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Screen protector article for an IT supplies company

How are tempered glass screen protectors different from plastic ones?

Imagine if you dropped your phone or tablet and badly damaged the screen. How would you feel? Annoyed? Devastated?


It would probably depend on how bad the damage was, and how much effort you’d made to protect your screen.


These days, if you choose to protect your screen, you’ve two main options – a plastic screen protector or a tempered glass one. This article explains some of the differences between them and provides background information on the technology.


Plastic Screen Protectors


Plastic protectors have been around for a while and are a cheap way to give some protection to your screen. They’re typically around 0.1 to 0.2 mm thick, and provide some resistance to scratches – but they’re not particularly effective against knocks.


They also don’t feel as good as the glass screens they’re protecting, especially in terms of how smoothly your finger glides across the surface. Many people also find them difficult to apply, so you end up with unsightly bubbles beneath them.


They are, though, cheap.


Tempered Glass Screen Protectors


Tempered glass protectors are slightly more expensive, but provide many advantages. They use a multi-layer technology that gives extra protection to your screen.


The top layer – an oleophobic coating – reduces fingerprints and smudges on the screen.

Below it is the tempered glass, which protects against scratches. The glass is given a hardness rating based on “the pencil test”. In this test, pencils with lead hardness from 6B (softest) to 9H (hardest) are pressed firmly on the surface at an angle of 45 degrees. The glass is given a rating based on the hardest pencil that doesn’t scratch the surface. 9H is the highest rating – that is, the most resistant to scratches.


Next, comes a shatter resistant layer, which protects the screen from accidental knocks and drops.


The lowest layer is a silicone adhesive to attach the protector to the touchscreen of your device. The nature of the adhesive and the stiffness of the tempered glass make it very easy to apply – so no more bubbles!


Tempered glass screen protectors are precision cut and tailored for your phone or tablet. They’re available for:

  • Devices with completely flat touchscreens – called 2D glass – such as the Samsung S5

  • Devices with a slight curvature at the edge of the glass display (also known as a contoured edge) – called 2.5D glass – such as the Apple iPhone 6

  • Devices with a fully curved display – referred to as 3D – such as the Samsung S6 Edge




If you want to protect the screen of your mobile phone or tablet, you can use a tempered glass screen protector or a more old-fashioned plastic one.


You will pay a bit more for the tempered glass version, but will get lots more protection against scratches and knocks, a nicer feel from the surface and absolutely no bubbles!




© 2012–2020 by David Bain / Write On Target