OtterBox's bread and butter is their cases. The recent move the company took to purchase Wrapsol, an organisation that specialises in screen protectors for mobile devices, was interesting, to say the least. OtterBox do already package screen protectors with many of their cases and they are always good quality. But what OtterBox seem to want to achieve with the purchase of Wrapsol is to distribute a diverse range of protectors for different lifestyles and specific uses.
This screen protector is the OtterBox Clearly Protected Privacy for the iPhone 5 (also avaliable for the Samsung Galaxy S3, iPad 2/3/4 and iPad mini), promising visual security from preying eyes; something that we can definitely see genuine uses for. With the protector applied, when the iPhone 5's screen is looked at from any of the four sides at an angle other than directly in front of the eyes you cannot visually see the screen clearly. It's tinted and adds a blur, text is made unreadable but images might just be able to be made out. People who have jobs, or individuals who need peace of mind, when in public executing sensitive and private things on their devices will no doubt find this reassuring.
In the box we get a yellow micro fibre towelette (cleaning cloth), an application squeegee and the screen protector.
Applying the screen protector was surprisingly easy. The first thing we had to do was to wipe down the iPhone's screen making sure no dust or grease was trapped under the protector. The following step is to peel the plastic backing off the protector. The protector is stiff and rigid which made the next step of applying it onto the screen very easy, as we could align it against the home button and front camera using its cut outs with precise accuracy. We applied it square on with our first attempt and then used the squeegee to push out any trapped air bubbles. All in all the application went well and was easy to accomplish.
The protector is made from premium quadlaminar polyester material, it has a matte finish and provides brilliant touch sensitivity. Fingers glide over it, although finger prints can be left. It's amazingly easy to wipe away dust, muck and fingerprints though. Our fingers really enjoyed interacting with the iPhone 5 when the Clearly Protected Privacy screen protector was attached; this was an element of the product that truly stood out.
The protector isn't overly thick and both the OtterBox Defender Series Case and OtterBox Reflex Series Case for the iPhone 5 were able to house the iPhone 5 with the protector applied. The protector is rather stiff as previously mentioned and that definitely offers favourable protection. Coupled with a Reflex it makes having the iPhone less of a worry when resting in a pocket or simply lying on a desk.
That's where our enjoyment of using this screen protector slowly slips away. When in use the clarity presented is streaky and the contrast and colours of the Apple retina display are bulldozed. Reading text is problematic and caused us to have severe eye strain and headaches. We persevered for a week trying to adjust to the protector but we just couldn't carry on using it any longer than that. The material used to enable privacy is ironically the downfall of the overall usability.
This is a product that has a specific audience and the privacy aspect it promises is impressive and works well. But the severely hindered clarity of the iPhone 5's screen doesn't seem like a trade-off worth forging unless secrecy is of prime importance.