You spent hard-earned money on the Galaxy Note 4, and particularly if you bought off-contract you're aware of the price of this device. If you're tough on devices they're bound to pick up scratches on the screen — mine already has two after a couple months use — but a screen protector can dramatically reduce the chances of that happening.
I've taken a look at a couple different screen protector options for the Note 4, and have come back to report on the quality of Samsung's own protectors and a third-party option from Ventev. Read along for my impressions.
Samsung's own Note 4 screen protectors
Samsung's Note 4 screen protectors come in a two-pack for about $17, accompanied by a screen cleaning cloth, dust removal stickers and a plastic squeegee for flattening out bubbles. These protectors follow the completely standard dry application method, with the actual screen protector being protected itself by a film on either side.
You remove the top of the film, position and stick the protector to the phone and peel off as you flatten it out on the device. The included squeegee does a good job of working bubbles out if you're persistent, and once you're done you peel off the top film to reveal a perfectly-applied screen protector. It's nice that two protectors are in the box as you'll likely want to replace it after a handful of months of picking up its own wear, that is if you apply it properly the first place and don't need the second one for a second try.
The protector covers the entirety of the screen and also most of the top and bottom bezels, wrapping around the home button on the bottom and the speaker and camera at the top. It doesn't completely cover the side bezels of the phone, though, meaning your finger will run over the edge of the protector when doing sliding gestures on and off the screen. Visually the screen protectors don't compromise the Note 4's display characteristics at all, which is great, and they don't even stand out much physically when applied correctly (as you would expect from a first-party accessory).
More: Buy Samsung Screen Protectors (2-Pack) for Galaxy Note 4 ($16.95)
Ventev Anti-glare/anti-fingerprint screen protectors
Just like the Samsung ones, Ventev's packaging includes two screen protector sets in the familiar layout along with a plastic squeegee and a dust cleaning cloth. There's no dust removal stickers in the package, but I didn't find any need for those anyway.
These Ventev screen protectors apply in the exact same way as the Samsung ones, and are almost identical in size and shape. The one big difference I noticed was the cutout for the home button was a bit larger, giving you more room for error (I guess, if you're in some kind of hurry) in application. I also found these to be slightly less "sticky" for application to the screen, so it took a little extra pressing and care to put them on right.
Because these are anti-glare and anti-fingerprint, the protectors are matte rather than glossy, and give the Note 4's screen an interesting look. The screen protectors definitely cut down on the visual clarity of the Note 4's display, and it's very clear that you have something on top of the screen when you're using it. There's a kind of "screen door" effect similar to looking at very low-end display panels. In terms of feel there's not a huge difference, but when the screen is off it's much easier to notice imperfections in the screen protector (and any damage on the screen itself). The anti-glare and anti-fingerprint features do work, but you're taking a hit in screen quality overall to get them.
Which one is best for you?
Though they're more expensive, most people are likely best off with Samsung's own screen protectors for the Note 4 when compared to the Ventev ones I tried here. You have to really want the anti-glare properties of Ventev's in order to put up with the degradation of screen quality, and Samsung does such a great job with their own protectors its hard not to just drop the extra $7 on them.
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