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P&E Frugal Flier: iPad screen protection

Accessories cut glare and guard screens

As iPads become ever more central to flying, accessories that make them work better in the cockpit take on new importance.

P&EAs iPads become ever more central to flying, accessories that make them work better in the cockpit take on new importance.

For pilots, the iPad’s three biggest shortcomings are 1) mirror-like screen reflectivity, 2) screen images too dim to read in direct sunlight, and 3) overall fragility and susceptibility to scratching and cracking.

Tempered glass screen overlays can go a long way toward solving problems one and three, but may actually make problem two slightly worse.

MyGoFlight and its partners have begun selling a protective, tempered glass screen called Armorglas that has a matte finish which vastly reduces screen glare. Company founder Charles Schneider likes to show off the protective qualities of tempered glass by dragging a car key across his iPad screen without damaging it.

Armorglas for iPad (versions two through four) and the iPad mini have a retail price of $50, roughly twice as much as the transparent plastic screen protectors that have been available for the last several years. The main difference between the two is that the tempered glass screen cover does a very creditable job of both glare reduction and screen protection—and the plastic versions I’ve tried do neither. I frankly had trouble distinguishing when they were on and when they weren’t.

I recently installed Armorglas on my iPad 2 and was quite pleased with the results, but I do have a few words of caution. First, give your iPad screen a thorough cleaning with an alcohol wipe before attempting to apply the product. When you think you’ve removed every last speck of dust, get another wipe and clean it again. It’s critical for the iPad surface to be as near to immaculate as you can make it.

The Armorglas matte finish is surprisingly resistant to smudges, and I find the texture more pleasant than the iPad’s original smooth surface. The iPad’s sunlight readability problem remains, however, and tempered glass doesn’t help that.

The $50 price for Armorglas seemed high so I also shopped online for other tempered glass screen protectors, of which there are many, and they range in price from about $25 to $55. The nonaviation versions likely do an equally good job of screen protection, but only the matte finish in Armorglas reduces glare. Pilots seeking both glare reduction and screen protection have few options.

The increasingly active role my iPad plays in flight planning, navigation, and traffic and terrain avoidance makes me want to do everything I can to keep it in top shape. The aviation world has made tremendous efforts to bring critical flight information to the iPad. For pilots, a relatively small investment in a tempered glass screen cover can help you see it.

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AOPA Frugal Flier coverage sponsored by Aircraft Spruce

Strategic partner member benefit
Enter promo code AGMGFS to receive a 10-percent discount off Armorglas Screen Protectors from Aircraft Spruce on online orders (, September 15 through October 15, 2014.

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