Sunday, April 18, 2010
Apple tells us we don't need screen protectors. That's why you won't find them in the Apple Store. Their display technology is rugged enough to stand up to scratches and nicks. That may be true but the iPad screen is no match for the oil on all of our fingertips.
I tried finding screen protectors at my local Fry's and Best Buy last weekend. Fry's still has no iPad-related items and two local Best Buy locations had already sold out of their screen protector shipments. So much for Apple's claim that they're not necessary.
I got lucky yesterday though. One of the Best Buy stores got a shipment in and I grabbed a Zagg InstallShield. The bad news: they retail for $30. That's right. $30. Someone at Zagg clearly understands the law of supply and demand. Heck, I'm surprised they're not gouging us for $100! (I went with front protection only, although their "full body coverage" package is only $10 more. I just don't find myself looking at the back of this iPad very much, so I figured I could save the extra ten bucks.)
The good news is that this thing looks incredibly durable. If you don't believe me, watch the video below. I almost cried watching them do all that to a poor, defenseless iPad.
I've used screen protectors on my iPhone for the past couple of years but Zagg's product is the first one I've used with a spray-on applicator step. They say it's a mostly water-based solution but I'm convinced it dramatically helps with placement and bubble removal. I was able to apply my protector in a couple of minutes, including the time it took to squeegee off the bubbles. I still have a few small bubbles but they're only visible when the iPad is off.
Another thing I like about the InstallShield is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. I placed my receipt in a safe place knowing that I'll never have to buy another iPad screen protector.
Now that it's on I can honestly say my iPad is smudge-free. No matter how many times I tap, pinch, spread or do any other gesture, the fingerprints don't show up. Sure, the bacteria is still there, but at least I don't get a constant visual reminder!
The screen has a slightly different feel with the InstallShield. An uncovered screen is very slippery while the InstallShield sometimes feels like a dry, plastic surface. So if your fingertips are dry you'll find the display isn't as smooth to drag across as it used to be. I've already adjusted though and I almost forgot what the bare screen felt like.
Despite the high price I recommend the Zagg InstallShield. I feel much better about taking my iPad out in public, both because it's more likely to resist scratches and because it no longer looks a DNA-coated prop from the set of CSI.
Posted by Joe Wikert at 2:29 PM