If PC World’s tests (http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/06/30/iphone_test/index.php) are any indication, the iPhone’s glass screen needs much less protection than the plastic screens on iPods. And then there’s the fact that a poorly-made screen protector could disrupt the iPhone’s touchscreen interface. Still, if you’re paranoid — and I admit to being so myself — there are quite a few clear-film screen covers out there for the iPhone; many cases even include such a film.
Given that I’ve been a fan of Power Support’s Crystal Film Set for full-size iPods, I picked up the company’s $16 ($15 at Apple Retail Stores) Crystal Film Set for iPhone when I bought my own iPhone. Whereas “Set” means “front and back pieces” for the iPod versions, here it means that you get a set of two identical iPhone screen films, so you can split the set with your favorite iPhone buddy.
As with the iPod versions, what sets the iPhone Crystal Film apart is that it’s thicker and more rigid than most other clear-film protectors. Although this should make the Film more rugged, the most obvious benefit is that it’s easier to apply than thinner films; you just align it properly at one end and then slowly lower it onto the iPhone’s screen, pushing out any bubbles with a credit card or other rigid, flat edge.
On the other hand, no film is immune to dust, lint, hair, and other things floating around in the air; before applying the Crystal Film, use a lint-free cloth to thoroughly clean your iPhone’s screen. Then remove the Film’s backing just before application, avoiding touching the “sticky” side of the film with your fingers. If you don’t take such precautions, you’ll wind up with very noticeable blemishes. (Power Support claims that the Crystal Film can be cleaned and reapplied; it uses “static cling” rather than adhesive. However, I found it difficult to dry the Film after washing, even with a lint-free cloth, without getting dust and smudges on the “sticky” side.)
If applied correctly and cleanly, the Crystal Film provides an undetectable, protective surface that doesn’t affect the iPhone’s touchscreen functionality; I’m quite happy with mine. However, it took me several tries to get it right, and I eventually had to move on to the second Film in the package because the first got too many fingerprints and pieces of dust behind it.–Dan Frakes