Screen Protectors: Glass Vs Plastic

Tempered_glass_screen_protectorHello everyone and welcome to your next Geek Tripp. Many of you have probably bought a set of plastic screen protectors for $15 at your local carrier when purchasing your phone. Since the beginning, these have always been clear, plastic coverings. For the past few years, tempered glass protectors have been on the rise in popularity, but are they really any better? Here I’ll be comparing glass to the more traditional plastic screen protectors.

So what exactly are the differences? The first is price, but luckily, if you use Amazon or really most any online retailer, you’ll get them at a great price. It’s even possible to get a glass protector online cheaper than their plastic counterparts in a local store. Of course, plastic screen protectors are as little as $2 online, so there is still a difference. With that out of the way, there are three other differences: texture, protection and visibility.

The next may seem obvious, but it can be a really big deal. Glass is extremely flat, which makes the surface extremely slick. Plastic, on the other hand, has tiny incongruities that make it almost sticky and rough at times. The oils in your hands will help over time, but plastic will never be as smooth, during all those swipes, as glass. This can be a positive or negative, depending on how you look at it. The positive is, of course, that it feels amazing when actually using the device. From swipes to taps, the difference is quite noticeable. Your finger won’t get caught in any way, but this means glass is also much more slippery. Those more prone to drops may want to re-think going glass.

As far as protection, glass tends to take a slight lead here for being both thicker, yet able to absorb more energy from an impact.  With that said, if you do end up dropping it, the glass will probably break or crack. This is obviously much better than your phone screen, but when plastic takes a fall, it can typically be reused.

One issue to think of when dealing with such thin pieces of glass (tempered or not), is it’s application. Upon applying one to my phone while at work, I had to receive a call on the landline. When I lifted up the phone, I held the glass in my other hand and ever-so gently curled my finger, which gave an unbelievably tiny amount of force onto the screen. Unfortunately, it shattered. This was obviously poor handling on my part, but plastic screen protectors can flax and bend plenty, and there are typically 2 or more of them. This meant I had to order a second screen protector (I got it on the second time).

This brings me to my last point, and that’s visibility. Plastic will never be as transparent as glass. It’s simply in the nature of the 2 materials. This means there will be slight distortions in what you’re viewing, from color representation to simply clarity. Plastic has come a long way, but it simply can’t match the transparent nature of glass. To top it off, thanks to it’s flexibility, it’s extremely easy to get bubbles during application. Glass is much better, due to it’s rigidity.

Of course, this may all become irrelevant if Corning has anything to say about it. Leading the way with their new Gorilla Glass 5, screen protectors may soon be simply unnecessary. Glass is becoming more and more resilient to everyday scratches and drops, so it may just be best to keep your phone naked. This is purely up to you, and I’m not responsible for any damage to your phones… Period.



  • Cheap
  • Grippier
  • Flexible so harder to break
  • Doesn’t feel as good when using the phone
  • More for scratches instead of drops
  • Bubbles!
  • Not as clear


  • Feels incredible when using the phone
  • Absorbs impacts
  • Much more transparent
  • No bubbles!
  • More expensive
  • Shatters instead of bends
  • Slippery

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