Many many years ago, Apple made glorious laptops with matte screens. Sadly (for me, at least), these gave way to brighter, shinier, and much more reflective glossy displays. These same glossy screens are found on iOS devices as well, including my new iPad Air.
But on iOS devices, glossy screens are even more annoying than they are on laptops, because of fingerprints. It sometimes seems I spend almost as much time cleaning my iPad as I do using my iPad. But what if there were a product that could solve both the glossy issue and the fingerprint issue?
A friend of mine clued me in to just such a thing…the Moshi iVisor iPad screen protector. (The full line, including iVisor for iPhones, is also available via Amazon.) While I don't have two iPads for comparison sake, here's how my iPad now looks against an uncovered iPad mini:
Obviously, there's a lot less glare on the covered iPad, which I love—it's still not ideal with bright overhead lights, but it's a whole lot more usable.
But what about installation, use with the pencil, fingerprints, and the brightness of the screen under the cover?
It's been a long time since I had a screen protector on one of my iOS devices. But I still have memories of installation nightmares involving bubbles that just would not go away. The Moshi screen cover has none of those issues, primarily because it only adheres at the four sides of the screen—the center part, covering the actual display, is just "there," not stuck on in any way. As a result, installation was simple, and took only a few seconds.
I was worried that—because it wasn't adhered to the glass of the iPad—the cover might feel "loose" in use, but that's not the case at all—it feels like it's firmly attached, both when using my finger and when using the Apple pencil. From the side, you can see how tightly the cover lies on the iPad:
Because the entire cover isn't adhered to the iPad, you can actually take it off and wash it, though I haven't tried this yet.
Use with the pencil
One unexpected (to me, anyway) benefit of the cover is that it makes using the Apple pencil more enjoyable: The matte cover provides just a bit of resistance, which makes the pencil feel more like it's being used on paper rather than on a piece of glass. It even sounds like paper…
(You may have to crank the volume up a bit to hear this one.)
I had the phone very close to the iOS devices to capture the pencil's sound—it's not as loud as it may seem here, but it does sound—and feel—much more like using a pencil on paper than it does using a pencil on glass. I like it.
The iVisor does a great job with fingerprints. As a quick test, I wiped down both my iPad and my iPad mini, then used both (playing the same game) for 30 seconds or so. Here's a comparison of how the two devices looked when I was done:
(And yes, that is a big ugly scratch on the mini's screen…if only it'd had a screen protector!)
Even after tons of usage, fingerprints hardly show on the iVisor—I rarely wipe my iPad down now, and it used to be a before-each-use occurrence. Even when there are fingerprints, the matte finish diffuses them, so they're not nearly as bothersome as they are on an uncovered display.
Obviously, with a matte cover over the display, the iPad's screen won't appear as bright as it does without one. And if you're a professional photographer working on your iPad, or someone else for whom max brightness and ultimate color sharpness are important, then this is probably not the cover for you.
But for me, the brightness still seems well more than acceptable. I didn't have another Air around (and didn't want to pull and replace my cover), so here's a shot of the Air next to the iPad mini, showing the App Store:
You can see how the matte cover has muted the brightness of the iPad Air (and there's a color tone difference, but that's not the cover, that's the screen technology). Whether or not you find that muting acceptable depends on your personal preferences. For me, though, the loss of brightness is more than made up for by the reduction in glare and fingerprints.
The Moshi iVisor matte cover is working very well on my iPad Air. I've traded a bit of brightness for much less glare, and greatly reduced fingerprintitis, and I'm very happy with the tradeoff. The pencil sounds and feels more like a real pencil, and the cover was really easy to apply.
The iPad Air cover runs about $30, so it's not inexpensive—but that's a lot less than the cost of new glass to fix a bad scratch (hello, mini). I think you can find an iVisor for pretty much every iOS device Apple's made since about the iPhone 5—I have one on order for my iPhone SE, in fact, to see how well it works on a smaller screen.