Review of Siege Glastimate Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Samsung Galaxy S4

PROS:

  •  Comprehensive application package
  •  Fuss-free application
  •  Amazing Clarity
  •  Mirror smooth touch
  •  Extremely Resistant to Smudges
  •  Extremely Resistant to scratches
  •  Extremely thin profile

CONS:

  •  Lack of complete coverage of the screen
  •  Puzzling packaging choices
  •  $50 Price tag

Introduction

The Siege Glastimate screen protector is no stranger to TwentyFirstTech. Our iOS editor, Shiv, gave it multiple plaudits for the iPhone 5 version, and I do not disagree. An initial sceptic of glass screen protectors as well, I was won over by the sheer durability of the tempered glass, a brilliant oleophobic anti-fingerprint coating, and the amazing transparency that has brought out the full vibrancy of the screen.

For Shiv’s review of the Siege Glastimate screen protector for iPhone 5, please click here

Little differs between the iPhone 5 version of the screen protector and the Galaxy S4 version. Both are ultra-thin at 0.2cm, and both perform extremely well under rigorous day-to-day use. The sole difference is the lack of a paste-on home button because unlike the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S4 home button already protrudes from the phone surface. A paste-on button sticker is therefore unnecessary. Other than that, it is the very same sheet of tempered glass that had convinced our iOS editor that the definition of awesome needed redefining.

Packaging

The first thing that strikes you about the Siege Glastimate box is that it’s unapologetically minimalist. It’s obviously a nod to Apple’s design philosophy, and will look great next to the hordes of boxes that I’m sure adorn the shelves of every Apple faithful. The paper covering takes a bit of struggling with to open, but with enough care and dexterity, is possible to remove without damaging.

Unlike Apple though, the opening process feels like opening a Pandora’s box. There are a total of 3 boxes inside, each with its own ‘equipment’ trays, then a sleeve, followed by various plastic protective parts. Box 01 (yes its nicely labelled for you), contains the sheet of glass itself, whilst Box 02 contains the cleaning cloth, tape to remove dust, and various other nifty peripherals.

I’m not entirely that great a fan of the way this was packaged. It’s visually appealing, but not exactly the most practical. But really, you’re only going to go through this once so it does not matter. After all, it is the most comprehensive screen protector kit I’ve seen around.

Application

It’s almost a pity then, that the screen protector is so easy to apply. Plastic screen protectors require a pair of really deft hands to get on nicely, and even so there’s the occasional air bubble here and there. This being a rather rigid film, its hard to get things wrong, and air bubbles are eliminated easily. The adhesive layer is also extremely high quality. Repeated applications do not damage the screen or the protector. Perhaps though, it is too much of a good thing.

Being really obsessive over this sort of details, every single fine bit of dust warranted a reapplication. After 5 or 6 tries, my failure to grip the screen protector properly resulted in damage to the upper left edge. Because this is rigid glass we are talking about, my phone has now been permanently scarred with a pretty noticeable air bubble at the top. The only fault Siege has in the matter, was making removing the protector such a tempting proposition.

Clarity

Shiv has already mentioned that its really difficult to test out Siege’s claim that 99.9% of light is let through. All i can say is, the protector has brought every last pixel in my Galaxy S4’s 441 PPI super AMOLED screen. Colours are that much more vibrant, and the screen that much more fine. It is comparable, if not even better than, a bare screen. Not even the best glossy plastic films that I’ve tried to apply can match up to this standard. It’s hard to prove this even qualitatively but I guess you just have to take our word for it. To give you an idea of what I mean, even Facebook blue took on a different, truer hue, after changing the screen protector. This glass is a colour enhancer, it boosts viewing angles, saturation, contrast and just about every metric you can measure for a screen.

Feel

Prior to my experience with this screen protector, any touchscreen device always created a quixotic dilemma. You could live without thumbprints with a matte screen protector, or you could experience a brilliant, vivid, sharp screen with a glossy screen protector. It was always one or the other, not both. The Siege Glastimate, however, is both.

The screen feels smooth to the touch, mirror smooth in fact, but not slippery. This makes touching the phone such a spirited, sensual experience, that its something you look forward to after a hard days work. Its clearly better than plastic or even the bare screen. And it gives you such a warm, fuzzy, tingly sensation that you can’t help but smile as you caress the screen of your phone.

A phone is subjected to all sorts of abuse in the 21st century, because we cant stop using them. I must admit to handling my phone while my hand was still dripping with Finger Lickin’ Good Chicken, and perhaps in various other sticky situations. Bottom-line is, I handle my phone with really, really oily hands. Previously, I’ve had to wipe my phone with a damp cloth every day, then go over it with a micro-fibre cloth. Even then, residue built up after a couple of weeks and my $900 new-fangled toy soon lost its luster. It’s heartbreaking to say the least.

The oleophobic coating on the Siege Glastimate screen protector is hence literally God-send. My phone screens have never looked this good 9 months after purchase. As you can see, it is literally, absolutely spotless. Caught in a sticky situation? Nothing too tough for a few wipes of a sleeve to handle. Nothing says more about how good this screen protector is than the glee look of the man in this immaculately smooth mirror (or should I say screen).

Hardness

Siege claims that the Glastimate screen protector is the hardest around, with a 9H rating. We’ve tested this out before on the iPhone 5 with a couple of scratch tests, and it stood up to the test. Even after a set of keys was used, the screen remained absolutely spotless.

I’m pleased to say that the Galaxy S4 screen protector is no different as you will see in the video review. It has survived whatever we thrown at it, and I am absolutely confident that I can throw my phone together with whatever nick-nacks are in my pocket. Gone are the days where screen protectors need to be replaced every two weeks. Its practically a guarantee of a flawless screen.

(A disclaimer though, this doesnt mean you can throw away those shock-resistant cases and start hurling your phone down stairwells. A hardness rating simply tells us how resistant a material is to abrasion. It does not guarantee shatter-resistance. That is a matter of how brittle a material is, and no matter how you treat glass, it is inherently brittle.)

Form factor

For a sheet of glass, tempered glass no less, 0.2mm is extremely thin. Moreover, it does not hinder sensitivity at all. I was able to use my phone even with thick ski gloves on during my time in Japan. Practically speaking, it does not interfere with the vast majority of cases for the S4, including those very snug fitting flip cases.

Yet, its thick enough to offer very significant protection to the screen itself, as the scratch tests show. My only bugbear here is that the Glastimate screen protector leaves the entire top portion of the phone unprotected. I understand that this decision was to allow the array of sensors the S4 comes with to work to full effect. However, with the amazing transparency that the screen protector offers, I doubt that there would even be any significant interference. For the next iteration of this screen protector, Siege might want to look into this idea.

Conclusion

At the end of the day then, the Siege Glastimate is a very simple piece of hardware to review. It is by far the best screen protector I have ever laid my hands on, and it is the single most important accessory I have ever purchased for my phone. I cannot recommend it enough. The only other viable option apart from the Glastimate is to simply leave your bare screen exposed. And between the two choices, its so much better to be safe than sorry.

There is virtually no drawback I can think of, apart from the rather steep $50 price tag, but then thats a really small price to pay for a fire-and-forget solution to all your screen woes.

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