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First Look: Tempered Glass Screen Protector for the Galaxy S3

The folks over at XGEAR sent us samples of their new Spectre and Fantom tempered glass screen protectors for both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Nexus to test. Since tempered glass is all the rage in the screen protecting game these days, we know that many of you have been dying to get your hands on them. While XGEAR is signing off on final samples, with hopes of shipping to customers during the first week or so of August, they wanted us to show you all what the product is all about ahead of time. 

First up is the Galaxy S3 version since it’s the new kid on the block, but don’t go anywhere, as we’ll take a look at the Galaxy Nexus version later this afternoon. The Spectre tempered glass protector for the GS3 is .4mm thick, has a surface hardness of 8H (10H being the hardest), and a “special” coating to resist oily residue, or better known to most of us as fingerprints.

In our time testing it, I can say that so far, I’m impressed. I can’t stand most screen protectors. To me, touching a screen protector is like someone scratching a chalkboard – it’s painful. This tempered glass protector, on the other hand, feels just like your normal screen when swiping across it. As you’ll see in the video, the viewing angles are still very good, it’s not much of a fingerprint magnet, the responsiveness of the device remains, and it can resist some pretty heavy scratching done by my keys. I also took it out into the sunlight and found that it did not change the viewing experience much. As with any smartphone, viewing in direct sunlight isn’t fun, but this didn’t seem to make it worse by any means.

With that said, there are a couple of things that you would have to get used to when using a tempered glass screen protector like this. It does add some thickness to your device. It also buries the physical home button on the Galaxy S3 a bit, making it a little more difficult to get home in a pinch. The positive side of that would be that it offers some protection to your home button. The other thing that is really only noticeable in bright lights, is this dotted grid. I’m not sure what it’s from, but depending on the angle and color of your screen, it can be visible and is slightly obnoxious.

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.

For the most part, this is the first screen protector that I haven’t wanted to rip off of my phone in seconds. I like the feel of the glass and also the added protection that it should provide. I personally, can get over the weird grid that is showing on these samples (keep in mind that they may not be present on final products), along with the extra thickness. The home button situation will take some getting used to, but it’s definitely not something that would deter me from recommending these.

To my knowledge, this is the only accessory team in the game that has a tempered glass screen protector for the Galaxy S3.

Update 2:  The Galaxy Nexus screen protector review has been posted.

Video:

YouTube Preview Image

Gallery:

Pre-order. Use “SEXYS3″ to save $5.

  • SSHGuru

    The key test won’t scratch any glass. Brass keys are softer than glass. Try using the key ring which is steel.

  • SSHGuru

    Just Like Glass from DBA Cases is only $13.50 and feels completely like glass without adding any bulk at all. Also impact resistant. http://www.dbacases.com

  • http://twitter.com/magistratee magistratee

    Have you had any proximity sensor issues during phone calls (screen doesn’t turn on when ear away from phone)?

    • http://www.facebook.com/GDubblU Greg Walker

      I have had the same problem with mine since I installed. Very frustrating. If you have very bright light it will still function normally but that is ridiculous. The sensor seems to be overly sensitive in the first place.

  • JTSk8Man

    I want a Tempered Glass screen protector but first I need to get my hands on a SGS3 but every cheap one I find on CL gets sold in like the same day

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

    Kellex: Are the softkey icons “invisible” when the lights are all off with the screen protector like they are with the stock phone? I’m asking because I wonder if this will look good with this mod (going GNex style with the keys):
    http://rootzwiki.com/topic/31065-tutorial-how-to-turn-off-capacitive-buttons-and-use-on-screen-nav/

  • http://twitter.com/codelinx abba dalla

    The blocked edges should probably be rounded to make a more seemless experience on the device, instead of the straight edged cut, no?

  • JPose

    Kind of a pain to apply, but I’m using a military shield. Pretty good!

  • anon

    Why did they put that stencil on it instead of leaving it clear? I definitely would not want to cover up the brushed blue effect with that ugly stenciled flat blue framed crap. I could just see that thing going on slightly askew and the notification led and the capacitive buttons being all miss aligned. I found protectors on the s3 frustrating because rounded glass edge, some protectors end before it hits the curve, some go all the way out but have all these ugly notches for the sensors skinomi was one of the few who had holes vs a huge notch but that thing was so soft it was full of dings and nicks the first week. And almost all start to peel or if the soft type bubble up when a TPU case is used. Anyone else run into this? Maybe I am buying the wrong protectors? heh

    • anon

      durr, if I had only watched the official video, the color is where the adhesive is.

  • Holy Grail

    1) Gorilla Glass..is a strong glass.

    2) This does not mean anything other then it is just a form of reinforced glass.

    3) It can and will be scratched by keys, coins, small particles like dust, sand, and even jello for that matter.

    4) It can and will shatter if dropped.

    5) Its not indestructible and was never meant to be…..Its just a
    stronger glass with the purpose of limiting or to help prevent damage of
    cheaper old glass…and plastic screens that scratched much more.

    6) Screen protector? Naked? To each their own….Life is a risk.

    • michael sinor

      Even Jello?

      • cliffy44

        There’s always room for Jell-O.

        But, what do you and your girlfriend do, that would potentially render your handset to a “Jell-O Shot” intrusion??

        But, in all seriousness, I have had a “ClearCoat” screen protector installed on my now 2 year old Motorola Atrix. I also have a Boxwave AluArmor jacket protecting my handset.

        On September 26th, when I can get my GS3 for free, through at&t’s 2 year plan, I am going to go the same route; as I have zero scratches on my handset; and I had been doing VoIP installations, subjecting my handset to potential scratch conditions, most of the time.

        This Glas-T product is probably very qualitative; and having been in the telephony and cellular industry, since before the FCC had even type approved cellular as a valid radio service (in the days of MTS and IMTS), I have learned that you don’t fix what ain’t broke.

        And, not that it’s at all relevant to this discussion, I have written a thesis on cellular terminology and technology.

        I might have gone past the retail price of the Glas-T product; but, if one is going to possess an expensive product, why not get the best protection that has so far passed the test of my past 4 handsets?

        Suddenly, I feel a craving for Jell-O.

  • Jason Brown

    “i dont know how often a power tool is going to hit your device” LOL!

  • Ivealwaysgotmail

    All i want to know is… Doesnt making the protector glass INCREASE the likeliehood of shattering both? a hard glass shattering on top of another pane of glass …?… Wouldnt a soft plastic absorb more impact? so an iPhone-Esque Easier-to-shatter But harder-to-scratch Scenario?…. Can i put two on? ;-)

    • michael sinor

      I’m pretty sure they won’t tell you “not” to put two on. Bad for business. Actually, imagining it is reminding me of the extra thick lenses my Grandma wore.

      • cliffy44

        Michael, they have since improved the inherent design of contact lenses; so, now grandma can close her eyes, without the extra thick contact lenses that you’ve written about.

  • http://twitter.com/nguyende De Nguyen

    Tempered glass to protect Gorilla glass?
    Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  • matt

    Wow did anyone notice the guys nasty long, dirty fingernails on the xgear website. Makes it hard to watch.

  • nightscout13

    how does it fit with the tapered edges of the GS3? TLDR

  • http://twitter.com/Keb_wer K-Webs

    Hitting your phone with a power tool isn’t normal..? Oops..

  • Tony

    I went ahead and preordered. My only concern is going to be if it will play well with my speck case. If you’ve ever had a speck case you know that there is the rubber edging that keeps the screen recessed if placed face down. I just hope that edging will slide over the edge of the glass.

  • http://twitter.com/easeves Mr E

    I can’t help but think the real story is this being the cure for pebble blue-envy for white GS3 owners, and vice versa.

    I wonder why they didn’t just make the whole thing clear though…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bogy-Registrar/100002491745280 Bogy Registrar

      Switched from blue to white….white just feel more substantial….and besides white phone in black case looks awesome…

  • dalingrin

    You sure the “dotted grid” that you see is not the digitizer on the original screen. You can usually see a dotted grid on most capacitive touch screens if you have it in the right light.

  • grenole

    Uhh.. what about the grid? Explain the grid more please.

  • kevin

    Hey kellex I have a question. On the white galaxy s 3 there is a spread of light where the compasitive and notification lights are does this screen protector fix that?

  • zskate311

    So i have a question.

    How would you put any case on? Wouldn’t most cases no longer fit around the front of the device?

  • steve30x

    Kellex how about scraping the screen with the key at an angle ..like hold the key at a 45 degree angle on its side and slowly scratch ..youll feel the key scratching doing it this way instead of swiping it left and right like you did and put pressure also..i would love to see that test.

  • Davros

    Does this have any effect on using hard cases?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Watt/100000547462660 James Watt

    Sorry to be critical, but in the close-ups of the edge in the video, it appears that you have the screen protector on up-side-down. I went to the pre-order page and the description states that the glass has a beveled edge. Take a close look and see if you agree. Thanks though for the the review. I actually prefer screen protectors to a scratched screen, and this looks like one that should never need to be replaced.

  • RadYOacTiVe

    I likey, what’s it cost?

    • will bartlett

      click the link.

  • Bionic

    Im sure this is nice, bu expensive. My phone already has gorilla glass on it and I am using the $9.99 3 pack screen protector from verizon and it works fine for me.

    In my opinion, especially if you already have gorilla glass, screen protectors are over hyped and wayyyyy over priced.

    • Liderc

      Screen protector’s from verizon are made of junk. They can’t even be compared to this. This is glass and it is important to protect a $650 device, since the gorilla glass gets scratched daily.

      • Bionic

        Wrong, ive always used verizon ones and NEVER had a scratched screen. Besides, do you realize how hard it is to scratch gorilla glass? Not impossible, but very hard. So a regular cheap screen protector will do just fine.

        • Liderc

          Not all of us have throw away Bionics, so it’s actually important to protect our devices..

          • Diablo81588

            Your just mad because your junk nexus doesn’t have gorilla glass, so you downplay it like it doesn’t work. When are you gonna stop trolling on other phones?

          • Liderc

            My OG had gorilla glass and it got scratched moron. Just like everyone else’s. Gorilla glass is scratch RESISTANT not proof.

          • Bionic

            this is a really retarded statement. I agree protect your device, but when something already has gorilla glass, which is very hard to scratch, a regular screen protector is fine. Not one that cost 30 dollars or more.

        • Julian Coronado

          Right the super strong Gorilla Glass + a screen protector equals almost 100% safety. I use this method from Verizon and I’ve never gotten a scratch. But I do have a silicone case so it protects it from the surface even face down.

      • stupidllama

        your correct the verizon stuff is junk, but i have yet to scratch gorilla glass, i have dropped my phone in the garage, at home and at work several times and never scratched it. not saying its not possible but i don’t think its as easy as you make it sound.

      • SchwannyT

        I agree. I was setting up my neighbors new Razr Maxx and he’d put one of those “indestructible” screen condoms on. After my naked Gnex it was like running in the park, sliding on ice and then hit the cement sidewalk! I almost dropped his phone. I’m really interested in this cause Monday I saw the first scratch in my screen

  • http://profiles.google.com/drastik651 Jim Kalista

    Sooo is there a warranty with this? or when it breaks we buy another one?

  • brkshr

    With Gorilla Glass 2 on the SGSIII, I don’t see a reason for a screen protector. The screens (Gorilla Glass) on my original Droid, Droid X, Droid Pro & Droid Bionic are all in perfect condition & they have all been dropped several times and not cared for.

    Now the Galaxy Nexus with it’s “fortified glass” definitely needs one of these. So I will be buying one for that.

    • http://twitter.com/jheyneman James Heyneman

      Have you seen some of the shattered screens posted on XDA?

      • brkshr

        I haven’t. Is this a Gorilla Glass 2 problem because it’s thinner or something?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Watt/100000547462660 James Watt

      I trusted the Gorilla Glass on my SGSIII for the first few days and was really dissapointed when I noticed a scratch down by the home button. Went and overpaid for a pair of standard screen protectors the very next day, but I hate the way they eventually get scuffed and foggy, so I’ll probably be ordering this.

      • brkshr

        That’s disappointing! I thought it was supposed to be just as good as the original Gorilla Glass :-( I did just order one of these for my GNex tho.

      • c4v3man

        Agreed, have some faint scratches on my GS3 that I never had on my DroidX. Not visible most of the time when it’s off, and never noticeable when the screen is on, but they are still there…

    • Tommy Thompson

      Gorilla Glass is scratch RESISTANT, not scratch proof. And less resistant to cracking, but it definitely still will…

      • brkshr

        I get that… they said the GNex was ‘fortified scratch resistant” as well, but I had scratches within a week of owning it. That’s treating it like a king with it’s own pocket & always setting it on it’s back. My Droid X, Pro & Bionic are still in use by others & are still flawless They have been drug through the dirt, fallen face down on rocks, carried in purses with God knows what in there & much, much more (I’m sure I don’t know the half of it with the others using the phone now). I know that every glass has it’s breaking point, but the original Gorilla Glass at least, seems to be the best. I used to set my Droids screen down because the screen would be less likely to scratch than the back.

        • hkklife

          Yup, I agree 100%. The original “thick” Gorilla Glass is still by far the best.

          What i (and subsequent owners) did to my OG Droid and Droid X/X2/Bionic might have messed up the soft-touch paint on the phones themselves but the screens all remained nearly perfect. Yet my friend’s GNex has tons of small scratches in it and a coworker’s GS3 already has a small nick in it (carried naked in the pocket but otherwise not dropped). My GS3 is ok for the time being but I treat my stuff very carefully and I keep a case on it at all times.

  • http://twitter.com/apa1102 Apa Chen

    Why put a tempered glass at a Gorilla glass?

    • Liderc

      Because do a google search of scratched gorilla glass, you’ll get a couple thousand pages.

  • Trevor

    I don’t understand the point of this for a phone that has Gorilla Glass.

    • http://profiles.google.com/drastik651 Jim Kalista

      Go to the beach with your gorilla glass phone… Drop it in the sand.. throw it in your pocket.. next thing scratches:)

      • Bionic

        i did that with my phone…….no scratches. Are you wearing skinny Jeans or what?

        • Liderc

          Sand scratches any glass, doesn’t matter how “strong” you think it is.

          • Bionic

            I am aware of this.

        • http://profiles.google.com/drastik651 Jim Kalista

          Do I look like someone who wears skinny jeans?? no I am not a hipster.. Sand scratches gorilla glass…. its called silica google it

      • stupidllama

        must be why i have never scratched mine, not many beaches in montana, now beaotches, thats a whole other convo.

        • pj

          My phone has never been to the beach, but it definitely has two scratches on the screen because of sand. I’ve dropped it on concrete with no problems, but a couple grains of sand from my daughters hands, and bam! Hella scratched! Just be careful, gorilla glass or not.

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

          Hah this. <3 Montana.

      • http://twitter.com/Mcmex Steve McMex

        My phone also has some scratches and rubbing marks from just being in my pocket.

      • Julian Coronado

        What if I put a screen protector, on the tempered glass, on a screen protector, on gorilla glass, on my S3. Would that keep it safe?

      • http://twitter.com/DatBizzy Brandon Hagey

        Generally dont bring my phone places where it can be scratched like that. Ill use someone else’s lol. At the beach the last thing i wanna be distracted with is a phone.

  • http://twitter.com/NeverEndingXsin Michael

    This must be a bit more difficult to put on only because things have to line up perfectly. And how would this would with a case? I have the seido surface case, would that still fit over this?

  • mikeym0p

    SGP, when they made the one for the iPhone made little home button sticker inserts to assess the thickness. Perhaps you could suggest XGEAR make something similar for the GS3

  • moelsen8

    can’t wait for my gnex one to arrive!

  • teejaycard

    Cost eh?

  • DroidzFX

    Glassception

    Lets put glass on top of glass to protect our glass.

    • misterwight

      Yo dawg, we herd you like glass…

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisDoerman Chris Doerman

    Nice video Kellex. I pre-orded the Fantom for hte G-Nex so when you do the review later today, it would be nice if we can see you actually put it on… and re-apply it again if possible. I was curious how well that is working.

  • http://twitter.com/twlamb Tyler Lamb

    Can you show a video of how you actually apply this – seems like getting air bubbles out would suck

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

      It took no time at all to apply. I seriously just set it on, lined things up, and then pressed hard. Both Galaxy S3 and Nexus, neither have any bubbles.

      • Tommy Thompson

        I think people don’t realize, part of the reason for the bubbles is the flimsy screen protectors.

    • Art Holguin

      they have no adhesive material on the screen area of the protector only on the parts which are painted black/ blue/ white. the screen area has no adhesive product

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021865341 Andrew The-Cheese Pearson

    Is it hard to put on without bubbles?

    • cliffy44

      Andrew The Cheese Person – “Bubbles” has moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I will let you know your answer, next weekend; as she has invited me over for what she refers to as “a midnight dinner snack”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/N05M0K1N9 Joseph Hemrick III

    I think I would battle the feeling that I would need to get a screen protector for my tempered glass screen protector

  • Liderc

    Would like to see the Nexus one, interested in how it feels with the little ridge on the edge.

  • mikeym0p

    I had preordered the Galaxy Nexus fantom screen protector. They promised a mid July ship date and this further confirms it, can’t wait until it arrives. Great review guys!
    Can you add a separate video detailing the Gnex one, I got an email saying they made a few design changes, they added a black border to match the bezel on the phone and switched to silica gel application, apparently the curved screen was giving them trouble.

  • htowngtr

    Is there a coupon for GNex version?

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

      At one time it was “NEXUSFTW” – feel free to try that.

      • stupidllama

        any chance they will be making one for the nexus 7, didn’t think id need one at first but i do have a couple small, shallow scratches that you can see if you look at it right, not a big deal but definitly not GG strength. i like it, i think it would work well on the 7.

        • grenole

          Yep already in the works apparently.