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My experience with 3 screen protectors + bumper. Still no luck. [Reviews]
I've gone through 3 different brands and just can't find anything that works so far. I'm considering trying out XO skins, but I don't want to keep spending $20 at a time until I find something that doesn't peel. I've compiled detailed reviews of the ones I've tried and will continue to add to them if I don't give up on screen protectors. Hopefully in return, someone can tell me if they've found a back protector with maximum coverage that doesn't peel when the bumper is added on. I'm more concerned about getting a good back cover, but here's my experience so far:
1. ArmorSuit (full body):
Installation: Much easier to install than others because of the wet application. Every review and video I've seen says to use plenty of solution, but I ended up with some trying to pool in the speaker slot. It's good to have a paper towel handy to soak it up as soon as it is squeegeed. The edges come attached on the back protector. I attempted to cut mine off with an exacto knife because I already have a bumper to protect the edges. If you don't want to deal with edges, know that you will have to cut them off the ArmorSuit; they don't come separately like the Best Skins Ever one. Once cut, the installation was extremely easy. Wet, stick, slide into place, wait. Being able to slide it around once it's already on the phone is good for avoiding dust. I didn't have any dust under either protector. I used a hair dryer as suggested to get the front sides to stick to the rounded glass, and it worked out well.
Quality: I had LOTS of indentations/marks in it from the squeegee that never went away. The back had some as well. For a "self healing" protector, I was surprised that they never went away. The protector itself isn't as slippery as the glass; you can feel that it's a little rubbery, especially if you push on it with a fingernail. This didn't affect my use, and my fingers never felt like they couldn't glide enough. The front stuck well to the rounded glass, and it was clear and unnoticeable aside from the squeegee marks. There is only one cutout for both the camera and the flash, so you don't have any protection between the two.
Bumper Interaction: The front never had an issue. Like I said, it stuck well to the rounded glass. The bumper never pushed up the edges of it. No issues at all, but I removed it because of the indentations. The BACK, however, is another issues. I don't know if my experience would have been different if I hadn't cut the sides off. Because it was meant to go over the sides, though, it was not fit for a case or bumper. My bumper immediately pushed up edges when I put it on. After a couple days, all four corners had been lifted and were collecting dust.
Note: If not for the indentations, I would try this one again. I think if I really took my time to cut out a shape that is slightly smaller than the bumper before removing the backing, I could probably make this work. The peeling might be avoidable now that I have experience with the original fit and can cut it just right.
Orange peel effect?: NO
2. Best Skins Ever (full body case fit):
Price: $8.99 + shipping
Installation: Much more difficult to install, being a dry application protector. It sticks like stretchy packing tape. If you position it wrong, it's pretty difficult to pull back up. You also have to squeegee it pretty well to get a uniform stick. As with all screen protectors, you basically need a cleanroom to avoid getting dust underneath. This proved extra difficult with dry application protectors because I had to constantly lift and reposition, whereas I could put a wet one on and just slide it around. By the time I was able to get it positioned just right, I ended up with 7 pieces of dust that found their way in. This happened on both the back and front, but the front ended up being so bad that I just threw it out. For the record, I was careful to remove all the dust before applying, but the positioning part made it very difficult to avoid dust. I think the main problem with the front was that it took a LOT longer because of the rounded edges. It's not made to stick to the rounded edges, so if it's not positioned perfectly a sliver on the side will be lifted from the glass.
Quality: The protector is kind of stretchy, so be careful applying. For the back, it is clear enough to not notice and doesn’t peel. I wasn't able to continue to use the front because it ended up collecting so much dust after 20 minutes of trying to position. It's not perfectly clear, so the edges are pretty obvious to me. Don't get me wrong: I don't think I would notice a difference in clarity if I didn't notice the edges. The best way to describe it is that it slightly reduces contrast. On the back, I can clearly see that the unprotected area is slightly blacker than the protected glass. I liked that there were two separate cutouts for the camera and flash.
Bumper interaction: It had plenty of room for the bumper so it wouldn't peel. The gap between the protector and the bumper was between 4-6mm. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it was enough that I was worried that I'd end up with a nice little border of scratches because so much space was unprotected. I was hoping it would get within a millimeter of the bumper so that it wasn't noticeable and would protect a maximum area. So overall no bumper issues, but the reduced area protection makes it a no-go for me.
Orange peel effect?: YES
2. Halo (front only):
Installation: Easiest dry screen protector I've ever installed (it's a hard protector, unlike the flimsy previous two. After positioning, you lay it flat and it sucks straight on. No squeegee required. They also give you 3 in a pack, so if you manage to mess that up somehow, you have backups. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a sweet spot in positioning. No matter what, it hung over the rounded edges. Reviews said that you'd have to position it perfectly because it's only the size of the flat area. Both the left and right edges hang over about one millimeter for me, so there's no way that I can move it left or right to fix that; it's as centered as it will ever be, and the edges still hang over. Other than that, installation was super easy for a dry protector, and I only ended up with two bubbles from dust. Like I said, it's near impossible to get these dry ones on without dust because it takes so long to get them positioned perfectly.
Quality: For a front protector, it was very clear. Since it's more of a hard protector, it feels more like glass than a screen protector. The cutouts are in the right place. The edges are even more obvious than the BSE skin because it is noticeably thicker. The side edges are just a little too wide, though. No matter what, it won't fit perfectly, so it is going to start collecting dust very quickly. It seems like it isn't going to pick up scratches easily, so self healing isn't necessary. It comes in a 3 pack, though, so there are always backups if it does.
Bumper Interaction: No issues. It's a front only protector that doesn't go past the rounded edges, so there's no way the bumper will touch it. This does leave the rounded edges exposed, though. I don't expect the front to get scratched anyway, but I thought I'd try out the front protector just because.
Orange peel effect: NO