A film or glass allows you to pro­tect your smart­phone from mechan­i­cal dam­age (chips, scratch­es, cracks). Pho­to: instructables.com

The dis­play is the most frag­ile part of a smart­phone. It is easy to scratch, chip off the edges or break. It can­not be repaired, and replace­ment is expen­sive — for exam­ple, for the iPhone 13 Pro in an unof­fi­cial ser­vice, you will have to pay about 24,000 rubles for the pro­ce­dure, for a non-top iPhone 11 — about 17,000 rubles. To pro­tect the dis­play, you can stick a film or glass. In today’s arti­cle, we tell you what to choose (film or glass), how to stick it and what you need for this.

What to choose — protective glass or film

Pro­tec­tive films and glass­es have their advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. Pho­to: red-dot-geek.com

The pro­tec­tive film is a flex­i­ble plas­tic poly­mer with a thick­ness of 0.1 mm. Glass — strong and thick (up to 0.5 mm), can also be made of poly­car­bon­ate. Each of them has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages.

Film advantages:

  • costs less;
  • less vis­i­ble on the screen;
  • does not affect the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the dis­play and the fin­ger­print scan­ner built into the screen;
  • suit­able for pro­tect­ing curved screens;
  • there is a wide choice: hydro­gel — pulls togeth­er minor scuffs and scratch­es, mat­te — reduce glare when using a smart­phone in direct sun­light; mir­ror — turn an inac­tive screen into a mir­ror; polar­ized — have lim­it­ed view­ing angles, which means that peo­ple stand­ing near­by will not be able to peep into your smart­phone.

Film cons:

  • dif­fi­cult to glue;
  • will not pro­tect the smart­phone in case of a fall;
  • wears out quick­ly — after a cou­ple of months you will have to change to a new one;
  • impairs tac­tile sen­sa­tions when using the phone.

Glass advantages:

  • pro­tect the dis­play in case of a fall;
  • retains tac­tile sen­sa­tions on a par with the orig­i­nal screen;
  • eas­i­er to stick;
  • there is also a large selec­tion of glass­es: mat­te, glossy, polar­ized, with an oleo­pho­bic coat­ing and oth­ers;
  • will last longer.

Cons of glass:

  • costs more;
  • increas­es the thick­ness of the smart­phone;
  • due to the thick­ness, it can dis­tort the image on the screen (for exam­ple, cre­ate the effect of a rain­bow spot);
  • reduces the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the touch screen and the opti­cal fin­ger­print scan­ner under the dis­play;
  • not suit­able for curved screens (there are 3D glass­es for such smart­phones, but they are dif­fi­cult to install, spoil the appear­ance of the gad­get, bub­bles often remain under them; or you can use a small­er glass, but then the edges of the screen will remain unpro­tect­ed).

If you treat your smart­phone with care and want to pro­tect the device only from minor scratch­es, choose a film. If you often drop your phone, it is bet­ter to buy glass.

How to choose a protective film for your smartphone

There are a huge num­ber of dif­fer­ent films on the mar­ket, but there are only two main types:

  • glossy — already placed small scratch­es are not vis­i­ble on them, they do not affect col­or repro­duc­tion, bright­ness and pic­ture qual­i­ty. How­ev­er, in bright light or the sun, the dis­play is very glare and almost unread­able;
  • mat­te — prac­ti­cal­ly do not glare, the dis­play remains read­able under any light­ing con­di­tions; Fin­ger­prints are almost invis­i­ble on them. They degrade the image qual­i­ty, it becomes grainy with duller col­ors.

If you use your smart­phone indoors with nor­mal light­ing or your city does not have many sun­ny days (as in St. Peters­burg), and dis­play bright­ness is impor­tant to you, choose a glossy pro­tec­tive film. If you want to use the device in any weath­er and light­ing, buy a mat­te pro­tec­tive film.

In addi­tion, films are uni­ver­sal (for dif­fer­ent smart­phones with a spe­cif­ic diag­o­nal), for a spe­cif­ic phone mod­el and dimen­sion­less (it is assumed that you will cut the film to the desired size your­self). We do not rec­om­mend tak­ing the last option, since the glu­ing process becomes more com­pli­cat­ed (you need to mea­sure the screen, make holes for the cam­era, speak­er and but­tons your­self).

The most famous man­u­fac­tur­ers of pro­tec­tive films are Belkin, Nil­lkin, EasyLink, DiGi, SGP and oth­ers.

How to choose a protective glass for your smartphone

It is impos­si­ble to use glossy pro­tec­tive glass under bright lamps or the sun. Pho­to: red-dot-geek.com

When choos­ing a pro­tec­tive glass for your smart­phone, pay atten­tion to the fol­low­ing para­me­ters:

– thick­ness – varies from 0.1 to 0.5 mm. It depends on the appear­ance and degree of pro­tec­tion of the device. If you fre­quent­ly drop your smart­phone, go hik­ing, work in extreme con­di­tions (such as a con­struc­tion site), or have small chil­dren, it is bet­ter to choose thick glass. If you take care of your phone and work in the office, an aver­age thick­ness (0.3 mm) is suf­fi­cient. The thick­er the glass, the more vis­i­ble it is on the screen and the less sen­si­tive the sen­sor is to pres­sure;

— strength — denot­ed by the let­ter H, max­i­mum — 10N. The max­i­mum indi­ca­tor will save the smart­phone dis­play only when falling face down. Low-strength glass will with­stand a fall on the end. The opti­mal val­ue is 8–9H;

— coat­ing — glossy or mat­te (fea­tures are the same as for film coat­ings);

— vol­ume — the fol­low­ing are dis­tin­guished:

— 2D — flat with raw edges;

— 2.5D — flat with round­ed edges (for smart­phones with a flat screen with­out bends);

— 3D — curved with round­ed edges (pro­tects the dis­play from all sides, hard to glue, incon­ve­nient to use with a case);

— “Full screen” — flat with round­ed edges (just like 3D, it pro­tects the screen from all sides, but it is eas­i­er to glue and can be used with a case);

— you can find 5D and even 10D glass­es on the mar­ket, but this is noth­ing more than a mar­ket­ing ploy.

Dif­fer­ences in pro­tec­tive glass­es. Pho­to: the7electronics.com

Despite the avail­abil­i­ty of uni­ver­sal options on the mar­ket, it is bet­ter to buy pro­tec­tive glass for a spe­cif­ic smart­phone mod­el. Since even phones with the same screen size and self­ie cam­era lay­out can have their own char­ac­ter­is­tics (for exam­ple, the size of the image sen­sor).

Pop­u­lar man­u­fac­tur­ers of pro­tec­tive glass­es for smart­phones are Red Line, Nil­lkin, Dep­pa, Lux­Case and oth­ers.

How to stick a protective film or glass on a smartphone display

Workplace preparation

It is bet­ter to choose a room with a min­i­mum amount of tex­tile items that col­lect dust. Oth­er­wise, when stick­ing the film, bub­bles will appear on the sur­face. There­fore, the most suit­able place for glu­ing a film or glass is a kitchen or bath­room (they have a min­i­mum amount of uphol­stered fur­ni­ture and oth­er dec­o­ra­tive ele­ments) or a work­shop where there are no cur­tains or table­cloths.

If you want to cre­ate ide­al con­di­tions, then before cov­er­ing the dis­play with film / glass, you can:

  • remove all tex­tiles from the room (table­cloths, tow­els, rugs, rags, etc.);
  • car­ry out wet clean­ing — wash the floor and wipe all sur­faces with a damp cloth;
  • humid­i­fy the air with a spray bot­tle or use a humid­i­fi­er — the dust will get wet and set­tle.

Instrument preparation

In addi­tion to the smart­phone and pro­tec­tive film / glass, you need to pre­pare:

  • alco­hol, anti­sta­t­ic, or screen clean­er;
  • a microfiber cloth (usu­al­ly includ­ed in the pack­age of the film);
  • a plas­tic card (you can use a bank or trav­el card);
  • adhe­sive tape (also usu­al­ly includ­ed).

Before start­ing work, remove your hair, wash your hands thor­ough­ly with soap and water. It is bet­ter to wear a sports T‑shirt or oth­er lint-free cloth­ing.


Degreas­ing the screen is an impor­tant step in glu­ing a pro­tec­tive glass or film. Pho­to: instructables.com

Before stick­ing the film / glass, degrease the phone screen with alco­hol, anti­sta­t­ic or a spe­cial liq­uid. After that, remove dust par­ti­cles from the dis­play using a microfiber cloth. The screen is ready, after per­form­ing these steps, you can­not touch it with your hands or touch it with clothes.

A pro­tec­tive film or glass con­sists of three parts: the top and bot­tom lay­ers are usu­al­ly marked with the num­bers “1” and “2”, respec­tive­ly, the mid­dle one is the one that remains on the sur­face of the screen.

To stick a pro­tec­tive film on the phone screen, fol­low these steps:

  • align the film with side “1” down with the phone dis­play — all holes must match;
  • sep­a­rate the first lay­er from the film. Impor­tant — after that you can not touch the film;
  • stick the film to the dis­play sur­face, start­ing at the edge and using the edge of the bank card to help you. Make sure there are no dis­tor­tions;
  • air bub­bles formed can be removed with a card, mov­ing from the cen­ter to the edges;
  • to remove dust par­ti­cles, use two strips of adhe­sive tape — with one, par­tial­ly sep­a­rate the film from the dis­play, the sec­ond — remove dust par­ti­cles;
  • remove the sec­ond lay­er of pro­tec­tive film.

Ready! Now your smart­phone is pro­tect­ed from mechan­i­cal dam­age.

The process of stick­ing pro­tec­tive glass is sim­i­lar. Just before remov­ing the first pro­tec­tive film, it is rec­om­mend­ed to fix the pro­tec­tive glass with pieces of adhe­sive tape on one side of the phone case in the form of a cov­er (as shown in the pho­to below).

Pro­tec­tive glass must be fixed on the screen sur­face. Pho­to: instructables.com

If a fac­to­ry film is applied to the smart­phone screen, before glu­ing the pro­tec­tive glass, make sure that there is no dust and air bub­bles under it. If there are, remove them as described above.