Xperia Z1 Compact

Want to ditch the fixed Sony screen protector? There are a couple of options to consider

Sony's fixed screen protectors — officially known as "anti-shatter film" — are finally a thing of the past with the Xperia Z2 series. But the vast majority of Sony smartphones on the market today still come fitted with these slimy-feeling plastic sheets over their displays — and sometimes on the back glass, too.

These don't just make your glass-clad phone feel like plastic, they're also way easier to scratch than the reinforced glass used by most smartphones displays. To cite a couple of examples — Andrew Martonik tore a scratch across the face of his Xperia ZL when it brushed the corner of a MagSafe connector. And the ASF on my own Z1 Compact was dented by a USB connector dropping onto it from a height of around six inches. You'd understandably expect a high-priced piece of consumer electronics to be more resiliant than this, and that's no doubt why Sony has ditched the ASF for its early 2014 flagship.

But what if you've damaged the fixed screen protector on your Xperia phone, or you just don't like the way it feels and want to get rid of it? Well, the process is actually relatively simple — and there are a few options open to you when it comes to replacing the shipped screen protector.

Before we begin, a few things to be aware of ...

  1. Removing the anti-shatter film will void your warranty. It's a permanent modification of the phone's hardware, and Sony may refuse you warranty service if something else breaks.
  2. Before removing the anti-shatter film, it's a good idea to have something ready to replace it with — see the later sections of this article.
  3. Proceed at your own risk. Dragons ahead. The methods we detail below worked for us, but we there's no guarantee they'll do the same for you. Read the full article through before beginning.
  4. Before doing anything, double-check that your Xperia phone actually has anti-shatter film. You don't want to try picking away at the corner of the screen glass.
  5. Finally, remember to power off your phone before beginning.

Removing the anti-shatter film

Removing ASF

This is the easiest part. There's no single right way to do this, but we found it easiest to pick away at the edge of the film with a fingernail until a corner starts to lift. Then carefully use a knife — seriously, don't stab yourself — to lift the remainder of the plastic film off the screen. Be careful not to dig the knife into the glass below, as this may scratch it — or into yourself, as you'll bleed all over your phone. Once you've got a good section of the anti-shatter film lifted, it's easy to peel the rest off by hand. (Note that on most Xperia phones, the Sony logo on the front is printed on the ASF, not the glass — so removing the plastic sheet will also remove Sony's branding.)

Any residual adhesive left on the glass can be washed off (if your Xperia phone is a water-resistant model) or wiped off with a microfiber cloth or cleaning solution.

There's no oleophobic (anti-fingerprint) coating on the glass beneath the film, which is why it'll gunk up really easily with fingerprints and grease if you use it on its own. So you'll want to replace it with something else...

Option 1: A tempered glass screen protector

Screen protector

You could use one of the many film screen protectors on the market, but then you'd just be replacing plastic with plastic. If you want to retain the glass feel of the display without becoming mired in fingerprints, you're better off with a tempered glass screen protector.

There are many available from companies such as Orzly (Z1 Compact) and Spigen (Xperia Z1), and most will come with their own set of instructions showing the optimum fitting method.

As a general rule, the trickiest parts are removing every last speck of dust from the screen before beginning (a smartphone cleaning kit is useful here) and getting everything aligned properly.

Option 2: Using an oleophobic coating liquid

Fusso liquid

If you don't want to replace one screen protector with another, you might want to consider treating your screen with an aftermarket oleophobic solution. This liquid will protect your screen with a nanocoating designed to repel oily fingerprints and other smudges. And a variety of products are available, but we used the Fusso Smartphone solution on our Xperia Z1 Compact with good results. It's available on Amazon UK and Amazon U.S. — though if you're buying from the UK it'll be shipped from Japan, which can take a week or more.

Fusso kit

The application instructions are relatiely simple, too. First, wipe the display clean, then use the dropper to apply the solution to the screen and spread it around using the supplied microfiber cloth. The solution dries quickly, so you'll need to be fast. And you'll then need to leave it 6-8 hours to properly bond to the screen. (If in doubt, use a couple of applications — the supplied bottle is good for around 4.)

Once you're done (again, leaving the screen undisturbed overnight is recommended) the glass of your Xperia display should be usable just like any other smartphone screen, and resistant to fingerprints for up to six months.

Xperia Z1 Compact

As we mentioned in the introduction, both of these options involve modifying the phone and voiding your warranty in the process. But if you've already damaged your anti-shatter film, or just can't stand the plasticky feel of it, these are two options to consider. Proceed with care, fearless Xperia modders! At least we won't have to worry about this sort of thing on newer Sony phones like the Xperia Z2.

 
There are 44 comments

DJCBS says:

Thanks for the tips! I'll be passing them along to my friends with current Xperia devices.

This apparently little detail was the thing that stopped me from buying the Z1 Compact. As Sony has finally addressed it in the Z2, I'll be holding off until they release the Z2 Compact in a few months (yeah, it's happening. We all know it's happening).

honkey haze says:

indeed... thanks for the tips. three tempered glass protectors ordered and three bottles of the oleophobic coatings ordered for three moto xes.

zhecht says:

The Moto X isn't a Sony device, and you don't need the oleophobic coating if you have a good screen protector, and one bottle of the coating would be enough for three phones.

honkey haze says:

you mean to tell me that all this time i thought sony made the moto x and they dont? next you will be telling me that 'xperia' is not in the name of the moto x. i get that this article is about sony, but that does not mean that the tips coming from it cannot be transferred to every other phone on the market. now put your hall monitor badge back in your pocket and go stand in a corner.
i have a good screen protector. it 'had' an oleophobic coating on it. but that is long gone and i am tired of not being able to feel glass under my fingers. and yes... one bottle would be plenty for three phones. and that would last a whole three months. read: maybe. but there is only one phone in my house. my brother has a phone at his house. and his daughter has one at her house. hence the need for three bottles.
lighten up.

SirBobaFett says:

Had my Z1 for a few months now, no scratches, even had my dog standing on the screen at one point. The plastic screen protector doesn't bother me at all. Also seems pretty resilient. But, this is still handy to know, good article.

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gravage says:

So...this article is generic, as if it's for all Z devices, but the Z Ultra is much more problematic. Removing the anti-shatter film is anything but easy on the Ultra. And I see there's no mention of the Ultra in the article at all. It probably shouldn't be grouped in with the Z, Z1, and Z1s. They are much easier.

andino says:

No one of takes on writing an article for the ultra because the known methods have varying results. I want to take mine off but its a huge pita so I've been procrastinating doing it by putting rainx on the plastic since the oleophobic coat wore off in some places.

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stephen bird says:

Just thought I would write this I took of the front protective layer on my z ultra I was scared at first it looked a mess but the glass under the protection is tuff no scratches at all you need a fine blade knife must be sharp it takes a while but worth it you lose the Sony logo but it's not hard to see its a z ultra so don't be afraid it's worth it phone feels better.
One more thing the rubber on my usb flap has worn so just sits open it took a while of searching speaking to Sony I found out its easy just pull the flap not to hard it comes straight out then replace it there not very good looks cheap for Sony to replace under no warranty is expensive order of eBay.

tech_head says:

Don't use a knife.
Get fishing line or dental floss.

TenshiNo says:

+1 Excellent idea.

skiman10 says:

Good tip right here! +1

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jbr05ki says:

Good to know the branding is removable! That's one of the things I don't like on phones but I really like this one from Sony.

Adam Ismail says:

Ugh why did Sony do this, every phone should come with a preinstalled screen protector. Beats me unsuccessfully putting mine on and wasting $15.

gravage says:

Not everyone wants a screen protector on their phone, so no, it shouldn't come preinstalled on all phones. I have had dozens of smartphones and have never scratched a single screen.

Wollombi says:

How about an option to opt in, if you want a pre-installed screen protector, and offer various choices (Zagg, Armorsuit, Spigen, etc.). Then those who want them but suck at installation, or are just not motivated to do the installation themselves can order it with that already done, and those who don't want it, get what they want as well?

TenshiNo says:

Some of us hate the feel of screen protectors and would rather take our changes ;)

Personally, I had put a screen protector on my Note 2, but ended up ripping it off because it affected the feel of using the stylus so much. My Note 3's screen has been "naked" since purchase.

TenshiNo says:

I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as "tempered glass screen protectors". I'm not looking at one for my Note 3. Can anyone tell me if there are any drawbacks? I hated putting a "plastic" film screen protector on my Note 2, because of how much it interfered with the stylus, but I might be down for a glass screen protector.

andino says:

They're thicker than a plastic protector so you have a ridge but the feel is the same as without so it's a tradeoff

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Not all of them are thicker. The flexible one I have on mine doesn't even rise above the silver (chrome?) band that's around the edge of the phone.

I seriously don't like cases or screen protectors. I usually just get the insurance and say "eff it". But I've had this for 2-3 months easily, and I absolutely love it.

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andino says:

Thinnest one I've found for my Z Ultra is .4mm thick so ti would still be more noticable than a plastic one. There are ones that are glass and thinner on the market for other phones though I don't think any will be as thin as a plastic one.

TenshiNo says:

I have a Seido Surface case on my N3, so I'm thinking it would actually probably make the "ridge" on the front edges of the phone less noticeable. Assuming it fits ;)

andino says:

If you run a case, you probably won't notice a difference until you take your phone and run it naked.

TenshiNo says:

Awesome. Thanks!

Oh man! My wife and I have the illoom flexible glass ones for our note 3's. Best. Thing. Ever.

I seriously can't say enough good things about this product. It actually fits the phone. No gaps except where it goes around the top sensor. It doesn't leave pen marks cause its hard. Goes on dry and very easy to put on. You can't even tell it's on. 10/10

Get one. You will thank me.

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http://www.iloome.com/Galaxy-Note-Screen-Protector-Flexible/dp/B00F4IHJ7A

For you my friend!

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TenshiNo says:

Very interesting. Much thanks.

TenshiNo says:

I know this is old, but I just came across this and wanted to say thanks. I picked up one of these and I *LOVE* it. Don't have to worry about scratching my screen (like I did once with my Note 2) and I don't have to deal with a plastic screen protector. Thanks again for the recommendation!

hmmm says:

If you are going to remove it just to put another back on that is pretty stupid. It is a perfectly applied screen protector with no air bubbles or dust underneath which is hard to do and it feels pretty good. If you are going to remove it I would hope you leave it without one. Otherwise leave it on and pretend you got a pretty nice screen protector applied better than anyone else could ever apply it by hand.

+1

I was thinking the same as reading. I've come to the conclusion (without ever seeing or holding one) that maybe it feels strange or you can tell it's there?

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Sinabu says:

I have the Xperia ZL which has the protector on it. It works fine for me and doesn't feel any different than any other phone I've had. It's been about 7 months since i bought this phone and the screen still looks new. I don't see a reason for removing it unless it is damaged.

TenshiNo says:

It *is* understandable if the shatter film has been damaged. The whole point of having a screen protector is that you can easily replace it if it gets scratched up and your phone will look brand new again. Personally, I hate the feel of these PET screen protectors. The glass on these newer phones is so incredibly smooth that putting a PET screen protector really affects the feel.

darigaaz12 says:

this won't void your warranty, not according to sony anyways. If you damage your screen while doing it they won't cover that damage. Of your battery for some reason stops working or your phone stops charging this is all still covered under warranty....

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Pabrinex says:

If you are going to apply a tempered glass screen protector ... couldn't you just put it on top of the ASF instead of peeling it off?

Shhh. Quit using logic.

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SirBobaFett says:

Yes. Stop that common sense right now.

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Da Fuq says:

Horrible touchscreen sensitivity, that's why. Not sure with Glove Mode though ;)

donnyjoe says:

The whole point is that the ASF scratches more easily than dry skin, thus the desire to replace it with something else. I've had my Z1 compact all of two weeks and the screen is already covered in tiny hairline scratches.

lightyear420 says:

I really really want a Z2!! If Sony has any AOSP releases for this one I may just buy one in place of a Nexus this year.

I did option 1 on my Xperia Z because the anti-shatter film on it scratched within two months. The phone does look prettier without the logo. What I was surprised though was how sensitivity seemed better to me than before. :)

Da Fuq says:

Is there another kind of coating that I can get in Europe? The shipping costs from Japan are almost as much as the product costs :(

Lena Warledo says:

How do I get my puk code for my sim card

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BfStuNoodle says:

Question: Can I apply tempered glass protector on top of the anti-shatter film from sony? Thanks

i have the same question, thank you for reply.

quailallstar says:

Has anyone removed the rear film on their Z1? Do the logos come off as well? Getting a Z1 LTE soon and this is the first thing I'm going to do.