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Old December 9th, 2012, 10:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Notsure Tempered Glass screen protector - XGear Spectre

I ordered the Spectre last week upon purchasing a galaxy s3.

{boring setup follows, skip if you value your time}
I looked at all the available screen protectors beforehand. I started with Steinheil /Spigen / SGP, or whatever they call themselves now, because I've always used them on both my phone (Droid X) and my family's phones (Droid, Droid 2, Droid 4, Incredible, and I think the rezound, though I don't remember for sure).

I've always adored the Steinheil Ultra Crystal for its glass-like feel and look, and I fully intended to order that for my GS3. However, I read a few reviews of the ultra crystal for the gs3 and came to the sad conclusion that either spigen has lost their touch, or maybe the gs3 is just crazy-hard to make a screen protector for. either way, i realized that there was no way I could order that one in good faith.

but then I read about tempered glass protectors, and I saw that spigen had one of those. i cried HURRAH and set off to order it without a further thought.

as i'm sure you've figured out by now, that didn't happen either. First, I found that it was out of stock everywhere (and i guess discontinued) and then i found that the reviews for it were terrible as well.

as an avid reader of droid life, I followed a link from their preview of the spigen tempered glass thing and discovered the XGear spectre.

i saw all the stuff about the early version being terrible, specifically about the dot grid and the proximity sensor problem. but then I saw that they had revised versions that were supposed to have fixed all of that. and i even saw that on the order page for the spectre, there was a big notice as follows:

"NEW REVISED MODEL - STRONGER ADHESIVE, NO DOTS, NO PROXIMITY ISSUES* *Before purchasing, please download "Proximity Sensor Finder". If your unit is 5.0cm, then you will not have any proximity issues. If your unit is 8.0cm, then the Spectre will NOT work with your proximity sensor. This is due to a hardware issue on the S3."

I ran that app and found that it read 5.0cm, excellent.

again I cried HURRAH (seriously, by this point my wife had stopped laughing at me and begun punching me) and rushed off to order it. I found this thread and some others, and nothing really made me suspect that there would be a problem with the new version. I use the otterbox commuter, and read the complaints of one dude on rootzwiki, but the problems he was having (cracking/scratching) didn't seem likely to actually be an issue. I don't think he's a troll or anything, but it seemed like it was mostly bad luck that he was overblowing a little.

{end boring setup nonsense}

SO, yesterday morning I installed the thing. i ran a super steamy shower to pull the dust out of the air, just like i've always done with the spigens. I was super duper careful to line it up perfectly (hint: turn the softkey backlight to "always on" as it helps provide a solid visual indicator of your alignment) and then let it kinda set for half an hour or so.

After that, I decided to test the known problem areas first. I checked it carefully for the dot pattern, and found absolutely no sign of it. Then i checked for the proximity sensor issue by making a phone call to myself and raising the phone to my head. the screen turned off, exactly as it is supposed to. then I farted around with the screen to see how the sensitivity was. I noticed a few skips and jumps, but things like that are pretty hard to test quickly so i decided to give it some time to settle in.

Anyway, when I later got an ACTUAL phone call, i noticed an issue that I then replicated a dozen times. Once the screen turns off for the phone call, it will NOT come back on, AT ALL. which is insane, needless to say. i'm not sure if this is the same "proximity sensor issue" that people complained about with this screen protector, but it is certainly ridiculous. I tried a bunch of things to see if maybe i was imagining things. I ran the proximity sensor app again to see what was happening, and it now says that the sensor is covered, ALWAYS. yaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy.

So there you go, i guess. again, i don't know if that's what happened with the "proximity sensor problem" that people had earlier and I couldn't find anyone giving a good description of the problem, but THIS problem is, needless to say, utterly insane. It renders the phone useless as a phone, as I cannot hang up the call and cannot bring up the dial pad in order to press numbers in a touchtone menu, much less do things like enable speakerphone/bluetooth/mute etc.

Ugh.

In addition, the touch sensitivity has been drastically reduced. I noticed this immediately as I said, but in the light of this insane proximity sensor problem, the importance of the touch screen sensitivity seemed to be somewhat lessened. it's extremely annoying, sure, but the proximity sensor problem makes the phone useless.

I did finally test the screen, just for giggles. I ran a few different drawing/painting apps and did the standard digitizer test (draw a grid of vertical lines, horizontal lines, and then diagonal lines. look for inconsistencies, skips, all that stuff). Needless to say, the sensitivity is in fact rather drastically reduced. This was only further confirmed when I fired up the keyboard to send off some texts and then type some notes. Swiftkey tried bravely to keep up with my typing, but so many touches failed to register that it was just flat out embarrassing.

Actual content of my first test (when it missed a word by a mile I tried to retype):

"Miss a few presses so m overall accuracy is certainly down. I not what I was could call a sup eups super bad pvla roblab prnlcle problem. Y okay that was pretty bad. I can't tell what is happening exactly. Or whether it might get better. Slightly irritated this tjouj thigh though."

So it was kinda terrible, though it had some moments of clarity. I think I started pressing a bit harder and going slower towards the end. WAY slower than i normally type, that's for certain.

I did notice that there appears to be a bit of an air gap between the protector and the screen itself. i didn't notice it at first, but if i put my finger on the display part of the screen and then gently push down, there is flexing, and then it stops and makes a sort of light contacting noise. Is this supposed to be the case? if not, maybe this gap explains some of the terribleness thats happening...

Anyways. I think that is quite enough for now. I have emailed XGear about all of this and requested guidance, along with information about either a replacement or full refund. Obviously this unit has rendered my phone significantly less functional in all respects. Perhaps it is just this unit, or perhaps it is a function of the product itself, I cannot tell.

Has anyone else had any experiences like these? and i'm referring specifically to this most recent version, not the first ones which we all know had some issues.

By the way, they seem to have removed that notice (about the proximity sensor app and the dot grid) from the order page, which seems like a COLOSSAL mistake. If I had an 8.0cm gs3 and ordered the xgear, blissfully unaware of the potential problems with 8cm sensors, I'd be flaming pissed. of course, i've still had crazy terrible issues though, so perhaps it's moot....

Thanks fellas.

and note, i ain't a troll or shill or otherwise non-normal human. this might be my first post (i can't actually remember as i post on several other forums like droidforums and droidxforums.... or rather i used to. guess not anymore...) but i have been registered for a little while i think. was looking up rooting stuff and needed to register to view some link or something. meh, i have a terrible memory.

NOTE: I actually posted this first over at rootzwiki yesterday because there seemed to be a good discussion going about issues similar to mine and i figured that would be a good place to have this conversation. i should have checked the date-stamps a little more closely....

ALSO NOTE: the xgear folks have actually been very helpful thus far. i had a minor issue with shipping earlier that they were totally on top of. They haven't actually gotten back to me about this issue yet, but it's only been one day and i have faith in them. They definitely seem to be a professional outfit. so PLEASE don't take this as bashing them or their products. Or spigen/SPG/Steinheil either. I still love those guys and love the ultra crystals on our other phones, I just can't stand orange-peel textured protectors and that's what they seem to have produced for the crazy curved screen of the GS3. so it goes. is that enough CYA disclaiming? oh wait, and i'm NOT promoting otterbox, or any other company. I did NOT use the otterbox screen protector because I have found them to pretty much always be bad, or at least not my preferred style. i did the commuter-level cases, but the screen protectors are just terrible, to me. Also, i'm an academic employed by a state land-grant university and am prohibited from promoting any commercial or political interests. or star trek vs star wars. I have no informed or educated opinions about anything; everything I say here and outside of a peer-reviewed journal is white noise and should be treated as the haphazard ramblings of a deranged lunatic not in full possession of his faculties.

geez, being a new poster on a forum can be a lot of work these days... :-P

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Old December 10th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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just a little update, for anyone who happens to be considering the Xgear Spectre tempered glass protector.

Xgear has been fairly helpful with regard to returning the spectre, which is good. i have to pay for return shipping, but that's alright.

MUCH more importantly however, i have a WARNING!

this screen protector REALLY IS made of glass.

How am i so sure, you might ask, all two of you who will read this?

well, i had some serious difficulty getting it off of the phone, so i ask the CS rep for advice. She said it could easily be removed by lifting up a corner and then gently and slowly peeling up.

DONT YOU BELIEVE IT.

it was crazy hard to get this thing off AND to add injury to insult.... it shattered!

first it cracked up near the corner, then cracked right down the middle, then shattered and sent a puff of glassy dust up and all over. I immediately went to wash my hands... BIG mistake. learn from my dozens of bloody microabrasions...

if you have one of these and decide you need to take it off, use gloves, wear a mask, and do it over newspaper or something like that. glass dust will get everywhere if/when it shatters, and glass dust is a singularly unpleasant thing.

but now, finally, my phone is free and I can hang up calls again like a normal person. plus it doesn't feel like half of my screen touches are illusory! hooray!

now to find a screen protector that isn't made of sadness...
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Old December 10th, 2012, 10:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review. I am also looking for a very good screen protector, so I am very interested in what you find out there.
For the record, I've been using the Armor suit plastic screen protector that is supposedly self correcting. It works, but the feel on the device is considerably lessened, and it leaves weird marks everywhere before it heals. So, not so nice after all.
Also, with my Ballistic SGMaxx case, the armorsuit screen protector peels at the bottom. Ugh, ugly.
Anyone has a better screen protector for us?
I know spigen makes gorilla glass like screen protectors for the NoteII, under the moniker "Glas", is there something like that for the sgs3?
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Old December 11th, 2012, 10:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well spigen DID make a tempered glass one for SG3 (called GLAS as well, i think) but they seem to have pulled it from the market.

I read a few bad reviews, most of which commented on a very reduced level of sensitivity in the touch screen, something I'm now all too familiar with after using the XGear one.

I was going to order the spigen curved glass despite some reports of orange-peel texture, but then I found one called "just like glass" from DBA. I ordered that one on amazon, should be here tomorrow. I think it's got the same "short sided" problem as many others, but the lip of my otterbox commuter might cover the edges and help stop it from peeling.

I will update when I get that one installed.

I'm getting nervous from all the days without a screen protector now...

I know it's gorilla glass and all, but my droid x had gorilla glass and got several small scratches on the screen before i put the spigen protector on it. no keys or anything, it just picked the scratches up from random normal use. ugh.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have this one, and I'm experiencing the same issue with the proximity sensor. You can fix it by just applying light to the sensor. Of course this is no excuse. I should have to carry a flash light around whenever I make a call. But, besides that, it's a great cover. It feels natural, the fact that it's glass gives it much better scratch resistance, and you can easily take it off and re-apply it. I don't know why you had so much problem taking it off, I take it off and re-apply it pretty much at least once a week to clean it up. Anyway, I recommend it I think the protection and feel this protector gives the phone outweighs the only con it has. But then, I absolutely HATE the plastic protectors. All those bubbles and crap. Just hate them. I can never apply them properly. The fact that this is glass means no bubbles!
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