These glorious big touchscreens on the latest smartphones are all well and good, but they create a huge problem. How do you keep them safe and clean in every day use? For most of us, that means buying kludgy plastic screen protectors or cases, and laboriously fitting them to our phones in the hopes of keeping the damage away as much as possible. But we recently tested an interesting new product which seems to offer a really good alternative, without all the hassle.
Liquid Armor (Invisible Screen Protector with Nano Technology it says here) is a spray on coating that is supposed to offer a weather resistant, anti-static and scratch resistant layer on top of your smartphone touchscreen for up to 6 months per application. Not only that, but the makers claim that it’s up to 2x stronger than alternative plastic film screen protectors and it won’t detract from your display brightness or sensitivity. Bold claims, do they stack up?
We tried the kit on an elderly HTC Magic phone which has seen better days. The phone had crusted in marks on the screen and an overall sheen of grease and fine scratches. A perfect subject to test. The instructions run through the routine to restoring and protecting a screen.
1. Switch off phone
2. Remove marks on screen with special cloth. The light brown side is for major marks and is used for applying the spray, the darker side is for grease, fingerprints and buffing after the spray has been applied.
3. Spray on coating, and wipe in a single direction (not circular) for around 20 seconds.
4. Leave to dry for 10 minutes before using. Hard dry in 24 hours.
As you can see from the video below, we went through the process as directed except for one thing – we sprayed the coating directly onto the handset instead of the cloth. It didn’t seem to make any difference to the end result though. The application is very simple, there are no apparent problems with streaking as you wipe the coating on to the screen, so in a few seconds you’re done.
The first thing that’s noticeable is the coated screen does appear to be more resistant to smearing. It does smear with a finger swipe, but when done alongside an uncoated screen, the difference is noticeable. The smears are less and easier to remove with a wipe of a cloth. In this respect it becomes more like the awesome Gorilla glass.
The second test we did was to try out sensitivity and brightness, and as you’d expect from an ultra thin coating we experienced no loss of touch sensitivity or display brightness after application. No doubt a lab instrument could detect something, but we couldn’t.
Finally the acid test. Again the video shows it best, but no matter how much we tried (or how hard we pressed) we could not scratch the screen with a house key. We didn’t try it with anything sharper, but for us this is the ultimate ‘pocket test’. If the screen can survive being scraped by keys in a pocket, it’s good for most day to day eventualities.
All in all we were very surprised (really!) to find that the coating does seem to actually work. It’s hard to believe that a spray on coating can have that much effect, but unless we’re missing something, it does appear to protect the screen very well indeed under stress. It works with glass of course, so don’t expect the same results if you have a cheaper plastic screen, and it pays to remember that the spray needs to be re-applied every 3 to 6 months to maintain protection.
Overall, we’re going to give it a 5 out of 5. Easy to apply, effective, low impact on screen functionality and not too expensive. We’d like to hear from more real world experiences, but for now it’s a thumbs up recommendation from us.
NOTE: We’re including here a more rigorous test video from another tech site to show that the coating does degrade under extreme misuse, but still seems to protect the underlying screen extremely well.