Spigen GLAS.t Tempered Glass Screen Protector for the iPad 2/3 Review*

Adel Gabot

Screen protectors for the iPad are a big iffy proposition.

Some folk contend that it isn’t really necessary, that the iPad’s glass screen is built to take punishment, built to withstand the slings and arrows of everyday life and is tough enough to weather everyday wear and tear. Just wipe the screen down with a damp cloth every now and then and you’re good to go. Besides, that beauteous retina display has to be enjoyed in its pristine state and it would be a pity for it to be covered up and ruined by some film.

Some take the safe route and purchase a screen protector just to be sure. There’s something reassuring about a screen protector giving an extra layer of resistance. All manner of screen protectors abound: matte, glossy, anti-fingerprint, anti-scratch, anti-glare, crystal film, cheap, expensive — take your pick. Just make sure that it’s a good quality screen protector so you don’t ruin your iPad screen experience by much.

In my iPad life, I’ve given in to temptation once, and bought an expensive oleophobic, anti-glare, anti-scratch film for my iPad 2, and was immediately… unsure of my purchase. True, the iPad 2 screen was protected from scratches and largely free from glare, but it was no more resistant to fingerprint marks and smudges than the original screen, and frankly, I couldn’t really tell the difference. There was this weird rainbow effect when light fell on the screen in a certain way, but on the whole the experience was underwhelming. Still, there it was, and there it stayed, with me wiping it down of fingerprints and smudges every now and then as I would have had I left the screen as it was.

When I traded in my iPad 2 for the new iPad, I wondered if I should get a screen protector this time. I had bought a Targus back cover (largely because it was the only 3rd generation case available at the time), and I had my trusty old gray polyurethane Apple SmartCover. I said, nahhh, forget it.

That was until I saw the Spigen GLAS.t Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protector. They had been around before, making glass screen protectors for the iPhone, and now they’ve come up with a version for the iPad 2 and the new iPad (sorry, iPad 1 users are out of luck).

It protects glass with glass. It wasn’t made from some protective film from Japan or someplace like that — it’s actually a layer of thin, transparent, chemically treated and processed tempered glass that is just 0.4mm thick, and adheres to the iPad’s glass screen by advanced silicone adhesives.The glass’s surface hardness is 8-9H, and is coated with an oleophobic anti-fingerprint layer. If by the remote chance it broke, it wouldn’t shatter into sharp shards of glass, it would break into many harmless little pieces you can easily get rid of.

It comes in attractive packaging (as well it should, for the price), and with the glass screen protector there comes a squeegee, a microfiber cloth and an alcohol swab. You use the alcohol swab to wipe your iPad clean and buff it with the microfiber cloth to make sure no scuffs, fingerprints or dust remain before you apply the screen protector. Unfortunately the advanced silicone adhesive is a one-time only application, and you have to get it right the first try; unlike other protectors, there is no do-overs with this one. This baby’s for keeps, and you better get it right.

Once you get it into position, you tap gently on the center, and static cling and the adhesives work their magic, sticking the protector to your iPad from the center outwards by itself until it fills up the screen. You can use the squeegee to ease out any bubbles that remain; in any case if any small bubbles do remain, they disappear over the next day or two. There were hardly any bubbles when we applied mine, thankfully.

You can’t tell there’s a protector there after you put it on. It practically disappears into the iPad. Here’s a look at mine with the GLAS.t on:

Absolutely no difference from the original screen, save for the slightly deeper depression the home button is now at, a result of the (negligible) thickness of the screen protector. People who shy away from screen protectors can get this, as it doesn’t affect anything in the iPad’s functions. It’s a case of put it on and forget about it.

There’s no reduction in response time, things still swipe and shift and click and enlarge, and in appearance, it’s as if there’s literally nothing there. Using other protective cases like the SmartCover and folios and back covers are unaffected; you can go on using them as before.

Marketing videos on Spigen’s website show the GLAS.t being attacked with scissors and knives and screwdrivers and keys and nails and all manner of damaging objects – I think I’ll just take their word for it. It’s enough to know that my iPad is well protected in case it came to be attacked by these things.

Here’s the catch: the price.

The original GLAS.t for the iPhone came a a price far beyond any of the screen protectors available, and this one isn’t any different. It retails for just under P4,000. By far it’s the most expensive accessory I’ve ever gotten for the iPad. But hey, it’s tempered glass, not some simple crystal film. It’s expensive, but let me tell you, it’s worth every centavo.

It’s the best, most durable, yet also the most unobtrusive screen protector available for the iPad 2 or the new iPad available anywhere. Fence sitters are well-advised to get their asses off the damn fence and get this thing, no matter how much it costs.

You won’t regret it.

Availability: All Applewerks branches

Price: P3,890

Likes:

  • Made of tempered glass!
  • No effect on any of the iPad’s functions
  • Lasts forever (or at least the iPad’s life)

Dislikes:

  • Expensive!

 

*Reprinted from Technoodling


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