I’ve long used fancy impact protection screen protectors on my touchscreen devices—the protectors with multiple layers of polymers (AKA plastic). Typically, the top layer is oleophobic (literally “fat-fearing”, like the touchscreen it covers), glossy, and scratch-resistant, to mimic the touchscreen surface. The interior features layers of shock-absorbing and shock- distributing materials, with a non-residue adhesive next the touchscreen itself.
I prefer these to the tempered glass protectors that are so popular now. This is because of what’s happened to my devices when I’ve dropped them, and what’s happened to acquaintances who dropped their glass-protected devices.
I’ve dropped my iPad while it was equipped with a Bodyguardz HD Impact protector—from a height of four feet, screen-first, onto an exposed sharp aluminium corner. A bare iPad would have shattered. Not only did my iPad screen survive, the (plastic, remember) protector wasn’t scratched.
An acquaintance had a similar experience with his glass-protected iPhone. The protector was shattered. Now, his screen beneath was fine—but he had to get that sharp shattered glass off his screen. Eventually he took it to an Apple store to get it picked off.
Add to that the facts that plastic impact protectors are lighter, thinner, and more stylus-friendly, and you won’t see my electronics sporting glass screen protectors any time soon.
So I should be a Bodyguardz customer forever, right? I was—but then I upgraded to an iPhone 8 Plus. Bodyguardz are phasing out their plastic HD Impact protectors. You have to search their site for “HD Impact” to even find them, and they’ve stopped producing them for newer phones and tablets. The 8 Plus isn’t on the list of supported devices.
Bummer. I searched the internet for a new vendor, and found Rhinoshield. The technology described is similar to the HD Impact, and I was impressed by their hammer video. I watched carefully and noticed the clear protector turning opaque under each blow, as the force was distributed and absorbed. In short, I could see it working. Way, way cool.
I’ve applied my new Rhinoshield to my iPhone 8 Plus, and found two more features impressive. First, the fit is—gasp—even better than that of the Bodyguardz product. Rhinoshield have made a superbly close-fitting protector with tiny, tiny cutouts for the home button, camera, light detector, and speaker. Bodyguardz, in contrast, make their cutout for the home button large, and put in a large “notch” at the top to accommodate the speaker, camera, and light sensor. Rhinoshield covers more of my screen.
Secondly, Rhinoshield’s recommended installation (the “hot dog” technique) resulted in the easiest screen protector installation I’ve ever done. After 48 hours, the only way to see the protector is to shine a light on it sideways to highlight the edges.
It’s a pity I didn’t find Rhinoshield earlier. But I won’t go back to Bodyguardz for my next screen protector, even if they still have one that fits.
Hint for Using a Layered Plastic Screen Protector
When an oleophobic screen protector comes from the factory, it feels “squeaky”, like your hair after a shampoo. After a day or three of use, oils from your fingers build up, and it feels as slick as glass. To make this go faster, put a tiny, tiny drop of cooking oil on the installed protector and spread it over the entire surface with your fingers. Take care not to get it into the speaker! Remove any excess with a microfibre cloth. Now the protector will feel as slick as your touchscreen.