I’ve been excited to try out a glass screen protector for a long time. And considering that the Nexus 7 glass isn’t exactly of the highest quality, I felt that it would be the best candidate for such a product. The XGear Phantasm is only 0.4mm thick and has a surface hardness of 8H. It is also coated to protect from oils.
When the XGear Phantasm came in the mail, I was terrified of putting it on. I was bad enough with putting on small flexible screen protectors, but a 7 inch sheet of glass? I was not confident. However, I noticed that it wasn’t just a sheet of glass. The parts that touch the bezel were thicker, meaning that no glass or adhesive ever touched the screen. This made it a lot easier to attach to the tablet. The first time, it went on a little crooked. I managed to carefully peel it off and reattach it perfectly.
The sheet of glass is fairly thin, but does go above the edges. This means that if you rest your Nexus 7 on the screen, it’ll be laying on the glass. This is inevitable of course, and not a negative quality of this product. It has slightly beveled edges, so it is easy to hold and not sharp. The bezel is actually colored black (a slightly lighter black than the original glass), it isn’t all transparent. This is probably a good decision, so you don’t see adhesive marks or any dust that got under it.
It started bubbling at one of the edges for me (not the edge where I lifted it the first time, to be clear, it was not user error), but I was told this is not normal and would generally warrant a replacement, so don’t worry about that. It’s also very minor.
It has two cutouts: front facing camera and light sensor. They are both clean and right where they should be. The feel of the glass is of high quality and it wipes off easily. It also has no scratches on it after a significant amount of use. It’s really high quality glass, and I’m impressed.
As you can see, it does produce a slight rainbow effect. It’s almost completely unnoticeable in real world use, so it’s not an issue. Colors shine through just fine, viewing angles are unaffected, and it doesn’t affect the display quality of the Nexus 7.
When I saw that the glass over the screen was actually floating above the display, I worried about touch responsiveness. Unfortunately, my worries materialized. This screen protector does affect screen sensitivity. Around the edges, it’s almost unnoticeable and very reactive to touch. However, right in the center, it is often hard to press. It doesn’t react at all sometimes, even from a decent touch. I’m not light with my fingers, I can tell you that. It was disappointing, as playing a game of Plague Inc had me unable to press anything at the center without pressing again and again, harder each time. I don’t know if it’s just my specific one or a general issue, but it’s caused me a lot of frustration.
Overall, it’s a wonderful product with one flaw. Sensitivity towards the center is really disappointing, but aside from that, it’s an amazing product. It looks good, it feels good, it’s resilient to oil and scratching, and it fits really well. I hope that it is my specific product that is having this issue, but it’s possible that it isn’t. Until I find out if it’s a widespread issue, I find it hard to recommend.
Update: I took the screen protector off. It has some strong adhesive. It wasn’t easy to take off, but it really wasn’t all that difficult. They used some good adhesive. It also left the screen unmarked, which is great. However, it does confirm that the sensitivity issues were not the Nexus 7 itself, but the screen protector. The sensitivity is now perfect again. Unfortunately, I still can’t confirm if it is a defective product or just a bad one.
XGear Phantasm ($69.99)