The Smartphone Experts Screen Protectors (3-Pack) for iPhone 3G are currently in stock in the iMore Store for $15.95 and can be found here. They are easy to apply to your iPhone 3G's screen and are meant to offer protection and enhanced view-ability of your iPhone's display. How does it perform and measure up? Read on for my thoughts!
The Smartphone Experts Screen Protectors for the iPhone 3G arrived in a small, simple card stock folder that is extremely easy to open. I have to give them kudos here for packaging their product in something that: A) isn't hermetically sealed, B) doesn't require a trip to the tool box or cutlery block to open, and C) won't require me to find my insurance card for a trip to the emergency room due to life-threatening lacerations caused by knife-like plastic packaging.
Upon opening the folder, there's a simple 2-step instructional for first cleaning your iPhone's screen and then applying the screen protector. Each of the three screen protectors must be peeled away from their plastic backing before applying to your iPhone's screen. Examining the screen protector, you will notice that it is not textured like other screen protectors. For touch screens in generally and especially the finger-friendly iPhone screen, textured screen protectors can be annoying and are really the product of a bygone age when screen protector manufacturers thought the consumer would benefit from the feel of a rougher texture underneath the small plastic tip of their stylus when writing Graffiti. Thankfully, these screen protectors are smooth, meant to provide an unnoticeable feel to the fingertip as if the user were making contact with the iPhone glass display itself.
Installation of the screen protector is very straight-forward. It is recommended that you use a soft cloth, preferably some kind of microfiber cloth, to clean your iPhone's screen so it's free from dust, dirt, fingerprints and smudges. This is very important because once the screen protector is in place, anything left on the screen will be trapped between the screen protector and display.
Once your display is clean and ready to go, then carefully peel away the plastic backing from the tacky side of the screen protector. Be careful not to touch the tacky side - you don't want to start off with smudges on the wrong side of the screen protector and defeat the purpose of cleaning your iPhone's display in the first place. If you do happen to smudge it or get some dust on there for installation, just rinse off the screen protector and try again.
From my experience, the best way to install is to expose the top end of the tacky side of the screen protector and position it as best you can to conform with the top edge of your iPhone's display. Once you have it lined up, just slowly work your way down, removing the plastic backing as you go. In this way, you have the least risk of exposing the tacky side of the screen protector to dust, dirt, and fingerprints. Once the screen protector is in place, you will likely have to smooth out some bubbles. Just gently but firmly press on the edge of the bubbles and work them toward the nearest outside edge of the screen protector.
Once I had installed the screen protector and smoothed out the bubbles, my iPhone was ready for normal use. Even though the iPhone's display is glass and almost impervious to scratches from every-day use, it's not indestructible. Just take a look at your glass windshield sometime and notice the scratched and pitted surface. Granted, your iPhone isn't flying display-first down the freeway behind gravel trucks at 70 mph, but you can bet that the accidental drop on the ground or even regular carrying in a pocket or purse can eventually take it's toll on the glass surface.
Although the screen protector can offer some protection to the glass surface, in my opinion the main benefit of this screen protector is the anti-glare and smudge-resistance. Using the naked glass, I am often annoyed by the smudges and fingerprints that require constant wiping away. Additionally, the glass surface can be very shiny and can sometimes make viewing difficult when you catch some light at just the right angle. This screen protector almost eliminates smudges and fingerprints altogether and glare is greatly reduced, so for those reasons alone it's worth applying to your iPhone's display. The main issue I have with it is that it doesn't seem to fit completely flush with the iPhone's screen. Particularly around the "home" button and the ear speaker, there is some permanent bubbling of the screen protector that is really only displeasing in an aesthetic way. It doesn't seem to hinder performance at all and, quite honestly, I don't really notice any kind of loss of touch sensitivity whether the screen protector is applied or not.
An additional benefit to this screen protector is it's reusable. If dust ever gets trapped between the screen protector and your iPhone's display, and there's no guarantee this will never happen no matter what you do, then just remove the screen protector, wash it, and reapply. Nice.
For the price of $15.95, the Smartphone Experts Screen Protectors (3-Pack) for iPhone 3G are a good value, especially considering they are washable and reusable. The anti-glare, anti-smudge, anti-fingerprint features are very effective and it offers some dust and scratch resistance. Application of the screen protector is also easy and can be accomplished in just a couple minutes. The only downside for me is the mild bubbling around the ear speaker and "home" button - if it weren't for this negative, I could give this product 5 stars, but due to this minor annoyance, I can only recommend 4 stars. Surprisingly, a few other users have given it far lower marks, but in my experience, I can't see the justification for one or two stars and no explanation was provided. I can confidently give it 4 stars and recommend it as a good way to protect your iPhone's display and greatly reduce smudges, fingerprints, dust and glare.