At CES in January, I interviewed Arun Karamcheti from Diamond Dog, the company that makes the tempered glass screen protectors with patented DiamondClad™ Diamond-Like Carbon Coating Technology. I challenged Arun to convince me that I would like having any screen protector on my phone. The main point of his demonstration was the indestructibility of the Diamond Dog tempered glass. Arun gave me a big screw with a super-sharp tip on it and I tried as hard as I could to get a gouge on a phone with a Diamond Dog screen protector, but I failed.
I had to acknowledge that it would provide some amazing protection, but I still didn’t want it on my phone.
To me, screen protectors remind me of how in the 1950s homemakers everywhere would put plastic covers over the furniture so that they’d “stay nice”. Sure they would be nice for the next person, or maybe for company if we were lucky, but all the rest of the time the furniture looked terrible and it was uncomfortable.
Screen protectors seem like the same thing to me. You put a screen protector on so that the next person sees a nice, pristine glass screen on the phone when you sell it to them. But the whole time you have it, it looks terrible.
In the old days screen protectors were made of plastic. They got scarred up quickly, and they always always always had bubbles under the screen. On top of that, they were kind of sticky-feeling so your finger didn’t slide like it was on the original glass. I’ve also seen a lot of people with cracked screen protectors on their phones, and I could never understand why they left them on.
Arun insisted that the Diamond Dog screen protectors were different. He gave me a free one and challenged me to try it out. I like free stuff as much as the next person, so I took it but I knew I wouldn’t like it. I brought it home and considered putting it on my phone but I just couldn’t get myself to try it. I was torn because even if it would protect my phone, I was sure that when I put it on I would get a big stupid bubble under it and I would hate it.
In February Dave Hamilton came to our house for a visit. I had heard Dave on the Mac Geek Gab say that he was a huge believer in glass screen protectors. He said he buys lots of them, and keeps them in stock at his house and puts them on friend’s phones when they come over. I asked Dave if he would put the Diamond Dog on my phone for me and he readily agreed.
I don’t know about other screen protectors and how fancy their installation is, but the Diamond Dog came with several things to make it easier to have a good application experience. They give you a nice little wet wipe (and a dry one), and a little sticky thing for picking any remaining lint off of the screen. It even came with a little frame to put over your phone so that you were sure to align the screen protector properly with no effort. Dave is a wild man and didn’t even read the instructions! In a few seconds, he had applied the Diamond Dog to my screen.
Before I tell you what I thought of the Diamond Dog, let’s set the criteria for a successful screen protector. I would suggest the following:
- Doesn’t feel creepy or annoying – feels like the original glass
- No bubbles under the screen
- Screen responds as though you’re on the original glass
- Doesn’t look bad (scratches, milky looking, noticeable edges)
- Actually protects the phone when something bad happens.
After Dave applied the Diamond Dog to my phone, I was immediately disappointed. There were several tiny little bubbles under the screen. Dave said not to worry about it, and just rub it a little bit and they would eventually disappear. I was dubious but after a little work, I was able to get them to vanish.
Once I was over the bubble fiasco, I could focus on the feel of the Diamond Dog. It felt like the original glass. I absolutely could detect no difference. I didn’t notice anything weird stickiness that I had noticed with the old screen protectors I had seen in the past.
The one thing that bothered me was that at the bottom edge of the phone where you swipe up to go to the home screen, I could feel the edge of the tempered glass. For the first day or two it was super noticeable … and then somehow I completely stopped noticing it at all. In fact, I pretty much forgot that I had a screen protector on my phone. The phone was just as responsive as with the original glass of my phone.
For 13 months I kept the Diamond Dog on my phone and that patented tempered glass looked as pristine as the day Dave applied it.
You can hear the minor chords swelling in the background right now, can’t you?
In late May, we went to Lindsay’s house to see our grandchildren. The climate is quite warm even in springtime and we love to hang out in and around her pool.
I like to keep my phone nearby in case an adorable moment with my grandson breaks out. However, since it’s so hot out, a phone left out in the sun will do that thing where it shuts itself down because it overheats. The poor thing doesn’t have a chance with that black screen absorbing all that heat.
My phone has a white back and it’s in a clear, rubbery case with a ledge around the glass, so I thought maybe if I put it face down on the concrete, it would stay cool. The good news is that I was right, the phone did not overheat. The bad news is that I put the phone down on top of a tiny rock or maybe there was a bit of concrete sticking up, and my screen got cracked!
But of course it did not actually crack my screen, it cracked the Diamond Dog instead! While we don’t know for sure that my real screen would have cracked as badly as the Diamond Dog, looking at the big chip out of it where it set on the rock, I’m 90% certain that it would have at least taken a chunk out of the real screen on my iPhone.
Do you remember earlier how I mocked people who walk around with cracked screen protectors on their phones? I have to confess that I did not take the cracked Diamond Dog off until I had purchased a new one. It looked awful with four crack lines and the big chip out of it, but I was convinced that if I took it off I would do something else stupid and break my real screen.
After I received the new Diamond Dog, I was afraid to put it on without Dave Hamilton. I was sure I would do it wrong. What if I got a bubble under the screen? Or what if I put it on crooked?
I finally got my nerve up after a couple of days to give it a go. I removed the old protector by prying it up on the corner and the whole thing lifted off in one piece. I was relieved to see that the iPhone screen underneath was as pristine as the day I bought it. It was super clean too with no fingerprints or lint. Being obsessive by nature, I cleaned it anyway with the wet wipe and dried it. I placed the plastic frame around the phone (which didn’t really clip on like they said but just rested on the phone), and put the screen protector down in the middle first and then pushed out to the edges as the manual instructed.
And… I got a giant bubble in the middle. Not tiny movable bubbles like when Dave did it, one that compressed into a series of smaller bubbles and came back as soon as I stopped rubbing it. It was super noticeable. Argh.
After a few hours of pretending I could get past it and leave it there, I realized I had to try to fix it. I gently pried up the corner so just the top half was not stuck to the screen and slowly pushed it down from the middle to the top again. I was definitely able to get rid of the huge bubble. There are a couple of tiny bubbles left but I’m definitely not going to try to fix those because they’re so tiny.
But then I noticed that somehow while prying it up on the corner a tiny bit of lint crept into the corner. I have to decide again if it bugs me enough to try to lift it up again and delint it or if I should cut my losses and let it be. Where’s Dave when you need him?
The bottom line is that I’m a 100% believer in the Diamond Dog tempered glass screen protectors for my phones. I really never thought I could be sold on a screen protector but this $30 protector saved my phone. The proof I believe is not that I liked the free one so much but that after the damage, I bought one with my own money.
The Diamond Dog tempered glass screen protectors are available from mydiamonddog.com/ for all sizes of iPhones 11, X, XR, and Xs, and Google Pixel 3 and 4XLs, as well as Samsung Galaxy S10, 10+ and Note 10+. They’re not cheap at $30 but I’m a believer in the quality after it saved my phone.
I should mention that Dave recommends inexpensive glass screen protectors from Amazon (I think he pays around $10 each) so maybe you want to go that route but I’m sticking with Diamond Dog.