Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tech Time ::: Bodyguardz "Pure" Glass Screen Protector for iPhone

All photos by {accordingtoame}, except where noted.

After my review of Spigen's UltraCrystal Screen Protectors, which included commentary about how I hate glass protectors and don't recommend them, I got quite a few messages asking which I'd tried, and would I try any in the future if something new caught my eye. Among those messages, several folks asked why I never posted the reviews.  Honestly, I never did reviews on those because I was so aggravated, and I didn't take many photos of the products, that I didn't want to give the brands the free advertising on a product I found generally sucky.

Since so many people asked about why I hate them so much, though, and I had not tried the BodyGuardz version, I decided I would, for the sake of a review, try that one.  I had just scratched the bejeez out of my Spigen. It was bugging me and I just have not had time to mess with it because of orders in progress.  My phone itself was flawless, but the protector needed some love. 

I used this as the opportunity to try something new and hopefully give some folks a review of a much requested product.  Before you proceed, look very closely at the photos I posted of my Spigen product on my screen. Note the flawless edges and the fact that it's near invisible and it's completely smooth around the edges.

As I mentioned above, I simply do not care for the glass protectors. It's not for lack of trying. As you folks know, I try damn near everything, and I try it on my own dime. 

One of the reasons I abandoned the glass variants when the results were not ideal in the past was simply cost. They might be a nice feel on the fingers, but these are not cheap protectors, and for something so pricey to, in my experience, suck overall, is usually a losing game, review-worthy or not. If it's going to pass my muster, it better be FUCKING PERFECT.  So far, I haven't even found one that's kinda average. They've all been ridiculously obvious and you could see the edges very clearly, not to mention that in general, this type will stick up farther off the screen than average protectors which means the home button is deeper (they even require a sticker to raise it up that you cannot use on the 5S) and it's annoying, gunk collects between the protector and the case you're using in a way that doesn't happen with other protectors, and they don't always adhere well like promised.  

And as much as I wanted to find a winner with this one, and I really did think this might be the one, this product is equally awful, in my opinion, and I was reminded immediately why I said never again will I try a glass protector. But for the readers who wanted to get some feedback on them before buying, here's a review and my reasons why.

I was willing to try this one despite that all of that whiny lamentation because of the implied easier removal due to the edge being differently shaped than the others, meaning I could pry it off easier without risking cutting my finger off or destroying my phone in the way that others with a bezeled edge will do.  Besides that, the implication of better protection and less likelihood of chipping from an edge hit was appealing.

This is an infographic they have out explaining the difference in edges vs other brands:

The downside, I think, to it not totally touching on the edges is that there is more obvious edging.

VERY IMPORTANT SIDEBAR::: With these are protectors you absolutely must use a full case that covers the edges and around the front, like say a Speck Candyshell or something to that effect. They are not something you want with a naked phone, for both safety and looks reasons. They're glass, obviously, and sharp, especially when they break. You need that wraparound rubber and plastic to prevent impact to the edge of the protector. But they're also not as thin as the film materials common in other screen protectors. While that can help them most of the time, it's also detrimental if something goes wrong, say in application. Which was where I had my issues.  Again, refer to my Spigen post linked above to see the way a screen protector is "supposed to look" on your screen, i.e. you're not supposed to see it. Like, at all. Those photos are macro, so that you CAN see it, but to the naked eye, no one knew I had that thing on there.

So upon receipt of the Bodyguardz Pure, I opened the package at work, just because it was a slow day, and I was bored of the internet. I had literally seen all of the internet. Please ignore the hideous counter tops I took the photos on.  

Inside the package is the protector, the instructions, a squeegee card, a microfiber cloth that really just makes more dust issues than not, an alcohol swab for you to clean your hands with, the suction cup you use for placement (which is actually very helpful), dust removal stickers, and home button stickers that are only relevant for an iPhone 5, even though I'd skip that.  Oh and a bodyguardz sticker (why?).  

You can sort of tell from this horrific image how thick this protector is from this side view:

And how clear it is (well, duh, it's glass.)

I paid $35.95 for this protector (regularly $39.99, I found a code for, I think, 15% off), for ONE protector in the package. That purchase enrolls you in their "Advantage Program", which essentially means you pay half of that cost for a replacement if it dies due to dropping or impact, or if there's an issue with your install. So, essentially, if you fuck up installing it, you pay half for a replacement versus having one already in the package like you would with most dry apply films, which is absolutely fucking insanely ridiculous. *insert blank stare here.*  I get that if it dies due to you having it save your screen you pay less to replace it. But if there's an issue with install, even if it's one you can't control, like say, the adhesive doesn't really adhere, that should NOT be your dime replacing it.

It is also why I would never in a million years recommend this or any glass protector for anyone not REALLY adept in application. Lining up is fairly easy, easier than any other film style, even. But if you get ONE fuzz under it, you cannot remove it without screwing up the adhesion, or without getting more fuzz under it. It's there for good. 

Also, if your adhesive doesn't fully adhere, which is what I experienced, you're going to have to remove it and replace, at half price, or deal with it, I guess, which is still more than I really think a protector should cost.  I knew that if it didn't work out, I was going to apply my standard Spigen after I pulled it off and not bother with a replacement because 1) cost and 2) unless it really blew me away, why would I pay $20 to replace it?  I already have several Spigens at home, and I like them more anyway.  By now you can probably glean, though, that I was not blown away.

I don't know if you can see in these images how truly "deep" the hole is for the home button, but it's significant. You're really sticking your finger in a hole to use it and all kinds of skin bits rub off on the edges and collect underneath those edges since they don't stick all the way down.

The adhesion issues I experienced were around the edges, and about 1/3-1/2 inch inside the edge towards the middle of the screen.  Clearly inside the screen and clearly visible with the screen both off and on, and incredibly aggravating to my anal-retentiveness.  I couldn't get my camera lens to focus to show you that. Normally if there's ANY sort of flaw in my application that isn't immediately repairable, I scrap and redo right then. 

In an attempt to work with it before it fully "stuck", I lifted it off the screen protector edge very carefully in an attempt to correct it, but with no luck. Then when that didn't help, I tried "palming" it for a while to heat up the adhesive and get it to stick in those areas, but to no avail.  Despite my frustration, I gave this a 6 days to "correct" itself, which sometimes just is a necessity. When it not only didn't correct, but actually looked worse, almost as though it was really missing the adhesive there and stuff started to collect in those areas and all around the edges that won't stick, I knew it was immediately coming off.

Spigen UltraCrystal back on for the win, no more glass protectors for Ame. 

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