My phone took a tumble today.

I was not performing a drop test for an upcoming video.  I was not taking a selfie while riding a bike.  Nor was I trying to balance my Sony Z3v on my second-floor windowsill with the screen open.

The series of events that led to my phone performing its rendition of a Tom Petty song were as follows: park car, open door, wear sweatpants with loose pockets, phone falls out as I get out.  Mild heart attack.

Sounds like something that could happen to anyone right?  Heck it probably has already happened to a few of you.

Thank goodness I had a screen protector.

As I flipped the phone over I winced at the fresh crack stretching across the screen.  My poor Sony.

I’m usually extremely careful with my devices.  I treat them like they are children.

Today however, I had opted to forgo the Incipio case.  If I had taken the 30 seconds to put my Z3v snuggly into its case this probably wouldn’t have happened.  This article probably wouldn’t have been typed.

The screen still turned on and the digitizer still functioned.  So far so good.

As I peeled the screen protector off, I became relieved.  The $5.00 accessory did its job and it did it well.  The screen is in perfect condition.  You would never know I had dropped it.

Plan on paying an extra $6.00-25.00 when you buy your phone because a screen protector is the first accessory that you should invest in after purchasing.

There are a few types of screen protectors to choose from.

Low Quality

The first are the cheapest in quality.  These are the ones that are typically sold by Verizon, AT&T or any other carrier store.

screen protector

Sold as “Anti-scratch”

They are made of an incredibly thin film that barely offers any real protection.  Usually these screen protectors will come in sets of three to try to persuade you to buy them.  A screen protector should not be replaced often, if ever.

You will want to avoid these.


Price – roughly $12.00

Protection – Low

Putting on – Easy

Not recommended

Medium Quality

Next on the list are the ones that are “wet application” protectors.

These are typically made of a flexible rubber material and come with a spray bottle of adhesive.  Zagg’s InvisibleShield Original is the perfect example of this.

These are made of a thick rubber material

The InvisibleShield Original is what put Zagg on the industry map and made them a household name.

I used Zagg Originals for years and swore by them.  However, now that easy-apply protectors are out there, I’ve moved on.

Wet application means that you have to spray your hands with the adhesive and the protector itself.  After placing it on your phone you have to use a credit card to squeegee out the air pockets and excess liquid.  It’s a messy and a time-consuming process which can really deter people from buying them.

The adhesive for wet application

Putting the setup behind us, the actual protection is good.  You can drag your keys across the surface and it “self heals” by warping back into place.

Another neat trick is that they keep your screen together in case it does crack because the adhesive acts as a glue.

I don’t totally recommend these, but I also don’t say to completely avoid them either.


Price – roughly $15.00

Protection – Good

Putting on – Messy and kind of difficult

Not quite recommended

High Quality: Rugged Plastic

Here is a screen protector class that you will want to consider.

These are of an extremely high-quality plastic and are easy to apply.  My iPad Mini 2 is currently sporting this type of screen protector.  It is Zagg’s HDX.

This is the most expensive type on our list, but is worth it.

It feels smooth and is crystal clear.  It has quick tabs that you use to apply to the screen.  The process takes maybe 30 seconds tops.

iPad Mini screen protector

The Zagg HDX is barely noticeable on my iPad Mini 2

I’ve had the iPad Mini covered in the same HDX screen protector for two years now and not once has it cracked or shown any wear.  Like I said, a screen protector should not be replaced often.  You sometimes get what you pay for.


Price – $20.00-25.00

Protection – Very Good

Putting on – Easy


High Quality: Tempered Glass

Finally we’ve arrived at tempered glass screen protectors.  I am a huge advocate of these.

They are thin.

They feel fantastic.

They are durable.

They are cheap…in price, but wicked high in quality.

A tempered glass screen protector is what saved my Sony Z3v from shattering.  It is by TechFilm.  I’ll give them a shout out.

Click on an image above to see the full resolution

I spent a total of $5.00 on the original tempered glass protector and have already put in an order for another.  That original slab of glass lasted almost an entire year and only broke because my phone fell onto the driveway.

Tempered glass is made to absorb shock from a drop.  If broken, it cracks and fragments into dull pieces just like the windows in your car.

Zagg also makes glass screen protectors, but charges an arm and leg for them.  Any tempered glass screen protector you find on Amazon that is less than $10.00 is exactly what you want.


Price – $5.00-10.00

Protection – Very Good

Putting on – Easy

Highly recommended

So there you have it.  There are the four types of screen protectors available and my Sony Z3v survived another day because of tempered glass.

Again, I’d like to reiterate…BUY A SCREEN PROTECTOR ALONG WITH YOUR PHONE.  You can never be too careful with a $500+ device.

Any corrections or questions?  Don’t know what protector you should get?  Let me know in the comments below!

Recent Penn State grad who loves all things mobile. Has a knack for teaching and enjoys a bit of alliteration.

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