09
Dec
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The Nexus 4 is unique among Android phones, as it's one of the first to feature glass on both the front and back. As such, thoughts of seeing the brand new handset covered in scratches has haunted my dreams since I first cracked the box open. Fortunately, Spigen has me - and everyone else with an N4 - covered, thanks to the new Steinheil Dual front+back protector.

Now, let me get one thing out of the way: I'm not normally an advocate of screen protectors. In fact, this is the first one I've used in... a long while. I may have forced myself to use them as part of a review in the somewhat recent past, but this is the first time in years I have personally chosen to stick a piece of plastic over the display of my phone. And so far, I don't regret it (for the most part).

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For $14, the Steinheil Dual will protect both the screen and the glass back of the N4. Both pieces are cut with precision, so they fit perfectly on the device. However, I found that the front piece is a bit more narrow than I would like for it to be, as it only extends to the edges of the display and not all the way to the outsides of the bezel. This creates very visible lines on the otherwise ultra-smooth face of the Nexus 4 when the display is turned off. The protector is also cut to go around the camera and proximity sensor, creating even more of a line. Of course, this design has its advantages, too: it keeps the protector from peeling up at the corners the way so many other protectors do. That's a good thing, because there are fewer things in this world that I loathe more than that. It looks so sloppy, I just can't stand it. Still, the lines on the front do drive me a little bit bananas - I'm currently trying to adjust.

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The back, however, is a nearly-perfect fit. It extends all the way to the outer edges around the device, and the cutouts for the camera, flash, and rear speaker are extremely precise. If I hadn't put the protector on myself, I doubt I'd even know that it's there. I'd love to be able to say the same about the front, but alas, that's just not the case.

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Still, the point's there: if, like me, you're terrified of scratching your beautiful new Nexus 4, then the Steinheil Dual is a great choice to keep it looking brand new.

Buy ($13.99): Amazon | Spigen

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

    Mine annoyingly has a very faint hairline scratch/crack on the rubber surround. You have to look very carefully to see it though. I'm not even sure how it got there. This is why I need a bumper.

    I'll get one of these though. Or the one from Skinomi.

    • Drew M

      I believe the bumper is made from 2 molded pieces that join in 2 opposing corners. Are you sure it's a crack?

  • http://twitter.com/theslobdogg Rob Alexandroid

    Is there really much difference between this protector and others? Are their's made with better material, or just unique in that it is front & back protection?

  • scuttlefield

    How is the tactile feel of this? I like how InvisiShield gives a somewhat rubbery feel and is reactive dents and scratches. However, many screen protectors have a more plastic-y feel and they themselves can get scratched. How is this one?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      It's not quite as tacky as the InvisibleShield, but not as smooth and plastic-y as others I've used. I'd say it's a good in-between.

  • CordellCollins

    i would recommend xtremeguard's screen protectors, they're wet-application so no dust and absolutely perfect fit, even on the curves. Protects much better than normal screen protectors and it only about $5 for front and back.

    • ericl5112

      I find wet application gives me more dust. They provide a nice wet area for the dust to settle and mix in. Not to mention, seems that wet application protectors suffer from rubbery feel and orange peel effect.

      • Savage Alien

        The shouldn't be any dust sticking between the time you apply the wet mixture and sticking it on your phone. This shouldn't be done next to air vents or fans or during a sand storm. Clean the screen, apply mixture to screen protector, and apply. Not every screen protector will have the orange peel effect, even different models from the same company can be different, check reviews. I've used Best Skins Ever on several devices and they don't have this. I also applied another brand to a friend's phone. No orange peel and no dust.

        • ericl5112

          Just my experience. I've applied lots of different brands of wet and dry protectors over the years. As a general guide, we applications seem to be thicker, rubbery, orange peel, harder to get dust free, can be taken off and on. Dry seem to be harder (easier to scratch protector), smoother, easier to get dust free, one application.

          Having tried xtremeguard, they fit the wet application description above to the letter. Not tried Best Skins, but I doubt they stray too far from the big names.

          • Savage Alien

            Still not following what you mean by dust free. Do you mean dust STICKS to them? Wipe it with a cloth, should be fine, no? Just from my experience researching when I got one for my Galaxy Nexus there were protectors that had orange peel and others that didn't.

          • suzu

            I agree with him, I tried Xo skin, and I did get dust under the screen protector. It was hiding between those bubbles, so I couldn't see it until those bubbles disappeared which the protector is dried already. When dealing with dry protector, it's much easier to get the dust off. All I need is a regular tape on front that can lift the protector from the corner, then use a 3M magic tape to remove any dust on it's back.
            The only pro I found with wet is perfect fit and super easy to line up.with the screen, but suffers what ericl5112 said.

      • http://www.facebook.com/leo.davidson Leo Davidson

        I read that if you run a hot shower with the door closed, so the bathroom gets all steamy, the moisture in the air will remove the dust particles.

        It worked pretty well for me in the past. Do that, then go into the bathroom and give the phone a clean with a lint-free cloth and apply the shield in there.

        I also found it helped to use slightly soapy water instead of the spray-on solution that comes with the shields. (Apparently that's all it is anyway.) Using your own means you don't have to worry about it running out.

        I used enough soapy water to immerse the shield completely (but no more) in a dish, which makes it really easy to slide into place. Of course, it also means you get some water on the device, which is worrying (and done at your own risk, don't sue me!) but went okay for two iPods and a phone so far.

        I don't personally plan to do this with the N4 or any touch-screen device as I'd rather have the original texture/friction for a touch-screen, but that's much experience/advice if you want to.

        • James Santangelo

          Using a squirt bottle with the nozzle set to mist does the same thing. Just mist the immediate area and the water binds to the dust just like the steam.

    • Mr.Nom

      yeah I'm using that now. My back is spigen and front is xtreme until spigen finally release a curved one. the texture is like zagg which I'm not a fan of but it will have to be like this until something better comes out lol.

  • Wayne Randall

    Just did the same on my N4. Best option in my opinion, though I did select another manufacturer. Saves the phone from pocket scratches, which is the only damage my phones ever suffer from, and brings none of the bulk.

  • dcm

    Got 6 NoName Display Protectors for 1 Euro and 6 NoName Back Protectors for 1 Euro.

    that's about... much much cheaper.

    • dcm

      (form eBay btw)

      • Savage Alien

        Quality can be a factor here. If you're happy replacing them every month (non educated guess) then I'm happy for you. I know a friend of mine does this, hers can get pretty beat up. I paid around $7 for a full body skin and a year later it doesn't have any scratches on it. In the end, to each their own.

        • ericl5112

          I actually prefer the cheap, hard, plastic-y ones, even if they require constant replacement. Feel so much better than the rubbery, more durable ones in my opinion. Cost ends up being similar after all the replacements though.

  • http://twitter.com/Montalbert Scott

    best skins ever for me. fit nearly all the way to the bezel and i dont have a problem with proximity sensor. although they now ship it with proximity cut out. easiest out of all of them to apply too.

  • http://twitter.com/nastybutler77 JJ

    Why not just use the rear protector and leave the face au naturale if the lines bug you so much and you've never needed a face protector before? That way you don't have to worry about the back getting scratched up and as long as you make sure the face doesn't slide across your car's dash, you should be fine.

    • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

      Exactly what I plan to do when I get my Nexus. I've never scratched a display, but so far with plastic phones I have countless scratches on the back. So rear protector is great.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I actually ended up yanking the front protector off shortly after this piece went up. I just couldn't handle the lines any longer.

  • http://twitter.com/GitMuny Ciroc Obama

    I love spigen. Can't even tell they are there they feel just like glass and if it wasn't for the scratches on it (thats the point) I would never be able to see it.

  • http://twitter.com/LV2355 Laurentiu

    It looks ugly!

  • Matthew Fry

    Had nothing problems with screen protectors. I've completely sworn off them. I just make sure not to handle them in the few places where they can be scratched (anywhere with sharp edged stones or sand). 4 devices later, no visible scratches though the bezels have taken a beating from drops.

    • Al

      Exactly. Use protectors on a cheap chinese tablet you're certainly going to scratch. But on top of Gorilla glass 2? come on...

    • ckitching

      Other than that, you still have to worry about sand. Depending on the mineral composition of the particle of sand, it can easily be harder than Gorilla Glass 2. Corning itself doesn't publish any numbers regarding Mohs hardness (most likely due to the fact the scale is terribly imprecise), but measures Vickers hardness at 649 kgf/mm². That's hard enough that most metals can't scratch it (with the possible exception of chromium), but things like corundum (which does occur naturally) are still significantly harder.

    • http://gritinthegears.blogspot.com/ soubriquet

      My one month old nexus 4 has a heap of scratches on its screen.

      Gorilla glass scratches. Easily.

      My galaxy 2 has scratches too.

      Maybe you people work in nice shiny carpeted places. I don't.

  • Mancubus

    Might as well just get a Best Skins Ever. It's cheaper, fits better and gives you total body protection. http://www.bestskinsever.com/android-products/google

    • Joe

      Yup, I've tried ALL of the big screen protector manufacturers over the last 3 years of running Nexus devices, and I've definitely concluded that Best Skins Ever beat them all. Quality is there, no rubbery feel, never problem with applying the wet application, and of course the price doesn't hurt either. I'd swear by them over all others that I've tried, including every single one mentioned so far in this comments section.

  • QwietStorm

    I'm currently using Liquid Armor on mine. I can't stand screen protectors.

    • Freak4Dell

      Does that stuff really work?

      • QwietStorm

        It does actually. Where most people go wrong is thinking its some indestructible coating, when really, its another form of protection. I like it because you can't tell it's there, while still doing what it advertises. If you do actually get a scratch, in most cases you can just buff it out with the nice cloth it comes with. I've just never been one to put an extra film on top of my phone, so this works out great for me.

        • Freak4Dell

          Cool. I will check it out. I hate the films, too, and I haven't used a screen protector in a long time. I'm going to get some for my tablet, but only because I need to try and cut down on the glare when I'm using it outside. This stuff would probably work great for phones, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vanhouse David VanHouse

    I'm waiting for the tempered glass protectors to roll out. Until then it's naked ;)

  • James

    Get the Skinomi front screen. It wraps to the edges and the adhesive sticks nicely. You can't even see it on the sides.

  • Bob G

    The ZAGG's doesn't look ugly like that!

  • SetiroN

    LOL screen protectors.

  • PINJ

    I Cant Believe They Called It Steinheil....

  • Saurabh Gangarde

    Nexus 4 has gorilla glass 2 ? Its already protected ..

    • Xaxxus

      Tell that to my nexus 4 thats been scratched like crazy.

      Ive been very gentle with this phone. Ive only ever put it in empty pockets, never dropped it etc... Somehow it managed to get scratches and scuffs all over the screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShitizGarg Shitiz Garg

    I'm going full commando with my N4, if I scratch my back I'll get a replacement once they're available. I can always put on a case after scratching it :P

  • Mr.Nom

    I just installed my tonight. Let me clarify, I love spigen products because it's high quality and fits perfectly on s3 but for the nexus 4 i hated the front protector. It's too narrow and it sides lifts off. However, the backs is nearly perfect which i love.I wished they made one where it covers the Whole screen.

  • Dennis Gatere

    You should have bought a Skinomi Techskin for Nexus 4, it covers the phone completely on the front down to the curved edges i.e whole screen

  • munch24

    I've chosen Skinomi's front and back screen protectors and couldn't be happier. For they do extend all the way to the sides, are great to the touch, and nearly disappear once you put them on. Fantastic.

  • http://profiles.google.com/drewprice Drew Price

    When I first got the N4, I already had a screen protector (Xtremeguard), which was utter crap. It covered the proximity sensor. It was so big that the bumper was supposed to fit over it, but it didn't so it'd push the protector off.

    I had a Spigens Steinheil on my Galaxy SII, and felt it was the best cover I've ever had. So of course I ended up buying this one too. So far it's pretty good. I wish it was a hair wider, the bumper doesn't reach it, but there's a considerable gap still. Has the proximity sensor cutout.

  • dexgen

    My question is this:

    Nexus 4 has gorilla glass 2 on both sides so it's pretty much scratch resistant. (There are plenty of youtube videos demonstrating that no amount of keys or nails can scratch the device).Where the problem lies is with cracking when it falls or when it's put on a cold surface if the phone is hot.

    It does not seem like a skin would protect against this sort of thing. So, why put on a skin anyway? Do you guys know of any documented cases of N4 developing scratches? (references please if the answer is yes.)

    • suzu

      Sand can scratch gorilla glass, and it's everywhere.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I have a single, extremely faint scratch on the back of my Nexus 4. I can only barely make it out at a perfect angle. It's too small to capture with any of the other cameras I have right now, but it is there. It's definitely a surface blemish and not the kind of thing that is ever going to bother me, but I'd be worried about more significant scratches on the front. I haven't quite made it around to ordering anything yet, but I plan to order from Rearth. I've had great luck with Rearth screen protectors, they feel as smooth (or smoother) than glass, apply pretty easily (despite being dry application), and they don't move or bubble like static cling protectors. I've got them on almost all of my devices now.

      You're not wrong, Gorilla Glass 2 is very scratch resistant. I'd be willing to bet that 85% of people could go bare with their Nexus 4 until the day it dies (or they replace it next year) and never get a single scratch. Almost everybody in the remaining 15% wouldn't be able to see the scratches. It's that tiny remaining group that will surely get a scratch right across the front screen and it'll drive them nuts...I'll pay $10 to make sure I'm not that guy :)

      Seriously though, while screen protectors are very optional with GG2, get a case on that bad boy. No point in risking a fall that cracks the screen.

    • heavenandearth

      Truth About Gorilla Glass (Ultimate Galaxy SIII Destruction!!!) *REPAIR VIDEO IN DESCRIPTION!!!*
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FJUD5WB_ko

  • jose

    I thought gorilla glass was unscratchable...

    • flosserelli

      It is...until you touch it with something other than your fingernail.

  • Avinav

    Hey friends...can someone please help me by telling when is this phone coming to India ?
    Thanks in advance....: )

  • teeth

    Put it on a hot skillet and then run it under cold water, to see if the glass will crack why don't ya. Scratches, people drop their phone, if your worried about scratches you'll have a new phone before it becomes a problem. Or, reason to get new phone, huuuuh.

  • nxtiak

    You guys know any screen protector companies that lets you buy just the REAR?