Whoever thought of the idea of using sticky, cheap plastic to protect glass should be considered both a genius and a fool. Only a genius would have thought of an idea that generates millions of dollars a year, but only a fool would actually think it would work. However, millions of smartphone users every day spend upwards of twenty dollars or more to have a flimsy, cheap piece of plastic placed over their smartphone’s screen. While these cheap pieces of plastic do protect glass screens from common surface scratches, or deeper ones as well, they do nothing in terms of protecting the screen from direct impacts.

At CES this year, AMZER unveiled the first screen protector that used high-quality urethane, rather than plastic, to create a truly revolutionary product, the first “Shatterproof” screen protector. Skeptics were quick to call AMZER to prove this claim, and AMZER didn’t disappoint. There are multiple videos, like one from Engadget, from CES where naysayers attempted to prove AMZER wrong, and sorely failed. Power tools were even no match for the AMZER screen protector.

So when AMZER sent me a Shatterproof protector to test myself, I was eager to see if I would share the sentiment of awe that others have before.

The Good

Right away, users can tell there’s something different about AMZER’s offerings. First, the actual screen protector feels substantial, and exudes the confidence that it can hold up to a beating. Thick high-quality urethane, rather than flimsy plastic, will make users feel like they’ve spent their money well. AMZER is confident in their product, and users who register their screen protector online with the unique product code found on the paper holding the film are treated to a lifetime warranty. If users ever need to replace their screen protector, AMZER will do so at no charge (users will have to pay $4.99 for shipping). The package includes a microfiber cleaning cloth, a squeegee, and the film itself. Now that users have the tools, here’s the real trick – and the reason so many people pay “professionals” to do it – actually applying the screen protector. Which leads us to …

The Bad

Installing the AMZER Shatterproof protector works just like all other screen protectors: clean the screen with the microfiber cloth, line up and apply one end of the film, and use the squeegee to apply it evenly the rest of the way. The videos make it seem easy, but the hard reality is it’s not. While installing the AMZER felt a little easier due to the substantial thickness of the film, we still found ourselves with pesky air bubbles (which AMZER stated should fade within 24 hours but didn’t). Even after lining up the top part of the film as instructed in AMZER’s video, it didn’t line up perfectly with the screen and had to be removed, which caused more problems the second time around.

The Final Verdict

The AMZER is tough, and can definitely keep the iPhone’s screen protected better than cheaper solutions. At $29.99, even with a lifetime warranty, the price still seems a little high for a piece of film, urethane or plastic. Furthermore, installation is still frustrating as with any screen protector, and will probably still need a “professional” to get it right the first time. And getting it right the first time is important with the AMZER, as only one is included in the package, so any screw ups will cost essentially $5 every time. Unless you are hard-pressed for a film screen protector, and don’t want to opt for a Mil-Spec case, our recommendation would be to only pick up this item if you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re doing, can get it right the first time, and find it on sale. Rating: B-