A screen protector that does its job well is also a screen protector that you never see. It’s a product you want to be completely invisible, or maybe you don’t? A smartphone case is no longer the only way to personalise your device as a company has come up with a way to etch glass screen protectors with images and graphics that should completely disappear once a device’s screen is turned on.
Using a process the company calls “Phantom Printing,” Glassie has created a line of durable three-layer tempered glass screen protectors that are the first in the world that can be customised without, hopefully, hindering the use of the device they’re applied to. The screen protector’s middle layer can be personalised with text, illustrations, and even photos that have been converted into monochromatic patterns using a custom-developed etching process, while the other two layers should provide durability against nicks, scratches, and cracks, as well as antimicrobial protection using a mixture of copper and silver ions that Glassie claims kill up to 99.9% of germs and bacteria. That won’t kill covid-19, but it’s still a welcome feature for obsessive screen cleaners.
The company doesn’t share the exact details of how Phantom Printing works — presumably it’s a trade secret it doesn’t want other companies replicating anytime soon — but we’re assuming the amount of light being reflected to make the etched patterns visible is completely overwhelmed when a phone’s screen turns on, making the image all but invisible to the user. If your device’s screen didn’t appear black when it was powered off, it’s doubtful you’d be able to see the images then either.
According to Glassie, the Phantom Printing process does allow the entire screen protector to be covered in patterns or images, but it’s found that certain designs and scales work better than others and the company recommends that the customisations be limited to about a quarter of the phone’s total screen size.
Available for pre-order on the Glassie website right now, the screen protectors are only available in four text-based designs at launch (part of the company’s Revive collection) featuring inspirational sayings like “always be your own sunshine” and “stop overthinking.” More pre-made design collections will be released in the coming months, and eventually, the company intends to allow users to upload their own custom designs.
At launch the Glassie screen protectors are only available for 11 different iPhone models going back to the iPhone X and pricing, at least for the versions with pre-made designs, is about $50.
As screen protectors go, they’re not the most expensive option out there, and if you still balk at spending that much money to protect your iPhone’s screen, keep in mind that an out of warranty iPhone X screen repair will cost you $300+, or upwards of $400 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.