Comparison: Clearfreak vs. Phantom SkinzTips


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  1. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    [FONT=&quot]In another thread here, I made an offer to compare two brands of screen protectors: One from [/FONT][FONT=&quot]clearfreak.com[/FONT][FONT=&quot], (abbreviated CF here) and the other from [/FONT][FONT=&quot]phantomskinz.com[/FONT][FONT=&quot] (abbreviated PS here). PhantomSkinz Guru took me up on the offer, and I was finally able to conduct the comparison today. I'm a mechanical engineering major in college, so I hope that in terms of technical and physical specs I will do this justice, but my grammar and punctuation might not be top-notch like pro reviewers. Also, I'm not being paid by either party for this (yet? :p j/k). I apologize in advance for any tendency to wander. So, here we go.

    (if you have a question/comment I will answer if I can or add it to OP)

    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]On the websites:[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

    CF offers either the screen protector alone, or a screen + back protector. Each is one piece. Price at the time of review was $6 for the front, $12 for front + back.
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot][​IMG]
    Looks simple enough.


    PS offers either the screen protector alone ($9.95), or a full body kit ($24.95), which not only includes the rear of the phone, but the sides as well. The full body kit comes as several pieces that must be applied individually. They were having a "winter special" at the time of this review, and so you get two of whatever you ordered... a great deal if you should mess up the application process, or are rough with your phone.
    [​IMG]
    It could be trouble for a perfectionist.


    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Out of the package:[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

    The CF protector is a simple kit. It contained just the protector and an application tool. The PS kit, on the other hand, contained the protector, installation instructions (CF installation instructions are on the website), a key which explains what piece goes where, and in mine, a small note of apology for a lack of application tool (but it did offer the suggestion to use a credit card instead).
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ------------------Clearfreak--------------------------------- Phantom Skinz---------------
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    Installation:[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]

    After thoroughly cleaning my Moment's screen and my hands, I set to work installing the Clearfreak screen protector. Per its instructions, I found a sprayer bottle and filled it with water. Installation requires wetting the screen by spraying a bit on each side of the protector, laying it carefully on the Moment's screen, and after aligning it, using the application tool to squeegee out excess water and air bubbles from beneath the screen. Being a newbie to this process, I found it a little daunting. Though I sprayed the screen and wet my fingers a bit, I had to be careful not to grab the protector with too much finger or else it would start to stick to my finger anyway. I've also had the glue change shape to that of my fingerprint, which does not look good when applied... though I thankfully avoided the problem this time.

    After applying the protector and removing as many bubbles and moisture as I could, I used a microfiber cloth to dry the phone.

    The Phantom Skinz protector had a similar application, but a few methods were different. PS suggests using a cup of warm water with a dab of soap in it. I found this method to be much easier, albeit more time-consuming, than the CF method of just spraying it with water. after wetting my fingers and the screen protector, I tapped its edge gently against the table to get rid of the excess droplets, and it slid easily into place on the phone's screen. This easy application turned slightly sour when I went to squeegee out the excess water, however, and I found myself having to be a little more tender with the process than with the CF. Once I finally got most of the water and bubbles out, the results looked pretty good.

    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Results:[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

    PS's protector is a little thinner than the CF. This is a good thing if you are a casual user, and don't expect to do much harm to your screen. The fit of the screen protector is about as good as it can be: once dried, I have to find just the right angle of light to see any sign of the edge of the protector, and it effectively covers the entire glass. There is a slight texture to the material which can be noticed mostly when the screen is off: it is a horizontal, linear texture. As noted below, though, it isn't significant. I'm not sure if it was my fault or not, but there's a tiny wrinkle in the bottom left of the protector. Again, nothing significant, but you can just barely notice it in the pic under the home key, along with the horizontal line texture. CF's protector has a texture too, but it is less linear and more... bumpy, yet smooth to the touch. The CF's protector turned out to be noticeably short in length (more than a millimeter), and fit a little strange around the optical joystick. This is the second round I have had with CF; their first one sent to me had a jagged cut on the bottom so it didn't have a 'clean' fit.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Finished PS Application-------------------------------------------- Finished CF Application

    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [​IMG][​IMG]
    -------------Phantom Skinz --------------------------------- Clearfreak------------------




    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Personal Conclusion:[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

    I can't say for sure whether or not the thickness difference between the two plays out to be an issue of durability... mostly because I'm using my phone for this review, and I'd rather not subject it to damage tests. I didn't find the thickness of the CF protector to be so obvious it annoyed me; it's still thin enough to blend with the edge of the case enough that running my finger across the edge doesn't catch on the edge to pull it loose. Clearfreak says their material is made of the same stuff used for clear car bras. Phantom Skinz's website says their material was originally designed to protect the leading edges of helicopter blades from erosion. Both sound plenty durable, especially considering this is a cell phone, and I don't plan to hit it with grains of sand, dirt, and dust at high velocity. The CF protector's texture makes it look like it will be harder to see through when the phone's screen is off, but I didn't notice much of a difference when the screen was on.

    When using the phone with each protector applied, the capacitance of the screen is slightly reduced. I played a game or two of Jewels and did some web browsing with each protector applied. The screen was more sensitive with the PS than the CF, but the texture of the CF protector made it a little easier to slide my finger around, and it also helped mask smudges made by finger oil. Both protectors did a good job at keeping my phone from looking dirty after handling.

    When making a phone call, the proximity sensor was slower to turn the screen back on with the CF protector, likely due to its thickness.

    As far as kits go, Phantom Skinz has Clearfreak nailed. The CF protectors only cover the front glass and the back panel. PS's kit will cover most of the phone, though still not all of it. While the PS skin covers nearly all of the phone, it doesn't necessarily function the same as a body case would; it will prevent scratches if you drop it on pavement, but won't absorb very much of the impact. If you're prone to dropping your phone from heights, I recommend trying to find a rubberized case. However, for the average user who isn't accident prone, the minimally obtrusive protection given by the Phantom Skinz protector is excellent.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Overall winner:[/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    Phantom Skinz
    [/FONT]​
     

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  2. latinmaxima

    latinmaxima Well-Known Member

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    This is a very well written review and write up. Thank you. This may need to be stickied or merged to the top of the screen protectors thread. Thank you Zumaki!
     
  3. Radical-J

    Radical-J Well-Known Member

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    FYI I got the Clear Freak and it fit perfect. Just the screen protector--didn't see the need to do the backside. I did like the price $5 and some change shipped from ebay...
     
  4. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Well, I tried two Clearfreak protectors and neither fit as well as the Phantom Skinz... so I wrote the review based on my experience. Can't speak for everyone :p
     
  5. cds36

    cds36 Well-Known Member

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    Wow very nice write up, makes me wish i had waited. I got lazy and just did the zagg cover for the whole phone cost 40$ which is way pricey, but they installed it and has a lifetime warranty.
     
  6. njbianco

    njbianco Well-Known Member

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    I bought a clearfreak and the back cutout was cut out to big and did not fit right at all the front was perfect 2bad :-/
     
  7. pizzachef

    pizzachef Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the writeup. My clearfreak screen cover is fine in length top to bottom, but is a little narrow. Honestly about 2 mm too narrow. The result is a cheap looking cover. I have no complaints about hot it looks or feels. Seems like good stuff. Also, I had a tough time with the installation because it wanted to stick to the screen as soon as it touched the screen. Even though it was wet. So there was no sliding it into the perfect spot for me. I tried 3 or 4 times to get it perfectly centered, but it always ended up flush with one edge and the other edge is about 2 mm from the screen edge. Sounds like the phantom skin is easier to. Align on the screen.

    If I had it to do again, I get the phantom skin. I might still get the screen cover for 10 bucks. I don't really care about the back of the phone. I like the "matte" feel of the back anyway.
     
  8. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Yeah, it was a lot easier to align the phantom skinz stuff to exactly where I wanted them, but a little tricky getting it to not slide around when I first started getting the water off. Overall though, still a better experience. I had a clearfreak protector for almost a week before the phantom skinz came in, so I got to see how it plays out over time. And now I've had the phantom skinz one for a few days, and still think its superior.
     
  9. 9Nails

    9Nails Well-Known Member

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    If there's any unused part of the protectors (like the gaps left behind to fill out the rectangular paper) could you use those left overs on a thin plate of glass (say a picture frame glass) and see how well the protectors stand up against pocketable items - like keys, coins, pens, pencils etc. And see how well these stand up to permeation from things like glass cleaners, alcohol (not booze, unless you see otherwise fit!), or cosmetics? Also, how easily are these protectors removed? I'd expect that they should stand up to lint from a pocket and oils from fingers, but would those things in turn cause the protectors to loosen up?
     
  10. agent0014

    agent0014 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about CF, but the PS one I installed last night didn't have the "overrun" material on the sheet. They must remove it when it's cut.
     
  11. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Neither company provides the excess, but from their descriptions of the material on both websites, I think it's related to this stuff:

    3M Protective Film Clear Bra Test - Automotive Articles .com Magazine

    which would make both pretty tough. I can't say that's for sure what it is though.
     
  12. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    One last bump
     
  13. Thefoodman52

    Thefoodman52 Well-Known Member

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    One thing about the full rubberized cases, don't buy the ones that are at the sprint stores underneath (at least in my location) the actual phone. The way it clips on, it hikes the top of the phone by wedging the clips into it. It's done something to mine, the top screen is now slightly loose and kind of flops open when the phone is upside down, and when the phone vibrates it rattles the top screen against the bottom. Haven't even had it for 5 days yet. Going to the sprint store tomorrow to get this fixed, no questions asked. I'll also add, that the sprint ones just suck. I've broken 2, both because the clips wedged into the phone snapped. Also, when the case is on, the phone no longer slides freely open and closed, it's worn down my spring to where when it's off, the top screen is kind of floppy and occasionally opens in my pocket. Needless to say, I'm not happy.

    All in all, get something other than what they have at the store. I'll be returning the cases, whether or not a refund is in order, I don't know nor do I care. I just want to get this worked out.

    Does anybody know of a case that doesn't just jack itself into the phone with clips? I'm still trying to find one... I just want something to stop it from getting scratches, though this screen cover/body thing seems like it'd work. I was thinking a jelly type slip over, don't know how that'd work this though. =S
     
  14. twospirits

    twospirits AF's janitor Moderator

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    Outstanding review.

    TS
     
  15. funker

    funker Member

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    I ordered Phantom Skinz and got the discount and 2 for 1 besed on this review! Thanks! Now if I can find a case that's worth a damn, I'll be all set.
     
  16. evilbeef54

    evilbeef54 Well-Known Member

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    woo hoo, save another 33% and still get 2 skins, just ordered cost me $16.72 for 2 full kits OTD, woo hoo free shipping and 33% off
     
  17. jen8112

    jen8112 Well-Known Member

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    I got a full skin from Phantom. I love the screen saver part but ripped the rest off because I didn't like it.
     
  18. CriticalCritic

    CriticalCritic Well-Known Member

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    Same here. Except for the speaker piece... I left that little part on because I expect that edge to take the most abuse of any other surface on the phone.
    Plus it adds extra grip when taking the battery cover off.
     
  19. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I found the side pieces to be a little irritating at first, but I'm (almost) used to it now. When I can feel the edge of the side pieces it still annoys me a bit. But I figure its worthwhile for me to leave them on and prevent a few more scratches, since they fit and stick really well. And I thought I would wind up taking the back piece off because of air bubbles but they've all disappeared... its even formed itself into the recessed 'Samsung' lettering.
     
  20. Zumaki

    Zumaki Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    My final update on this: After trying out both protectors I ended up leaving the Phantomskinz one on my phone... and had said at the time that some of the side protectors edges annoyed me (along with making the call/end buttons less easy to push) and that it was something I might have to just get used to.

    So now, a few weeks later, all of the panels I stuck to the phone are still attached, none of them are peeling on the edges, and any stray air bubbles I had under the big piece on the back are long gone. It makes my phone look great and is hardly noticeable.

    I'm not being paid to say this either... I'm just actually kind of surprised at how much I like them and how well they work, because I wasn't really a big fan of the idea of the protectors before I tried them out.
     
  21. Th3sandm4n

    Th3sandm4n Active Member

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    Nice review. I just bought a Phantom Skin (just the front part), can't wait to get it in.
     
  22. CriticalCritic

    CriticalCritic Well-Known Member

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    Just decided to rip mine off a few hours ago. I decided that, since I haven't heard anything about anyone scratching their screen, I should be safe, especially with how much I baby this thing. Also because I wanted to have that increased touch sensitivity back. It has made a difference, and it's really noticeable after having used the skin for so long. And if I do end up scratching the screen a little and learning my lesson, I can always apply that 2nd skin that they shipped to me.:)

    But I was comforted by one thing when I removed the skin... It DID NOT want to come off. Don't get me wrong, it all came off cleanly, and in one piece, with minimal residue. But I thought I was going to pull the glass of the face of my phone with the effort it took to peel off the skin!

    I love the phantom skin, and I will go back to it if I end up suffering from a serious scratch (especially since this skin appears that it will mask screen scratches when applied over them). I just wanted to get the touch sensitivity back.
     
  23. Th3sandm4n

    Th3sandm4n Active Member

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    Ya I feel you on the sensitivity bit, but I don't mind it as much. It really only bothers me on the notification bar, I have to press it a bit harder to get it down it seems.
     
  24. CriticalCritic

    CriticalCritic Well-Known Member

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    It was mainly the notification bar and the back arrow that has been getting to me. Plus some of the little things. Like when playing the Robo defence game, and sometimes when switching between screens.
     
  25. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Well-Known Member

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    I was at Walmart today and I saw how badly two iPhone 3GS glass screens were scratched, even though they were tethered to the display stand. If glass screens scratch like they were sandblasted, there's no way I'm running my Samsung Moment without a screen protector.

    There may be a minimal loss of touch sensitivity, but that's far far better than getting a gouge on the screen that makes it look and operate like crap.
     

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