Siege is no stranger to providing premium quality glass screen protectors for high-end smartphones, and we are no strangers to Siege. Our editors Shiv and Timothy have previously reviewed Siege’s Glastimate screen protectors for the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 respectively and they seemed pretty happy with the experience. So when Siege requested for us to take a look at their latest offering for the iPhone 6, I was happy to oblige. Here’s my take on the full-coverage glass screen protector for the iPhone 6, as well as some thoughts on glass screen protectors in general – are they really worth the extra money?
Siege actually has two different offerings for the iPhone 6: the standard glass screen protector, and the full-coverage one which I will be reviewing. While the standard one is simply a sheet of glass partially covering the front of the device, the full-coverage offering is ever so slightly more sophisticated, as it mimics and covers the entire front of the iPhone 6, looking as though it was something obtained from yanking the entire front of the phone apart from the rest of its aluminium body.
I won’t go through the unboxing process in detail, as Shiv and Timothy have already elaborated on that previously, and basically there hasn’t been any change at all since then. The box is still every environmentalist’s nightmare with its superfluous amounts of packaging, though it does look really presentable and high-quality for cardboard whose raison d’être is simply to house a piece of glass.
Alongside the screen protector you get some standard gear that will help you in the installation process – instructions, microfibre cloth, an alcohol swab, and some dust removers (which are really just stickers with adhesive that is just strong enough to get rid of unwanted dust on the screen without leaving smudges behind in the process). It was my second time installing a glass screen protector – the first being the day before when I had installed one on my iPad Air – so I wasn’t exactly very experienced but was familiar enough with the process.
The issue with the full-coverage screen protector installation process that you won’t find with the regular screen protector is that since it is essentially an entire front panel of the iPhone, if you don’t centre the protector exactly, you’ll end up obscuring a part of the screen with the side bezels of the screen protector. This has made the installation harder and more time consuming than it normally is, but after 15 minutes or so of paranoid replacement and readjustment of the screen protector, I finally managed to get it perfectly in place. A feat, no doubt, and I probably spent another 5 minutes or so triumphantly gazing upon my iPhone’s shiny new perfectly-aligned face mask.
The good thing about glass screen protectors is that you can remove and replace the screen protector over and over again for as many times you’d like; since it’s glass it won’t bend out of shape, and the adhesive doesn’t wear off very easily so you don’t have to worry about it not adhering onto your screen after multiple attempts at installation.
Look and feel
One of the reasons why I had requested for the full-coverage protector for review was because it looked miles better than the ordinary one. While the latter is noticeably visible when applied to the iPhone 6, the former blends in completely with the front of the device, and to the average observer it’s as though the screen protector isn’t even there.
But this comes at a price.
Siege has been at a dilemma with its screen protectors ever since Touch ID debuted on the iPhone 5s. They used to provide glass home buttons together with their screen protectors to help with the accessibility of the home button, which has been compromised with the screen protector attached. But now that Apple has included Touch ID on its home buttons, the glass button accessory is no longer an option, unless you wish to render Touch ID completely out of reach.
The result? The iPhone’s home button is now frustratingly harder to get to after the screen protector is installed. Even though the protector only adds an extra 0.3mm, it’s certainly more than enough to inhibit your thumb and therefore, Touch ID’s functionality. Unlocking the phone with Touch ID is now successful on noticeably fewer occasions. And frankly, I simply hate the way the home button feels now, with the edges of the glass jutting into your finger every time you take a press. I’ve since gotten used to it, but I desperately miss the feeling of my thumb on the unobstructed Touch ID.
But what about the feel of the screen protector itself? It’s good; I’d say that it’s marginally better than the naked iPhone’s screen in terms of overall smoothness. Siege also claims that there is no loss of sensitivity and responsiveness of the display, though I haven’t found this to be exactly the case. More often than before the installation, the screen doesn’t register my swipes when I want to bring up the Action Centre, and snaps on Snapchat will stop abruptly as the display stops registering my finger on the screen. It’s not that bad really; it’s just that the drop in sensitivity is noticeable, but nothing that I’ll dwell too much upon.
Siege also boasts about the oleophobic coating applied onto the glass, claiming that it’s highly resistant to fingerprints and smudges. While it is slightly better than the naked iPhone screen, it really isn’t dramatically so. The screen still falls victim to smudges, which are pretty hard to get rid of. I was disappointed, but then again I’ve never known what it’s like to have a screen that completely repels oils and grease
Siege’s Glastimate screen protectors are given a 9H hardness rating, meaning they are hard enough to resist scratches from anything that’s not topaz or corundum (extremely hard aluminium oxide). Yeap, as Shiv has discovered in his review a year ago, it’s pretty ridiculously hard: after throwing a few screwdrivers and knives at it, it was still scratchless. So dump your phone in a pocket full of keys, as long as you haven’t got a diamond ring in there it’s unlikely that your screen will be scratched. The same can’t be said about the rest of the phone though.
And another thing
There’s one other thing that you should note about the full-coverage screen protector: it’s heavy. It was the very first thing that I noticed about my phone when picking it up from the table after the successful installation: it felt noticeably heavier than before, and it bummed me out. I loved that Apple’s iPhone 6 was so thin and light. But now, after adding a case and this screen protector, it feels… Sturdy? Maybe it’s a good thing for some people, but for me I found it to be disappointing.
There is one last gripe with the screen protector that I almost completely forgot to talk about. Somehow, the edges of the screen protector are mildly sticky. It’s not something that you’ll feel with your hand; no, that’s not the problem. The problem is that after your phone has spent some quality time with the pocket lint inside of your pocket, well let’s just say that the pocket lint becomes overly clingy (pun intended) with its newfound friend: the edges of the screen protector are now completely covered with pocket lint. Just take a look at the picture below. It’s annoying. The lint is not terribly difficult to get rid of – you could do it with a piece of cloth – but it’s annoying to have your phone look like it’s growing mould every time you take it out of your pocket.
Siege’s Glastimate screen protector does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it extremely well: protect the screen of your phone from scratches. But in doing so there are a lot of compromises that have to be made, inter alia, the added bulk, weight, inaccessibility of the home button, and the occasional stutter in screen responsiveness.
Many of these trade-offs won’t be present in the ordinary glass screen protector, but it won’t be aesthetically as pleasing as the full-coverage one. So ultimately it’s a trade-off between looks and functionality. You decide.
What about glass screen protectors in general? I’m sold on the protection that they offer, but with better protective technologies from Corning and perhaps even sapphire glass making their way into phones in the near future I doubt that glass screen protectors will remain relevant for very long. But for now they work as advertised, and if you’re worried about scratching the screen of your phone this is the best protection you’re gonna get. Honestly though this review set came from Glastimate Malaysia and I have absolutely no clue about the price of this screen protector in Singapore or if it’s even sold here at all. I guess that’s the real irony in this review.