Why do most screen protectors come with “backups” when you buy them? If the idea is that the screen protector will keep the phone’s screen from being damaged, wouldn’t one be enough? Or is it that the company knows that the screen protector won’t last and so provides additional ones to avoid complaints? This doesn’t make it seem like the screen protector is doing more than keeping dust off the phone’s screen — what about real problems like a coin or keys rattling around in a jean’s pocket with the phone pressed against it? That’s how scratches can happen.
So maybe Sir Lancelot’s Armor’s Holy Grail series has the right idea — their screen protector isn’t made of flimsy plastic but of hardened, tempered glass. Let’s see if that make the difference.
At a retail of $49.99, you’d expect it to come packaged in something better than a piece of flat cardboard. It does — a substantial tin with an embossed cover. The iPhone 5 screen protector came inside a flat pack that not only provided instructions for its use on the front, but adds a URL for a video demo (worth watching). The foam bed it was lying on, when lifted up, revealed two necessary ingredients for cleaning the screen first: a lubricated clean-wipe and a microfiber cloth. Other screen makers expect you to provide these. Also lying on the foam pack was a card noting the limited lifetime warranty.
Most are familiar with the procedure for placing a screen protector in position on the front of a phone, which requires careful placement after first cleaning the phone’s screen, followed by an alignment with deliberate pressure to get it to stay on without having any air bubbles. None of that was needed. I used my camels hair brush to clean the screen, flicked away some crud with a corner of the cloth and then wiped the surface with the moistened pad. I let the protector dry for about 30 seconds while I noticed how much thicker it was and that it had a black rim to match the black iPhone, complete with cutouts for the Home button and the top grill (making it impossible not to know which side went outward). I removed the back cover and carefully aligned the screen protector with the phone’s screen (illuminated) and pressed it down. Note I didn’t do any “rolling up” of the protector, because there wasn’t any air bubbles to worry about.
But before I did any of this, I placed the screen protector on a table and held it down with the front covering removed. I then ran the edge of one of my keys against it with enough pressure to cause any plastic screen protector to give up. Nothing happened. Good.
Looking at the iPhone’s screen, there didn’t seem to really be any difference in the level of illumination that came through when compared to my wife’s iPhone (both set to the same level of brightness). I did find it a bit easier to slightly “up” the brightness level to eliminate any questions of this. I also held the phone in various positions, from using it to make a phone call to having it face down held parallel with the floor, but the screen protector never budged. Again, good. Also, I hadn’t had to press any harder or more than once when dialing the number of the call and continued this query to see if the touch-sensitive capabilities of the touch-screen had become any less effective. They hadn’t. For practical purposes it was if I hadn’t a screen protector on the phone at all — which is exactly as it should be.
In the case of the Holy Grail Screen Protector for the iPhone 5, you’re not just paying for protection against a dirty screen but also against serious damage. Since I wasn’t going to take the chance with my iPhone, I needed a substitute method to test just how well it could protect the screen. So I purchased a broken down cell phone on eBay and taped it down, screen up, to the floor on my balcony. I placed the Holy Grail screen protector on top of the phone so it covered the screen and taped it down by the edges. I then took the business end of a Philips screwdriver and tapped it — hard — against the screen. Neither the screen protector or the phone’s screen were cracked. I then took a risk and pulled out my Stanley hammer and gave the screen protector a good whack. It wasn’t impressed — removed from the phone, the screen protector looked fine and the phone’s screen the same.
Bottom line: The Holy Grail Screen Protector for the iPhone 5 does what other screen protectors can’t: protect against real calamities that can scratch or even crack the phone’s screen. Considering what a replacement screen for an iPhone 5 costs, if a screen protector is going to be used, this is the one that should be there.
Designed to obviate air bubbles, Removable for repositioning
Anti-glare finish can cause pixelated view at certain angles
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.