When I was searching for a tempered glass screen protector for my shiny new Note 4, I was a bit disappointed to find that nothing really had decent reviews and Phantom Glass was nowhere to be found. Everything out there pretty much had major flaws and it pretty much stemmed from the curved glass on the Note 4. Reports of terrible cut outs, Halo’ing and protectors that were way too thick has me rethinking my protection strategy for fear of wasting some significant money. The highest rated protector on Amazon is over $15 and honestly had some reviews that seemed a bit… strange. That when I looked up Phantom Glass’ website. I figured I was out of luck since nothing had been posted on Amazon but as luck would have it, they were just out of stock. I’m really glad we were able to get a unit to review because I think they have an almost perfect solution to a sticky situation.
There are a few major things I look at when deciding on screen protectors (and I’ve bought my fair share of them) and at the top of the list is clarity. If I can’t see through the protector with 100% clarity, I won’t keep it on my phone. This is one of the huge reasons I refuse to use those plastic-y screen protectors that get torn up after a while. Luckily here, Phantom Glass is a winner. There are no issues with clarity through the protector. There are also no issues with touch sensitivity here. My finger and the S-Pen track just as they would without the protector on it. Unfortunately, this is where we come to our major issue.
Like almost every other tempered glass screen protector for the Note 4, the Phantom Glass protector doesn’t cover the entire screen. It’s simply impossible to stretch glass that’s flat, over glass that’s curved. Unless you apply this thing dead on, you’re going to see the side of over your screen. Normally I have my wife apply these and she’s an absolute wizard with them and I never have issues but because I have the patience of a 2 year old, I did it myself this time. I actually did a pretty good job getting it really close to perfect. I had to pull it up twice because I’m apparently the only person on earth able to trap air under these but once I got it close enough, I left it alone. On the right side, it’s just barely over the screen. Just enough to be slightly annoying. It doesn’t throw off the ability to use the phone or the screen, just slightly annoying.
There’s also the tiniest bit of Halo’ing. I almost feel bad about bringing it up here because compared to other’s it’s nothing. I’ve seen some protector that have significant issues here to the point where it’s not even worth it to keep it on the phone. I’m about as fickle as they come but this screen protector won’t be coming off due to Halo’ing since it’s only a minor annoyance and it’s actually gotten a lot better since I applied it and it’s set. It’s barely noticeable now.
Normally here you either get a thicker tempered glass protector that can stop a bullet or you get a thinner protector that will stop scrapes and scratches. I’m extremely impressed with Phantom Glass because I feel like they got the perfect balance. I feel very comfortable throwing this in my bag where who knows what could scratch the screen or carrying it in a pocket where I seem to keep the sharpest pocket lint known to man. While I can’t say it adds no bulk to the screen since by definition it sits on top if it, it adds as little as possible while providing really good protection. Going back to the size of the protector, I have to say there is one small positive to it not covering the entire screen. I may be alone in this but I like the feel of the sides of this thing. It almost feels like a second rounded corner. I fidget with my phone a lot and find myself rubbing my fingers on the sides of the screen protector.
Any time something isn’t a perfect fit, I’m going to be disappointed. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand the complexities of the situation, and hopefully you do too after reading this review, but I’m always going to feel let down that it doesn’t look perfect. It’s an emotional reaction that no matter how much I try to listen to logic is still there. I will say, I think Phantom Glass did a pretty good job getting it as close as they could. The curve on the screen starts almost immediately when the bezel starts so it’s going to be damn near impossible to get full screen coverage on these things. I’m sure they’re machine cut to be a perfect width but when you introduce the human element into it, it’s never going to be perfect, unless you’re my wife, of course. What they did perfectly here were the cutouts for the speaker, sensors, selfie camera (are we calling them that for good?) and home button. The home button cut out is PERFECT. That’s one of the biggest annoyances about iPhone 6 screen protector is that almost no-one can get it right around the home button. Phantom Glass absolutely nailed it here.
Surprisingly, I don’t have a lot to say here. Because Phantom Glass is made out of Gorilla Glass, it’s going to feel as good or better than your current screen. For some reason, it feels better than the Gorilla Glass 4 on my Note 4. I have no idea but it feels softer but at the same time, easier to move my fingers across it. In the production description, Phantom Glass mentions that on the face up side of the protector it has an “oleophobic nano-coating that allows fingerprints to wipe off with ease.” This could have something to do with it or I could just be nuts. The main point here is that you’re not going to lose that excellent feeling you get when you touch your screen (as long as you’ve taken care of it).
This is one of the best screen protectors I’ve ever put on a phone. It’s by no means perfect but I’ve been protecting phones from my careless ways since the iPhone 3G so I know a little bit about the struggle here. As I said earlier, I got some air under it on the first application but I was pleasantly surprised how well it gripped to the screen on the second (and third) install. I’ve dealt with some in the past that you either nail it the first time, or you’re done and out $15. They’re right when they say their oleophobic nano-coating allows you to easily wipe off fingerprints. It holds skin oils much less than the regular and I was able to give it a quick wipe on my shirt and it was clean, where as without the screen protector, it would just smudge the oils all over the rest of the screen. This thing is worth the price just for that feature.
I’m a little worried about dirt accumulating around the edges of the protector. I keep my phone in my pocket where lint loves to live and I’ve pulled one or two pieces off it so far. It’s only been a minor annoyance but I’d hate for something to start getting under and ruin the seal of the protector to the phone and get it dirty so you can’t apply it again after you’ve cleaned the screen. Some people are just going to be put off by the look of the screen protector since it’s not full surface coverage and that’s fine but I got over it in about 20 minutes. Honestly you just get used to it as long as the Halo isn’t that bad, or like in my case, it went away almost completely. The added protection is worth the millimeter of screen real estate you may lose due to imperfect application. Any decent case that provides protection to the front of the phone is going to come really close to the protector so I think people will notice it less than they think.
I recommend the Phantom Glass Note 4 Tempered Glass Screen Protector. I’d tell anyone not to spend their money on anything else. It’s going to be a bit more pricey than other options but unless you can find a full coverage protector, this is the best you’re going to get and this is a quality product.