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Hands-on with the Seidio Vitreo tempered glass protector for Apple iPhone 5

I have been using clear plastic screen protectors on my smartphones for years, but find I remove them after a while since they just aren't as good as the glass. The new Seidio Vitreo is glass and looks fantastic on the iPhone 5.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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1 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Seidio Vitreo retail package

Since I tend to go through smartphones rather quickly, I like to keep them fully protected and in mint condition for higher resale value. I've used and liked the durable plastic screen protectors from BodyGuardz, ZAGG, and others. I tend to remove these protectors after a few months since there is nothing like the glass display and I get tired of the plastic material. However, after experiencing the Vitreo tempered glass protector I don't think I will use anything but glass moving forward. A tempered glass protector feels as nice as the original glass and doesn't impact the display quality at all.

The Vitreo package includes the Vitreo screen guard, microfiber cloth, alcohol wipe, plastic pick, and four colored home button stickers. The cloth and wipe are used to thoroughly clean off your display and the pick is used to help install and facilitate removal if needed. Since the glass protector adds a bit of thickness (0.55mm/0.02 inches) you should use a home button sticker to make it easier to press the home button.

Seidio Vitreo screen guard is a tempered glass material with a 9H hardness test rating. It is shatterproof so if your iPhone 5 is dropped or damaged the glass will stay together rather than separating into shards. The protector is angled on the edges so it transitions well around the sides of your iPhone 5 display. The fit is perfect around the edges and openings so the protector doesn't take away from the looks of your smartphone. The Vitreo also has an oleophobic coating so it feels smooth and fingerprints disappear easily.

Application is easier than even the plastic screen protectors because it is one rigid piece and you just need to clean your display and then carefully align it before pressing it down in place. I aligned the top and home screen openings and then laid it down so it matched up nearly perfectly. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a breeze in the room I was installing it on and a couple specs of dust fell on it as I installed it. I read in the FAQs that you can remove and reapply if you must, but it is not advised. In the interest of testing for this review, I decided to give it a try and carefully removed it with the help of the pick.

I was able to remove the Vitreo, took a bit of effort starting in one corner. Make sure not to bend the protector since it is glass and can break with excessive bending. The couple dust spots are now gone after cleaning the display again and carefully removing the particles from the adhesive, but now I can see adhesive spots in areas. If this adhesive works like the plastic protectors it may go away in a couple of days. The bottom line is that you should make sure you are in a very clean environment with no moving air and take your time to install the protector.

The Vitreo is available now for the Apple iPhone 5 for $39.95. That is quite expensive for a protector, but it gives you another layer of glass protection. The only compromise is the slight thickness, but the protector doesn't take away at all from the look and feel of your original display. I plan to look for these type of glass protectors for all my future devices too.

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Back of the retail package

The instructions for application are shown on the back of the retail package.

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Package contents

You get the protector, wipes, microfiber cloth, pick, and home screen button stickers in the package.

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Vitreo around the home button

The glass adds a bit of thickness so your home button is inset quite a bit.

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Home button sticker in place

You can choose from black, pink, blue, and white home button stickers.

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Oops, dust under the protector

I was in an area with a breeze and a piece of dust got under the protector.

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7 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Beveled edge around the Vitreo

The glass protector is beveled for a nice feel and as you can see matches the iPhone 5 design nicely.

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