Thinking about getting a screen protector for your Apple Watch? Trying to figure out what the best screen protectors for the Apple Watch (series 1-4)? Here’s a breakdown of all the different types that you can get.
Spoiler alert: The best one is none? Maybe the the glass one!
At Mobile Reviews Eh!, we do reviews based on actual usage. We do tests and use the products for days and maybe weeks. If you like how we do our reviews, please consider buying the products on the links scattered on this article.
Plastic/Film Apple Watch Screen Protectors
Most of the plastic screen protectors that weʼve seen are made from a TPU film. Depending on the film that you get, some will only cover the face while others will cover the edges but not the corners. From a day-to-day protection standpoint, the exposed corners wonʼt be an issue from our experience. When it comes to plastic screen protectors, the product that required a wet install seemed to provide the best experience.
One of the issues with the film type of screen protector is that it may not work well with Apple Watch cases. There is a bit of overlap with the case which may result in minor bubbling which will cheapen the look of your Apple Watch. The easy solution to this problem is to not use a case.
Every TPU film weʼve used has cheapened the feel of the Apple Watch. We personally like the smooth surface of the glass screen on the Apple devices and having a piece of plastic cover it really takes away from the device. If you donʼt believe us, go get some plastic wrap, wrap your watch in it and practice swiping and tapping on that. Thatʼs what itʼs going to feel like. Itʼs pretty awful.
If we had a wish list, weʼd want companies like Evolutive Labs to make a screen protector for the Apple Watch because their plastic screen protectors feel quite close to glass.
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Glass APPLE WATCH SCREEN PROTECTORS
We were extremely underwhelmed by the glass screen protectors we got. None of them fit the iPhoneʼs screen well. Most products were marketed for multiple devices so the manufacturer didnʼt take the effort to check if the product actually worked.
For example, the JETech screen protector in the photo below shows being compatible with Fitbit devices. The Fitbit Ionic and Blaze had a flat glass screen while the Apple Watch has a curved screen. JETechʼs product fits the Fitbit well but they didnʼt take into account the slight curve of the Apple Watch.
If you really need a screen protector for your Apple Watch, then you should get an edge-to-edge screen protector. It’s almost invisible when installed properly. The keyword in the last sentence is “properly”. It took us several tries to get the edge-to-edge screen protector aligned properly.
In general, the glass used in Apple Watches is quite poor. It doesnʼt take much effort to crack the glass along the edges of the product which means the glass is poorly tempered or not tempered at all. Certain companies will try to include a plastic rim around the glass which helps with the look of the product. However, the glass is still incredibly cheap, has a poor oleophobic coating and once it cracks, it looks awful.
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Apple Watch Cases
Get a liquid screen protector on Amazon (CA/UK/DE) or on eBay!
- Change the look of your watch
- Only product that offers true edge protection
- Plastic screen protector
- Comes off easily
Honestly, cases really take away from the design and look of the Apple Watch. We generally have no issue covering up iPhoneʼs but when it comes to the Apple Watch, we try to keep it naked. But cases are the only way youʼre going to be able to protect the edges of your Apple Watch from getting scratched up. Only if you can keep the cases on your device because these products have a tendency to come off easily.
Certain products like the Spigen Tough Armor for the Apple Watch will include a screen protector . But we personally would stay away from such products because we donʼt want dust or debris that getʼs caught between the device and screen protector scratching the watch.
Honestly, getting a case for your Apple Watch should be the last thing you should consider. And most manufacturers have figured this out because none of our preferred cases for the Apple Watch Series 1-3 exist for the Series 4.
Liquid APPLE WATCH SCREEN PROTECTORS
Despite being our most preferred product, we’re not 100% sold on the Liquid screen protectors. Thereʼs a lot of marketing fluff that goes with Liquid screen protectors such as improved impact resistance, scratch resistance and oleophobic coating improvements. Out of those three, we were only able to show that liquid screen protectors improved the impact resistance the glass that we put it on.
Liquid screen protectors technically will improve scratch resistance as you are adding a thin layer of glass to the device. However hereʼs the thing, once you scratch it, you canʼt take it off and replace it. And for the oleophobic coating claim? Well, it did make our devices smoother but water doesnʼt roll off like itʼs suppose to.
And the kick to the face is that these products are expensive. They run around $30 per pack. The only upside is that you can apply one of the wet wipes in the package to 3-4 devices.
Itʼs better than nothing but not by much.
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- No extra protection
The first question you should answer is: When you used a traditional watch, did you need a screen protector for it?
We might be the first person in the world to ask that question. We know when it comes to our devices, itʼs almost a natural urge to go and find something to protect our shiny new gadgets. But hereʼs the thing, how beat up have your previous watches actually become?
Between the original Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 2 and the Apple Watch 3, the most beat up device is the Apple Watch 3. Thereʼs a big scratch on the front that couldnʼt be fixed by a liquid screen protector and the corner of the device is dented. None of the damage occurred while the device was on our wrist, it happened when we took it off and the silent alarm vibrated it off the bathroom counter onto a tile floor.
The older Apple Watches, despite being worn everyday for a year have no noticeable scratches to them and we bang our wrist on a wall on a daily basis.
We know we’re not offering any solace to people who absolutely hate seeing scratches on their device. But if we had to choose between cheapening the device or using the device with a scratch on it, weʼd choose the latter. But thatʼs just us.
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