If you follow the iPhone screen protector scene, you’re probably an expert on SGP’s GLAS.t. The GLAS.t is the first glass screen protector for mobile devices and it blew us away when we took a look at it a few months back. The UltraGlass is the second glass mobile phone screen protector we’ve reviewed and the only other one available for the iPhone as far as we know. Will it take the crown of our favorite screen protector of all time?
- Extremely resistant to scratches and damages
- Ultra-thin technology adds little bulk to your phone
- Easy to apply and leaves no bubbles
- Allows normal use of phone’s feature and buttons
Just like the GLAS.t, the UltraGlass screen protector is manufactured in Korea. Unlike the GLAS.t, it comes in only a simple screen protector envelope. Inside are the screen protector, cleaning cloth, and an instruction card. The UltraGlass does not come with any extra accessories such as epoxy home button stickers.
The application process for the UltraGlass is different from most screen protectors. Due to its rigid build, it cannot be bent into the taco shape convenient for accurate application. Whereas the entire surface of the GLAS.t had a special type of thin silicone adhesive, the UltraGlass has an odd, and possibly thicker, adhesive only on the bezel of the screen protector. After carefully lining up the cutouts, we applied some pressure around the border and were ready to go.
Clarity and Feel
Our first encounter with a glass screen protector left us blown away and we couldn’t wait to try the other options out there. But I’ll just come out and say it - the quality of the UltraGlass simply isn’t as good as SGP’s GLAS.t. We believe the problem stems from the type of adhesive used to bond to the phone. The GLAS.t felt incredibly seamless and tight but the UltraGlass just doesn’t convey that same feel, likely due to the bonding material. Both in terms of optical clarity and feel, the barrier of tactility is evident and touch response is slightly compromised. A good analogy would be to describe the GLAS.t as the laminated Retina Display of the iPhone 4 and the UltraGlass as a cheaper display which separates the glass and the LCD. The Retina Display feels more responsive because the actual display is closer to your fingers and it feels like you’re touching the screen; on the cheaper screen, you feel like the glass is a layer of abstraction to controlling the display.
This is odd because the UltraGlass is actually considerably thinner than the GLAS.t. It boggles our minds as to how the thinner screen protector can feel even more intrusive than the thick pane of glass. Also due to the lack of adhesive on the clear portion of the display, a watermarking effect is created (it’s like having a rainbow puddle in the center of the display), which is even more evident when the phone is viewed at a slight angle.
The UltraGlass also does not have an oleophobic coating, which is somewhat (but not really) made up for with the colored bezel. On the bright side, the feel of the screen protector is excellent, providing a very fluid smooth to the touch experience.
The most evident difference between the UltraGlass and the GLAS.t is that the UltraGlass is that the entire sheet of glass isn’t clear. All parts of the bezel, including the sides are painted to match (or contrast) the color of your iPhone. You can get your UltraGlass in black, white, pink, or blue. We went with the white to match our iPhone but a contrasting color would be a good way to “transform” the color of your iPhone without swapping out the actual parts.
There are a couple advantages and disadvantages to having a colored bezel on a screen protector. For one, any imperfections (such as dust, scratches, or smudges) under the screen protector won’t be visible if you mess up during application. Secondly, you won’t have any strange discoloration issues with the screen protector and the phone when it is held under light. On the note of coloration, the white UltraGlass has a shade similar to that of the actual iPhone but it isn’t perfect. Thirdly, it is a tad bit easier to align your screen protector during application - in addition to the cutouts, you can also align with the screen’s edge. The latter benefit serves as a double edged sword. If the border is not painted precisely or you misposition the screen protector, the border will cover part of the screen. We found this to partially be the case with the UltraGlass. We aligned the screen protector as precisely as we could and it still felt as if a fraction of a millimeter of the left edge of the screen was covered. The effect is worsened when you look at the screen from an angle.
Just as with the GLAS.t, the UltraGlass has cutouts for only the earpiece and home button. The camera and ambient light sensor are covered by glass but not affected in operation. The home button cutout is less precise than others we’ve seen. It’s a little larger which we assume is an accommodation for the thickness of the screen protector. As we mentioned in our other glass screen protector review, thicker screen protectors make the home button much more recessed and difficult to access, which SGP remedied by including a set of epoxy home button stickers to raise it. The UltraGlass adapts by making the cutout slightly larger, which may be a welcome design choice to some. As for us, we used one of the epoxy buttons from the GLAS.t in conjunction with the UltraGlass.
Durability and Compatability
Even though the UltraGlass isn’t quite as thick, it still causes some compatability issues with certain cases. The main attraction to glass screen protectors lies in their scratch resistance. We’re happy to report that while the UltraGlass can take a beating pretty well despite its thinner build.
You’ve probably come to the conclusion that we didn’t really enjoy the UltraGlass. However, that’s only half true. While we love the smooth feel and great durability of the UltraGlass, we’ve seen what the market has to offer and we aren’t really impressed by this contender. We came into the review optimistic and eager to find something even better than the SGP GLAS.t. Unfortunately, the UltraGlass simply isn’t as refined and as well thought out as the GLAS.t. For the time being, we’d still recommend the GLAS.t to those hunting for a glass screen protector and other screen protectors to potential UltraGlass customers wary of the high cost.
- very durable
- incredibly smooth surface
- non laminated screen region
- colored border isn’t perfect
- no pack ins
Where to buy
Mobile Fun — MSRP: £22.95 / $36