People often ask me my opinion about whether or not they should get a screen protector for their iPhone. And while I will discuss some pros and cons of a screen protector shortly, ultimately it boils down to the answer to a simple question: “What did your last phone look like when you were done with it?”
My wife recently upgraded from the Verizon iPhone 3 to the Verizon iPhone 4. Looking back at her iPhone 3, it clearly had some signs of wear, but it was still in re-sellable condition. My Blackberry Curve 8330, however, by the time I was done with it, looked like it had met up with the wrong end of a MACK truck. The Blackberry had been dropped, scraped, bumped, operated on twice, and had the trackball replaced twice (BTW: buy the trackball for a few bucks on eBay and replace it yourself). But with my new fancy, iPhone I did worry about scratching it and whether or not it could withstand the abuse to which I subjected my poor Curve 8330. For a quick review of why I think anyone with a Blackberry Curve should take the leap to an iPhone 4, see this posting).
Now that I have the screen protector I cannot recommend one enough. Here are some pros and cons of the screen protector.
1. You can leave the iPhone in your pocket with your keys and not worry about the screen being scratched.
2. You can give the iPhone to the kids and not worry about them decimating the screen.
1. Installation of a screen protector is easy and takes only a few minutes but is an annoying task. You could go insane spending the time trying to get all the air bubbles out. There are tons of YouTube videos about how to install a screen protector. In each video the person uses a credit card or similar device to smooth out the edges. After 10 minutes of smoothing I couldn’t take it anymore. So my iPhone has some air bubbled on the screen protector and in truth, I don’t care – it does the job and I can see what I need to see just fine (BTW: I’m a heavy email user).
2. So I have the screen protector and my wife doesn’t. The kids still use her iPhone and so far it’s been fine. But when I do look at her iPhone 4, it still looks a little newer than mine and a little brighter (and that makes me somewhat jealous). The screen, IMHO, is positively much crisper without the screen protector. And on the issue of air bubbles, there are people for which the air bubbles are a major distraction and refuse to live with them.
How to Make the Decision
Other than looking at your old phone (I’m serious!), really take a minute to think about the kind of abuse you will put the iPhone through. You could work with a Blackberry with a dent in the screen (been there, done that), but a dent in the iPhone is a much bigger problem. In any case, I think it’s worth the $20 investment to try the screen protector (especially considering that Verizon or AT&T will nail you for quite a bit more than $199 for a new iPhone). The screen protectors usually come with a few in the package (in case you screw it up the first time), but if you try it and you don’t like it, you can give the protectors away to a friend. But for truly persevering the longevity of your iPhone, I think it’s a mistake not to have a screen protector.
What do you think? Can you live without a screen protector on your iPhone?