If you're looking for a matte screen protector for your iPad, you may have seen the many Youtube video reviews for it.
Many of those Youtubers are sponsored by Paperlike. By sponsored, I mean they received free screen protectors, but may or may not be paid. There are so many sponsored videos that it's actually difficult to find reviews made by people who spent their own money to buy that US $40 screen protector.
So each time I see a Youtube creator push Paperlike to their audience, I sigh.
Why would you guys want to push a $40 matte screen protector to your audience? Just because you received them for free? Seriously?
I receive sponsored products all the time to make reviews. So what's the difference? The difference is I will tell you whether or not the product is actually worth your money.
I personally won't recommend people get a screen protector that cost more than US $15 to $20. Sure some are better but no matter how good it is, it's not worth spending more than $20 for just a screen protector.
Paperlike actually contacted me asking if they could send some free screen protectors. I said no. And then I went on to buy them myself. I spent $40 for two pieces of screen protectors.
The shipping took way longer than I expected so I emailed them to ask what's wrong, and they actually sent out another set of screen protectors to me in case my original order was lost in transit.
These are things included with the order.
You get two pieces of matte screen protectors, a thank-you postcard, wet wipes, micro fiber cleaning cloth and some stickers to help with installing the screen protector.
My previous matte screen protector was SuperShieldz which I bought on Amazon two years ago for US $14. For that price, I received three pieces of screen protector. I messed up two installation but the third one was successful.
That screen protector lasted me two years until it developed scratches.
These are the installation tools. Some helper stickers to help align the screen protector to the glass display, other stickers are for removing dust particles.
There's a Paperlike installation video made by the company that's actually quite useful. If you're using a screen protector from another brand, you can still watch the video to learn, just replace helper stickers with your own clear tape.
Here's how SuperShieldz looked on my iPad Pro.
And this is how Paperlike looks. There's no visible difference, but the Paperlike has slightly more texture so when you run your fingers on it, you can heard a more audible feedback.
Here's how the anti-glare looked on SuperShieldz.
And this is how Paperlike's anti-glare looks.
Because Paperlike has slightly more texture, that matte texture will diffuse more light, and hence will diffuse reflections more. You can see with SuperShieldz's anti-glare, you can still sort of see my window grills.
The difference in the effect of the anti-glare is actually not significant in real life usage. When you're using both matte screen protectors in an environment with bright lights, both anti-glare will diffuse light to create the white haze which will affect the colours, contrast and details of what you can see.
That's how Paperlike looks in a well lit outdoor environment.
And that's how it looks when view straight on with the display at 100% brightness.
Note that I was under shade and there's no direct sunlight falling on the display. However, due to the bright outdoor environment, the anti-glare will diffuse light and create that white haze across the whole screen which visibly impacts the image quality. This is what you'll get with SuperShieldz as well. Only clear glass will give you the best colours and contrast. That anti-glare is why some people don't like matte screen protectors.
When you're working indoors, the anti-glare will only diffuse reflections so the white haze created affects a portion and not the whole screen protector.
It's only when you're viewing the display from the front, indoors, without reflections that you'll get the best image quality.
Can you tell the difference between the two screen protectors based on the two photos above? I can't, not from the photos and not in real life.
All matte screen protectors will introduce visual artifacts, colour noise, or speckled effect to the display. Even matte surface IPS LCD monitors have that effect but not as noticeable compared to matte screen protector. Paperlike and SuperShieldz seem to have same amount of colour noise.
When compared to SuperShieldz, Paperlike offers a slightly more tactile drawing experience. It's a subtle difference that you can only appreciate when you have two screen protectors side by side to compare.
One good thing I like about screen protectors is they don't pick up fingerprints that easily, and even if there are fingerprint smudges, they are quite easy to wipe off compared to wiping a glossy display.
There's no significant visible difference with Paperlike vs SuperShieldz.
In terms of drawing performance, Paperlike has slightly more texture. However, I can't say that Paperlike is better. It's more accurate to say that Paperlike is different.
There has to be something special with that screen protector if you want to charge $40 for it. After using it for a few days, it's just a matte screen protector.
I don't have the heart to recommend a US $40 screen protector to anyone when I know that there are so many other matte screen protectors selling at way more affordable prices. It's a good matte screen protector, yes, but it's just not worth that amount of money, certainly not more than twice of other brands available.
As mentioned earlier in the review, I don't recommend people spend more than US $15 - $20 for a screen protector. And I still stand by that.