when it comes to screen films, you have many manufacturers to choose from. prices range from pennies to as much as $30 per kit. some provide films for the back if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, others come with multiple films. however, what you want is a durable film that applies easily, protects, and doesnt affect clarity. there are two names that tend to split the masses, Power Support and SGP Steinheil. after using both, it’s the Power Support films that win, hands down.
why Power Support? both films are applied relatively easily with the only issue being bubbles caused by dust and sediment trapped during the install process. a couple pieces of Scotch tape will help resolve this, however, this isnt an install discussion, so i digress. it’s about absolute fitment, and Power Support provides much tighter tolerances in its cutouts that are far superior to the SGP films. both films are competitive in price at about $15 for a set that includes front and rear protection for the iPhone 4, as well as a complement of accessories to help get the job done.
in my photos, you can see how the Power Support film’s tolerances minimize exposure of the glass. the cutout for the front facing camera port and earpiece are separate and leave very little glass revealed around each cutout.
the rear film’s cutout for camera and flash follows the perimeter of each closely resulting in a keyhole shape. SGP, and most other brands, however use a wedge shape that leaves much more glass exposed.
both Power Support and SGP Steinheil films provide similar levels of protection, adhesion, and clarity when it comes to their crystal films. one huge difference is in choosing a matte, anti-glare film: Power Support also wins this hands down. their use of a much finer grain in the matting process results in a much higher level of screen clarity, especially when reading small text. all brands will reduce clarity to a certain point, but Power Support is far superior compared to all of their peers when it comes to clarity and effectiveness in their anti-glare solution.
use these photos to compare them to your current choice of screen film, especially if you use an SGP film. some SGP films also use an elongated earpiece cutout instead of separate earpiece and camera cutouts, therefore exposing even more glass to the environment.
so you may be asking why the exposure of the glass is such a big deal. Apple uses an oleophobic coating to prevent smudges and make them easier to clean from the glass. unfortunately, this coating can be rubbed from the glass with repeated cleanings or by using ammonia based cleaning solvents or even more aggressive cloths. there have also been anecdotal reports of repeated finger tracking that has caused limited wear on sections of frequent use. i have witnessed this wear on my own iPhone 4, as repeated, obsessive cleanings caused wear of the coating between the earpiece and front camera while using an older SGP Steinheil film that had a single cutout that exposed the area of glass between the two. this issue is what precipitated my switch to Power Support films and the creation of this review.