While I’ve constantly been in the anti-screen protector camp for all my iOS devices, the technology continues to get more impressive every year, and I thought it was time to give one a try for my new iPad.
The Steinheil Ultra Optics Screen Protector from Spigen SGP piqued my interest because the company markets it as straddling the border between clear and matte films to provide good image quality while protecting from fingerprints and glare.
Being a hard-coated protector, installation (which is easily the most widely discussed and criticized part of the process) does take a little bit of patience. Spigen SGP thankfully includes a bottle of screen cleaner, a microfiber cloth, and squeegee.
After spraying the screen cleaner on the cloth, users need to wipe down the iPad’s screen fully remove as much dirt, dust, and lint as possible. You can line the screen protector up and then slowly remove its backing while applying the film. There were not too many air bubbles, but what appeared on the screen was easily removed with the squeegee.
And just like every other screen protector installation I’ve ever done, there were a few tiny bits of lint and dust that did get stuck between the film and the screen. Being a perfectionist, I was able to remove most everything with a simple trick. First, place a piece of Scotch tape on the outside corner of the film, nearest to where the obstruction is.
You can then raise the film slightly and use another piece of tape to grab the dust or grime. The entire process took me around 30 minutes for a completely clear screen. And that’s much better than films that require a wet application and may take up to a full day to dry.
Once I was able to view my new iPad’s screen with the film, I was really impressed. While I’ve taken a look at other screen protectors, they have always come off eventually because I felt like the display was blurred.
But with the Ultra Optics Screen Protector, the iPad’s screen definitely shined through. The film has been on my tablet for a little more than a week, and in that time, I’ve never felt like anything on the screen has ever been muddied. Spigen SGP says that the light transmittance has been increased by 50 percent from the previous model, and it really shows (literally).
Other screen protectors famously feature what is called a rainbow or orange peel look when held at a certain angle. I tried to duplicate the look with the film by using my iPad in a number of situations and lighting conditions, but I couldn’t.
And the protector did a great job of fending off fingerprints and glare. I’ve only had to clean it a few times, and it looked perfect once I used the microfiber cloth. I also have had the chance to use my iPad outside, and there was a noticeable reduction of glare.
I could only really find one downside with the protector. Since it is made of vinyl, there is an interesting noise made when you swipe your finger across the screen. The sound is something akin to touching an old record. The sound was most noticeable while playing frantic swiping games like Fruit Ninja. But I did get used to the noise, in time.
Overall, the film is definitely a winner, and I plan to keep it on my iPad. While installation is never a fun process, with a little patience (and some tape) you should be able to achieve lint-free protection.