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GadgeTell Review: booq Complete Protection Kit, iPhone 5

Sections: Accessories, Apple, Communications, Reviews, Smartphones

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Booq is known for making stylishly-modern bags, cases, and backpacks. The company has kept in-step with the popularity of tablets, having released bags and cases designed to carry and protect those devices. Up until now, booq hasn’t done much for smartphones.

The thin-film polymer screen protector on my iPhone 5 was in need of replacement. Lets just call it battle damage. Either way, the booq Complete Protection Kit for the iPhone 5 had what I was looking for at a respectable price. Worth it? Lets see.

Before You Start

Take note that the glass screen protector is extremely fragile and easy to break with your fingers. If you don’t lift it out of the package carefully, you’ll crack it (like I did).

booq protection kit iPhone 5 black corner

The thin glass almost reaches the edges

The glass has the adhesive side covered with a thin film to remove when you’re ready to apply it. Once you’re done, the box contains a microfiber cloth to wipe everything clean.

I recommend to have some scotch tape handy to remove any particles that do get caught under the glass.

The film that you peel off the glass? Keep that too, to slide under the glass in case you need a second try. The adhesive lets go easily as long as you’re slow and gentle.

Glass Screen Protector

Because of the rigidity, the tempered glass is easier to center and apply without catching air bubbles. The flexibility of polymer-based screen protectors increases the potential for creating those little air pockets, which can be hard to push out.

booq protection kit iPhone 5 black buttons

After 5 minutes of knife-slices, scrapes, still pristine

As with any semi-permanent adhesive-based screen protector, you really only have one good shot to apply it without catching any dust particles in between. If you’re careful with light fingers, you can have a do-over.

The edges of the glass screen protector almost cover the iPhone 5 screen entirely, which I like. So far, none of the corners have peeled back through all the handling, pockets, and purses. The adhesive on the screen protector has maintained smooth contact with no bubbling, and it shows.

I have taken sharp pocket knives and left permanent slice lines on polymer-based screen protectors. Each direct stab with the knife’s pointy tip creates a tiny dimple and sometimes an accompanying air pocket.

polymer damage

Polymer looks like this in under a minute

Although polymer screen protectors have kept my iPhone 5 safe from (normal) damage, I have to stare through the scars every time I use the smartphone.

The tempered glass screen protector in the booq Complete Protection Kit is extremely resistant to direct damage and is superior to polymer in most respects.

The glass, like the polymer, protects the smartphone screen, but unlike the polymer, the tempered glass shrugs off abuse and leaves no trace that anything happened.

I’ve used more force with my pocketknife on the glass than I have on the polymer, and the glass is still as pristine as when I pulled it out of the package. There is one notable weakness with the tempered glass: edges. All it takes is a light tap angled at the edge of the glass screen protector to create cracks and micro-shatters. Not a drop, but a tap against something hard.

booq protection kit iPhone 5 edge damage

Tempered glass edges are weak against impact

Even though the included snap case in the booq Complete Protection kit prevents this kind of damage, it does not cover the top and bottom edges of the iPhone.

The oleopathic anti-smudge coating on the booq screen protector is as good as any other screen protector I’ve used.

While the coating won’t eliminate smudges all together, it keeps them to a minimum while making the screen easier to clean.

The tempered glass screen protector does not interfere with the touch sensitivity of the iPhone 5. Polymer screen protectors, too, are supposed to be perfect in terms of touch, but there have been times when I’ve wondered. The glass, without a doubt, feels like you’re using a naked smartphone screen.

Snap Case

The booq case itself is simple, thin, and lightweight. It’s easier to put on than it is to take off, which is a good thing.

booq protection kit iPhone 5 back

Black or clear? Up to you

All of the ports and buttons are unobstructed and accessible. The case edges provide a precise fit, and as far as I can tell it hasn’t scratched the phone.

If you’re looking for shock protection on your iPhone 5, you’re not going to get it here.

This case will guard your smartphone against light bumps and surface damage. That’s about it. It’s meant more for keeping your device looking out-of-the-box new and scuff-free.

Verdict

The booq Complete Protection Kit is meant for people who prefer a naked smartphone, but will settle for a minimalist case with maximum screen protection. This isn’t for someone looking for a rugged, impact-proof case.

While the booq case itself may seem unnecessary, part of its job is to guard the edges of the tempered glass screen protector, which it does rather well.

booq protection kit iPhone 5 end

Light and form-fitting

The tempered glass in the protection kit is the star, of course. Force with a knife, that would cut a polymer screen protector all the way through, leaves no marks on the glass.

However, a direct poke with enough weight behind it will crack the glass, while the polymer would only suffer an ugly dimple (and possible air pocket).

Either way, there’s going to be imperfection left on any screen protector that takes enough damage. Although when we consider everyday wear and tear with random acute damage, the tempered glass protects and maintains better shape than most polymers. You have to really be attacking the smartphone to leave permanent marks.

It would have been nice to have rounded edges on the screen protector. But there are no ‘rainbow’ or ‘orange peel’ effects, and the touch sensitivity is as if you were touching the iPhone 5 screen itself.

The price of the booq Complete Protection Kit is highly competitive, making it a great deal for those desiring a barely-there case and glass screen protector.

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