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First Look: Tempered Glass Screen Protector for the Galaxy Nexus

Earlier today, we took a look at the XGEAR Spectre tempered glass screen protector for the Galaxy S3 and came away impressed. Up now is a similar tempered glass protector, only it has been made specifically for the Galaxy Nexus and is known as the Fantom. How will it handle that now-famous curved screen? Let’s find out. 

After reading comments from the GS3’s screen protector post, I now know that many of you would have liked to see me apply this to the screen and also to see how I avoided bubbles. While I screwed up and had already applied it, I will say that I had no issues with bubbles on either device.The glass lays down easier than any screen protector I have ever used. I would assume that the glass is thick enough that there isn’t a chance for bubbles to even form. Again, no bubble issues on either device.

As far as the good stuff goes with the Fantom protector, I can say that it matches everything I loved about the version for the Galaxy S3. It doesn’t slow down responsiveness, the viewing angles are still great, it appears to be incredibly tough, and the few fingerprints that I managed to put on it, wiped away with ease. This screen protector feels buttery smooth to the touch, something I can’t say for many others. It also has less of a lip than that of the Galaxy S3, and for the most part, isn’t really noticeable to the touch.

There are a couple of negatives, though. The cutout for the notification light is a bit of an eye-sore, so you won’t have as clean of a look on the bottom of your device as you have grown accustomed to. We also do not know if this screen protector will be able to hold up over time on this curved display. Most glass doesn’t like to be bent, but the folks at XGEAR seem to think there won’t be a problem. Since I’ve only had this for a day, I cannot tell how this will do over time. The last thing that may bother some, is the dotted grid that can be seen at certain angles or light (pictured far right below). It’s the same issue that was on the GS3 screen protector. Again, it could be an issue with the samples that were sent to me and may not be present in the final retail product.

Update:  XGEAR reached out to me to explain the grid situation. From what I understand, the grid is there because of a special UV coating that is put on the screen protector. If it wasn’t there, the protector would become discolored over time thanks to UV radiation. This coating, which includes that grid, prevents that.

Overall, I’m more impressed with this tempered glass protector than I was with the version for the Galaxy S3. Both are great, but this one sits ever-so-slightly closer to the edge, giving it a much cleaner look. For $30, this might be the best protection you can buy for the screen of your beloved Galaxy Nexus. And as far as I can tell, XGEAR is the only company willing to make a tempered glass screen protector for this device, so this may be your only option.

Video:

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  • JohnTechGeek

    I got one and within a week it cracked bottom center outside edge and had not been dropped, then the crack started spiderwebbing up on the phone curling around the hole for the home button. Then I find out the company does not have a warranty against cracks and chips even when it’s on a week old unit…. Slightly annoyed

  • Steven Gonz

    UPDATE: 08-27-2012
    Placed my order for this screen protector August 8th 2012, came in the mail around the 13th -15th. today the tiny dots on a certain part of the protector started to show bubbles and a weird looking oil residue shines underneath the protector. WACK!!!!! waste of money, plus the sensitivity of my GNEX has gone down incredibly. again. waste of money!

  • K-ManPBR

    Mine came in the mail yesterday and as of today I am removing it. The screen sensitivity seems fine sometimes, and other times I can’t get it to respond. I thought my phone froze the first time it happened. After a few instances of non-responsiveness, I removed the screen protector and it never happened again. I tried reapplying a few times to get it super tight against the G-Nex glass, but that didn’t help. I’m actually bummed. It looked and felt great to the touch.

  • CheeseMcGee

    Just received my screen protector, and I freaking love it! The feeling of glass… and the protection of glass!

    I am actually really happy with the black bezel that had to apply. I dropped my phone last week and chipped a chunk of the glass out on the top right of my phone. Applied the screen protector, and it looks perfect, and you can’t see the broken glass – just saved an insurance claim!

  • Cory Teague

    $5 off promo code is expired.. that would have been the only reason I would buy because that offsets the shipping cost.

  • Franke

    Does the screen protector affect the “pure blacks”

  • lolo

    The nexus 7 has the dotted grid on the bare screen. At first I didn’t know what it was. thought it was a defect, but it’s because of the oleophobic coating on the glass.

  • JulianZHuang

    Extra care will protect my phone from any harm. No need to use case or protector.

  • Tyler Chappell

    I bought a tempered glass screen protector for my Nikon D3100, and its super nice. Not a bad idea for phones if you ask me, as long as responsiveness remains the same.

  • http://twitter.com/MrUniq78 Christopher

    You can go real meta and get a screen protector for your tempered glass!

  • MikeCiggy

    Kellex do you have a TPU case for the gnex laying around that you can confirm the lip can get over this protector. I hate having a screen protector because of the feel but I know from my first gnex if I go naked long I will end up with scratches. I also use a TPU case because it adds barely any weight and thickness but keeps the screen from contacting surfaces and protects the soft plastic the phone is made of.

  • markuz

    We need JB on our Verizon GN not a screen protector!! F*** you Verizon!

  • Nagini

    Why can’t it just be all clear glass? Why bother even adding on the black?

  • tomn1ce

    Are they trying to make the G-Nexus look like the iphone with the cutout for the notification light? The G-Nexus just doesn’t look the same with this screen protector and that’s not a good thing…

  • Kendrick Sims

    I will always have a case and screen protector on my phone. These two things are definitely needed if you plan on getting top dollar when you go to sell your phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.dunn.75 Tony Dunn

    Does anyone use Zagg invisible shields?

    • Artune

      I have been using it since December 15th and just recently took it off last week and the responsiveness is much better, feels like a brand new phone to me. I’m leaving it bare for now but this tempered glass intrigues me. I may have to buy it.

    • http://profiles.google.com/johnslangster John Lang

      The Zagg shields are nice, but ultimately they always peel up on edges that get rubbed even a little bit. Then you end up having to remove the whole thing and then spend time cleaning off the residue it leaves behind. I stopped using anything like that years ago.

  • calculatorwatch

    Hang on, did the video just cut off or did you not give the classic “peace” at the end? Por que Kellex?

  • MrEnglish

    I am still waiting for the order I placed when DL first talked about this. By the time I get it, I’ll have likely bought an iPhone. Not pleased with the fact that I ordered it, paid for it, got a shipping estimate and then a week later got an email saying they don’t have any made but will ship one out as soon as they do. Then I got another email weeks later talking about the redesign. Oh well, I’m sure it’ll get here some day.

  • ddevito

    I have an awful black silicone case VZW gave me for free (corp customer) – it protects the edges as wel, not bad.

    But my other case is my fav – the one I won from DL! Thanks DL!!

  • Ben Oram

    Anyone know how to get rid of a scratch on the screen. I have one when I dropped the phone. Is there any way to buff it out?

  • http://twitter.com/umiwonder CODEMAN

    Whys It colored? Why not clear?

  • Why?

    Why would anyone put this on over a “traditional” screen protector? This thing is so thick it’s blatantly obvious that there’s a protector on it and it’s freaking ugly to boot.

  • friguy3

    Im putting tempered glass on tempered glass? Just go naked…it feels sooo good

  • regkilla

    Anyone else notice the tiny chip on the table below the Galaxy Nexus?

  • Michael

    If this hid the little scratched I already have I’d get this!

  • http://twitter.com/BiggiePhat JG

    so this makes the gnex look like the nexus 7 with its raised glass. cool.

  • Tuna

    Does it “glue” on or can it be put on and taken off to be readjusted?

    • Southrncomfortjm

      It can be removed and reapplied.

  • bobsmith

    the reason they didn’t make it clear was most likely because of the curved display. by making a black bezel, they could apply the adhesive to the black, a much stronger adhesive; it is also re usable.

  • Biohaz7331

    Ha ha all answering at the same time I guess that at least means I was correct in what I was saying.

  • fixxmyhead

    am i the only one that doesnt use silly cases or screen protectors?

    (my s2 still looks new in case ur wondering)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Omar-Amer/100000249789319 Omar Amer

      depends on how much of a butterfingers you are. If you tend to have an iron grip on your phone at all times, then you should be fine.

    • Jonathan Berry

      I have never used a screen protector and only used a case for a little while when I first got my G-Nex. My Droid2 was fine, but my G-Nex now has a couple of small scratches on the screen. Hard to see, but still there. So I’m getting one of these.

    • Aleem Qureshi

      Chances are you can get by with out a case or screen protector, i have with my Galaxy S 1 and just have some scuffs along the bezel, but with these newer phones and their massive screens I prefer to have something just in case. Just like you never plan on getting into a car accident you still have car insurance Just in Case.

      • mustbepbs

        Or you’re required by law to get car insurance. >.>

        • Aleem Qureshi

          I wasnt implying that -_- , let me edit my comment and say this is the same reason you get insurance on a phone or tablet or computer, just incase something goes wrong.

          • mustbepbs

            Much better :)

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      I don’t use cases or screen protectors either. :P

      • William_Morris

        I think this has more to do with the fact that you have the next big phone in your hand every couple of weeks. Others of us don’t have press credentials/loads of money to do something similar. :-P

      • Ryanerikk

        Hi if you could help on how to root my S3 I will gladly donate for your cause. thanks

        • Tyler

          Read todays article they talk about a 1 click root for s3.

      • michael arazan

        I use an anti-glare screen protector for my gnex so it is easily seen outside or while driving in bright sun light. The biggest problem is though that it really takes away from the awesome screen clarity of the hd and minimalizes it, think like heavy pixilation.

        Does this new glass have an anti glare to help to use it outside, maybe a coating like on eyeglasses? If it does i’m sold, cause I hate my anti-glare screen cover but its the best one out there i know of.

    • brkshr

      I don’t use screen protectors on Gorilla Glass. The GNex definitely needs one tho.

      • fixxmyhead

        nah my wife has a galaxy nexus and she also doesnt use anything.

      • niuguy

        My Gnex is as good as new. No protector. I know its not named after a primate but the glass appears to be pretty tough.

      • Michael

        The Gnex doesn’t have gorilla glass which is a major let down

        • Big_EZ

          Not really, Gorilla Glass is way over rated, I found the non-gorilla tempered glass from the thunderbolt to be the best glass in any phone I’ve had. The phones with Gorilla Glass scratch to easily.

          • Fredy Nativi

            the thunderbolt does have gorilla glass fyi

    • http://twitter.com/That0neKid Adam Collins

      I don’t either.. BUT… Last Friday I went to a friend’s housewarming party, drank, and woke up with a cracked screen on my Nexus D: It’s just two hairline fractures in the glass and the display is fine, but might have me rethinking the whole no-case bit. worth the ugliness to save from buying a new phone or display

      • fixxmyhead

        thats one of the reasons i dont use cases cuz there so ugly and make the phone fat

      • JTSk8Man

        Dude that sucks and actually browse around there are some pretty nice cases but some cost a lot like 30-60 bucks but in the end it’s worth the protection right!

    • RW-1

      I use a casemate pop on mine only because the damn thing is too light :) Plus it gives it some grip. I truly would love to go naked on this but it was too much $$$ to do so IMO, one slip up and …

    • MrEnglish

      Nude Gnex. I did learn th error of that decision a couple of months ago with one very small hairline abrasion. Not enough to call it broke, but no longer pristine.

      • b_to_the_randon

        Yeah I made that mistake.. Ugh.

    • b_to_the_randon

      I’d love to skip the screen protector on my GNex, but the “Gorilla Glass equivalent” that it uses is not up to the task. It’s a shame because my Galaxy S 1 was great in this regard..

  • http://twitter.com/briantluong Briant Luong

    I wonder how it stands up to popping it in and out of the car dock.

    • hoyun

      The car dock doesn’t grip the front of the phone so it’ll work fine.

  • Biohaz7331

    I believe the black has to do with a non clear adhesive at the top, sides, and bottom. They sent an email out a little while ago mentioning it and saying you can cancel your order if you dont like it.

  • Jonathan Berry

    The black border is needed for the adhesive that holds the screen protector on the screen. There is no adhesive on the clear parts of the glass, just around the edge under the black part.

  • frankandsimple

    great! .. now all we need is a screen protector for the tempered glass protector.

    • http://twitter.com/davidbavin David Bavin

      Why? Exactly.

    • MrEnglish

      Excellent.

  • greenbacks

    why not just make the dang thing clear all clear?

    • Stevie V

      I’ll second that, but then again if it were all clear I still wouldn’t spend $30 on a screen pprotector.

  • Liderc

    Why in the world would they make the black part around the edge which forces them to make a clear cut out for the notification? Seems pointless, if it was all clear it wouldn’t even be visible. Total bummer.

    • NexusPhan69

      Apparently there were manufacturing problems associated with it being all clear and that the black edges resolved it.

      • Liderc

        I can’t imagine what would cause the problems. If it works in black it should work in clear, one simply lacks dye in the material.

        • NexusPhan69

          “With a clear glass protector, an electrostatic process is used to adhere onto the screen. This causes bubbles to easily form.
          With a black border glass protector, we use silica gel to adhere the glass. This process leaves no bubbles and can be reused.”

          • Liderc

            So why not use clear silica gel? Silica gel is naturally clear.

          • NexusPhan69

            Dude, I have no clue. Thats just what they sent to everyone who pre ordered.

          • Liderc

            lol, sorry I wasn’t asking you directly was just stating a question. It doesn’t make sense to add black to something that is naturally clear. Especially when it makes the device look different. One thing I want in a screen protector is that it doesn’t change the look of my device. The 3D effect caused by the black sides and the cut out for the light is just meh. I was looking forward to buying this.

          • grenole

            *Possibly* it’s because this is silica gel that doesn’t lose adhesion over time (according to the Rootzwiki thread), so maybe that’s not as clear?

  • paladaxar

    They should have just made the whole thing clear instead of trying to do a black bezel

  • Jim McClain

    May try it if i ever get a gnex that works, number 7 will be here tomorrow

    • Greg Morgan

      holy crap dude….what’s been the issue with the other 6?

      • Pedro

        Operator

      • Jim McClain

        You name it,mostlly signala loss and the damn mic cut offs

        • Greg Morgan

          Wow that’s commitment to stick with the Gnex after all that. lol

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Buck/100003482949493 Joe Buck

            they have offered me a maxx,almost took it, I know its a far superior phone but it will never get JellyBean

        • unexpected62

          I’m on #4

        • Hunter

          I’m on #1

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Buck/100003482949493 Joe Buck

      im on 6

  • http://AndroidTaskForce.com Timmy

    Das one dusty Nexus.

  • paladaxar

    Wow…that grid is horrid! Reminds me of the Windows Mobile days :/

    Hopefully the final product won’t have it or they’ll figure out a way to get rid of it!

  • winston

    Why do I need this?

    • DroidJ

      Wondering that myself.

      • grenole

        Because the GNex doesn’t have Gorilla Glass.

        • DroidJ

          I’ve had my Gnex since launch. It doesn’t need it, or a screen protector.

          • http://twitter.com/That0neKid Adam Collins

            Cracked my Gnex screen at a party over the weekend :(
            I guess drunk me has butterfingers. I’m upset but it’s not that bad.

          • http://www.ashevilletechnologyservices.com Dan Brown

            shoulda brought the drunk beater phone that engadget recently wrote about. …sorry to hear it, i feel for you.

          • grenole

            Mine got a scratch from a key or from the rivet on my jeans change pocket while I was putting it in. This protector clearly doesn`t get scratched by keys. Obviously better.

      • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

        Some people like screen protectors. This is a super scree protector heh.

  • Kyle

    How was it putting it on? I always get bubbles with other protectors. Also, can you take it off and re-apply it?

  • moozicmon

    I cancelled my order once I realized they would have to cut out a hole for the notification light. My favorite part of the GNEX is the clean look on the front and that cut out is a huge deal breaker.

    • Tommy Thompson

      There’s not a cutout on the glass. There’s a hole on the black border, which I don’t understand why that’s there anyway. Why can’t the glass protector be just clear glass?

      • moozicmon

        “With a clear glass protector, an electrostatic process is used to adhere onto the screen. This causes bubbles to easily form.
        With a black border glass protector, we use silica gel to adhere the glass. This process leaves no bubbles and can be reused.”

      • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

        The one at the top is for the light and proximity sensors

    • mikeym0p

      I too am really upset about the cut out, I was hoping they’d have a minor tint on it to mitigate this.

    • SH

      The Gnex screen already has a cutout for the camera, and proximity sensor. Is one more cutout, for the notification light, really worth this comment on a review? Cry me a river.

      I won’t use this, because I never use screen protectors, but its awesome that they were willing to make it. The more accessories, the merrier.

      • moozicmon

        “The cutout for the notification light is a bit of an eye-sore, so you won’t have as clean of a look on the bottom of your device as you have grown accustomed to.”

        Considering the whole point of the comments section is to discuss the article… yes I believe the comment is more than warranted. No need to be rude anonymous little gray man.

  • Southrncomfortjm

    Have had mine pre-ordered for a month. Looking forward to getting mine soon since my current screen protector is on its last legs. I blame Scamble.

  • Greg Morgan

    Sweet just ordered one!

  • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

    That same dotted grid was always noticeable on my HP TouchPad too… not too annoying, but noticeable.

  • guest

    will it work with protective cases?

    • sahilm

      I am also curious about this. How thick is it? Will it still work inside a case?

      • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

        Only case I have laying here is the Ringke Slim and it fit fine. That case also doesn’t go near the screen though. I would assume it will fit with cases.

    • Michael Quinlan

      I’m thinking this may solve my issues with my Otterbox Defender, which is designed for the Verizon Nexus (now there’s an oxymoron for you). My GSM Nexus is 0.52mm thinner than the Verizon one, and this will add 0.4mm. I would plan on removing the built-in protector from the Defender though.

  • Kayvon Khaledi

    Be sweet if they make one for the Nexus 7 too

    • moozicmon

      I really hope so as well, but I could it see it being hella expensive.

      • grenole

        Good news, Poya from Xgear already said it’s in the works ;)

    • ssjnimma

      it would be nice but I dont see it being practical… price that is. I could only imagine they would stick a price on it of $60-70ish… thats like half the price of the device itself! :P