In the past few weeks we’ve reviewed Microsoft Surface cases from MiniSuit and Elsse. Now it’s time to look at that ever divisive accessory: screen protectors! The guys at MiniSuit don't offer a protector for the Pro, but they do produce two types of screen protectors for the Surface RT: “Matte anti-glare” and glossy “Ultra clear.” They kindly provided a pack of the matte variety, officially dubbed: 3-Pack MiniSuit HD Screen Protector for Microsoft Surface RT Tablet (Matte Anti Glare).
Head past the break for installation instructions with video and my screen protector critique!
Inside the screen protector package you’ll find:
- 3 screen protectors
- 1 cleaning cloth
- 1 cardboard mini-card (not pictured in photograph)
It’s great that you get three protectors in one pack. A lot can go wrong during the application of a screen protector, so do-overs could prove invaluable.
Application: Part One
Protector application is a four-step process. I’ve applied more than a couple of protectors in my day, so I’ll add what tips I can to the standard descriptions. See it all in action in the video at bottom!
Use the cleaning cloth to thoroughly clean your screen in a dust-free environment. The included cloth is okay, but I would never apply a protector without spraying the screen with a can of compressed air first. Cloths tend to leave as many particles as they wipe away, but a can of air will knock ALL the dust away – if only for a moment. Spray too long and moisture will form on the screen, but it goes away in seconds. Also, I don’t know about you guys, but I couldn’t produce or find a dust-free environment if I tried. Maybe hire a butler before application?
Use the Tab 1 sticker to peel and fold the backing about an inch away. Make sure the adhesive side faces downward and doesn’t touch your fingers. Yep.
Part Two: Apply, remove bubbles
Align the exposed screen protector onto the top portion of the screen. You’ll need to take the front-facing camera’s position into account and line the protector’s slit up with it as well. Then gently press and slowly work your way downward until the screen protector is fully applies.
At this point, you should push the inevitable air bubbles out to the edges of the protector using a card. The included mini-card is far too flimsy for this purpose and might as well not be included. Just use a credit card or something similar to slide the bubbles out into oblivion. You’ll notice some imperfections won’t come out; those are dust specs. They will haunt you to the end of your protector’s days.
Finally, use the Tab 2 sticker to peel away the second protective mask. Gently press down on the actual screen protector to keep it from peeling away along with the mask. Peel that sucker off and it’s not going back on.
Looks good, feels good
So how do the MiniSuit Matte Screen protectors perform? As advertised, they do pleasantly reduce screen glare. The screen colors might be dimmed ever so slightly, but everything still comes through vibrant and clear. Matte is well suited to sharper viewing angles and use in brightly lit settings, which I’m all for. I haven’t seen the alternative glossy protectors in action, but I generally prefer matte anyway and was not disappointed with MiniSuit’s matte offering.
The protectors also have a mild texture that feels pleasant to touch. They don’t hurt gaming performance at all; the screen still caught my touches perfectly in Fruit Ninja and Rayman Jungle Run. That light texture might even make it easier to keep your thumbs in place in a game with virtual sticks.
Dust: A protection tale
The only downside I observed with these protectors is the same negative you get with any screen protectors: dust! For normal people, it’s impossible to apply protectors without catching at least a little dust. If you’ve ever put a protector on a phone or portable gaming console, imagine the specs of dust you got during that process only multiplied by the much larger screen area of the Surface RT.
You’re going to get more than a couple of specs of dust embedded with these screen protectors, try as you might. But because the package includes three, you can easily reapply if your first attempt goes too poorly. And when the screen is actually on, you can barely see that dust. Put one of these on and your screen will never scratch. Pull it off and it leaves no residue – your one-year old Surface RT screen will looks as new as a factory fresh model.
Update: Several readers suggested using a bathroom as the installation environment. Read their tips in the comments below.
In the end, it call comes down to preference. If you fear for your Surface RT screen’s safety and/or like screen protectors in general, you won’t be disappointed with MiniSuit’s Matte Protectors. If you’re especially wary of protectors or just can’t stand the near-permanent sight of dust, I would skip these and let a folio case protect your tablet instead.
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Paul, take a look at the Armorsuit Military Shield for the Surface RT. I use the Otterbox Defender without its screen protector, but I use Military Shield as the screen protector instead.
Great review as always Paul. It is a shame these cannot be used on the pro.
"They will haunt you to the end of your protector's days.". LOL Best tip I've read for dust is to apply in the bathroom after running the hot shower for 20 min. The steam makes the dust not float around so much. Also wipe down the counters just before starting while it's steamy. Doesn't eliminate dust, but definitely reduces it.
If you can't do the bathroom method, get a lint roller and tape. Just lift and remove the dust using either. Use the lint roller for large amounts and tape for the touch up. Takes a while, but I think I've got it down yo where I can put dry protectors on in relatively normal dust areas.
That is what I do. I use tape to touch up... After using both wet and dry screw protectors, I prefer dry. Wet stay in place but get uglier as time goes on. Dry harder to put on, but when done correctly is like perfection. My screen protector looks wonderful on all my devices. No air or dust when using the tape method... Takes time, but is worth it.
Agreed with both above comments - I think that running the shower for a while saturates the dust particles and makes them fall out of the air. And if you do get dust under the protector when applying, the dust will stick to the protector. Just lift it up a little bit, enough to sneak a piece of tape between the protector and screen. Touch down the protector to the exposed tape, and the dust will grab the tape instead of the protector, and you're good to go.
Seriously, what would it take to actually have an image of the Surface as opposed to an iPad on the packaging.
Anyone notice that in the instructions for applying it, it shows an iPod.
"Well, you won’t find protectors for the Surface Pro due to its pressure sensitive screen; protectors would interfere with the stylus support."
IDK where you got that information from, but I can tell it is 100% incorrect. Slapped on one my Surface Pro on day 1, and there has been zero interference. In fact, I don't even have to touch the stylus to the screen for the cursor to lock on.
But can you still do pressure-sensitive stuff? The cursor alone is one thing, being able to write & draw with varying levels of pressure is possibly another thing.
Yes, you can. This is how my EP121 is, and that's something that wacom digitizers allow. It should work flawlessly.
Yeah, I meant with a screen-protector on as the article is claiming it doesn't work with it
No it isn't. ;)
Haha such a cheat :)
Hadn't bothered to try drawing using pressure sensitivity until just now. (I spend most of my days in Visual Studio, not Photoshop.) Seems to work just fine.
I had the MS Store install one of the protectors when I bought my SPro as well with no issues. Still looks great too :)
Sorry about that - I did have some bad info there. Fixed.
Any idea how this product compares to the Incipio screen protector sold in the Microsoft Store, retailing for 3x the price of this one?
Will this do anything for strengthening the screen? I am on my second windows surface RT device. My two year old daughter has dropped them both onto our CARPET, hitting the bottom right corner shattering the corner and sending cracks up the side and through out the screen.
I'm about to file for the replacement, but I would really like for what I thought was going to be a near indistructible (visions of an Surface RT being rode around as a skateboard going through my head) to be protected enough that my kids can use it without the constant fear that if it drops from their hands onto carpet its not going to break.
I had a dumb motorola xoom fly off the top of my roof driving 35 mph up a hill and the only damage was a few scratches the the case and on the screen protector. I expected the glass to be shattered in that case, but absolutley nothing happened.
I think a lot of outcomes from falls are just luck of the strike. My RT has survived a fling off of a vehicle as well with no issue but have had colleagues have their Xooms, Nexuses, etc. bite the dust with relatively minor falls.
Never felt the need for a screen protector myself (though I realise some will want the matte finish). My Surface RT takes a beating between myself and my 18 month old. I even dropped it from shoulder height -- it hit the wall and the skirting board on its way to the lino; now the wall and the skirting board have gouges in them -- and the Surface doesn't have a scratch on it. I pity the fools at my office who walk around with their iPads with bulky leather cases and protectors to keep them safe, where mine's slim and sleek like a notebook.
Uh, it's good that your Surface didn't break, but you need to take better care of your electronics.
I take a lot of care of them, but sometimes shit happens and it's good to know that the hardware will take it.
It's so preeety lol
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