I have a long history with screen protectors of various types. I’ve been using them on mobile devices in one form or another for 17 years now, so from Wright Right to Fellows to ZAGG to Best Skins Ever, and a host of no-name protectors scattered between, I have seen my fair share. However, one thing I hadn’t tried until recently was a hard screen protector. So about a month ago, when I had the chance to try out the Fusion from Clear-Coat, I ditched my Best Skins Ever wet-apply skin and took the plunge. I started with a skeptical attitude, since my closest experience with this type was a poor one with one of ZAGG’s early “indestructible” thick screen protectors (which didn’t even last a day on my iPhone due to how much it desensitized the screen). However, I’m glad that I gave the Fusion a shot, because I have been very impressed with it in my testing. Clear-Coat bills the Fusion as a three-layer impact and anti-shock screen protector. Its “TriACTIVE” design includes an adhesive base layer, a shock-absorbing middle layer, and a self-healing and scratch-resistant surface.
Add in the fact that it is washable and reusable, and that it comes with a “lifetime of your device” replacement guarantee, and you have a very impressive list of features. Let’s delve a little deeper and take a closer look at my new favorite screen protector.
A good experience with a screen protector starts with a good installation. This was always the worst part of the experience with dry-apply stick-on protectors, as one mistake would pretty much ruin it for good. Wet-apply protectors, like those from ZAGG and Best Skins Ever, are a little more forgiving, as the water base gives you the ability to adjust after putting it down on the screen. However, you still have the mess of “squeegeeing” water, and a little bit of risk to your device if you get it too wet and turn it back on too soon. On the other hand, installing the Fusion is a far easier experience due to its rigid design.
After peeling off the backing that covered the adhesive layer, I used the opening for the Home button to line the protector up, and then gently laid it down and smoothed it out. No mess. No fuss. There were a couple of very small bubbles under the surface, but they were gone within a day. The only additional step is to pull the cover off the surface layer, and you are ready to roll.
As for pulling the Fusion off, cleaning it, and reusing it, that is just as easy. Just gently lift one corner, free the rest of that side, and then lift the Fusion off. Just wash it off and let it dry a bit, and clean off and dirt or residue on the screen. The Clear-Coat website also recommends using a piece of tape as a good way to clean stubborn debris off the screen without getting any smudges on it. After cleaning it, simply re-apply it as before, and that’s it.
In my personal opinion, a good screen protector fits perfectly around the buttons, speakers, and cameras on the front of the iPhone, and still gives you the option to use a case. The Fusion really nails this. Since it is rigid, it is much easier to line up than thinner wet or dry apply protectors. The fact that all of the cut-outs line up once you do means that it is cut perfectly.
In the picture above, you can see that the Fusion leaves a little room all the way around the screen of the iPhone 6 Plus. This means you can use pretty much any case you want that doesn’t have a built-in screen protector. As an example, you can see the Fusion in a ZooGue soft case and a UAG Aero hard case in the pictures below.
At the end of the day, performance trumps all when determining if a screen protector makes the grade. In my month long experience with the Fusion, it has earned a solid A. I have to hand it to Clear-Coat, as the Fusion is definitely the clearest screen protector I have ever used. There are no bubbles. No “clouds.” The color and clarity of the 6 Plus’ screen remains unobscured. Also, the “settling in period” is much shorter with the Fusion than with flexible skins. I can also report that the Fusion I have been using shows absolutely no signs of wear so far. Despite the claims that the protector is self-healing, I honestly expected to see some knicks and scratches by this point.
I use my phone in some not so friendly environments, so my Fusion has been subjected to dirt, grit, and a couple of minor spills. Not only does my phone’s screen still look great, but the Fusion still does too. If you are going to put down $39.95 for a screen protector, you expect it to work for the long term. For this reason, I think the Fusion also passes the value test, as well.
I guess the best thing I can say after my experience using the Clear-Coat Fusion is that I’m sold. After being hesitant to try rigid screen protector in the past, this one has won me over, and I honestly can’t imagine going back. It is easier to install, it is clearer than most other protectors, and it adds a level of breakage protection that a film screen protector can’t match. I was most worried about the thickness and the potential degradation of sensitivity, but that hasn’t been a noticeable issue. Combine these features with the potential for to perform at a high level for a long period of time, and you also have a solid value.
I do realize that $39.95 is a lot for a screen protector. However, I used to go though 3-4 screen protectors a year in the past. Even though Best Skins Ever are a very solid value in their own right, I usually spent close to the same amount in the end. Factor in Clear-Coat’s guarantee, and the value is definitely there. Based on this and my very positive experience over the last month, I can heartily recommend the Clear-Coat Fusion to anyone looking for a screen protector.
The Fusion Screen Protector was provided by Clear-Coat for review on Apple At The Core. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.