What Is a GPS Screen Protector?

C. Mitchell

A GPS screen protector is a device that snaps over or sticks to a portable GPS unit to provide certain benefits, usually protection from scratches and reduction of glare. Some screen protectors also offer antimicrobial protection as well as color enhancement. The main purpose of any GPS screen protector is to prolong the life and integrity of the device.

A GPS screen protector can offer resistance against fingerprints or even germs carried on fingers.
A GPS screen protector can offer resistance against fingerprints or even germs carried on fingers.

Global Positioning System, or GPS, units are increasingly popular consumer technology tools. Many people own these small devices to use in their cars or for individual sports, such as walking, trekking, and biking. Screen protectors are one way to protect the units from damage while in transit.

GPS screen protectors often provide anti-glare protection.
GPS screen protectors often provide anti-glare protection.

The main purpose of a GPS screen protector is generally to prevent scratches and cracking. GPS screens are typically made of plasma or other conductive plastic. They are coated in durable plastic but are designed to be sensitive enough to respond to finger touches. This sensitivity makes them prone to scratching from keys and other sharp objects as well as cracking if dropped or improperly handled.

Most screen protectors are thick films that adhere directly to the face of the GPS device. They are typically all but invisible once applied. Film screens are designed to deflect and absorb scratches and impacts while still allowing finger touch commands, and they are usually fingerprint resistant, which makes cleaning easier. Films must usually be replaced every year or so, depending on how heavily the unit is used.

A GPS screen protector is often capable of doing much more than simply protecting the screen from blemishes. Many also have anti-glare properties. Anti-glare GPS screens deflect sunlight, helping the screens to look clear and sharp even in the brightest environments. This can make following the GPS’s directions or watching its charted course easier and safer on sunny days.

Some screen protectors also promise anti-microbial properties. GPS screens can be breeding grounds for bacteria, as they depend on constant touching. Germs on the fingers can transfer to the porous plastic of the screen and then transfer to whomever touches it next. Protection against germs is particularly important for GPS units that are used by numerous people or that are leased out and exposed to a variety of different environments.

A GPS screen protector typically only covers the unit’s screen. It will not protect the unit against heavy impact, nor will it protect against scratches on the casing or backing. GPS accessories, like full cases, are usually required for this purpose. Many cases come with screen protecting films included, but not all do. Case protection and screen protection are usually considered two separate things.

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