Apple iPad Matte Screen Protector Review

Apple iPad Matte Screen Protector

A few months ago I posted a review about using the Apple Pencil on the new 9.7-inch iPad for 2018.

I wanted to see how the Apple Pencil on the iPad compares to E Ink notepads like the Onyx Boox Note and Remarkable Paper Tablet.

My biggest complaint with using the Apple Pencil on the iPad is that it feels nothing like writing on paper.

The on-screen effect is extremely realistic but the combination of the slick glass screen and hard plastic stylus tip feels a lot less natural than writing on devices like the Remarkable and Sony DPT-CP1.

Those devices have added texture on the screen that make them feel more paper-like (and they have a different type of stylus tip too).

So I wanted to try a matte screen protector on the iPad to see if it would help improve the writing experience with the Apple Pencil.

I ordered a pack of these matte screen protectors from Amazon.

The installation was easy, and the screen protector went on well, except there’s a small bubble below the home button that refuses to go away.

I really like the feel of the matte screen protector. Instead of cold, slick glass it does help give the screen more of a slightly textured papery feel. It improves the grip some too, making it less likely to slip out of your hands.

As you’d expect from a matte screen protector, it does reduce glare considerably and it cuts down on fingerprints too.

But it also degrades the quality of the screen. A lot. It takes the iPad’s nice display and makes it look like a cheap low resolution screen from ten years ago.

The matte layer gives the screen an annoying glittery quality that’s really noticeable. Light colors look the worst, whites especially. However, the glittery quality is barely noticeable with dark colors. When using night mode and dark backgrounds it looks quite good. I like the matte look for some things but other times it looks terrible and bothers my eyes with the added fuzziness.

When it comes to writing with the Apple Pencil, the added texture does help a little bit, and it has a slight scratchy sound like writing on paper, but it still feels nothing like writing on paper. It has more of a slick, sliding feel that I find is more conducive for cursive writing, and the hardness of the glass has no give to it.

Quite frankly it doesn’t really feel much different than writing without the screen protector. To me there’s not enough of a difference to justify the decrease in screen clarity. The matte layer is nice if you want to reduce glare and fingerprints, and I like how the texture feels, but it doesn’t really do much to improve the writing experience with the Apple Pencil.

7 Responses to “Apple iPad Matte Screen Protector Review”

  1. I don’t think you structured your test correctly. You’re testing the J&D matte screen protector for something it doesn’t claim.

    The J&D product listing doesn’t claim to be anything other than anti-glare and anti-fingerprint. Just like several other matte screen protectors available on Amazon. It doesn’t say anything about making the screen feel and write more like paper.

    The screen protector that got so much press coverage was the Paperlike. The fact it made a different claim than any other matte screen protector on the market is why it got so much press coverage. The Paperlike claims to have less image to noise than matte screen protectors and was specifically manufactured for writing/drawing on the iPad Pro.

    Some iPad Pro users I’ve seen post about this elsewhere claim that the Elecom iPad Pro screen protector is even better. The Elecom screen protector also specifically claims to be “paper like.” The one thing the Paperlike and the Elecom screen protectors have in common is they’re both expensive. I don’t fault you for not wanting to fork over more than $30 for a screen protector. I just don’t think the “regular” matte screen protectors should be faulted for something they don’t claim to help with.

    • True, they don’t make any specific claims as such, but it’s widely stated matte screen protectors help make using the stylus feel more natural, and several user reviews say exactly that, but to me it’s really not much of an improvement, especially when compared to E Ink notepads.

  2. I also tried a matte screen protector with my iPad Pro and didn’t like it. I’ve never heard of Paperlike. I might have to check that out.

  3. Interesting. Until I compared my matte iPad (Tech Armor) with my laptop, I hadn’t noticed any fuzziness. I still don’t notice unless directly comparing them—the stock resolution of each is so high that the ~33% loss from matte doesn’t affect my primary uses of reading and writing. It’s more clear than my physical books. Looking for a good, removable matte for my laptop . . .

    The Tech Armor has a slightly rubbery, dry, scratchy texture. I quite like it with the Apple Pencil: it is quicker, with less drag, than the Galaxy Note 8 stylus; quicker and less scratchy than the Sony DPT-RP1; and slower and less slick than the Onyx Note.

  4. Matte screen protectors on glossy displays dont work. All they do is distribute the gloss evenly.

    • Good matte screen protectors diffuse reflections, which reduces the distraction caused by high contrast, focused, reflected images. Mine works well.