Raise your hand if you’ve ever broken your iPhone’s screen? If you don’t have your hand raised, you are probably either new to smartphones, or lying. I’m as careful a mobile device user as you will ever find, and I managed to make it 15 long years, using PDAs, early smartphones, and then all the way up to the iPhone 5S before I finally joined the club. All it took was leaving the bottom part of my case off for a few minutes to do me in. I dropped my 5S on the concrete floor of a mechanical room, and the next thing I knew, I was out $150. Ouch.
I also didn’t have a screen protector on at the time, so as you can likely imagine, I haven’t been without one on any iPhone I’ve owned since. As such, I’m always on the lookout for the latest new designs, especially in glass and hybrid protectors that add additional protection. When I saw that ZAGG was offering a Screen Guarantee Plan with their latest top of the line screen protector, I took notice. ZAGG is the biggest and most respected name in mobile screen protection, so if they are willing to put a money-backed guarantee on your screen, then it’s a big deal, and worth taking a look at.
ZAGG’s new Screen Guarantee Plan is actually a package deal that includes a Sapphire Defense screen protector, an iFrogz Vue Clear Case, and a $100 guaranteed reimbursement for one year from your purchase, for $79.99.
In the event that a plan owner’s screen is broken, the claims process appears to be quite straightforward. According to the instructions on ZAGG’s website, just take a picture of the damaged screen with the Sapphire Defense on it, a picture of the receipt covering your repair, and then fill out their online claims form, and your $100 will be on its way.
Checking All the Boxes
It may feel like seeing one screen protector is seeing them all, but the Sapphire Defense boasts a list of features that you don’t find everyday. First up is Shatter, Impact, and Drop Protection that is seven times better than an unprotected screen. The Sapphire Defense definitely has noticeable thickness, but isn’t anywhere near as thick as early glass and hybrid protectors, including the first ones ZAGG first released years ago. After testing it extensively over the last week, I can also attest to the fact that the thickness of the Sapphire Defense doesn’t detract from screen sensitivity in the slightest. However, based on ZAGG’s use of materials reputation for quality, and stated guarantee, the stated level of protection is likely accurate.
ZAGG also claims top of the line scratch protection, but this shouldn’t come as surprise when considering the name of this product. The sapphire in Sapphire Defense isn’t just to make a catchy name. ZAGG actually infuses the screen protectors with sapphire crystals, which are known for their hardness and durability. The rumors of sapphire iPhone screens a few years ago, and Apple’s use of sapphire for the upper tiers of the Apple Watch lines weren’t just for show. This material is prized for its scratch resistance, so a screen protector that takes advantage should be able to hold up for the long term.
Along the same lines, ZAGG also touts the self-healing properties of the Sapphire Defense in relation to scratch protection. Honestly, after just a couple of weeks of testing I can’t tell if ZAGG’s claim of “Smart Molecules” is marketing-speak or the real deal, but I can tell you that I don’t have any scratches so far. While I haven’t had it for too long, I work in some harsh environments and put several scratches on my last screen protector over the three and a half months that I used it. The fact that it has held up so far is a positive sign.
ZAGG also touts the Sapphire Defense as being smudge resistant. In my experience it is….within reason. Actually, if you read the description fully, it actually clarifies this, more specifically stating that fingerprints and smudges are reduced. That is perfectly accurate in my experience. It does collect and show a few smudges, but they don’t stand out as much as they do on the bare screen of an iPhone, or on many other screen protectors. Smudges are usually especially noticeable on glass screen protectors with smooth surfaces, so it is impressive that ZAGG made this more manageable on the Sapphire Defense.
The Sapphire Defense is billed as being ultra clear and very touch sensitive. I can definitely attest to these facts. I’ve used two other hybrid screen protectors, and both were a bit more cloudy than either an all glass protector, or an older style wet or dry apply clear flexible protector. The Sapphire Defense does not suffer from this issue. It is quite clear. Also, I haven’t had any issues with touch sensitivity. All swipes, gestures, and use of 3D Touch have worked without issue.
The last of the major claims about the Sapphire Defense is that it is easy to apply. Right again. Because it is fairly rigid, it is very easy to line up. There are also only two openings on the screen protector- one at the top for the speaker and another at the bottom for the Home Button, so there isn’t as much work involved as with some other competing products.
ZAGG included small tabs on a removable front layer of the Sapphire Defense, making it ever easier to maneuver into the correct position. Once you’re there, just remove the front layer, smooth out the bubbles (which is very easy with this protector), and you’re done. You will almost certainly spend more time cleaning and prepping your screen than applying the Sapphire Defense.
On the subject of things ZAGG includes with the Sapphire Defense, the install tabs are just the start.
Besides the detailed application instructions inside the box, ZAGG also includes a soft cleaning cloth, a squeegee, and a dust removal sticker to aid you in cleaning your iPhone’s screen to prep for install, and then get rid of any bubbles under the protector after install. Many screen protectors come with various similar accessories, but ZAGG goes the extra mile and includes quality accessories and clear instructions with their products.
I only had one complaint with the Sapphire Defense, and that is that it is a little too case friendly. I appreciate that ZAGG considered those of us who use cases. Most iPhone owners do, these days, so it makes sense to design with that in mind. However, the Sapphire Defense leaves so much room around the bezel that there is still a very noticeable gap between even their own Vue case and the protector.
In all likelihood, there is little chance that this tiny gap will ever cause a problem. It just seems like the case could extend out a little further for more continuity and feel across the screen. Now, if I weren’t a case user, this might be more of a deterrent for me. It certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing if ZAGG offered a full coverage model in the future to account for this.
All things considered, my experience with the Sapphire Defense has been all its cracked up to be. I can highly recommend it as a screen protector, and if ZAGG is willing to put this much marketing and $100 per paying customer behind it deterring screen breakage, I’m inclined to trust them. The Sapphire Defense is available alone for $49.99 here (which also carries a lifetime of your device guarantee), or as part of the Screen Guarantee Plan.
Making a Case
The IFROGZ Vue clear case certainly isn’t the star of this show, as its use isn’t even required for a Screen Guarantee Plan to be valid. However, I found that it fills its role as Supporting Actor quite nicely.
As you can see from the picture, the Vue is just a no-frills clear case. It is thin enough to not add unnecessary bulk, but thick enough to provide a minimum amount of protection against drops. Paired with the Sapphire Defense, it should help to give your screen protection an extra boost.
The one standout feature of the Vue is the feel of the sides of the case. While the back is smooth, the edge all the way around the case is slightly textured, which aids in gripping the phone. I had actually been using a similar clear case from a different manufacturer since I got my iPhone 7 Plus, and was happy with it. However, it doesn’t have these textured edges, and I noticed the difference as soon I picked up my iPhone for the first time with the Vue on it. When this review is over, I’ll be sticking with the Vue because of this feature, so I thought it was worth noting.
At $14.99 sold separately here, the Vue is just a solid, inexpensive, no-frills clear case for the iPhone. If you like these kinds of cases like I do, this is a good one to get at that price. However, as part of ZAGG’s Screen Guarantee package, the Vue becomes a little more thanks to the sum of all the parts.
At $79.99, the ZAGG Screen Guarantee Plan certainly isn’t inexpensive. As we all know, you can jump on Amazon or eBay and find screen protectors for just about any device for next to nothing. However, there is a world of difference between the two, starting with the Lifetime Guarantee that ZAGG puts on the Sapphire Defense when purchased alone, and the $100 of screen repair reimbursement they back the Screen Guarantee Plan with. Also consider how much alternative insurance and protection plans from Apple and others cost. I have AppleCare+ because it’s bundled with my iPhone Purchase Plan that I have through them. However, if you pay for that outright with a new device, it costs an extra $129, plus a $29 premium per screen repair.
In that light, $79.99 suddenly doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. In fact, when you consider that you aren’t just buying a policy that you hope you never have to use, but two protective devices that you will get a tangible benefit from on a daily basis, the ZAGG Screen Guarantee Plan is actually a great value and is also truly unique in the industry. If you use a smartphone long enough, you are eventually going to break a screen, and even the most careful users like myself aren’t immune. We’re all human, and will drop, toss, kick, step on, throw, or perform any number of other damaging actions to or on our phones. In the two weeks since I got the Sapphire Defense and IFROGZ Vue to review, I’ve talked to two different people who have broken their screens and were in the process of getting them repaired. As soon as I mentioned ZAGG’s new Screen Protection Plan to them, they were very interested in hearing more about it. I certainly can’t blame them.
Once you’ve had to shell out the money to get your iPhone’s screen repaired one or more times, you start to think about the best course of action to prevent it from happening again. Well, I’ve tried most of the better screen protectors out there, and have looked into and even purchased insurance plans for my iPhones over the years. However, ZAGG’s Screen Guarantee Plan is the best option I’ve tried to this point because it covers both active protection, and reimbursement for damage simultaneously. If you are looking for a better way to protect you phone’s screen, I can highly recommend ZAGG’s Sapphire Defense on its own, or their full Screen Guarantee Plan.
ZAGG’s Screen Guarantee Plan is currently in Beta in the US Only for $79.99. You can get more details and sign up for the Beta program here.
The Sapphire Defense Screen Protector and IFROGZ Vue Case were provided for review on iPhone Insight by ZAGG. For further information regarding our siteâ€™s review policies, please see the â€œAboutâ€ page.Â