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Circuit Breaker

Zagg might have finally figured out screen protectors for curved displays

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This has been a confounding problem ever since the Galaxy S8 launch

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From my perspective, there are two camps of people when it comes to screen protectors on phones. Some of us don’t mind scratches and minor wear on our devices. They’re tools we carry everywhere — every day. If they pick up slight scratches over the course of a couple years, what’s the big deal? Then there are those of us who can’t deal with visible imperfections on our expensive gadgets. Even the smallest ones. For those folks, screen protectors are an essential purchase.

But with the ongoing wave of curved-screen devices like the Galaxy S8, Note 8, and Pixel 2 XL, manufacturers of tempered glass protectors have run into constant headaches. It turns out they’re really hard to get right. Some only have adhesive around the edges, which results in an unacceptable level of lost touch sensitivity. Others try putting adhesive everywhere but end up with an ugly “halo” effect around the outer perimeter where the protectors fail to fully adhere. (The iPhone X doesn’t share this issue since its visible display isn’t actually curved.)

Want to know just how difficult this problem has proven to be? The “best” glass screen protectors for the S8 and Note 8 require you to apply LOCA glue to the glass and then use a friggin’ UV light to cure the thing so it sticks to the phone. I’m not kidding, friends.

I admire the ingenuity of whoever devised this method of using LOCA glue and a UV light to apply a screen protector, but it shouldn’t have to be this hard.

But now, after two initial tries to get it right — and after charging customers $50 each time — Zagg has come back with a third attempt at the ideal screen protector for Samsung’s products. It’s called the InvisibleShield Glass Curve Elite and has gel-based adhesive underneath the entire glass surface, so you won’t lose any touch sensitivity. No UV lamp required. There’s also no ugly halo anywhere. That’s probably because Zagg says this is the most aggressive adhesive it has ever used for a screen protector. (Don’t worry; your device will be fine if you need to remove it.)

I saw a sample unit applied to a Note 8 here at CES, and it looked flawless. That’s a big change from the original glass curve that I denounced the company for releasing. For now, Zagg is only making the Glass Curve Elite for the S8, S8+, and Note 8. Because those are popular phones that are selling in big numbers. But I love Pixel phones, so naturally I inquired about whether the company plans to release one for the Pixel 2 XL — the other phone desperately in need of a solution here — but didn’t get a firm answer on whether it’s in the cards.

Just like InvisibleShield’s first stabs at this, the Glass Curve Elite costs 50 bucks. I’ve got a sample unit that I plan to try installing myself to see if this is the one that finally does the job right. For a very steep price.