If there’s one thing we like to talk about here, other than hardware and the Android OS itself, it’s accessories. Accessories are an important part of the Android ecosystem. In many cases, they are reusable from device to device. Other times, they just help to make your phone or tablet more enviable than it already is. In today’s review, I’m going to go over a product that has caused jealousy every time I’ve shown it off to a friend or fellow Galaxy S III owner.
The folks from Spigen were kind enough to shoot me a pair of GLAS Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protectors for my phone, and I’ve graciously used one now for a couple of weeks. Before I share my experiences with you, let me give you the lowdown from the manufacturer’s site, so you know what we’re working with here.
“Samsung Galaxy S III Steinheil GLAS Screen Protector is made to protect the LCD from damage and scratches with a specially processed glass that has been reinforced to increase shock absorbency. The GLAS is transparent with a colored frame and the back side is covered with a strong silicone adhesive for easy installation. When installed, the touch screen’s sensitivity is unaffected.
Transparency with a colored frame in either white or blue
Highly responsive with the touchscreen
Surface hardness : 8~9H : The surface of the GLAS has a hardness of 8-9H, three times stronger than regular PET film. Even sharp objects such as knives and keys will not scratch the GLAS.
Oleophobic Coating : A.F (Anti-fingerprint) coated layer for resistance against smudges and fingerprints.
Anti-Shatter Film : If broken, the GLAS breaks into small pieces that are not sharp, making it safer than other glass products.
Double side adhesive tape
Cut slightly smaller to work with all case types“
OK, so here’s what I’ve got to say about the screen protector. Originally, I got just one of them to test out. Upon its arrival, I was really excited to install it, but was a bit disappointed to find out the screen protector was white, while my Galaxy S III is ‘Pebble Blue’ — not really a big deal at all, especially since I didn’t specifically ask for a blue one — and I definitely wasn’t going to let a cosmetic preference stand between myself and writing this review.
To put it gently, I suck at installing screen protectors. I’m probably 3-for-35, as far as perfect, flawless installs go. Usually, I just take my phone into the local T-Mobile store and let the guy behind the counter work his magic. Of course, this isn’t an option when you’re getting the product in the mail, so I had to brave the installation process myself this time. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I figured it would be.
Installation Number One
As always when installing any new screen protector, I made sure to wash my hands before getting started, and that the area I was working in was clean and dust free. Anyone who has ever installed a screen protector knows, dust is your worst enemy. So after prepping everything, I peeled the protective backing from the screen protector, lined it up, and pressed it down into place.
Seeing as this is a piece of tempered glass, you don’t really have the luxury of peeling off a small section of the backing and working your way down the phone — it’s one shot or nothing here. I had to make sure everything lined up perfectly, so it took a bit of patience and a steady hand. (Don’t apply this thing drunk, OK?)
After getting the screen protector on, I realized I should have applied the home button sticker first. This piece slightly raises your home button, so that it can be pressed with the thickness of the screen protector surrounding it. After the install, it’s a bit trickier to get it lined up perfectly, but it isn’t impossible. Take my advice and save yourself the trouble, though. It’s much easier doing it first — I learned this the second time around.
Installation Number Two
So, you’re probably wondering why I had two of them sent out by now, right? Well, after the first night of use, where everything went great, I noticed that I had lost the ability to press my back button. Not completely, as it would work here and there, but it was a huge annoyance, so I decided to reach out to my contact at Spigen for advice a replacement. I also figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask for a blue one to match my phone.
In the response from Spigen, I was told that the screen protector was only available in white. As you can see in the product details I pulled from the site, it’s supposedly available in blue as well. This could be an error on the site’s fault, or on the part of my contact, but it definitely seemed strange to me that they decided only to go with white. At any rate, they were kind enough to send out another white one to remedy my back button issues, and so that I could continue with my review.
The second time around, I got the screen protector lined up and installed again, this time making sure to hold down firmly on all the corners and edges for a good thirty seconds before going about my business. This time, everything ran smoothly again — until the next morning, when I noticed the irritating loss of responsiveness over the back button rear its ugly head again.
Luckily, a firm press on the area of the screen protector over the back button fixed it right away, this time for another day. Since having it installed the second time, I’ve had to repeat this process probably once a day. It doesn’t take but a second, so it’s not really that much of a bother. I’m going to chalk this one up as there must be a tiny air bubble that works its way down there every so often. Otherwise, all is well and the screen protector is nice and responsive.
Look, Feel, Protection. What More Could You Ask For?
The look and feel the GLAS offers is second-to-none. It’s like having an extra layer of Gorilla Glass to shield your Galaxy S III’s beautiful screen from scratches, nicks, and dings. I use the screen protector with the Amzer Shellster case (I reviewed it a while back) and you can’t even tell there’s a screen protector there, even with the mismatched colors because the case hides the any visible blue areas and all you see is the white face.
The screen feels buttery smooth and, although it does smudge a bit from time to time, it’s definitely not as bad as if you didn’t have a screen protector at all. This is certainly a case of “you have to feel it to believe it”, but you can take my word for it, it doesn’t feel any different than what you’re already working with, but it’s stronger. I used to have to dedicate an entire pocket to carrying my phone — no keys, coins, or anything else — but now I don’t have to be paranoid that I’m going to come away with a scratched screen if I’m in a hurry and don’t have an empty pocket to spare.
I don’t drop my phone very often. In fact, I’ve only dropped it once since I got my GLAS, but it was face down on a hardwood floor from couch seat height and there isn’t any visual proof that the drop ever happened. Had I not had the screen protector installed, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance I’d have come away with a cracked screen from that one. Man, I would have been pissed!
Easy to install
Withstood a drop on hardwood floor (I didn’t test any other surfaces)
Doesn’t alienate the feel of your screen
Slight responsiveness issues near back button
Price is a bit steep, but not too expensive to scare customers away
If you are confident in your screen protector application skills, you might want to consider picking up one of these. In all my days, I’ve never owned such an impressive screen protector, and although I did manage to come away with two dislikes, I still give the GLAS a respectable 4/5 rating.
If you’d like to pick one up for yourself, they run $34.99 on the Spigen website. No sign of them on Amazon yet, so it looks like this may be your only option for now. The bottom line here: if you want to protect that beautiful Galaxy S III screen and look good/make your friends jealous while doing so, look no further. The GLAS is all you need, my friend!
Looking for more Galaxy S III accessories? Have a look at my past reviews: