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Do the screen protectors included with phone cases actually work?

Smartphones these days mostly feature a glass sandwich design. While the layers of glass over the display and back panel give the phones a premium feel and enable features like wireless charging, the resulting device is somewhat fragile. Glass panels easily pick up scratches in daily use and can shatter when accidentally dropped, so using a phone case from a reputed manufacturer and a screen protector is absolutely necessary.

Although you can purchase these separately, a few manufacturers also offer protective cases with built-in screen protectors that are more value for money and eliminate compatibility issues. But are they good?

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With a quick search on Amazon, you can find a wide range of phone cases with built-in screen protectors for your device, but not all are made the same. Cheap cases made by no-name brands don’t offer a precise enough fit for the built-in screen protector to work as intended. As a result, you can encounter issues with the fingerprint sensors and touch sensitivity. But that’s not true of cases like the Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro, Poetic Guardian, and ESR Shock Armor.

Phone cases with built-in screen protectors from trusted brands are manufactured to high tolerances, resulting in a snug fit that ensures touch sensitivity and the fingerprint scanner are not adversely affected. However, for the same reason, you must install the case in a specific order and retrain the fingerprint sensor after installation, otherwise you will run into problems. Fortunately, manufacturers like Supcase and Poetic offer detailed resources to help you out.

Once installed correctly, the built-in screen protector will work just like a standalone screen protector. In some cases, a case with a built-in screen protector may be better than using a separate case and screen protector, as it provides seamless edge-to-edge coverage and leaves no part of your phone exposed. If that sounds like something you want for your phone, here are some of the best cases with screen protectors included that are currently on the market.

  • SUPCASE UB Pro for Galaxy S23 Ultra

    Selection promoted

    In partnership with Supcase

    SUPCASE UB Pro for Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an excellent durable case. It offers 360-degree protection for the phone, and it also comes with thoughtful extras like a belt clip and kickstand support that other rugged cases just don’t offer.

  • Poetic Guardian for Galaxy S23 Ultra

    Rugged clear case

    The Poetic Guardian series case for the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers up to 20ft drop protection with its reinforced edges, built-in screen protector, and clear polycarbonate back that lets you show off your phone’s unique color.

  • ESR Shock Armor for Galaxy S23 Ultra on a transparent background.
    ESR Shock Armor for Galaxy S23 Ultra

    Built-in kickstand

    The ESR Shock Armor Case for Galaxy S23 Ultra provides full coverage of the device thanks to the built-in screen protector. It features shock-absorbing reinforced edges, tactile buttons, and a metal kickstand cleverly integrated into the back panel.

If you don’t want to use bulky cases on your phone, using one with a built-in screen protector might not be the best option. But we still recommend investing in a third-party tempered glass or film-type screen protector to keep your phone’s screen scratch-free. Although most phones these days have some form of Gorilla Glass screen protection, and some even come with a factory-installed screen protector, we recommend adding another layer of protection. That’s because phones with the latest Gorilla Glass tend to pick up minor scratches over time, and a factory-installed screen protector peels off in a few weeks.

This high quality film type screen protector will ensure that your phone screen looks as pristine as it did when you took it out of the box. However, it won’t offer any drop protection, and you’ll have to use a tempered glass screen protector if you don’t want your phone’s screen to shatter after an accidental drop. You can easily find both types of screen protectors for the majority of devices with a quick search on Amazon. But if you want to skip the hard work, check out our roundup of the best screen protectors for the latest devices to find the one that best suits your needs.

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