Screen protectors for phones, tablets and cameras are a very large business these days (in fact IOS device accessories alone are a multi billion dollar industry) and there are a great many possible options from which to choose. Up until now I have avoided these accessories as I have found they often do not adhere properly, bubble, are too opaque or otherwise fail to deliver on their promises. Some camera manufacturers have actually taken to shipping their cameras with screen protectors. The problem with these plastic devices is they are often opaque or only slightly translucent. They often dull the LCD screen or adversely affect the colour appearance. I have always discarded these devices when I have found them shipped with my camera or touch screen device and simply lived with the resultant scratches that inevitably occur through general wear and tear.
I came across a product a few weeks ago that I think is worth sharing and that I have been trialling for the last week on my iPhone, iPad Mini and 1DX camera. These screen protectors made by ‘Expert Shield‘ who are based in the United Kingdom claim a level of transparency and resistance to scratching that sets them above the other offerings on the market (You may already be aware of these Shields and I could just be late to the party).
Applying the shield to your device is a straightforward three step process as documented on the back of the product:
Step 1: Using the supplied lint cloth you just wipe the surface of the screen to remove any finger prints, dust or skin oil. This step is best done in a dust free environment and the key to a perfect application is to ensure you do not get any dust trapped between the screen and the protector. Once you have cleaned the screen you need to be careful not to touch it before applying the shield.
Step 2: You peel back the edge of the side labelled Step One on the shield and lay it on the screen corner of your device. Once aligned, you simply lay it down removing the protective cover as you go. If you misalign the shield you can easily lift it off and reapply. This step is simply about accurately positioning the shield and it can be a bit of an iterative process to get it perfect. The Shield is not fully adhered to the device until you remove the top layer in step three. So if you get any dust under the shield you can still lift it and clean it away easily.Step 3: Simply pull back the top cover using the tag provided. You just pull this back tightly on itself to be sure to separate the top cover. The remaining shield is adhered to the screen. The first time I did this I thought I had accidentally peeled back both layers as the finished shield is ultra transparent and effectively invisible.
The above steps are perhaps best demonstrated by video and there are a number of different You Tube videos online that accurately demonstrate the process if you do a search. The real key to a great clean installation is to ensure the screen surface is completely free of contaminants. I recommend cleaning your screen with a lens cleaning solution and not just a micro-fibre cloth. This will be sure to remove any residue that a cloth might simply smear around. Be sure to work in a clean dust free environment. A bathroom where there has recently been steam from a shower is an excellent place to do a Screen Shield installation as the steam will have settled any dust in the air. Take your time to properly prepare your work area and screen before you start the installation and you will get a great clean result.
I spend a lot time travelling in the field and my iPhone, tablet and cameras are always taking a beating so was quite keen to put these protectors to the test. After a week of general use I can see no wear on any of the Shields and I look forward to taking them to Iceland and the Arctic for two months in a few weeks time. I am forever scratching screens on my cameras and devices so am very pleased to have finally come across a product that is virtually invisible, but offers a good level of protection from scratches. Expert Shield won’t save you if you drop your camera or phone, but it will likely save you the next time you would have scratched your screen. Ten bucks to help protect an $8000 camera or a $800 iPhone with no impact on the appearance – thats a no brainer in my book. If you are wondering how much scratch protection these nearly invisible shields confer on your screen then check out this video of a belt sander doing its worst on an iPhone fitted with Expert Shield.
Expert Shield protectors are available for a wide variety of cameras and touch screen devices and there is a good chance they have one to fit your camera. These inexpensive shields are I believe well worth the small investment to protect your devices from scratches in the field. My initial impressions after a week are very promising and I will no doubt have more to add when I get back from Iceland and the Arctic in September.
By way of full disclosure – I was not aware of Expert Shield until I was contacted by their head office and invited to try their product. I was somewhat hesitant due to my current travel schedule but agreed it would be a great opportunity to field test the Shield in Iceland and the Arctic. Expert Shield kindly sent me some samples to test and the above are the results of my trial to date. I do not endorse or review products for which I have not purchased so have contacted Expert Shield and have offered to pay for the samples they sent me.