Since the existence of smartphones, screen protectors have been a necessary evil to protect displays from unwanted scratches. Often made of plastic, these still remain highly effective for the intended task. Over the years, manufacturers have expanded their offerings with different styles. You can purchase versions that offer a matte finish and in some cases, there are different price points for higher quality options. These are still available and prices have come down incredibly low, with a 3-pack often costing less than $10. In my experience, the Corning Gorilla Glass on the iPhone has seen vast improvements. Scratch protection is a smaller battle when looking to keep your iPhone in pristine condition. Of greater concern is protecting your iPhone 6 against screen damage, should it incur any type of ground impact. I’ve found these can easily be offset by purchasing a bulky case like an Otterbox, but that’s not ideal for most folks who want to retain the slim form factor, instead opting for a minimal case like Apple’s Leather or silicone case. For those looking for a higher level of display protection, you might want to consider a tempered glass screen protector. I’ve been using the Zagg InvisibleShield Glass (available for both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus) for the last few weeks and have been impressed.
- How to install the Zagg Glass on iPhone
- How and what it protects
- Does it fit with a case
- What happens when an iPhone with tempered glass meets the pavement
- Pros and Cons
How to install the Zagg Glass on iPhone
When you purchase a tempered glass screen protector, you get one. That’s due to the higher cost and quality of the product and applies not only to the Zagg Glass, but any manufacturer offering a similar product. Included in the box is an alcohol wipe, microfiber cloth, instructions and the Glass.
The Glass itself has plastic covering both the front (where it adheres to your display) and the back (removed after install). Zagg provides a video describing the install method. Before you rush off and watch it, I do have some issues with their prescribed method.
With any screen protector, installation is best done in a dust-free and well-lit environment. One trick I’ve learned is to turn on a hot shower and install in a bathroom. This tends to reduce the micro dust in the air. The install process is relatively straight-forward, but truth be told, it can easily go bad. They include a wet wipe to clean your display. The actual process is a dry install, which is light years ahead of the days when we had to squeegee water, only to see it drip off the sides of our phones.
Remove the front plastic and the Glass is ready to applied to the iPhone. On the back, Zagg includes two tabs on the top and bottom of the protector. Now in their instruction video, they show the install done with the iPhone laying horizontally. I’ve found that method makes it slightly more difficult to line up the home button. For me, that was critical in performing the best possible install. By having your iPhone vertical, I found it easier to align.
Once the Glass hits the display, it immediately starts to adhere with minimal effort. The yellow tabs don’t offer much in the way of paddling back from poor alignment. Pulling these will just remove the yellow backing from the Glass. Have a piece or two of scotch tape available. You can apply these to the back of the protector to pull up and re-align, if need be. I’ve also used them to pull up a rogue piece of dust that got caught under the protector during one of my installs.
Once you apply the Glass and are comfortable with the alignment, press in the center of the screen. You’ll see it crawl to edges. I’ve done a handful of tempered glass installations and I’ve had little in the way of air bubbles. Gently pushing outwards to the edges is sure to remove any remaining bubbles.
How and what it protects
The Zagg InvisibleShield Glass is tempered glass rated at 9H hardness. It’s incredibly thin at just .4mm. With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple has moved to displays that are curved at the edges. This certainly helps, even if just a bit, with reaching certain tap targets. That could be intentional or just a result of a design that simply looked great. It does however present a problem for accessory manufacturers like Zagg. Glass by definition is rigid, making it difficult to account for the edge of the display. A quick perusal of comparable products on Amazon yield a similar result – none offer edge to edge coverage. Going back to the durability of Gorilla Glass, scratches shouldn’t be your biggest concern. Dropping your iPhone and being out $130 to replace a smashed display; that’s what you should be looking to prevent. The Zagg Glass is certainly capable, should the impact zone be the actual protector. These corners still represent a weak spot. Maybe it’s not a major issue, but tell that to the architects behind the Death Star.
Does it fit with a case
Zagg markets Glass as being ‘case friendly’. Not being able to provide edge-to-edge coverage does have some advantages. I would safely say that most cases will fit with the Glass installed. I’ve been using it with Apple’s Leather case without issue. That’s not to say it’ll fit all cases. Certainly any case that covers the front of the iPhone may not work. If you are planning on using this product with a case, those gaps of coverage may no longer be a concern, considering most cases will grip the sides and corners. Here it is shown with the Apple Leather Case.
I’ve found the Zagg Glass to be incredibly smooth whether tapping, swiping or using gestures. Everything works exactly the same as a stock iPhone, with absolutely no loss in touch sensitivity. It also has remarkable clarity. I didn’t find I lost any of the vivid detail of the retina display. But what about the feel? For comparison, I did a thumb comparison on the iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s, which had no screen protection. To my surprise, the Glass was smoother and felt better. I’ve always been of the notion that it was exactly like the iPhone’s display, but in fact, it feels a bit better. The edges are beveled. Due to the increased size of the iPhone 6, I hardly encounter the edges. The 0.4mm thin size coupled with beveled edge does make it hardly noticeable, even when purposefully sliding your thumb between the display and the protector.
Zagg Glass features an oil-resistant nano-coating. I found it to be comparable to the oleophobic screen on iPhones. Yes, it will get some fingerprints, but it’s certainly better than most phones. At no point did I find the fingerprints to be an issue and a t-shirt rub clean things up quickly. Overall, this seems to work very well as a natural extension of the iPhone. The true test of any accessory is to ‘not get in the way’ and at the same time, add value. This product accomplished both.
What happens when an iPhone with tempered glass meets the pavement
When an iPhone hits concrete or any hard surface, it has an uncanny ability to shatter the screen. Seriously, I’ve met entirely too many folks who needed only one drop to completely shatter their displays. Thankfully, the cost of replacing a screen has dropped significantly. Still, $130 isn’t a drop in the bucket and AppleCare+ costs $99 plus $79 for each incident. In theory, the Zagg Glass will shatter instead of your display, provided it doesn’t hit the exposed edges I referenced above. It won’t create shards of glass. In fact, you can simply peel it off and exchange for a new one, at no additional cost.
Pros and Cons
- Protects screen and thus costly replacement in event iPhone is dropped
- Truly becomes ‘invisible’
- Incredibly smooth surface
- Works with most cases
- Free replacement if damaged
- Does not offer 100 percent coverage
- Install process can be tricky
Tempered glass screen protectors handle double duty. They protect your iPhone against scratches and in the event of a drop, it could seriously save your display and thus a costly screen replacement. The Zagg Glass isn’t perfect, but like all third-party manufacturers, it’s virtually impossible to get one hundred percent coverage due to Apple’s decision to curve the edges. Zagg has made the choice to not overextend the size of the protector. If I had to guess, they’re betting that you’re going pair this with a case. The trade-off is sacrificing a few millimeters of coverage for a screen protector that works with most cases. Installation is relatively easy, provided you’re not hung up on achieving the perfect alignment. Again, most of this is offset when you put a case on your iPhone. Having tempered glass protection means you can opt for a more minimal style case. After weeks of use, I found the Zagg Glass to be a fantastic product and one that I highly recommend.