and it is incredible. I can barely tell it’s on there (i can only tell from the edges around my buttons. It feels like the normal screen, no loss of sensitivity, and there are even options for smudge proof and reflective (though I’m not sure why you would need reflective… w/e.) Oh, and the cell store i bought it from applied it for me. So my question is, why cause yourself the sandwich baggy worry when you could spend $10-$50 and have a virtually indestructible phone? BTW you said it yourself, the gorilla glass is 5h or 6h, so to answer the butt load of “why would I cover glass with glass?” Because this Glass is waaaaaay harder to scratch and/or break… and since it is glass, it feels like glass. In my opinion this article just seems silly for someone who is so smart…

    • mid

      the sandwich baggy idea also keeps sand and grit out of all the holes. not just protecting the glass.

  • Awesome

    i use screen protector and a otterbox case aka makes my iphone 5s which is now as strong as a TANK!!

  • chaitanyak

    i had a screen protector on my first touchscreen phone(3phones back) i had to take it off after a week.. was just not getting used to it. that phone had a hard stylus and a plastic screen.. i did a lot of sketching on it.. which eventually led to loads of scratches..

    but the 2 phones that i had after that, never got a single scratch on their screens.. even after dropping them on rough concrete or pavement.. the rest of the phone would get chipped or nicked but my screens stayed pristine.

    its because i followed the dedicated pocket logic mentioned above.

    but the pocket thing isn’t the only thing..a 11 inch acer tablet that i had for the last 3 years.. got zero scratches.. no screen protector.. and obviously i didn’t carry it in my pocket!

    just accept it .. glass used in these screens has been fairly scratch proof for a while now.

    and so my current nexus 5 also has no screen protector.

    if your still getting scratches with the tech of this day and age.. its probably because your leading a really adventurous lifestyle.

  • Albert

    I just put on Monoy tempered glass screen protector and it feels even better than touching the actual screen (not just the same feeling but actually better!). It’s harder too than Gorilla glass and is really smooth to touch with no finger prints. Give it a try I would say. But it was a bit hard time putting it on (screwed up first time with a lot of dust under screen protector as I wiped with cloth. Then i cleaned the screen protector using my own clean fingers (instead of cloth) after pouring laptop’s screen cleaning liquid and then wiping it dry. But once put on neatly, it now feels so nice to touch.

  • ern

    You say “In general, a harder material cannot be scratched by a softer material”. Would it be possible to apply enough force on a soft object (accelerate it to a high enough velocity) that would create a momentum high enough to scratch the hard substance?

    • Remo

      In theory it’s possible but the hardness level has to be very close to glass hardness. But if you have something speeding up in your pockets your doing it wrong ;)

  • Remo

    When I put a screen protector it normally comes out on the 2nd or 3rd day. I just don’t like how it feels. It completely ruins my phone experience. I also have a dedicated pocket and the ridiculous is that screen protectors scratch very easy. So you end up with a scratched phone with those crappy plastic screen protectors.

  • Haley

    I’m too clumsy to not have a screen protector, my poor devices

  • Kamran

    I saw a drop test on YouTube the other day where someone remarked that if your screen breaks and you have a screen protector, it can help you use your phone without the risk of broken glass cutting you. Generally, phones still work most of the time after their screens are broken, so I suppose it could allow you to still use it without risk of injury.

  • Andy

    Not many here risking unprotected?
    I’ve used the designated pocket method, and kept my naked Galaxy Nexus (with non-gorilla glass screen) ~3 years scratch-free.

    I was wondering if hardened glass screen protectors might rub the screen and actually weaken it for drops – how do aftermarket protectors stick? is there -absolutely- zero microscopic movement even when phone vibrates?

  • Mike

    I keep my phones naked. I love the feel and handling of the phone the way it was designed without any cases or screen protectors. I may put my naked phone in a belt pouch, but that’s about it.

  • Pete in Fullerton

    I have an HTC Incredible 2. I use a matte screen protector since I cannot read the screen outside without it. Ditto for my digital camera screen.

    Scratch protection is a bonus.

    The trick to putting them on is to spritz water on the screen, apply the protector, then use a credit card to squeeze out the bubbles. Then peel off the top protector screen.

    Matte Protectors available for under a buck online.

  • Larsinator3000

    I use a screen on my iPhone and i got LOTS of scratches on it. So my question is if: If I would not use the protector, would all the scratches be on my phone too?


    “First, I suck at putting them on. ” – It’s your problem, get someone else to do it for you, you may need to pay.

    “I can’t think of an experience installing a screen protector where I didn’t end up with some hideous air bubbles.” – You need more experience buddy.

    “Second, I don’t love the way screen protectors feel.” – Depends on the quality of Screen Protector you use

    ” Depending on how much money you spend on your screen protector, they can absolutely alter the experience you have while interacting with your device. They can be slightly grippier, or softer. For better or for worse, the experience can change.” – Quality demands money, so if you think it change change to better experience, why not do try the good one.

    “Third, I’ve seen a lot of screen protectors that discolor over time. I’m not sure if they collect the oils from your fingers or if it’s some sort of degradation of the plastic, but your viewing experience might not be as clear as it could be.” – Not very sure about this point, but you can change your screen guard

    “And lastly, I don’t feel like I need it. Phone manufacturers use materials on your device’s display that are engineered specifically to not scratch under most conditions. ” – Manufactures do best, but they are not scratch-proof completely, once you get a scratch on screen, you wouldn’t change the screen, but you can always change the screen guard

    Furthermore, if you want to use the phone for longer time, which is the case with majority of the population and also to keep the resell value to its standard, use a good screen protector.

  • Gene

    Thanks for the article and good advice.This week (10/8/14) I bought an LG G3 and was undecided about using protection.After reading about Gorilla Glass,including your article I have decided to go bare.Thank you…Iam very happy with the phone.

  • Marc

    While I agree with reasons the author states, basically it never looks or feels the same with the protector, there are other alternatives.

    That said, there are a new class of GLASS protectors. I decided to try one on my new iPhone 6 (my first smart phone.. yes, I know… I’m a computer engineer… but I don’t buy the newest tech until it’s been quite refined.)

    My NEW experience: I applied Zaggs glass protector and I’m simply blown away by the performance. I goofed during installation and did not get it lined up. Unlike the protectors of old, I was able to pull it up by the corner and reposition it, TWICE, with zero problems.. HUGE plus. Air bubble present and you simply wish it away, no problems. If there is any degradation to the image, my eyes can not perceive it. This particular protector has bevelled edges and falls short from the edges of the phone to allow a case protector. I did choose the 3-layer speck mighty shell since I am in industrial environments. The combination works great.

    Tech notes: While both glass and mylar would allow a pointy object at a decent speed to go through, the glass will resist it up until a specific threshold. The mylar protectors would permit a slow push through to your screen. Point goes to glass.

    Mylar will displace in an impact and likely transmit most of the energy through to your screen. Glass will absorb and the fracture, distributing the force to the rest of the protector.

    Modern devices have special oleophobic coatings, etc, that wear off over time. Once this happens you will be constantly cleaning your display as you cannot treat the display to get the coating back. Mylar products stretch and therefore could not retain any coating. Thew new class of glass protectors come with special coatings that provide factory new performance to your display. That said, Glass protectors will keep your original coatings in tact (for resale, it looks new) and provide a new/replacement coating along with it. And, if it wears out, replace it.

    Simply put, it’s like getting a new display that can be repositioned, replaced, that solidly protects from impact to a point (note, it’s not as tough as your screen so your protector will fail first, a good thing..) keeping scratches and divots away from your expensive device.

  • Marc

    P.S.: While the authors “suggestion” on how to CHANGE your life and habits to keep your phone safe, we all know we’re not perfect. We also have kids that nab at mom and dad’s phone when you set it down for a few seconds. The other seems a bit ‘negative’ on the topic all together and suggests a utopian outlook. Lets face it, crap happens and coatings don’t last forever. I’m also an engineer life’s wear and tear is not negligible. With current glass products, go get a Zagg Glass. You can’t tell it’s there and it has a lifetime warranty.

  • Wombatish

    I never used to use them. HATE the plastic ones, always get debris and bubbles. But these new glass ones? They feel nice, and the warranties on them are pretty good.

    I’m trying it out. Can always take it off.

  • Michael

    the girl who wrote this… You never drop your phone?… bullshit

  • Michael

    so the girl who wrote this article never drops her phone … bullshit

  • Michael

    so the girl who wrote this article drops her pphone … bullshit

    • Michael

      so the girl who wrote this article never drops her cell phone, bullshit

  • AdamB

    Ridiculous article for a ridiculous arguement. Logic is the winner here, and anyone who follows logic protects their phone…especially since it’s an expensive piece of hardware with valuable information. I’ve had my phone’s screen scratch from something as simple as placing it in a pocket with house keys. Unless you live your life in a bubble you need screen protection for your phone.

  • GuccizBud

    I use them but it has nothing to do with scratches; I knew from the start that that wasn’t going to be an issue. I use them because I hate it when the display is covered with fingerprint smudges, which happens *very* fast on a naked screen. So I buy the protectors that specialize in avoiding that particular nuisance. Some online manufacturers state this explicitly, but if someone wants a quicker solution, the ones you can buy in stores that state “anti-glare” will, in effect, reduce fingerprint accumulation significantly—not completely, and not as well as the ones designed for that purpose—but significantly. In fact, even an “ultra-clear”, transparent one will, perhaps contrary to intuition, reduce fingerprint accumulation.

  • Prophet

    Dear inferiors,

    I am superior. Obviously. So listen.

    Glass screenprotector. Two words. Don’t bother with any other. Why?
    Easiest to install. Real protection against drop damage (proven).

    Con: even more reflections in direct sunlight.


  • Dave

    I installed an Armorsuit Militaryshield on my new 2K GalaxyTab S because what I worry most about is damaging the display *during* cleaning. Perhaps if there were some sterile, single-use cleaning pads (like alcohol wipes) but until then, l’ll not bet against the Sand Man. BTW, the moire effect through the screen protector appears to “reduce” the resolution so I’m not thrilled. I may look I into the glass types.

  • Will

    What I tend to do to keep my screen scratch free is I always have a case on my tablet and never take it off even when it gets annoying just one time it goes in your pocket without a case it could get scratched it’s happened before just trust me and a scratch especially a rainbow scratch is not nice to have it even dulls your screen over time and did you know even a tiny grain of sand or anything on you’re finger can scratch the screen but other wise you have to be car full not drop it and if you do get a case make sure it covers the screen too or its useless and remember if you can’t afford to buy a case, you have to be extra careful.

  • thecooldude

    Yesterday I accidently sat on my Moto G(1st Gen) and the Gorilla Glass 3 cracked and small chunks of glass are falling out. I also didn’t use a screen guard or protector.

  • TC

    The screen protectors don’t really affect scratching. There more for preventing the glass from cracking in case of a drop.

    I had a Samsung Galaxy S for years and I had a screen protector and a case on it and it worked with protecting it whenever I dropped it by accident. My friend got a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 last year and within months her little sister accidentally let the phone fall from the kitchen table to the floor and it shattered the screen.

    I just got my Galaxy Note 3 today and I’m definitely putting a screen protector and a case on it.

  • Razor Edge

    That said, if someone can guarantee me the sand I collect will never contain quartz, then, no, I don’t need ” no screen” protector.

    Gee, I see sand in most street gutters, at the mall parking lot, Wallymart, and any number of other places I might drop my car keys, transfering sand in the pocket, to provide a nice rub on the screen,

    So, yes I will continue to use them. As for the demos I see with knifes, coins, drill, you betcha, pretty dumb and a Ripley Believe or Not act, even a hammer with those dead center strikes are all an act of this ilk. Try a corner hit. I do believe they provide some str8 on hit protection, aka dropping flat screen first, hitting an object. One give away to the smoke and noise of this kind of Wizard of Oz dog and pony show is every manufacturer does the same stand up act, basically figuring out what fits their ad campaign, i.e matching, cherry picking, the data to the theory.

  • Emily S

    I bought a simple, clear case for my iPhone 6+ as soon as I got my phone, for several reasons. One reason, was that it came with a free screen protector. Surprisingly, the screen protector is GREAT – it’s anti-glare, fingerprint resistant, thin but rigid and easy to put on. It was less than $14 for the case and screen protector….

    So far, I could be happier with it.

  • stelios

    After 2 years I decide to change my screen protector on galaxy s4 mini, while trying today actually just before 5 minutes to replace the old one with new one I come up with a full of bubbles!! I take it off and put it back several times just to retry and if I was lucky to put it correct with out bubles.
    I search google `I hate screen protectors` and found this…

    Now I have a phone without screen protector.