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Review #20: Nillkin 2.5D Tempered Glass for Apple iPhone 7

I must admit that it is not easy buying a tempered glass for even the cheapest ones are marketed as having 9H hardness, 2.5D coverage and 99.9% transparency. Nillkin as a brand has some recall value for me, having encountered it in the past when surfing for tempered glasses. It is simply then just a case of familiarity that made me go for this one as against the ocean of other tempered glasses, most of which are also of Chinese make. Nillkin seems to have made some sort of a name for itself to the extent that it has had to implement a counterfeit check on its website against other Chinese imitators (the irony!). In my case, the serial which is to be scratched off the package turned out to be a genuine one.

Speaking of the package, I had assumed that I would come across some amount of professionalism considering that the company has been involved in this business for quite some time, but it was not to be. The instructions in English are the typical “lost in translation” ones which makes little more sense than Chinese itself. The pretense is let go completely in the inner packaging which is in Chinese. This package contains the wipes (wet and dry), anti-static/dust sticker, the tempered glass and circular stickers that I imagine can go with the Home button and/or the camera lens depending on your preference.

The thing with the iPhone 7 is that the bezels are curved, so all the 2.5D tempered glasses have a width that is exactly equal to the width of the display, leaving no margin for error at all. I decided to apply the tempered glass with my phone switched off which meant that the display blended perfectly with the black bezels, a mistake in hind sight. I lined the glass using the speaker grille, front camera at the top and the home button at the bottom. Like is normally the case, most of the air bubbles escaped as soon as the glass settled down with pockets of air remaining only at the bottom. I was quickly able to remove the ones to the left of the home button through swiping while the ones to the right refused to go away. I went to the extent of lifting up the glass from that side in order to let the air escape but the air bubbles again settled it at the same spot which gives me the impression that the glass had some manufacturing defect causing it to not sit flush at that small region. However, worse was to follow when I switched on the phone and discovered that the alignment was less than a mm off to the left at the top while being fine at the bottom. This meant that the edge of the glass lined up a tiny fraction inside the display leading to light from the edge being diffracted and giving off spectral hues. The tempered glass not covering the entire front face also meant that the edges brushed against my fingers whenever I swiped up the Control Centre or swiped across the home screen. It was particularly irritating when taking calls as the edge would brush against the ear as well.

You may be wondering why I am mentioning this glass in the past tense. It is so because all the minor irritants that I mentioned above adversely impacted my experience of using the phone leading me to remove the glass within 24 hours of applying it. Some may call this move irrational but I choose to term it “courageous”. Jokes aside, the clarity of the glass and the 3D Touch response were fine, so if you have no issues with a tempered glass covering the front face partially, then by all means go for this one. If you are a little bit more pedantic, your response might end up being the same as mine.

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