Screen protectors were and will always continue to be the number one concern for protecting those amazing touchscreen displays of today's advanced smartphones. While many are already secretly fitted with tough scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 2 displays, people aren't prepared to take any risks whatsoever. Glass screen protectors were considered to be a breakthrough in screen protection when they were first commercially introduced to the consumer market a little over a year ago.
Spigen was the first to out a proper mainstream glass iPhone screen protector with the Glas.t. And now consumers have more selection, starting with Colorant's new USG Impossible Tempered Glass screen protector (or ITG for short) for the iPhone 5. Plastic screen protectors are trembling with fear right now. If the USG ITG is as good as the Glas.t we've reviewed, it'll be a great day for iPhone 5 users.
If you've read our review on Spigen's Glas.t, then you pretty much know everything there is to know about the USG Impossible Tempered Glass. The two are so similar to one another that it leads me to believe both are made under the same manufacturing plant only packaged under different brands. In terms of performance, the USG ITG screen protector is everything Spigen's popular Glas.t series is but at the same cost. You can pick one up for $28, and the only difference you should be looking at when deciding which of the two brands to settle with is quite frankly the two extra little home button stickers you get with the Glas.t. As much as that sounds ridiculous.
Right. Inside the sleeve packaging you're going to find the USG Impossible Tempered Glass protector protected inside extra sleeves, a couple of dust removal sticker tabs, a cleaning cloth and of course the jelly bean-like home button stickers. One black and one white, respectively. These stickers are exactly the same ones you'd get with the Glas.t and Glas.tr. More on why you would want to use these later though.
The USG ITG is impossibly thin at just .4mm thick. Once applied onto the iPhone 5, it's virtually undetected. We say nothing can compare to a glass screen protector, but the price must be paid. When the best plastic made screen protectors will cost you nearly half the price of a glass one, you're looking at a small investment going with a glass screen protector such as this. Not to mention you've got a much higher chance of messing up your first installation which can end up costing you even more. As you may or may not know, these glass screen protectors have a special silicone adhesive layer that while it may work magically to apply itself on to the screen with a suction that spreads itself across the entire screen without much of an air bubble getting its chance of ruining your perfect $28 application.
Like the Glas.t series, the USG ITG can only be applied once, and it must be perfectly without any lint or dust in the way. Because lifting it off like an ordinary plastic screen protector will indeed ruin its sterile clear silicone adhesive. However, like we've mentioned before, you shouldn't be intimidated by it. It's much easier to apply rather perfectly than it sounds.
With that said, the advantage is nothing short of epic. Perfectly aligning it isn't hard because of it being one solid pane of glass as oppose to an ordinary plastic protector that cannot simply be applied straight from above like the USG ITG. I've successfully installed a few glass screen protectors perfectly, so suffice to say all you should worry about is lint and dust to rain on your parade. The included dust stickers aren't much help after you've already applied the glass protector.
Worried your Retina display won't look as sharp? Don't be silly. The results up top speak for themselves. There's absolutely no affect on sharpness, clarity or viewing angles with the USG ITG applied on the iPhone 5's stupendous 4-inch Retina display. Again, it's like there's nothing there. Glass on glass is the best possible form of practicality. There is no rainbow effect like you get with cheap and even some of the higher-end plastic screen protectors.
Once applied, the USG ITG is simply flawless. As long as you've properly cleaned your iPhone's screen right before installation, you should have a near perfect glass on glass result. Colorant's glass screen protector is treated with an oleophobic coating so it's easier to clean fingerprints and it feels just like what Apple has done with the iPhone 5's glass display. It's silky smooth and feels exactly like the naked glass display of the iPhone. Nothing comes close to retaining the same exact glass feel of the iPhone while it is discreetly protected by an unusually tough and shatter-resistant glass screen protector. The USG ITG is made from a tempered glass that its surface hardness is rated at 9H which is insanely difficult to scratch. We tried deliberately and it didn't budge.
The touchscreen sensitivity and responsiveness isn't at all impacted by the glass protector because of how the silicone adhesive literally bonds the two together seamlessly.
The edges of the glass don't feel sharp or obtrusive when holding the iPhone 5 in the hand, but rather polished and smooth. While I've never had any issues with the edges chipping from impact, the USG ITG's edges aren't rounded for a reinforced anti-chip edge like the more expensive $35 Glas.tr. Because of how thin and precisely cut-to-fit the USG ITG is, it can be used with many different kids of cases that don't overlap the iPhone's screen like the UAG, Draco 5, S5, Sector 5 and the Snap Case to name a few.
Those jelly bean home button stickers have a convex epoxy that makes up for the slightly recessed home button of the iPhone caused by the thickness of the glass. If you decide against using the included button stickers, you won't have any trouble using the iPhone's home button. This is really the only trivial drawback to using a glass screen protector. It must have some thickness to it to be strong and durable, and that's something you're going to have to live with. Then again, the USG ITG is so amazing that these small nitpicks really have no firm ground to stand on.
So there you have it. The USG Impossible Tempered Glass screen protector cannot and will not scratch like the most expensive plastic screen protected leaving you with a beautify clear display that feels just like it should, but properly protected. Colorant has made (or branded) a brilliant glass screen protector for the iPhone 5 that we simply love using and can highly recommend. And what do you, it also wins our Editors' Choice award. Glass screen protectors like the USG ITG are revolutionary, and we couldn't bare to use anything less glassy. If you're thinking about protecting your iPhone 5's display, you should either pay the premium price or leave it be. Unfortunately we thought competition will bring down prices, but as it stands it doesn't seem to look like it.