The box contents

REVIEW – Spigen Steinheil™ Curved Crystal

With the addition of Gorilla Glass to many of our devices, it has become less and less necessary for us to protect our screens from the stray biro, or set of keys, wafting their way around our bags and pockets. The humble £3 screen protector from that dodgy guy on the market is more of a habitual purchase, rather than something we really need. If you’re like me, and would like to preserve the mint condition of your screen, a protector is something you should probably invest in; you’ll want one that will stick fast and hold its ground for the entire duration of the phone’s life. You’ll want one that won’t curl up at the edges, or even worse peel off almost entirely like this poor chap’s:

Uh-oh... That's not good.

If you’re willing to part the cash for one such piece, take a look at Spigen’s Curved Crystal. Their website states that “this is the first to be manufactured with a definite curve to prevent lifting or bubbling from the eges[sic]” and also says that it’s “the only dry PET film to protect the S3 without sacrifice in clarity, touch responsiveness, fit, and tactile feel.”

This morning, after ordering a set from Amazon, I fitted one to my S3 successfully (well, mostly) and here’s how it went:

Stage 1: Out With The Old

Shots of the old protector.

I did not apply this. Honest.

This was the protector I had to remove in order to apply to new one. As you can probably see, there were quite a few bubbles and the edges are clearly visible. I didn’t apply this one. In fact, the guys at Tesco repairs tore my perfectly applied one from my phone prior to repair and attempted to reapply once they were ready to send it back. It’s nice that they tried, but this is a disaster.

Stage 2: What’s In The Box?

The box contents

I’m not going to complain, there’s a lot in the box!

In the box we’re given not one, but TWO screen protectors to use. Thankfully. Also included is a Microfibre cloth, a rubber squeegee and some dust removal stickers. Although the instruction leaflet is perfectly adequate, I’d recommend giving the installation video on YouTube a view. It gives you more of an idea of exactly how it should go on, and in what order you should do things.

Stage 3: The Big Clean

Giving the Galaxy screen a good rub

After removing the disaster that was the old protector, I proceeded to give the screen a good clean. Cleaning a screen is chore if you’re aiming to do it to a standard whereby absolutely zero fluff/lint/hair presents itself. Short of a living in a hermetically sealed room, the best you can do is sit still for a while, let anything in the air settle and then slowly wipe the screen taking all the care in the world not to stir up any more dust. It takes a while, but it is possible. Any strays were quickly removed by the stickers. Once buffed to a mirror-like shine, the protector was ready to apply.

Stage 4: The Application

As per the instruction video, I peeled a bit of the backing off (clearly labelled “Back”) and lined up the earpiece and camera holes. Then, slowly, I peeled more of the backing away letting the sticky side adhere to the surface. Once down, I checked that the Home button lined up and then checked for bubbles.

There were LOADS of bubbles.

Stage 5: The Bubbles

Squeegeeing the bubbles out

I wrapped the squeegee in the Microfibre cloth and push all the bubbles I could out towards the edges. I failed. Miserably so. I peeled off the protector and started again. This time, I managed to apply it and get all but a few VERY tiny bubbles out using exactly the same method (I didn’t wrap the cloth around the squeegee for the more stubborn bubbles. They needed the grip!). Only once I’d rubbed the phone brutally with a stiff piece of rubber did I make the brave step to remove the piece of the shield clearly labelled “Front”.

Stage 6: Completion

And voila! One protected phone.

In all its glory!

The application still isn’t perfect, I still have a few minute bubbles left to get rid of, but it’s a darn sight better than what I had previously. And with my case on, you can hardly tell I’ve got a screen protector on. The edges line up nicely and the curves of the Crystal hug the surface as they’re made to do.

Straight after application, the surface feels a little ‘draggy’. My finger wouldn’t swipe across the surface as easily as it would on raw glass but, after a few uses, this has faded and is just as tactile as my device would be naked.

The difficulty of the application process all depends on how picky you are. If you’ve paid £12.99 for a protector, I’d hope that you would take the time needed to ensure a clean finish. It’s no picnic, nor a walk in the park, but it’s by no means hard. It just takes a while, that’s all.

In summary, I would recommend this to anyone who wants to keep their prized profession in mint condition. I’ve heard this doesn’t work so well with some brands of case, due to the edges of harder cases rubbing against the edges of this causing them to then lift, but these are few and far between. Also, the Curved Crystal is thicker than some protectors on the market, so be wary of that if your case goes over any of the screen edge.

I’m yet to see if the Curved Crystal lasts – I’m hoping that for a product at this price point, it will.

The Spigen Steinheil Curved Crystal screen protector is available on Amazon for £12.99.

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