Review: Paperlike iPad Screen Protector

The new Paperlike 2 Screen Protector retails for €34, £31, or $38 from their website, while not cheap compared to the average selling price of most iPad screen protectors, Paperlike can offer an experience like no other. I’ll be testing out the brand new Paperlike 2 on a 2018 iPad Pro 11” paired together with the second-generation Apple Pencil.

The Paperlike 2 ships with two screen protectors and two installation kits which include two dust absorbers, two sticker guide sheets, two help stickers, two wet wipes, and one dry wipe. They also included a postcard of Cornwall made by one of their customers with a message from the Paperlike team on the back. I am not certain whether they doubled on the items in case you get it wrong the first time you install it, or just as a future replacement for when you break it, but it was nice to have an extra screen protector. Personally, I used my last screen protector for two years before changing it, so I expect the Paperlike 2 to last just as long, if not more.

I don’t know about you, but it’s always been a pain for me to put a screen protector on, especially on the iPad, because the area is much larger compared to let’s say an iPhone. The Paperlike team provides a link to a step-by-step video of installing the screen protector, which I do suggest you watch. The process was fairly painless and quick, which I think was due to the guide stickers. To install it you line up the Paperlike with your iPad and use the guide stickers to make sure it sits in the right place. You then go through the usual process of cleaning the display and making sure there are no dust particles left behind before you peel off the inside cover and use the help sticker to place the protector on the screen, just as if you would close a book. While the position of the Paperlike 2 Screen Protector was perfect, I did leave an air bubble on the surface on purpose, just to see how easy it was to remove the protector and fix it. Surprisingly, using the help sticker again, I raised the protector slightly just to pick up the dust particle and placed it back down on the display. There was no damage to the protector, nor any sign of the removal. The air bubble was gone.

The first thing I noticed when using Paperlike 2 was the sound. I could not tell if it was the texture of the material or the sound from the Apple Pencil that was creating the paper-like effect. So I put my headphones on, volume up, and it was quite apparent the real paper feeling came from the sound. While the texture alone is pretty satisfying, is it not drastically different than the one of a glass screen protector, apart from the latter being more slippery. The difference was however noticeable in the experience of using Paperlike 2. So while it is more the sound that gives you the feeling of writing on paper, that did not matter much to me as long as the experience was great. Another thing I noticed straight away was that it is quite hard to tell if there was a screen protector on, especially when looking directly at the display. There is, of course, some reflection from certain angles, but the light is diffused in a way that makes it not so harsh. Compared to a glass protector, where the reflection is pretty strong and sharp, the Paperlike gives a soft, almost blurred reflection that beautifully diffuses the colours.

As a product designer, I heavily use the iPad daily for mainly sketching but also writing and drawing. Some of my most used apps include Procreate, Shapr3D, SketchBook, and Photoshop, which Paperlike made even more enjoyable to work in. The experience of using the Paperlike was consistent throughout the two weeks, making me stand by my initial positive impression. If anything, as the days passed, I enjoyed it even more as I was using the pencil in different apps and for different tasks. The resistance from the screen protectors texture is great and very satisfying to work on, together with the matte finish, for which I have a preference. A small detail noticed when sketching in Procreate is that when I use a white background, the white is a little grainy and annoying to the eyes. However, you do get used to it eventually and stop noticing after some time. This, however, does not happen with a different coloured background or with any other image, or video content. Another remark would be that there are strong leftover marks on the surface, which are quite visible in strong light conditions. It was not a huge inconvenience as they were easily removable with either a wet wipe or just with your sleeve.

As mentioned in the ”first impressions” section, the light is diffused, you do not get much reflective glare from the environment. As a drawback, this affects the colour intensity and sharpness of the display, with maybe a little bit of grain too, but it is almost unnoticeable unless you compare it side by side to an iPad that doesn’t have a screen protector on.

My overall impression after the two weeks of using the Paperlike 2 Screen Protector is that I really, really enjoy using it. While I am not sure if my digital workflow has been noticeably improved, I did find myself quite happy and satisfied with the experience that the screen protector provides. I think the Paperlike 2 achieves its full potential when used together with an Apple Pencil, as the experience of using it with and without is quite different.

While it’s not life-changing, I would happily pay the £31 (also considering that you get two of them) just for the sake of the experience. Especially if you are someone that works in a creative industry or is using their iPad often for writing, sketching, or drawing. It is very much about your personal preference and what suits your work practice best, but the Paperlike 2 Screen Protector is worth a try! The new Paperlike 2 Screen Protector is available now from their website 

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