- Perfect for waterproof cases
- Can be used on multiple devices
- Improves impact protection
- Can’t see the improvements
- Doesn’t heal scratches and cracks
- Damages are permanent
In our ultimate guide to liquid screen protector review, here are the questions we will answer,
- What are liquid screen protectors?
- Can oleophobic coating be re-added to your device?
- Does liquid screen protectors add scratch resistance to the device?
- Will the liquid screen protectors fill cracks?
- Does liquid screen protectors make the screen tougher?
- Can you use the liquid screen protector with a normal screen protector on top?
- How well does a liquid screen protector work with a waterproof case?
- Is liquid screen protectors worth getting?
At Mobile Reviews Eh!, we do reviews based on actual usage. We do tests and use the products for days and maybe weeks. For this liquid screen protectors review, we’ve used three liquid screen protectors:
We first stripped an iPhone X of its oleophobic coating with a magic eraser and applied a liquid screen protector. Once the liquid screen protector was applied, we did several scratch tests and impacts tests to see how far we can push the liquid screen protectors.
If you like how we do our reviews, please consider buying the products on the links scattered on this article.
What are liquid screen protectors?
Liquid screen protectors are liquid glass. The base compound that is used in every liquid screen protector weʼve come across is Silicone Dioxide. But we’re not entirely sure if companies add additional products to the Silicone Dioxide. That is because when SiO2 dries, the liquid screen protector naturally provides the oleophobic coating and anti-bacterial properties by itself.
Liquid glass can be pretty much be applied to anything that you can think of from what we understand.
According to the liquid screen protector manufacturers, they say that the glass on your smartphone gets rough over time at a microscopic level. A new smartphone comes with a coating that wears down over time. Most coatings only last a few months. Applying liquid glass basically smooths over the rough spots that occurs as you use your smartphone screen. From what we can gather, liquid screen protectors will be approx. 100 nanometers thick so it wouldnʼt add any noticeable thickness to your device.
Every product we used had the liquid screen protector in a wipe form. The Whoosh Diamond Defense product didnʼt feel any different than the alcohol wipe that was included. To be honest, the liquid screen protector could have been another alcohol wipe because we wouldnʼt have known otherwise. The only product that we could feel a difference was the CrystalTech Nano 2.0 product. But that is because the CrystalTech Nano 2.0 felt tacky.
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Can oleophobic coating be re-added to your device?
According to the marketing fluff, the liquid screen protectors should improve the scratch resistance of your device, provide 9H hardness, repel water, be invisible and have anti-bacterial properties. One brand also stops radiation!
To see if the fluff of re-adding the oleophobic coating is true, we stripped 1/2 of our iPhone X with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. To see if the oleophobic coating was stripped properly, we did a water drop test. The Magic Eraser does a great job of wearing down the factory coating on the iPhone X.
Take note of how quickly the water comes off the side with the stock oleophobic coating on the image below and how much slower it is on the stripped side. There is a noticeable difference. After this test, we re-taped the non-stripped side and added a Spigen liquid screen protector to the other side.
One of the upsides of liquid screen protectors is that you can use it on more than one device.
We decided to add the rest of the Spigen GLAStR Nano Liquid to a 5 year old iPad. The iPad was one of the oldest and most used device in our house which made the perfect test subject to test the oleophobic coating. Prior to adding the liquid screen protector, we did the water droplet test to get a sense of how worn down the screen was. The water droplets were in no hurry to come off the screen.
For the oleophobic testing part, we also used the CrystalTech Nano 2.0 liquid screen protector on our oldest iPhone 6 Plus and on our Apple Series 2. We did the water droplet test on the old iPhone 6 Plus before application and the water droplets also moved very slowly. The water droplets on the old iPhone 6 Plus looked almost sticky.
We left the devices alone for 48 hours, as instructed and did the water droplet test again. We dropped water on the same angle, same location, same eye dropper and the water droplets did not run off easily.
Looking at the image side by side, one would be hard pressed to say which side was faster. The iPad screen showed no big difference, in fact the screen looked stickier. The iPhone 6s Plus, on the other hand, didnʼt seem any different and the iPhone X, with 1/2 of the stock coating on it didnʼt seem any better either.
We know water isnʼt the same as greasy, grubby fingerprints but even the tests with our fingerprints didnʼt prove anything conclusive. But weʼll be honest with you, we think the improvements to the coating is going to be so small that you wonʼt be able to see it with the naked eye. We’re sure something extra has been added to the screen but since itʼs probably working at a microscopic level, we wonʼt be able to see it.
The only thing we noticed throughout this process is that the screens on the older devices definitely felt smoother. It didnʼt repel water any better but felt smoother. The screen is actually so smooth that the devices actually felt new again.
If you really need the oleophobic coating back, consider getting a new screen protector. Our goto screen protector is the Rhinoshield 9H Tempered Glass screen protector. Full edge-to-edge protection at a decent price.
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Does liquid screen protectors add scratch resistance to the device?
Technically, the liquid screen protectors should add scratch resistance since youʼre adding another layer of glass on top of the smartphone screen. But this layer is only 15-30 molecules thick and itʼs just glass. With that in mind, we’re not sure how we would gauge the extra scratch resistance because we’re just basically scratching the newer glass thatʼs on top of the older glass.
All the products that weʼve seen say they have 9H hardness but thatʼs hardly not a selling factor anymore. The average tempered glass screen protector is going to be 9H hardness so having the liquid screen protector being 9H is nothing special from a features standpoint. However, from a interest standpoint, tempered glass is made by basically heating up regular glass and cooling it quickly so slathering glass using a wet wipe and having it be 9H is quite the feat.
For scratch resistance, we decided to maul the front of the iPhone X by putting one side with stock coating and the other had the Spigen GLAStR Nano Liquid. We started with the usual rock, followed by keys, knives and those implements had no effect on either side of the screen.
The iPhone X screen itself is chemically treated glass so itʼs going to be of 9H hardness already. The only thing that we know will scratch the surface of the iPhone is sand paper. We then used the finest grit of sandpaper we could find which was 320 grit and lightly grazed the iPhoneʼs screen. Twice.
Both sides scratched. One side did not look any better than the other.
Even with our macro lens, we couldnʼt really see the difference between the two sides. The photos are blurry but trying to take closeup photos of minute scratches on your device is nearly impossible apparently.
Based on our observation, we can’t see the added protection the liquid screen protectors. We’re sure the scratches we just added to the iPhone X are permanent. The liqiod screen protector is not like a normal screen protector so we can’r just take it off.
With liquid screen protectors we’re pretty sure our eyes arenʼt capable of discerning the layer of glass thatʼs 15-30 molecules thick. Logically it would add to the scratch resistance because of the extra layer of glass but itʼs going to be a minute amount.
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Will the liquid screen protectors fill cracks?
No, It doesnʼt.
We applied a liquid screen protector to a cracked screen protector to see if it would fill in the cracks and after letting the dot of liquid glass dry, the crack was still there and didnʼt look any different from before.
For scratches, we wiped our beat up Apple Watch Series 3 with a liquid screen protector and the giant gash across the front of the device didnʼt look any better. Or worse. We also put one on the iPhone X then left a few light scratches with a file on the screen. Adding a liquid screen protector did nothing to lessen the eyesore on the $1000 dollar money sink.
Even our mildly scratched up Apple Series 2 still shows a ton of scratches after adding a liquid screen protector to it.
If youʼve got a bit of damage on your Apple Watch and you want to hide it, consider getting an edge to edge glass screen protector. Our Apple Watch 3 now doesnʼt look like it has a giant gash on it anymore!
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Does liquid screen protectors make the screen tougher?
Whoosh Diamond Defense was the only product that said that the liquid screen protector made the glass on your smartphone tougher by 15 times when compared to untreated glass. When they say untreated glass, are they talking about an untreated smartphone screen? Or are they comparing it against a naked piece of glass? Is that glass tempered? Or chemicals treated? Their packaging offers no insight and neither does their website.
The only way we could reasonably test this “claim” was to find three identical screen protectors and do a series of drop tests with Bertha, our steel ball.
First, we applied a liquid screen protector to one of the tempered glass screen protectors. Then we waited 48 hours for the screen protector to cure. we placed the screen protectors on our Grid-It which has a foam back. We used a foam back because we wanted to measure the impact of the Bertha.
We then went outside and used the first screen protector to figure out approx. what height it might break. It was approx. ~9 inches. We used the second screen protector to redo the test to see if we could relatively confirm the test. The second screen protector broke at approx. ~10 inches.
Then we used the tempered glass screen protector with the liquid screen protector on top of it and started at ~10 inches. We continued the test until the screen protector broke at 16 inches.
We’ll be honest with you, we were not expecting a tiny layer of glass to add that much more impact protection to a regular glass screen protector. It was pretty cool to see.
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Can you use the liquid screen protector with a normal screen protector on top?
Since a liquid screen protector is just glass on top of your smartphone screen. Thereʼs no reason why you canʼt add another layer of glass on your screen. Or plastic, depending on what type of protection your are looking for.
On the image above, we used a liquid screen protector on our Apple Watch 3 and now it has a screen protector on top of it. We havenʼt noticed any detrimental effects on the device. Other than the fact that the screen protector on the Apple Watch is awful.
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How well does a liquid screen protector work with a waterproof case?
Liquid screen protectors are the only type of screen protector that would work well in any waterproof case since it doesnʼt add any thickness to the device. From our perspective, itʼs going to work with any waterproof case out there.
Those companies will tell you not to protect a phone in a waterproof case. But if youʼre a person who swaps between normal cases and waterproof cases, a liquid screen protector might be a worthwhile investment. Weʼve personally found that dust and debris tends to collect in waterproof cases and if youʼre not careful, will scratch up your screen.
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Is liquid screen protectors worth getting?
We’re actually a little disappointed about the liquid screen protectors. But that is because our expectations were actually quite high.
Our recommendation is to only use the liquid screen protectors if you want the most protection for your iPhone. We wouldnʼt suggest liquid screen protectors as stand alone product to protect your smartphone. Itʼs not enough.
The oleophobic coating doesnʼt really show up. The liquid screen protector doesnʼt add any noticeable scratch protection. It also doesnʼt fill in cracks or scratches. But it does add to the impact protection of your smartphone.
The biggest drawback of the liquid screen protector is that you canʼt remove it once itʼs damaged. With a normal screen protector, regardless if itʼs plastic or glass, if itʼs damaged, you can easily get another one. Thatʼs not the same with liquid screen protectors as scratches are permanent and cracked screens are permanent. Once itʼs damaged, youʼre stuck with it.
If you need the ultimate screen protection, you could add the liquid screen protector to your smartphone before addimg a normal plastic/glass screen protector which would result in the toughest non-plastic screen protector setup you could get for your smartphone. But it should be noted that at the end of the day, itʼs still glass and glass breaks.
We’re not as against using liquid screen protectors for tablets. From our perspective, we think we treat our tablets a little better than our smartphone mostly because we donʼt use them on the go as much. We think weʼve accepted the fact that our smartphones are going to suffer a lot more wear and tear than our tablets so being able to give our iPadʼs screen a facelift was quite nice. Again, it feels like the screen is new again.
Itʼs the same thing for smart watches as well. we havenʼt had a lot of luck when it comes to screen protectors for smart watches as they either make our device look cheap or are flimsy as hell. Adding a liquid screen protector to the watch will add a mild amount of protection to the device However. it will still get scratched and scuffed up over time.
There is one upside that we havenʼt really talked about and thatʼs the price. These screen protectors will cost around $20 bucks and the nice thing is that you can slather it on multiple devices. One package can go on your iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch. The liquid screen protector we applied for the impact test was the 4th thing we used the wet wipe with. Your mileage with this tiny package is quite high.
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