Guide to Applying Screen Protectors

April 28, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Touch screen devices are everywhere now, from high end all-in-one PCs to mobile phones and tablets. With our fingers as pointing devices (as nature intended) we can find, launch and interact with any number of apps and games, type on software keyboards and generally make a greasy mess on the touch screen.

From time to time these require cleaning, something that is best done with a strong piece of cloth and a small dab of water (although specialist cleaners are also available).

However, if you’re particularly clean on retaining the best quality of your device and plan to sell it on at some stage, you might opt for a screen protector…

How to apply screen protectors to mobile phones and tablets

Screen Protectors – Pros and Cons

To keep your precious mobile device clean and scratch free, you can choose from a quite large selection of screen protectors, most of which might not be entirely suitable for the device that you have purchased.

A case in point is my recent tablet purchase, the Advent Vega. Like most devices, this came without any additional protection, so I added a carry case and a screen protector. I had previously been doubtful about screen protectors, considering them the main cause of poor responsiveness from touch screens as well as a dust trap, but the protector I received with my HTC HD7 was so good and went on so easily that I was encouraged to repeat the exercise with the Vega.

The idea of screen protectors is completely sound. I’ve had several mobile phones over the years that have picked up scratches on the display despite my best efforts, so it makes sense to avoid this from happening. However if you get the wrong protector (or a badly-made, but approved protector) the whole concept of screen protectors becomes a joke.

This is what happened to me with the Advent Vega screen protector, purchased at the same time and made by the same company. Applying the protector was nothing short of a disaster, one that ended up with dusty air bubbles in a previously dust-free environment, thanks to the static qualities of the protector.

As a result of this experience, I’ve spent several weeks wondering what is wrong with the touch screen on the tablet, failing to realise that the problem was with the screen protector. Now removed, the screen responds perfectly!

Applying a Screen Protector

Above I mentioned that with my Windows Phone 7 device, I had no such problems; not a spot of dust, no air bubbles, perfect response. There were some differences between the applications of the two protectors, however, so it’s time to share the wisdom of choosing and correctly applying a screen protector…

Ok the first thing to do is head for a bathroom. I’m not going to suggest you get in a bath full of water and start dropping electrical devices in until you fry, but I would suggest a bathroom as a clean, dust-free environment.

Once there, and with a surface identified, unpack your tablet and with a strong but slightly damp paper towel, wipe-down the screen to remove and grease, and pay attention to the edges of the device. When this is done, repeat with a dry towel to soak up any moisture.

Also consider removing the majority of your clothing to avoid dust and fluff. After all, you’re in the bathroom!

Next, prepare the screen protector as per the instructions. Being near-naked and largely dust free, this shouldn’t take too long, particularly when you reach the stage of cleaning up any dust with the lint-free cloth. Once you’re done lining it up, gently apply the screen protector, rubbing out any air bubbles with your paper towel.

You’re done – or you should be. If you opted to remain fully-clothed, you will probably find that dust has invaded your screen protector. A couple of noticeable ones you might get away with; any more than this and you will experience problems with responsiveness.

Best to try again, with a new screen protector…

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