I bought a 2nd generation Moto E phone. According to this page at GSMArena.com, this phone has a "Corning Gorilla Glass 3, oleophobic coating" screen.

I have seen many on-line shops selling "tempered glass screen protectors", a layer of plastic one can buy to put over the screen. I found this useful with some older devices I had, where the screen could easily become dirty and scratched. I am mostly concerned about being able to easily clean away fingerprints and to avoid having scratches caused by fingernails or creating worn out areas of the screen, due to frequent use.

Is such a screen protector at all useful on a Gorilla Glass screen?

  • Off-topic. Is there anything to do with Android??? – iBug Jan 26 '17 at 16:49

Responding to this specific part of the question: "scratches caused by fingernails or creating worn out areas of the screen, due to frequent use." Although many things can and will degrade the coating (oleophobic or other), the gorilla glass itself will not be scratched by fingernails. It won't even be scratched by car keys in the same pocket. In normal use, the most common thing that scratches mobile phone glass is sand or some types of grit. Whether on the beach, in the car or in your pocket, your phone will meet some of this stuff - it's everywhere. If you know you've got some, make sure the phone is dry and blow it out of any crevice with air. Under no circumstances wipe the glass if there are any particles of sand or grit on it.

As for protectors, one problem is that they use a small amount of adhesive which, either on application or in use, can attract particles which will degrade the glass. The real question is whether you are prepared to accept what will often be a major deterioration in tactile response when you swype or slide your finger on the surface compared to the minimal protection offered by many protectors. Some users don't find the protector reduces the performance. Some find the protector so diminishes use of a light touch that they simply won't consider them. I can't quote accurate statistics, but in my own experience, users who can't use protectors at all tend to be ones that either use a very light touch or have to press hard on the glass in the first place to get a response. Others I know that refuse to use protectors tend to be swipers rather than tappers. Not a scientific survey and highly subjective, but it gives you an idea that you may not get on with a protector.

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No matter how hard glass can be, it still is limited to the Mohs hardness of the material (<7). In day-to-day use, it has to face the occasional harder matters it encounters, such as Quartz (7), SiC (9.5) or even Diamond (10) grains hidden in sand.

As for the oleophobic coating, while the quality of the original coating is superior to those on the 3rd-party tempered glass films (not to mention plastic films which has no such coating), it still will gradually wear out especially under repeated friction of fingers and organic solvents such as Alcohol, and once it does there's no going back unless you replace the screen itself.

Applying a film, in both cases, is a sort of degrade in experience: you lose the general smoothness and gain a bit more scratches on the film itself, but in exchange, once the scratches or wear of the coating accumulate to a certain level, you could just replace the film at a very low cost, and the experience will be close if not equal to new.

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The screen protector is the first line of defense. If it cracks due to an accident, it will absorb most of the energy, greatly increasing the chance that the actual screen below it survives intact.

It is not a foolproof method, and I will suggest a protective case, but if you do not or can not use a protective case all the time, then a screen protector is strongly recommended.

Also, change the screen protector as soon as it cracks.

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    Another good point. Works only for tempered glass ones though - you might want to add that. – Andy Yan Jan 24 '17 at 15:38
  • I did saw numerous examples where the protector remained intact but the screen glass broke or screen itself no longer functions, so a warning to OP: don't solely rely on this layer of protection. – Andy Yan Jan 24 '17 at 15:39
  • @Andy Yan Thanks for the valuable addition. Yes I had momentarily forgotten about non-tempered glass screen protectors. – Spero Jan 24 '17 at 15:59
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    @Andy Yan I assume that in those cases the devices fell on their side/corner. If the outer rim bends, the front glass will have to give way and the poor tempered glass protector will not help at all. Quite a possibility depending on the device. – Spero Jan 24 '17 at 16:03
  • Ah, good find, most if not all those examples show cracks originating from corners. I didn't think about that. – Andy Yan Jan 24 '17 at 23:54

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