ClearPlex iPhone 5 Screen Protector
I know, I know, the iPhone 5 screen is made from Gorilla Glass and it is designed to take a beating – but you know what? I am clumsy and I tend to drop things and having a solid screen protector gives me the confidence to treat my phone as roughly as I desire. So when I saw a video of a ClearPlex protected iPhone emerging unscathed after being shot with a pistol… I became intrigued.
I contacted ClearPlex, had a few screen protectors sent my way and set to work putting them to the test. The package comes with two pieces of film: one for the front and one for the back. I use a fairly solid case, so I don’t really need a back – so I put that one on first and used it for practice.
The installation is not especially complicated – but it is worth reading the instructions. There is a process involved, and if you stick to it the results are likely to turn out a lot better than if you do not.
To start off, you want to make sure that your iPhone is perfectly clean, and free of dust or smudges. A cleaning cloth is included in the pack for this purpose. Then, you should wet your fingertips (this helps you to avoid leaving fingerprints). A little spray bottle is included in the package, it contains a liquid that apparently helps with the adhesion process – you want to make sure that the surface of the iPhone has a good coating of the solution before you stick on the ClearPlex screen protector. The next step is obvious: you peel the film off its plastic backing and stick it on your iPhone.
What you are left with, at this point is a blotchy-looking mess – which, if you failed to read the instructions in their entirety, would have sounded a lot better than it looks. You need to let it sit for a period of time (I left it for about half an hour) before you use it, then you need to start pushing the bubbles out towards the edge of the screen. There is no need to get too carried away as the improvement at this point in time is only by a matter of degrees.
It takes almost a full week for nature to take its course. After that, whatever solution was left behind evaporates and you get left with a nice clear screen.
No matter how clear any screen protector is, it is always going to be an extra layer of material between you and the Retina Display. That being said, the ClearPlex is very clear. It is not noticeable when the brightness is high, and barely noticeable when the brightness is turned down.
The ClearPlex did not impede my usage of the iPhone in any way. The touch screen remained just as accurate and responsive. In fact, there was a surprising benefit in having the screen. The surface of the ClearPlex is slick, according to the company it is 22.2% smoother than glass. Less friction might not sound like a selling point, until you experience it for yourself. It feels pretty good. Another thing that I noticed, which I am not sure is a result of the screen protector, is that my phone seems to attract a good deal less dust with the screen protector in place.
As to how it performs in its actual job of protecting your iPhone from damage – that is harder to judge. Gorilla Glass is already very tough, but the added piece of mind does not hurt. It will protect your screen from scratches and is said to increase break resistance by up to 39%. While I would love to put these claims to the test, I don’t really want to hit my shiny new phone with a hammer.
What I will say is this. I have dropped my phone a bunch of times; I have thrown it in my pocket with keys; I have treated it shabbily and it is yet to show a scratch – and it looks a lot better than the screen protector that came with my OtterBox Commuter.
With screen protectors, how they come off is just as important as what they are like when they go on. The removal instructions are pretty simple. Use a piece of card to pry up the protector around the edges and then peel it off. It comes off very smoothly, but requires a little finger strength to get the job done. If you find this difficult, I would recommend getting the first inch or so started by hand and then using a pair of flat nosed pliers to finish the job (just be careful that they don’t come into contact with your phone.
Once I removed my ClearPlex, there was no trace that it had ever been there.
Shooting a phone to prove the strength of a screen protector is a great marketing gimmick, but when it comes to the crunch it really only has to do two things: stop your screen from getting broken if it falls glass first onto a rock; and keep the screen from getting scratched if you throw your phone into a pocket with some keys. If it can do those things and you can see through it, and the touch functionality works as it did before, then it has done its job.
The ClearPlex did everything that it was designed to do but the biggest advantage that it offered over the other screen protectors that I played with was, oddly enough, the texture. It feels better to use than the iPhone 5’s bare glass and the price is right.