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Tech Armor Ballistic and Accessory Glass for iPhone 7/7 Plus Review
      #49761 - 12/19/16 04:19 PM

Screen protectors on iPhones have had a long and tortured history. Starting with vinyl overlays and hard plastic screens built into cases, we have now almost universally graduated to all-glass protection. This is far superior to vinyl or plastic due not only to its strength, clarity, and touch sensitivity, but also for its relative ease of installation (compared to previous options, that is). Unfortunately, this narrowing of the field regarding materials has not resulted in a more tightly focused market. In fact, the desire to differentiate their products from the competition has driven manufacturers to offer a dizzying array of choices. Some of these choices are easy to understand. Others, however, can leave potential buyers scratching their collective heads (more on this later).

I was able to test both the Ballistic Glass and the Prime Glass, and found them to be very similar. First of all, the Ballistic Glass is 0.1mm thicker than the Prime Glass (0.3mm vs. 0.2mm), but boasts a hardness rating of 9H. Please note that this rating should not be confused with Moh's Scale of hardness, where it likely resides somewhere between 5 and 6. When you see 9H on a product like this, it means that the glass was able to resist repeated efforts to mark it with a 9H drafting pencil. This is actually pretty darn scratch resistant for glass, although it may not sound like it. Installation went well, although I had a bad moment when it went on crooked and I had to pry it back up with my pinky fingernail. Getting the cover straight is one of the two most difficult parts of these installations. The other is getting the screen perfectly clean. This is important as even the tiniest dust mote will leave an air bubble that will never ever go away. Ever. For this reason, I always install them on the stove with the exhaust fan turned up to maximum. This seems to minimize the airborne dust particles that are attempting to settle on your screen. I also try to do it on a rainy or humid day for the same reason. Be sure to read the instructions before beginning, and maybe take the time to watch Tech Armor's video on the process. If you get into trouble, give them a call. They want to help. The Ballistic Glass screen feels just like your native iPhone screen, and will never slip or creep once installed.

The Prime Glass product is made of Corning's Accessory Glass, and is thinner than the Ballistic Glass. It went on a bit easier than the first one. This may be due to it being thinner or it may be due to me simply being better at it the second time around. This glass also feels like your device's native screen. Lastly, no hardness rating is provided on this product.

Tech Armor is a full-featured vendor of screen protectors. Offering an edge-to-edge/top-to-bottom product, one that offers lateral privacy from prying eyes, one with a matte finish, and one with a blue light filter; they will likely have you covered if you fall into one of these special use categories. Tech Armor also offer several products that seem to compete directly with one another. First, there's the Prime Glass, which features Corning "Accessory Glass." This product is described as being their "best" and "strongest" on the box art, and the product page gives lots of statistics regarding its resistance to scratches and damage due to drops. As previously noted, however, no hardness rating is provided. Meanwhile, the Ballistic Glass is described as Tech Armor's "Flagship Screen." Again, it boasts a hardness rating of 9H, and its product page describes it as their "best" in all categories. So, which one do you buy? I honestly don't know. To be fair, both have proven to be excellent products, I just can't tell the difference between the two in everyday use, and haven't had a mishap with either that would allow me to rate their real-world levels of protection. Further, reading their respective product pages and box art leaves me equally confused. When in a situation like this, there are two schools of thought. First, the economically minded would say, all things being equal, go with the lowest-priced option. Others, however, may tend to think that the most expensive product is going to be their best offering. I'll leave that for you to decide.

Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: Inexpensive yet robust screen protection.
What's Not: Confusing array of screen protection choices, several of which are marketed individually as their "best."
Price: Ballistic Glass: $5.95; Prime Glass: $12.95 (iPhone 7) $14.95 (iPhone 7 Plus).
Website: Tech Armor

Reviewed by: Tom Slayton




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