Dmax Armor for Microsoft Surface Pro X review: An OK $8 anti-glare screen protector with one flaw

Dmax Armor for Microsoft Surface Pro X review
Dmax Armor for Microsoft Surface Pro X review (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Dmax Armor for Surface Pro X

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Microsoft's Surface refresh this year brings a lot of welcomed changes, but one thing that has bothered me on all of them – including the Surface Pro X – is the lack of any anti-glare for the high-quality displays. Companies like HP and Dell have been investing in technology that keeps display acuity but also reduces reflectivity akin to your eyeglasses.

One solution, which is always far from ideal, is to add a screen protector. I picked up the $8 Dmax Armor to see if it made things any better. It turns out it's a mixed bag.

What you'll love about Dmax Armor for Surface Pro X

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows CentralBefore (left) and after (right) installing the Dmax Armor for Surface Pro X. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

The Dmax Armor only costs $8, which is so cheap Amazon will make you add on items to get free shipping with Amazon Prime. For the $8, you get three protectors, which is excellent in case you screw up installing one with either misalignment or getting dust under the screen before it can make contact.

Once installed, the Dmax drastically reduces glare. The Dmax Armor is entirely matte, but it doesn't cause any weird prism effects or distortions with colors and acuity. When using the Surface Pro X with this screen protector, it is much easier on the eyes, and it looks excellent. I like the way this looks.

Installation is easy. Each protector is in its own plastic sleeve for protection. There are also two peel away sides – the first one to stick to the Surface Pro X – and an outer one that protects the screen protector during installation (which is removed when finished). This design is the ideal installation as it reduces dust particles and also keeps the protector pristine when smoothing out air bubbles.

Touch and inking with the Surface Slim Pen were unaffected with the screen protector. Writing on the display is now more akin to the feel of paper due to the rougher, matte material used - it feels very nice, though artists may disapprove.

The material is plastic and not tempered glass, which is acceptable for $8.

What you'll hate about Dmax Armor for Surface Pro X

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

The biggest issue is alignment. The Dmax Armor is not ideally cut for the front-facing speakers. The alignment is excellent for the top of the speaker, but the protector blocks a small area at the bottom. This oversight does not impact the performance of the speaker, but obviously, this is a design flaw.

While the camera and dual-microphones are cleared from the protector, the design around them is merely OK.

Source: Windows CentralCamera and microphone alignment is OK. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There is no kit in the box for installation. While there is a small dust cloth, Dmax Armor does not include any alcohol wipes, dust-removal stickers, or stickers to align the protector for installation.

Tip: Install all screen protectors in a bathroom after you have run a hot shower for a few minutes. The steam helps to remove any dust particles from the air, so they don't land on the screen during installation. Use a piece of tape on one side of the protector, lock-in the alignment of the protector. Then peel the back and let it "fall" into place. Use a credit card in a screen wipe to remove bubbles.

Finally, while the Dmax Armor is advertised as anti-fingerprint, I found it lacking in this area. The matte protector is better than the Surface Pro X's display without a protector, but I would not call this oleophobic, and you still need to wipe it down occasionally.

Should you buy the Dmax Armor for Microsoft Surface Pro X?

The Dmax Armor is a mixed bag. The matte, anti-glare ability delivers, and I enjoy the way the Surface Pro X's display looks. Colors remain vibrant, and there are no odd distortions or prism-like effects. The price at $8 is also meager (especially since Microsoft has a $60 version it sells, which is absurd). Plus, you get three in the box, which is fantastic.

The downside is obvious. Dmax did a poor job of cutting this to perfectly fit the Surface Pro X's display, specifically its speaker grills. While the edges of the screen are OK and there is clearance for the dual-microphones and front-facing cameras, it's hard to give a solid recommendation for this protector.

That said, for $8, if you can live with the minor defect and you want an anti-glare screen protector, then the Dmax Armor is not a terrible choice, especially if you are worried about scratching the screen. I'm going to leave it on for now as the benefits outweigh the small con.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.