iPad Screen Protector Review: Padacs Fortress Screen Protector for iPad 2 or 3rd Generation iPad Review
Editor's Ratings: (1-5) 4
What's Hot: Protects your iPad screen from scratches/scuffs/scrapes, and even impact. Pesky air bubbles mostly disperse on their own within 24 hours of application.
What's Not: Expensive. Not everybody needs this level of protection
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The Fortress Screen Protector for the 2nd or 3rd generation iPad stands alone in the field of screen protectors because unlike everything else on the market, it provides actual, real-world protection for those who need it.
Features and Quality
I am not a fan of screen protectors. In my experience, they provide no noticeable value. They scratch far easier than the iPad's Gorilla Glass screen, smudge easier (thanks to Apple's hydrophobic coating) and significantly interfere with my touchscreen experience both tactually and visually. The Fortress by Padacs is significantly different, however. According to Padacs, the Fortress is comprised of 4 different layers that work together to absorb and disperse impact force. Although I wasn't brave enough to verify this claim with my own iPad, the videos on their site are extremely impressive. Further, the Fortress, unlike the clear acetate screen protectors that flood the market, feels thick, substantial, and almost rubbery. After installing (more on this later) and using it, I am convinced that their claims are valid.
Another reason that I don't like screen protectors is that I find their installation stressful. Lining them up correctly on an iPhone was difficult enough, but on a 10" screen, the task becomes frustrating and difficult. Again, the Fortress is different. First and foremost, follow their printed instructions. If you dive in uninformed, you are likely to completely pull off the protective sheet, which you will seriously regret. This regret will be exponentially amplified because messing up this installation will cost you $60 rather than $10. First, clean your screen completely. Every tiny little speck of dust or hair will result in an air bubble that will not disperse. If this happens, you will need to pull the Fortress back and use the included adhesive strip to remove the debris. Second, peel back one edge of the protective sheet and fold it back while you line everything up. This will hold the Fortress off your iPad and keep it from picking up lint/dust/etc. Once everything is aligned, slowly pull back the sheet and use the included squeegee to gently press it onto your iPad. There is no need to do this too aggressively because no matter what you do, air bubbles will form. Your goal is not perfection, but only to prevent overly large bubbles from forming and this can easily be accomplished with a gentle touch. Once installed, some of the bubbles can be pushed to the edges by rolling the tip of your finger behind the bubble, pushing them forward. Scraping the screen protector with the squeegee will achieve nothing. The key is a rolling motion. My recommendation, however, is to hold off on this for at least 24 hours as many of the bubbles will somehow manage to disperse on their own. I don't know how it works, but I can assure you that it does. You may see some oily looking patches during this timeframe that don't seem to be air bubbles. Fear not; these will also disappear as the Fortress settles in. By the way, there is no actual adhesive used, so the screen protector uninstalls in seconds with no residue.
Here is a video of Fortress scratch test:
Who Needs This Level of Protection?
If your iPad is primarily used by adults in an indoor environment, the Fortress may be overkill. If, however, your device regularly finds its way into the hands of children, or you work in an inhospitable or rugged environment, this is the only screen protector on the market that actually protects your screen, and is well worth the investment.