Matte Screen Protectors Review: Does it matter which ones you get? Is the Paperlike worth it?
A matte screen protector has several advantages (over a naked iPad or a clear screen protector):
1. It hides fingerprints on the iPad.
2. It has better anti-glare properties.
3. It adds a bit of friction so that the the pencil writes better.
This does come with a downside though: the screen quality is greatly affected as the colours become dull and the sharpness is decreased.
So every now and then, the topic of whether the Paperlike is worth it pops up. The main selling point is that it’s supposed to write very well—so much so that if feels almost like writing paper. However, it is relatively expensive and many have argued that you can just get any cheap matte screen protector for the same effect.
I was a happy Paperlike customer until I got into a bunch of arguments about whether it was actually worth the premium price. It was difficult to make a good argument as most people just buy a set of screen protectors and stick with it if they are happy, or give up if they are not.
I decided that I had enough, so I went ahead and ordered two different screen protectors off Amazon UK: [J&D](https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K8DRXJL) (£8.95 for a pack of three) and [kwmobile](https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07L9D8K2P) (£8.40 for a pack of two), which are both way cheaper than what I had to pay for the PaperLike (£25.74 for a pack of two). I have used all of them for at least a week each (nearly), and I think I can finally write up a proper review.
I am aware that the options that are you have in the US may be different (I couldn’t try iCarez or Supershiedz that others have suggested), but those two were the only ones that I could find in Amazon UK for the 12.9 inch 2018 Pro. I am reviewing them in the order that I had tried them.
**Application Process: 5/5**
It was dead easy to apply. It has guide stickers that help you align the screen protector at a 100% success rate. The wet wipes were decent, but the dry wipes were really small, although it might not be a huge issue. They even have a video tutorial on their website to make sure that you’re doing everything perfectly.
**Screen quality: 2/5**
The first thing you would notice is that screen quality dramatically decreases upon application. Everything looks grainy and you can’t help but notice that it is there. I also find that it disperses the light a bit too much, so you always get a yellowish tinge if there’s any light source in the room. You do get used to it after a while, but you’re bound to get comments on why your screen looks so strange from other people.
**Writing feel: 5/5**
This is really where the paperlike shines. I think saying that it feels exactly like paper might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I do believe that it is as paper-like as it can get. My handwriting is drastically improves and it just feels great.
**Application Process: 4/5**
Wow it was hard to get it on right. There were no guide stickers that came with it. To make things worse you peel off the inner screen protector plastic from the bottom of the screen instead of the top, which makes it quite a bit harder to align. I managed to do it in the end but it felt like sheer luck. The wipes were pretty standard. It does come in a pack of 3 instead of the usual 2, so you do get more tries if you mess it up.
**Screen quality: 4/5**
I thought all matte screen protectors looked horrible. Apparently not. It is a matte screen protector so you can’t really avoid the graininess, but it wasn’t that bad at all (in comparison to the Paperlike anyway)! You still get all the advantages of not needing to worry about fingerprints and glare. You can completely forget that it’s even there after a while.
**Writing feel: 3/5**
There is some friction so my handwriting is definitely still a bit better than on glass, but it does not compare with the Paperlike. There’s a bit of a rubbery texture to it but it is very subtle. It’s good overall, but I had to give this a 3/5 simply because I had to give the Paperlike a higher score for this aspect.
**Application process: 2/5**
Again, no guide stickers, but the plastic does peel off from the right direction. The wet wipe was completely soaked in IPA and it was horrible to use. Make sure you bring your own microfibre cloth because there’s no way you’d be able to clean the screen with what they provided. The tape that they provided to absorb the dust was large and thin, and just difficult to use. Compared to the J&D, you only get two sets so you need to be a lot more careful. What’s interesting though, in that they only provide one set of wet wipes and stickers, so it’s as though they’re expecting you to fail on first try instead of having more as spare or if you had more iPads.
**Screen quality: 4/5**
I did not notice any difference in screen quality compared to J&D. Perhaps this is just how a standard matte protector looks like and it’s just the Paperlike that sucks.
**Writing feel: 1/5**
Wow this has been a tough week (I lied, it’s actually more like six days, but whatever). This screen protector felt really rubbery it makes it really difficult to write, especially if your handwriting is tiny. It’s the kind of friction that makes your pen jump around as you drag it across the screen rather than the grinding kind. I might be exaggerating here and it might not affect everyone the same, but I absolutely hated it. I’m so glad that it’s over.
Not all matte screen protectors are the same. If you’ve previously tried the Paperlike and you couldn’t bear with the screen quality, it might be worth trying out a different one since I find the iPad’s screen to be a horrible fingerprint magnet. Today, I had the choice of either going back to the Paperlike or J&D, and I chose the Paperlike because I mainly use my iPad for writing and I just miss it so much.