It's becoming a running joke: You can buy accessories for a product that doesn’t officially exist yet.
Korea-based mobile accessory company Spigen SGP just showed us its GLAS.t, a $28 protective tempered-glass cover for the iPhone 5, and gave us a sample to test out. Lacking an iPhone 5 itself, of course, we shimmied the cover onto an iPhone 4S. (In the box is a note saying that, if the cover turns out not to fit your iPhone 5, you can exchange it for a revised version.)
[SEE ALSO: Your iPhone 5 Accessories Are Ready — Already]
Any notions of glass being fragile disappear when you see the tempered version. It feels more like Plexiglas and even has some flex to it. But it's crystal clear. We set it over our iPhone screen and found the phone to be as touch-responsive as the naked screen itself.
One challenge: the GLAS.t screen is relatively thick, making it nearly impossible to reach the iPhone's round menu button at the bottom of the screen. Spigen makes up for this by providing an assortment of six covers that stick to the menu button and raise it up to the level of the screen.
In addition to standard black and white to match the presumed iPhone exteriors, Spigen provides a little flair with red, fuchsia, pink and yellow options. Even with the cover, however, pressing the menu button was not as easy as on a bare iPhone screen. It feels a bit stiff, and we definitely felt our thumb going down into a hole. But again, we weren't trying it on an actual iPhone 5, so the final experience may differ.
Getting the cover on is relatively straightforward. Spigen provides a microfiber cloth to wipe off the iPhone screen before application. A plastic sheet pulls back to expose the adhesive side of the GLAS.t. You then place it carefully on the iPhone screen, using an included plastic squeegee to work out any air bubbles. A few still remained, but Spigen says they should work their way out over time.
The instructions were a bit thin, however. They never addressed the menu-button covers (we confirmed how they work by talking to a company representative). Nor did the instructions explain the alcohol-soaked swab that came in the box (for that reason, we chose not to use it to clean the screen).
Still, if you don't mind the thickness it adds to the iPhone, the Spigen GLAS.t is a handsome, handy protector for what will be your new iPhone.