Are all screen protector brands equally good?

TH55

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 5, 2011
3,134
122
Somehow Apple convinced me I needed a $40 Belkin drawing me in w the lifetime warranty. They didn’t mention that you have to mail in your damaged one leaving your phone unprotected for weeks at a time. How stupid. I just want to spend as little as possible while still getting the best screen protection I can get. Does anyone offer an in-person same day replacement warranty and if not what is the best screen protector for the lowest price?
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,541
808
New Hampshire
I highly recommend the Tethys brand sold on Amazon. I think you get like 3 of them along with the plastic installation guide for around $8. I’ve been using this brand for a few years. They go on easily, hold up well and cheap enough to just switch to a new one when the oleophobic coating starts to wear off. They are also the edge to edge type and barely noticeable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DevinNj

TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
1,198
727
Screen protectors are sacrificial elements that mostly provide superficial protection. Any benefit beyond that is mostly the result of chance, and circumstance, not design.

It makes little sense to purchase expensive ones with warranties, no matter how good, when inexpensive examples of similar quality litter Amazon, some even with recognizable brand names to provide assurance to those who need such a thing. There's usually an entire thread devoted to them for each new iPhone.

As with something like bottled water, there may be instances where a connoisseur maybe able to discern some differences, but at what cost, and for what benefit?

In both examples, their intrinsic value remains almost static, regardless of cost. The $40 piece of thin glass isn't going to be much different than a $4 piece of thin glass, that, like most phone accessories, probably costs a fraction of that to produce. The $40 pays for the convenience, installation, brand name, and support, not all of which is essential to most users for such a product.

Try one of the cheap ones, and if it's not to liking, try another. One could do that multiple times for the cost of a single Belkin.
 

supergt

macrumors 6502
Feb 22, 2019
272
451
Screen protectors are sacrificial elements that mostly provide superficial protection. Any benefit beyond that is mostly the result of chance, and circumstance, not design.

It makes little sense to purchase expensive ones with warranties, no matter how good, when inexpensive examples of similar quality litter Amazon, some even with recognizable brand names to provide assurance to those who need such a thing. There's usually an entire thread devoted to them for each new iPhone.

As with something like bottled water, there may be instances where a connoisseur maybe able to discern some differences, but at what cost, and for what benefit?

In both examples, their intrinsic value remains almost static, regardless of cost. The $40 piece of thin glass isn't going to be much different than a $4 piece of thin glass, that, like most phone accessories, probably costs a fraction of that to produce. The $40 pays for the convenience, installation, brand name, and support, not all of which is essential to most users for such a product.

Try one of the cheap ones, and if it's not to liking, try another. One could do that multiple times for the cost of a single Belkin.
Completely agree with this. Have found many good screen protectors on amazon. They usually send you a three pack for around ten bucks and even if you’re not happy with one they will happily send you more until satisfaction. Not much to lose if you ask me.
 

DevinNj

macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2016
1,339
1,031
New Jersey
Do I use screen protectors with any intention of drop protection, no of course not. I use them for protecting the screen from any potential scratching that may occur. With that being said, I personally see no need to pay for the expensive ones. I pay less than $10 on Amazon and get 3-4 in a pack and come with the install tray so it's near impossible to screw up. As stated above, most of the cheaper ones offer free replacement so to me it's a no brainer.
 

Megapickle

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2018
66
38
I highly recommend the Tethys brand sold on Amazon. I think you get like 3 of them along with the plastic installation guide for around $8. I’ve been using this brand for a few years. They go on easily, hold up well and cheap enough to just switch to a new one when the oleophobic coating starts to wear off. They are also the edge to edge type and barely noticeable.
Do you have any issue with the Tethys black boarder obscuring the sensors at the top of the iPhone?

I tried 2 of their edge-2-edge protectors, and both covered the phone’s light sensor. It was interfering with the auto-brightness.

To their credit, customer support has been excellent!
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,541
808
New Hampshire
Do you have any issue with the Tethys black boarder obscuring the sensors at the top of the iPhone?

I tried 2 of their edge-2-edge protectors, and both covered the phone’s light sensor. It was interfering with the auto-brightness.

To their credit, customer support has been excellent!
I’ve never noticed that being a problem. At least I’ve not noticed it ever being an issue. How did you notice the problem? Did the auto brightness not work at all or flicker or what?
 

alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
1,288
1,329
Do you have any issue with the Tethys black boarder obscuring the sensors at the top of the iPhone?

I tried 2 of their edge-2-edge protectors, and both covered the phone’s light sensor. It was interfering with the auto-brightness.

To their credit, customer support has been excellent!
Sometimes I get the issue with the auto-brightness too but it's not from the protector. Others also have it, I read about it recently.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,167
Here(-ish)
They have varying degrees of quality.

I’ve always been please with multi-packs of amFilm. They have lifetime replacement warranty but you always have more than one on hand.
 

Megapickle

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2018
66
38
I’ve never noticed that being a problem. At least I’ve not noticed it ever being an issue. How did you notice the problem? Did the auto brightness not work at all or flicker or what?
Immediately after applying the Tethys screen protector, the auto brightness started dimming my screen all the way down when exposed to bright light.

I took a close look at the protector, and noticed the black boarder around the edge of the protector was slightly covering the tops of the sensors near the front facing camera. (Hard to see unless you’re in sunlight).

I then realized that under bright light, when holding the phone at a certain angle, the black boarder casts a tiny shadow over the ambient light sensor. There’s enough of a shadow to trick the sensor into thinking the phone is in complete darkness, inadvertently dimming the screen brightness.

Although I used the supplied installation frame and achieved a spot-on install, Tethys customer support asked me to try repositioning the protector so that it doesn’t cover the sensors. I opened the second protector and positioned it as high as possible without covering the earpiece receiver. Unfortunately I still had the shadow problem with the 2nd protector.

After removing the protector, the auto-brightness issue immediately went away. Thethys claimed they never heard of this problem before, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I just got a bad batch of protectors.

I liked their product so much, that I tried to get by without using auto-brightness. But I soon got tired of having to constantly manually adjust brightness.
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,541
808
New Hampshire
Immediately after applying the Tethys screen protector, the auto brightness started dimming my screen all the way down when exposed to bright light.

I took a close look at the protector, and noticed the black boarder around the edge of the protector was slightly covering the tops of the sensors near the front facing camera. (Hard to see unless you’re in sunlight).

I then realized that under bright light, when holding the phone at a certain angle, the black boarder casts a tiny shadow over the ambient light sensor. There’s enough of a shadow to trick the sensor into thinking the phone is in complete darkness, inadvertently dimming the screen brightness.

Although I used the supplied installation frame and achieved a spot-on install, Tethys customer support asked me to try repositioning the protector so that it doesn’t cover the sensors. I opened the second protector and positioned it as high as possible without covering the earpiece receiver. Unfortunately I still had the shadow problem with the 2nd protector.

After removing the protector, the auto-brightness issue immediately went away. Thethys claimed they never heard of this problem before, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I just got a bad batch of protectors.

I liked their product so much, that I tried to get by without using auto-brightness. But I soon got tired of having to constantly manually adjust brightness.
I’m going to try to see if I notice the same in bright light. Up until this point, I haven’t. I could have the same thing but just haven’t been as perceptive as you.
 

Megapickle

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2018
66
38
I’m going to try to see if I notice the same in bright light. Up until this point, I haven’t. I could have the same thing but just haven’t been as perceptive as you.
Please report back with your findings. If you don’t mind taking a look at your phone under sunlight, I would be very interested to know if you notice any of the sensors being partially blocked?

I’m hoping I just had a bad batch of screeen protectors, because I would love to give Tethys a second chance if that’s the case.
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,541
808
New Hampshire
Please report back with your findings. If you don’t mind taking a look at your phone under sunlight, I would be very interested to know if you notice any of the sensors being partially blocked?

I’m hoping I just had a bad batch of screeen protectors, because I would love to give Tethys a second chance if that’s the case.
So the large black holes are just barely squared off at the tops. The tiny spot above the ear piece which I think is the ambient light detection is not covered by the screen protector. The black border is actually somewhat cut out there on mine. Now keep in mind - my iPhone is the X.
 

Megapickle

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2018
66
38
So the large black holes are just barely squared off at the tops. The tiny spot above the ear piece which I think is the ambient light detection is not covered by the screen protector. The black border is actually somewhat cut out there on mine. Now keep in mind - my iPhone is the X.
Interesting! Thanks for replying with that info.

I’m using an XS, and the screen protector that I received definitely does not have any signs of a cut out near the sensors. Maybe I got an early production unit, and small changes were made to subsequent versions?
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,541
808
New Hampshire
Interesting! Thanks for replying with that info.

I’m using an XS, and the screen protector that I received definitely does not have any signs of a cut out near the sensors. Maybe I got an early production unit, and small changes were made to subsequent versions?
I’m away on travel but when I get home on Wednesday afternoon, I’ll send a photo of the protector on white paper to show the cutout.
 

TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
1,198
727
After reading through the mega thread, I chose the Arbalest partly because the borders are thinner than the other favorite, the iCarez. No issues at all, and the closest they come to encroaching on the sensor array in the notch is dot projector portal at the far right, which is also the largest. $9/2 pack, lacks an alignment tray but something I didn't need.

Keeping in mind designs get updated, and suppliers change, especially for commodities like this, there is no absolute guarantee that something purchased months ago is the exact same as what ships now. Something else to be aware of.

Obviously, possible sensor encroachment can be considered one of the small differences that can occur between different brands, and something that designs without borders, or coverage of the notch would avoid altogether.

But, I think such small risks are probably still preferable to most than to lay the big bet on an expensive brand to begin with. And lest those who believe that an expensive protector is more likely to be free of issues, search for the picture of the Zagg XR protector whose cut contours don't even match that of the phone's notch, on this very forum.
 

Megapickle

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2018
66
38
I’m away on travel but when I get home on Wednesday afternoon, I’ll send a photo of the protector on white paper to show the cutout.
Thank you. I believe you about the cut outs. No need to go through the trouble of taking a pic. Appreciate the gesture.

I was actually really happy with Tethys customer service. I wouldn’t mind giving them another shot if there is indeed a protector that is truly compatible with the XS.
 

bigdogn12

macrumors member
Jun 1, 2011
49
9
After reading through the mega thread, I chose the Arbalest partly because the borders are thinner than the other favorite, the iCarez. No issues at all, and the closest they come to encroaching on the sensor array in the notch is dot projector portal at the far right, which is also the largest. $9/2 pack, lacks an alignment tray but something I didn't need.

Keeping in mind designs get updated, and suppliers change, especially for commodities like this, there is no absolute guarantee that something purchased months ago is the exact same as what ships now. Something else to be aware of.

Obviously, possible sensor encroachment can be considered one of the small differences that can occur between different brands, and something that designs without borders, or coverage of the notch would avoid altogether.

But, I think such small risks are probably still preferable to most than to lay the big bet on an expensive brand to begin with. And lest those who believe that an expensive protector is more likely to be free of issues, search for the picture of the Zagg XR protector whose cut contours don't even match that of the phone's notch, on this very forum.

I'm a repeat purchase of the Arbalest, but it's nowhere to be found on amazon anymore. What do you recommend as a second choice, iCarez?
 

TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
1,198
727
I'm a repeat purchase of the Arbalest, but it's nowhere to be found on amazon anymore. What do you recommend as a second choice, iCarez?
If I had to buy now, I'd look at the iCarez, and the Tethys mentioned by others.

I prefer full notch coverage, so the Maxboost and TechMatte are out.

The Ainope is full coverage, but has no border, which may be ok, if the edges of the X/XS screens don't slope as much as the 6/7/8 and cause halos.

Old reviews may no longer be valid, if the supplier or spec has changed. If you look at the review pictures of something like the Tethys, the product shipped now differs from that of the earlier reviews. There are no guarantees, so dice must be rolled.

Too bad, I guess. But that's the nature of the (fleeting) Amazon beast.
 

aloper

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2015
405
414
Rocklin, CA
I’m using the iCarez full edge to edge...like $16 for a pack of three. No issues at all. It has a cutout in the black border, above the speaker, so it doesn’t block the ambient light sensor...so I’ve had no issues with screen brightness. I’m on my second one as the first sacrificed itself, when my phone took a fall and bounced down a few concrete stairs. It was shattered across one corner but the screen beneath was fine...
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.