bighugenerd
 
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That's a lots of protectors for just one iPad, but we just have to know how these will behave. Will our iPad survive the night? We attack it from the front, and from behind. Find out how our Apple darling feels, after the break!


We at bighugenerd tend to have a bad attitude when it comes to screen protectors. We definitely used to see the point, though. Back in the days of plastic-y displays on PDAs, a screen protector was a must before you swiped your metal stylus across the screen. But now things are different. With words like "Corning" and "Gorilla Glass" being bandied about like there's no tomorrow, we haven't had a screen protector on any Apple device with a glass display, and have managed just fine! In fact, Apple doesn't even sell any screen protectors anymore for its devices online or in store. 

But that doesn't stop the manufacturers churning out screen protector after screen protector for Apple devices despite Apple's apparent lack of enthusiasm. 

So here's SGP with a slew of them. Three for the front and one for the back of your shiny new iPad. 

Bear in mind getting any useful photos of the front screen protectors proved to be a lesson in futility, so some cunning descriptions will have to do for the most part.

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Up first is the SGP Ultra Fine Anti-Fingerprint Screen Protector. SGP sees fit to include a small squeegee, an LCD cleaner spray and a micro-fiber cloth in the box alongside all these screen protectors, which is a nice touch.

With the screen protector applied to our iPad, we realized we liked this one the least of the three, despite its anti-glare properties. The anti-fingerprint nature of the screen protector means the screen loses a great deal of clarity, and takes on what we can best describe as a "speckly" appearance. The iPad 2 has such a crystal clear display under the factory glass that it just seemed like such a shame to cover it with a material that lent itself to removing that definition. 

That said, we did appreciate that sliding our fingers over the screen was just as easy as without a screen protector, something that could not be said for the other two protectors... 

We also liked that glare on the screen is greatly cut down with this protector, but overall just couldn't live with the decreased iPad 2 display vibrance.

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Next in line to pop on the iPad was the Ultra Optics Anti-Fingerprint Screen Protector. This looked a lot sharper when applied to our iPad 2 than our first attempt using SGP protectors. That said, because of the different nature of this screen protector material, the iPad 2 featured an image anomaly, like the pixel makeup of the display had been infested with thin black lines going diagonally across the screen. Once again, we're picky about our image quality here, and this just didn't work for us despite providing a clearer overall image than the Anti-Fingerprint SGP protector. 

The other issue we ran into is that the protector material is decidedly less slick, making it not as smooth to run our fingers across the screen. Boo!

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Last up to take the iPad test is SGP's Ultra Crystal Screen Protector. Now we're talking! No glare-resistant properties whatsoever, but the most clear protector SGP offers. With the protector in place, we knew this was the one we'd have to pick if we had to leave one on the iPad. All vibrance and clarity intact!

But not all is roses. Once again the protector just isn't very smooth to drag a finger across.

And the biggest issue, by far, is that it is a complete pain (and we do mean complete pain) to apply these screen protectors. Now we don't know about you, dear readers, but even applying screen protectors to small electronic devices like PDAs or cell-phones can be quite a tricky beast in our experience. Aligning the protector, having to re-align it, re-align it again etc. Gah! And then there's that annoying speck of dust to remove from under the protector which laughs at you as you introduce yet more dust by trying to remove it! You can only imagine how much trickier it is to apply a screen protector to a large 9.7" display, then.

It gets old, believe us. And we never got it perfect (we'd say 90% perfect, which is still 10% failure!), despite applying the protector in a steamy bathroom to reduce dust particles. Humbug, we say. Below is a picture of the Ultra Crystal Screen Protector before we undertook major dust-removal surgery. We found it incredibly frustrating that tiny pieces of dust caused huge bubbles with all three screen protectors! Some of the particles were so tiny as to be almost invisible, while the surrounding bubble could be half an inch in diameter. Crazy!

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Now if we could only have access to that legendary dust-free room we daydream of, we really would like the Ultra Crystal Screen Protector the most, as it didn't detract whatsoever from the iPad 2's clarity. But we could never get it perfect, without any dust in between the glass and the protector, which was a shame. 

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But all is not lost! Last (but certainly not least) is the SGP Skin Guard for iPad 2. This is a protector for the rear of your iPad 2. In the package is the faux-leather skin, a transparent protector for the Apple logo, and a micro-fiber cloth. 

While this wasn't simple to align, you can always lift the protector off and try again. No residue was apparent in removing and reinstalling any of these protectors, which we're all grateful for. And we'll let the pictures do the talking here...

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As you can see, the protector does as its name suggests, and provides protection for the very rear of the iPad 2, - but not the edges at all. If you're mostly worried just about putting your iPad 2 down on a table, this form of protection will suffice. For us it wasn't quite enough coverage, but we liked that we could use this rear protection with our favorite cover of the moment, the Yoobao Executive Leather case!


Verdict:

It must be pretty obvious, really, that we didn't fall in love any of these products. The screen protectors were a bear to install, and the rear protector isn't really substantial enough for any meaningful protection from the elements. That said, we appreciate SGP's attention to detail by including a nice squeegee with each screen protector as well as screen cleaner squirt bottles and micro-fiber cloths. We're sure some of you out there are screen protector pros and will do quite well. For us, it's a middling three nerds per product, across the board!
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In the interest of fairness, though, if you're able to successfully apply the Ultra Crystal Screen Protector successfully, it's definitely worthy of 4 nerds.., but good luck making it happen!

Special thanks to Jason over at SGP for the review samples!
winmag
5/6/2011 03:28:38 pm

Hows ur installation on ultra optics, i got mine a installed on my ipad2 and discover 1 issue, the top most edge of the ultra optics wont stick on my ipad like theres something behind it, ive cleaned and try so manytimes but it wont just stick on the top most surface. Have you experience this? I read in other forums that others with ultra optics on their ipad has it also so i was thinking maybe its a design flaw.

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bighugenerd
5/6/2011 03:44:51 pm

Sounds like you got a defective screen protector! :( You shouldn't have to try and stick to the protector to your iPad. It should stick very easily, with no special cleaning required.

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7/30/2013 09:55:45 pm

Thank you for sharing this post on the screen guard and the protectors for I pad. I have an ipad and I am very much concerned about the screen of the gadget. You relieved my pressure. You guys are real life saviors.

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But that doesn't stop the manufacturers churning out screen protector after screen protector for Apple devices despite Apple's apparent lack of enthusiasm.

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3/23/2014 04:30:45 pm

I have a presentation next week,and I am on the look for such information.

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3/23/2014 04:31:08 pm

Great! Thanks for your documents, its been very helpful. Thanks again for sharing your information.

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