I came across an article on another website today that, for some reason, intrigued me. And I say "for some reason" because under any other normal circumstances, an opinion editorial on screen protectors would have been way boring to the utmost degree. However, this particular author, Brooks Barnard of Android And Me, was able to offer a different point of view on screen protectors, and why he chooses not to use them. It intrigued me because in my world, not using a screen protector is a big, fat no-no. You always, always, always use a screen protector. But, as I said, his article intrigued me. I wanted to know what it was that made him have so much faith in his phone that he opted not to use a screen protector. And, as his title states, as an engineer he knows a thing or two about glass and materials that I (and many consumers) wouldn't.
It was a good read, and I actually really enjoyed it. However, I couldn't help but think in my head counter points against his reasonings on why he doesn't use screen protectors in my head as I read through the article. This isn't to say that he doesn't have his own right not to use screen protectors - I'm just saying for my own sake, I'm really too much of a skeptic not to do it. For example, he mentioned that he wasn't very good at putting on screen protectors. It's true that there is no guarantee that once you start applying that thin layer of plastic that everything is going to glide on smoothly. And, admittedly, even for the least OCD people air bubbles in a screen protector can drive a person positively mad if they never heal out. But there are people in the world who know how to put them on, and will do it for free. When I worked at Sprint, if we knew how to do it and weren't busy we had no problems helping you put it on. Sometimes we just wanted something to do. Also, it's easy to find detailed instructions (YouTube videos, too!) on how to do them. How I see it is, I would rather spend $5 or $10 on a pack of ten or so to learn how to apply them then risk paying a much higher deductible later. I prefer the Zagg Shield for my screen protector of choice because the screen protector is thicker, the bubbles will typically heal themselves, and you have a lifetime warranty on them. They're a little pricier, but I feel like I've saved money and hassle with one of these rather than replacing with a thin, cheaper one every couple of weeks.
But I really do worry about cracking or scratching my screen. Perhaps it's because I'm so used to touchscreen phones needing screen protectors from the tiniest of elements, but even when I assess the situation now I just don't feel comfortable without them. I'm clumsy, I have a toddler, and I straight up don't find smartphones to be that trustworthy.
Which brings us to our next point. The glass used on our smartphones today are arguably way better than where they started out just a few years ago, that much is true. As Mr. Barnard explained in his article, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 alone falls between 534 – 649 kgf/mm^2 on the hardness scale. For those of you who are like me and had to dig a little deeper to understand what that really meant (I'm kind of an idiot, I can admit that) that number means that you're probably not going to have any problems with scratches on your device unless it's by a "steel file". But the key word here is "probably". As a skeptic and a klutz, I do not do well with "probably" because I have just the sort of luck that would land me in the percentage of people who did actually have their screen scratched by something. Just because it's unlikely to happen doesn't mean it won't. Just because the Titanic said it was unsinkable doesn't mean that it didn't. I don't do well with "probablies".
I think the reason this article intrigued me so much right now is because I recently peeled off my Zagg shield once my son took the liberty one day of starting the peeling project for me. This happened about a week ago, and I haven't sent it in for a replacement yet. When I read that article, there was one thing Barnard mentioned that I can agree with - there's something about feeling the bare glass of a touch screen that feels really nice. I've had a Zagg shield on for so long that I forgot what it felt like to touch the glass of a device. It's kind of addicting. And, over the past week I've been fortunate enough to not have any scratches or incidents come my way to where it hasn't been broken. So as somebody who usually doesn't go a second without a screen protector but suddenly found myself without one for a week, it was interesting to read about the perspective of somebody who never uses one at all. But ultimately it all comes down to your personal preference, and it still comes down to how comfortable I feel about my device being without a screen protector. Honestly, I get peace of mind just knowing that there is something, anything, providing that barrier between the elements of the world against my very expensive smartphone. The touch of a smartphone's glass is nice, almost satin-like, but it's not worth the increased risk of paying $150 it would cost me to get a replacement in the end.
Ultimately, it's very much a personal preference. I never thought I would have so much to say about screen protectors or why I use them, but I appreciated his point of view in his article, and it sparked me to really think about how I felt about... screen protectors. I know that sounds really silly when I put it like that, but I'm actually rather intrigued how other people feel about them.
Are screen protectors necessary anymore? Are you the type of person that uses them, or do you prefer to use a device as it was made? Share your opinions with us in the comments below!