Smart Shopping, Bigger Savings - Welcome to OnlineDealsMart, Your Ultimate Deal Destination

Your Screen Protector Is Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

When you’re buying a new smartphone, salesmen love pestering you to buy some increased protection — insurance, a case, and, obviously, a screen protector. The screen protector has long been hailed as a necessity, costing anywhere from $10 to $60. These little slips of plastic and glass have ballooned to a $50 billion industry, but there’s a dirty secret underneath it all. Your screen protector may not be essential anymore.

You wouldn’t be crazy for wanting to protect your screen. Cracking your screen is the number one way to break your phone, followed by water damage and battery issues. However, the glass in your phone has gotten significantly stronger in the last five years. Some experts say you might be able to skip the screen protector, and even warn about some relatively unknown downsides that salespeople aren’t telling you.

“It’s really not particularly useful,” said Raymond Soneira, CEO of DisplayMate Technologies, about screen protectors in an interview with Gizmodo. Soneira’s company researches how to optimize your phone’s display. He doesn’t use a screen protector, just a phone case, but caveats this by noting he is very careful with his phone and rarely ever drops it.

DisplayMate found that screen protectors make your phone more reflective. This reduces the quality of your display and requires you to increase your phone’s brightness to match the same quality. Over time, he says this will wear down your phone’s battery, and give you a shorter daily battery life.

However, the phone community is mixed on this screen protector issue. iFixit Repairability Engineer, Carsten Fraunheim notes that screen protectors can be useful against scratches, micro-abrasions, and just give you peace of mind. He calls them a “no-brainer” but admits they’re less essential than they used to be.

“As smartphone glass tech becomes more and more shatter resistant, screen protectors will lose their ‘drop protection’ selling feature,” Fraunheim said in an email.

Even the liquid screen protectors have their issues.

“Liquid wipe-on screen protectors are snake oil,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens in an email. He says that this variety of protection actually compromises the structure of your screen, though he had no comment on panel-style protectors.

Trey Barnett, a computer technician at a Manhattan uBreakiFix, has seen a lot of cracked screens in the 14 years he’s been repairing phones. However, he sees fewer iPhones with broken screens than he used to.

“I would say that screens have gotten a bit stronger, but, you know, it hasn’t stopped people from breaking them altogether.”

There is an obvious argument in favor of screen protectors: they cost less than replacing your phone screen. While that’s true, the chances of having to repair your screen are far lower than they used to be. The multi-billion dollar screen protector industry would like to keep that on the down low.

Origins of The Screen Protector

In 2021, Apple’s iPhones started using Ceramic Shield, a new material that claims to be tougher than any previous smartphone glass. It comes from Corning, a glass company that Steve Jobs commissioned to produce the first screen for the iPhone in 2007.

Jobs famously gave Corning a 6-month deadline to produce the iPhone’s screen, which was originally planned to be plastic. Corning got it done, creating an especially strong, thin material called Gorilla Glass. This material would be used in the first decade of iPhones and is still used in most Samsung phones.

Gorilla Glass is stronger than most glass, but it wasn’t great at first. Screen protectors for phones almost immediately popped up, as consumers raced to wrap their phones in protective materials.

Apple forums in 2008 were full of people discussing early screen protectors. The first iPhone adopters quickly scratched their Gorilla Glass displays. Some users found these early screen protectors were so bad they messed with the iPhone’s touch screen. Screen protectors have gotten much better, but so have screens themselves.

Ceramic Shield was a major leap forward for screen technology. The materials used in Ceramic Shield are much different from typical smartphone glass. Corning describes it as somewhere in between ceramics and glass, and Apple says it’s four times stronger than Gorilla Glass when it comes to drops.

However, these major improvements have flown under the radar. That may have something to do with the growth of the screen protector industry. By 2030, the industry is expected to grow to roughly $85 billion, according to Grand View Research.

Why Screen Protectors Persist

Anyone who has cracked their phone screen will tell you how painful that experience is. Even though phone screens have gotten much better, the replacement process is scarring enough to make anyone just buy the dang screen protector.

It’s totally understandable why you might put your phone in a screen protector still. It is a large investment, but there’s more and more evidence that screens are getting better. A good phone case alone may be sufficient.

So at what point do we ditch the screen protectors? These flimsy films could be degrading the quality of that very expensive screen in your pocket, and they are potentially running through your battery. Screen protectors are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Trending Products

Add to compare
Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Add to compare
CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

Add to compare
Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)

Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart