5. Screen Protection
Most of us sign two-year contracts when we get a new cellphone — that's a long time to suffer the aggravation of a scratched screen. A protective case is one solution, but not ideal, since it adds bulk and means one more piece of gear to remember. We prefer to apply a protective covering to the delicate cell phone screen. There are several suppliers, but we've had good luck with the InvisibleShield line from Zagg. The company actually adapted film used to protect helicopter blades to provide perfectly clear, remarkably tough plastic covers custom-shaped to precisely fit phones, GPS units, tablets, cameras, e-book readers and more — check the website to see if your device and model is covered. For many phones, you'll have the choice of protecting just the front or the entire device, front, back and sides. Cell phone bodies are pretty tough, so we think scratch-proofing the front screen is good enough.
Prices vary by device, but as an example, the iPhone 4 front protection sells for $14.99, the full body for $24.99. Applying the coating requires a bit of dexterity, but you can stick it down and peel it back up as many times as necessary until you get it right. And when you're done, even keys scraping across the screen in your pocket won't cause damage.