I feel like I’ve been waiting for this longer than I have my 16-inch MacBook Pro. But, finally, I have my hands on the Paperlike screen protector for the iPad mini 6.

I’m not the sort of person to put a screen protector of any kind on my iPads or iPhones. To me, they’ve always degraded the feel of the device and turned the screen into a dull, slightly hazy mess.

However, when it comes to the iPad, this stance has created a bit of a problem. As noted recently, I’ve successfully switched to the new iPad mini for note-taking, which means I’m using the Apple Pencil constantly throughout the day.

Unfortunately, writing on glass isn’t what you’d call tactile. It’s the single biggest drawback of the brilliant Apple Pencil/iPad combo; despite the sheer convenience of being able to take notes and doodle on that beautiful retina screen, it always feels a bit… wrong.

I’ve been aware of Paperlike for some time, but I’ve always dismissed its products by applying the same ‘all screen protectors are crap’ logic to them.

That was a mistake.

The installation

I’m terrible at applying screen protectors. And, with hindsight, that might be partly why I’ve always been so opposed to them.

The thought of sitting down for god knows how long to meticulously place a thin piece of plastic over a glass screen, followed by an equally torrid time attempting to push out the small colony of bubbles created during the process doesn’t sound like much fun – particularly when you realise there are three specks of dust under your questionably-placed protector.

Enter Paperlike and its ridiculously simple installation process. I confess that I did have to refer to their YouTube channel for a slightly more idiot-proof instruction than what was provided in the package, but it really was about as simple as it gets. And I’m an idiot.

You simply line up the screen protector, attach some guide stickers to one side to keep it in place, open it like a book cover, give the screen a thorough clean with the supplied tools, and then gently close the protector.

Mine subsequently attached itself near perfectly to the screen, with just a couple of bubbles needing attention. The end result is – even if I say so myself – bloody marvellous. It’s bang-on square, and there isn’t a bubble to be seen.

The whole process took about twenty minutes – tops.

So, top marks to Paperlike for completely removing every single concern I had about applying screen protectors. Oh, and they send you two, as well, which is a very nice touch.

But, what’s it like?

It does feel like paper

The first time you place your Apple Pencil on a Paperlike screen protector, you’d be forgiven for thinking it feels identical to the glass surface on which sits.

Then, you move your Apple Pencil gently across the page and spot something different. There’s resistance. Not too much, but enough to prevent the Pencil from gliding to the edge of the screen like an out of control ice skater.

Paperlike tells us that its screen protectors are “designed to mimic the feel and sound of writing on real paper”. They use ’Nanodots’ technology to create friction and vibrations that are supposed to match the feel of writing on a piece of paper.

It works really well. Granted, there is definitely a synthetic feel to the Paperlike – it feels like imitation paper (which it is) but it’s a world away from writing on a shiny glass screen. More importantly, it provides this synthetic feedback without distracting you from the process of writing, drawing, or illustrating. It simply aids the task in hand without any fuss or attempts to have the spotlight thrust on itself – something every peripheral or accessory should do.

It really does sound different, too. In fact, Paperlike arguably does an even better job in this regard. Writing on an iPad screen is damn near silent, but jotting away on a Paperlike elicits a super-satisfying, pencil-on-quality-paper sound. There’s also far less of a distracting tapping noise when applying the Apple Pencil to the screen – a source of constant irritation for me – and, no doubt others – when I’m jotting away during calls.

So, no more slippery, tippy-tappy, unsatisfying screen on which to jot down my notes and plans. This is what I was waiting for!

But you’ve probably got one big question on your mind.

Does Paperlike affect the screen quality?

Yes.

The unavoidable truth of any screen protector is the fact that it will impact the display onto which it has been placed. It’s inevitable.

However, I really like the look of my new Paperlike-equipped iPad mini. It now has a lovely matte finish, the screen glare has been all but removed, and I’m not even that fussed about the slightly (and it really is only very slight) muted colours.

It actually feels like a completely different device, in the best possible way. Paperlike tells us that it has made its screen protector “with superior display quality in mind”, and I’d have to agree. It remains bright, plenty colourful, and the significant reduction of reflections is something I haven’t experienced on an iPad before. It makes you wonder why Apple doesn’t offer a matte option for the iPad for anyone who wants an out-of-the-box, Paperlike-like experience.

So, if you’re worried about a Paperlike screen protector ruining the quality of your lovely P3 retina iPad screen – don’t. It’s fine.

It also feels different when touching with your finger, as you might expect. But, just like its impact on the appearance of the screen, that matte finish has proven to be a benefit for me when it comes to tactility. I actually prefer gliding my finger across the new surface. It somehow feels more tactile and pleasurable to both use and carry around without a case attached.

Paperlike has done a wonderful job with this screen protector. I was delighted with the iPad mini’s ability to be my forever notetaker, but it now feels complete; that slightly unnerving feeling of writing on glass has been completely eradicated.

Highly recommended – even if you’re a screen protector hater like I once was.

You can buy any of the Paperlike screen protectors here.

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