Glass Padding

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When it comes to covering my cell phone, I tend toward minimalism. I like to buy the smallest (although still powerful) phone possible, so the thought of adding a bulky case seems wrong. I also don't like screen protectors, because they generally get cloudy, and they don't feel as nice when using the screen. That said, I still usually buy them, because I've forgotten about my phone when getting out of the car and dropped it screen first on gravel far too many times.

While ordering a screen protector after damaging mine on pavement recently, I noticed that "glass" screen protectors are becoming quite popular. Glass. To protect the glass. Isn't that like making a helmet out of eggshells? The notion of protecting a glass screen with more glass just seems absurd. And yet, the screen "protectors" get great reviews. So I tried one.

First off, even with the thinnest tempered glass screen protector, they are noticeably thicker than plastic film-based protectors. They're also a little more challenging to apply. The truth is, however, that even with the extra thickness, a tempered glass screen protector is amazing to use! The screen is just as responsive, the surface feels just like glass (duh!), and it doesn't get cloudy with regular use. In fact, it's by far the best "covered screen" experience I've ever had on a cell phone. But still, it's a piece of glass adhered to a piece of glass. I'm not sure how that is really protection.

Except that apparently it is. I've gone through two tempered glass screen protectors in the past few months. Both times I dropped the phone, it landed right on the glass, and both times it was on rough gravel. The first time, the screen protector completely shattered. The second time it cracked, but didn't shatter. Both times, the glass underneath wasn't harmed even a little.

I'll be honest, I don't understand the physics behind protecting a layer of glass with another layer of glass. Somehow it seems to work though. If you wrapped an egg in a second eggshell, I don't think it would endure a fall to the ground, but the glass screen protector apparently uses physics in ways I don't comprehend. If you've been hesitant to try them, I urge you to reconsider!

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.