Windows Phone Thoughts: Exim Screen Protector-ultra Protect Reviewed

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Monday, December 8, 2003

Exim Screen Protector-ultra Protect Reviewed

Posted by Andy Whiteford in "HARDWARE" @ 10:00 AM

Ask any veteran user of a Pocket PC what the first items they purchase for their device are and nine times out of 10, a screen protector will be amongst them. Through time, even the most careful of users will notice small marks and scratches appearing on the screen of their beloved PDA. To combat this, there are many third party solutions offering their own brand of protection, however, the quality of these protectors is as varied as the choices available. Having tried out a few, only a couple of makes have left me feeling genuinely happy, Exim's being one of them.



The Exim Screen Protector: Ultra Protect; SPUP from here on in is a curious purchase upon first inspection. You get one protector in the small plastic bag and thatís it. You would be expecting perhaps three or more so you can apply them as required. Thankfully, after installing one of these protectors and using it on my h1940 for the past few weeks I know only receiving one is a sign of the quality. I will explain this a little more later.

The screen guard comes with brief written instructions for fitting to your device and it really is straight forward. The first step is to clean the screen ensuring there is no residue or dust. Next you remove the Protector from its packaging, strip off the protective backing using the attached highlight strip. Aligning one edge of the protector with the side of the screen, you apply the guard and smooth over the entire screen. If you get any air bubbles under the screen, you can just peel it back and reapply or smooth them out with the edge of a credit card. The SPUP is not as rigid a stick-on guard as some but still firm enough to make application very quick and simple. Once in place, it is held firmly in place and has no give when in use. I would recommend doing the application process in a clean environment such as a bathroom or kitchen where there is less chance of dust getting under the protector as you apply it. If you do though, the guard is easily removed so it can be cleaned and reapplied.



Figure 1: What your money buys you

So what are the benefits of the Exim?
Well, the obvious reason for applying such a product is to protect your screen from the wear and tear of the stylus. The Exim excels here offering excellent protection for your screen but also repelling these marks and scratches, meaning no visible deterioration due to extensive use. There are two other clear benefits that I can see from using this protector, however I must point out that these are personal things and others may not consider them as beneficial. As much as I love the bright, clear screens of Pocket PCs, I donít particularly care for the glare and reflections you get from the shiny finish. I find this very distracting and rather annoying under certain lighting conditions; you really donít want to be staring too long at my face! ;) With the SPUP in place, you eliminate most of the glare and reflections while still allowing the screen to appear bright and vibrant. There is a small trade off though as this anti-reflective finish does dampen down the screen a little and things do not look quite as vibrant as an unprotected screen. The difference, however, is minimal and once you get used to the guard in place, you tend to not notice the change.

The other benefit I see is in the finish of the protector. This textured topside gives the feel of writing on paper when using the stylus, as opposed to the super smooth finish of the standard Pocket PC screen. At first, I wasnít sure which I preferred but through use, I grew to enjoy the feedback this provides. It does feel quite a bit different from a naked screen but in a way seems more natural as you will have grown used to writing on paper long before a Pocket PC. I know there will be people out there who prefer the smooth finish of a standard screen but it isnít hard to adjust to this protective guard.


Figure 2: Installation is simple

Long term?
I have used a couple of different types of protector in my time with my favourites being Brando Workshop and Pocket PC Techs. The Exim is washable if you need to remove any stains you may get on the device, but will still remain sticky afterwards. Removing the guard leaves no residue whatsoever which is a good sign. If you are as protective towards your PDA as I am, nothing to cause a stain will get near enough to blemish that screen so I havenít tested out this aspect of the SPUP. I fear I may just have jinxed myself by saying that though!

Gotchas
The only real issue I can see people having with this screen guard is the slight dampening effect on the screen. Itís not very obvious, unless you compare it side by side with an unprotected screen and I consider it a small trade off for the protection it offers.

Where to buy
The Exim can be bought for $12.99 including shipping for a single protector from the Exim's Web site. There is a huge range and you will find a SPUP available for virtually any PDA on the market.

Conclusion
As far as screen protection goes, Exim's is right up there with the best of them and for me falls right in the middle between the Brando and Pocket PC Techs. I have tried a few different makes in my time and the very fact that I this one is on a par with the afore mentioned speaks volumes. Personal taste may put you off the writing-on-paper feel but I do think the reduction in glare and reflections is worth the slight loss of image vibrancy. If you use either of these other two types of screen protector, the Exim should be of interest to you. If a mix of these two makes sounds like the perfect screen protector to you, I strongly urge you to consider this your next protector purchase. These screen protectors come highly recommended.

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