Review: Smartphone Experts Screen Protectors (3-Pack) for iPhone 3G

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!

First Impressions

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 and Performance

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.

Conclusion

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.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Smudge, dust, fingerprint and glare resistant
  • Washable and reusable

Cons

  • Can leave some bubbling after installation that seems impossible to be rid of

TiPb Rating:

The iPhone blog 4 Star Review

 

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There are 10 comments. Add yours.

Brian says:

I bought a few 3-packs of screen protectors on ebay for between $0.01 and $0.08 each including shipping. They work fine, and while they're not of the highest quality, they're easy to remove and replace when they get a bit scuffed up.
No need to pony up this much in my opinion.

Mr Devali says:

The eBay ones are junk... They scrach very easily these are much stronger and better. Granted only worth 10$ though.

aLex says:

I'm not crazy about the foggy look of these screen protectors, however, I have had highend Steinheil LCD crystal clear protectors scratch during application (what a waste). In the end, the protector that came packaged with my Marware Sidewinder Deluxe case has not only remained scratch free for months now, but has provided that sharp, glossy screen that I admire.

Ryan says:

Each of the screen protectors has advantages and disadvantages. I think the experts screen protector is a very nice product. It's especially nice how it applies to the face of the phone, and then can easily be removed. If you're looking for full body protection, check out the invisible shield. It's not as easily removed, but it very tough, and keeps your iPhone in great shape.

Tim says:

I bought some screen protector from ebay called "The Pixel" they are great. Find them on ebay.

Andrew says:

If you want a screen protector that looks good and also works like it is supposed to, you might want to check out the NuShield DayVue antireflective film. It disperses sunlight and glare outdoors and offers long lasting protection against scratches while hiding fingerprints and smudges.
You can also see the display screen while wearing polarized sunglasses. It will keep your iPhone protected and you won't have to use your other hand to shade the sun when using it outside. At $15.00 for 2 films and cleaning wipes it is a great value for the money.

Peter says:

Good Afternoon
I´m giving my opinion to this discussion almost three months have passed. But I´m a protective maniac, so I´d look for the best of the best in screen protectors.
And after using invisibleSHIELD, that is good but very difficult to apply, I´ve encountered the best of the best, MARTIN FIELDS, the display becomes crystal-clear, and is excellent to the touch, and not a scratch.
And only took six days to arrive from Asia to Europe, with no taxes.

Yoshi99 says:

The SmartPhone Experts screen savers are absolutely awful. The reviewer is too kind when he says "some permanent bubbling" -- unless you're prepared to spend hours pressing out little bubbles, your screen will look like a starfield. It's like looking through the foggy plastic sheet that came stuck on the screen. Also, the material has an incredible ability to attract dust out of the air (creating more bubbles), so unless you have access to a microchip lab, good luck. Another problem with these is that they have a matte finish which ruins the glossy high-tech look of the screen. I'll just live with the fingerprints ...

FatNGristle says:

How nice it would be if this review posted the physical dimensions as I would like to use it for something else.
If someone has one can you post the dims?
Also, how well does your finger glide on them? I have sweaty fingers and find most screen protectors too grippy. I'm hoping the matte finish will help.