If you own a smartphone, you’ve probably noticed that many phone cases don’t protect your screen from getting scratched or smashed. Unless you’re willing to use a bulky “everything-proof” case, you probably add an additional layer of protection with stick-on plastic film or tempered glass screen protectors.
There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages for either option. For example, plastic film screen protectors are inexpensive and do prevent your keys from scratching up your phone’s screen, but they provide little impact resistance and also tend to cling to the oils in your skin, which means you have to clean them often. On the other hand, some glass screen protectors may have oleophobic coatings that deter fingerprints and provide great transparency, however, these can chip and crack under pressure or impact.
Caseco’s Screenflex combines the protective attributes of these two materials with a hybrid plastic/glass substrate material that has the optical clarity of pure glass and the flexibility of PET film. The Screenflex is available for the LG G5, which we tested, and several iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones as well.
The Screenflex is accompanied by a few accessories for installation including a microfiber cloth, a set of wet and dry wipes, and a dust removal sticker. However, precise installation still requires a bit of patience and a few tries. There isn’t a guide for placing the screen protector perfectly, so if you don’t get the alignment right, you’ll have to pull up the screen and try again. Trial and error could result in dust and air bubbles under the screen protector, so be careful.
Since most of the phones have a slightly curved edge these days, expect the Screenflex to be a bit short in both height and width to cover only the flat portions of the touchscreen. the protector leaves noticeable edges at the sides, top, and bottom when you slide your finger across the entire screen, although this could be mitigated somewhat by a case that wraps over the edges of the phone.
The protective performance, however, is solid. The oleophobic coating doesn’t stick to fingerprints or facial oils easily and the screen only managed to pick up a few super small scratches during testing. In general, they’re not visible while using the phone. The other nice thing about this screen is that if the glass substrate does crack or break, it doesn’t send shards of glass and glass dust flying. Instead, the glass appears to be sandwiched between two layers of plastic film, so you can safely continue using it for a time.
While we still prefer screen protectors that have full edge-to-edge coverage, the Screenflex is heaps better than using nothing. Regardless of which model phone you buy it for, the Screenflex goes for $35 on Caseco’s website, and that’s a relatively small price to pay for some peace of mind.