Best Paperlike Alternatives

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Ernests Embutnieks

iPads are excellent tablets for streaming Netflix, gaming, reading, working, taking notes, drawing, etc., and it’s also one of the best productivity tablets on the market today. 

You might have heard of screen protectors like Paperlike. Paperlike is a matte, anti-glare screen protector that transforms your glossy glass screen into a “paperlike” feel. Generally speaking, it protects your screen from scratches, and when you write on it it gives this feeling as you would write on paper. I’ve it on my iPad, and I don’t worry much about the scratches, but I do like that paperlike feeling when I write on the tablet.

The caveat is that Paperlike is not cheap and can be costly if you replace your screen protector often. There might be other reasons why you dislike a brand, and it’s good to have other alternative options. It benefits everyone. So today, we’re looking for the Best Paperlike Alternatives for iPads.

Removable & Reusable
ESR Paper Feel Magnetic 

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models

 

 

The ESR Paper Feel Magnetic screen protector is a unique entry to the list. Unlike traditional screen protectors, the ESR Paper-Feel Magnetic is a detachable and reusable screen protector.  You don’t leave the ESR Paper-Feel Magnetic on the screen at all times and only use it when necessary. 

This can be a great advantage or a big downfall, depending on what you value. 

The ESR Paper Feel Magnetic works great if you don’t like the matte texture when you’re not drawing/writing with a stylus. You can take it out of the included protective envelope and slap it on. It’s easy to install, thanks to the strong magnets.

But a downside is it can be inconvenient to bring around the screen protector separately. This can make or break the ESR Paper Feel Magnetic so keep that in mind before purchasing. 

The good news is the ESR Paper Feel Magnetic is compatible with tempered glass screen protectors. You can have a tempered glass for durability and scratch protection, and use the ESR Paper Feel only when you need it.  The tempered glass screen protector has to be thinner than 0.33mm.

The ESR Paper Feel Magnetic is an innovative screen protector. If you value your iPad’s glass finish but want a paper feel when drawing, the ESR Paper Feel is the best option.

Tech Armor Screen Protector for iPad

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen (2022 Model)
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model)

 

 

The Tech Armor Film is another great alternative to Paperlike. It’s a matte anti-glare film and doesn’t have a tempered glass layer. The Tech Armor Film will cost you $15.95 for a two-pack which is decent value for the money. 

The surface of the Tech Armor film uses PET Film and an oleophobic coating. This ensures there isn’t any rainbow-hued reflection and keeps off fingerprints, liquids, and oils

Otherwise, the Tech Armor is a familiar screen protector. It doesn’t outdo the competition, but it works well in everyday use and keeps micro scratches off. It doesn’t have much drop protection, so we’d advise using it with a case.

But there are a few issues with this screen protector like installation and nib wear. It’s hard to install the screen protector perfectly since it doesn’t have an installation frame or mechanism to easily apply the screen protector. 

And similar to other matte film screen protectors, we noticed stylus nibs wear out faster on the Tech Armor. It isn’t a unique problem to the Tech Armor, but it’s important to know before purchasing.

Overall though, the Tech Armor Matte Film is a solid screen protector. It gets the job done and has a nice feel when drawing and writing. It isn’t as easy to install as other options on the list, so keep that in mind if you have trouble applying screen protectors.

Mothca Matte Glass for iPad

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen (2022 Model)
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model)

 

 

The Motcha Matte Glass screen protector is another fantastic Paperlike alternative. It’s priced at a mid-range $14.99 for one screen protector. Similarly to the Hocents screen protector, the Motcha Matte Glass has a tempered glass layer.

It still retains a paper feel when drawing or writing, but it has the protection of a tempered glass screen protector. The matte finish is thanks to the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coating. It’s also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about fingerprints, oils from your hands, or other liquids. 

The Motcha Matte Glass screen protector has a unique surface. It’s an etched glass screen protector, which makes it smoother. This is similar to the finishes you’d find on etched glass pen display tablets. And since the surface is smoother than other matte tempered glass screen protectors, it doesn’t wear out stylus nibs as fast. The Motcha Matte Glass screen protector also features a 2.5D edge. This is much more durable and shatter-resistant than non-2.5D tempered glass screen protectors. 

One thing to keep in mind is the Motcha Matte Glass is not as ‘matte’ as film screen protectors like Paperlike, BERSEM, or iCarez. It doesn’t feel exactly the same as other paper-feel film screen protectors, but it’s much better than a glass surface. 

We’d recommend this option for most readers since it’s durable and has a paper-feel texture. It doesn’t feel as natural as a film screen protector, but it’s much better at dealing with drops and bumps. 

XIRON Paperfeel Screen Protector

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models

 

 

The XIRON Matte Film is a great option if you need an anti-glare, matte film screen protector. It doesn’t have a tempered glass layer but unlike other screen protectors, it’s made with a strengthened hard surface to mitigate damage from drops. It’s not as reliable as a tempered glass screen protector, but the added layer for drop protection can keep your iPad safe. The XIRON film costs $10.97 for a two-pack which is great. 

Some other options on the list have the same price for only one piece.

Otherwise, the surface of the XIRON Matte Film is made of PET film and has a plasma matter layer and a polymer resin layer. This helps stop reflected light and ensures HD clarity on the screen.

But one downside of the XIRON Matte film is the lack of an oleophobic coating. While anti-glare works well, it struggles to keep off fingerprints, liquids, and oil smudges. If that is a big problem for you, we’d recommend one of the other options on our list. 

It does have a high resistance which makes writing/drawing feel more natural and sensitive, but it comes at a cost. 

XIRON has also stated this screen protector doesn’t work well when put on top of a tempered glass screen protector. You may lose responsiveness or it may not function altogether. This can be a deal breaker if you need a tempered glass layer for protection.

Overall, the XIRON Matte Film is a great screen protector if sensitivity and responsiveness are most important. It doesn’t have much protection and can’t keep fingerprints/oils off-screen. But if you can live with that, it’s one of the closest alternatives to Paperlike.

SPARIN Tempered Glass for iPad

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen (2022 Model) /9th gen/8th gen/7th gen, etc.
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model)

 

 

The SPARIN Tempered Glass screen protector is the go-to option if you need a simple, durable screen protector. Unlike Paperlike, this screen protector is a simple tempered glass option. It doesn’t have a paperlike feel or anti-glare/matte surface

But even without the matte texture, the SPARIN Tempered Glass performs well with the Apple Pencil and other active styluses. It’s 0.3mm thick so it has a solid layer of protection against drops but is thin enough that you don’t notice it. 

The best part is it comes in a 3-pack for $10.98. It’s the same price as other Paperlike alternatives that usually include only 1 or 2 screen protectors. It also comes with a handy alignment frame that makes it much easier to apply.

Overall, the SPARIN Tempered Glass is an option for readers who want a durable, simple screen protector. It comes with 3 in the package so you don’t have to worry about breaking one.

It doesn’t have the best feeling since it’s still a ‘glass’ finish, but it works well enough for daily use like streaming, word editors, and browsing. But if you’re set on a natural, paper-like experience, best check one of our other options. 

KCT - Paperfeel Screen Protector

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen (2022 Model) 
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model)

 

 

The KCT Paperfeel is a great Paperlike alternative and does the same job for a major discount. Similar to Paperlike, the KCT Paperfeel is a film screen protector. This means it does not have the protection of tempered glass screen protectors.

But since it has a ‘paper feel’, it comes with anti-glare properties which keep light from reflecting off your iPad. This also means it has an anti-fingerprint texture to keep off pesky fingerprints and liquids. 

The KCT Paperfeel has a natural texture and gives the screen additional friction. This makes writing/drawing with a stylus feel better while making strokes much more stable. The film itself is 0.17mm thin so it won’t protrude from the screen.

It also comes with an installation kit to make it easier to apply.

The drawback of the KCT Paperfeel is that it doesn’t have a tempered glass layer. The paper feel is nice, but it doesn’t protect your iPad against drops. Take that into consideration before choosing the KCT Paperfeel. 

The KCT Paperfeel is priced at $10.97 for one screen protector film. It’s slightly pricey for only one piece, but it’s still much cheaper than the Paperlike screen protector. 

iCarez Anti-Glare Matte Screen Protector for Apple iPad

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen/9th gen/8th gen, etc.
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model), iPad Mini 5

 

 

The iCarez Matte Anti-Glare Film is another ‘film’ option that doesn’t have a tempered glass layer. It’s very responsive on screen but lacks the durability of a tempered glass screen protector. But in terms of value for money, the iCarez Matte Anti-Glare Film is fantastic. The price is heavily discounted at $7.95 and comes with two screen protectors. It’s affordable and gives you an extra so you can replace it. 

In terms of hardness, the iCarez screen protector is rated at 3H – 4H. For reference, tempered glass screen protectors are usually rated at 9H. You get decent scratch resistance but lose out on any drop resistance for your iPad.

Otherwise, the iCarez Matte Anti-Glare Film uses the same PET film material as other film screen protectors. Besides a natural paper-like feel when writing or drawing, it’s also anti-glare and anti-fingerprint. It also includes an installation kit to make it easier to install.

All in all, the iCarez Matte Anti-Glare Film is a decent alternative to Paperlike. It’s much cheaper and has two screen protectors included. The downside is you don’t have drop protection. 

The scratch protection is also lacking, but that’s the price you have to pay for an affordable screen protector.

BERSEM Paperfeel Screen Protector

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen(2022)
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model)

 

 

The BERSEM Paper Feel Film is another great Paperlike alternative for a steep discount. It costs $10.98 and comes with two screen protector films. It’s otherwise identical to many other film screen protectors on the list. 

The BERSEM Paper Feel Film has an anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coating. It has a natural paper feel when using a stylus. It measures just 0.17mm thin so it’s sleek and blends in with your iPad’s display. 

This is the 2nd gen version of the BERSEM screen protector. It has improved visibility and doesn’t have screen flash points, and is built to reduce nib wear. Screen flash points are when the screen protector has a shiny, rainbow hue on the surface.

It can be distracting when it reflects on the display. 

But like other film screen protectors, the BERSEM Paper Feel does not have a tempered glass layer. It’s not going to protect much against drops, but it will stop light scratches on the screen. 

This does depend on how much pressure you exert, but in most cases, it works well.

Otherwise, the BERSEM Paper Feel Film is a great screen protector that does the job. It has some improved features like reduced nib wear and also has an extra piece included. It’s also relatively affordable, making it a great deal for everything it offers.

Hocents Paper-Feel Glass

Compatibility: 

iPad Pro 11-inch & 12.9-inch 2018/2020/2021/2022 Models
iPad Air 2020/2022 Models
iPad 10th gen(2022)
iPad Mini 6 (2021 Model)

 

 

The Hocents Paper-Feel Glass screen protector is one of our top options on the list. Not only does it feature a matte, anti-glare texture but it has a tempered glass layer underneath.

You get the best of both worlds; paper-like texture when drawing with tempered glass protection. 

Similar to other paper-feel screen protectors, the Hocents screen protector has anti-glare and antifingerprint properties. The oleophobic coating keeps fingerprints off the screen and helps reduce smudges and liquid stains.  It measures 0.33mm thinness which is on par with other tempered glass screen protectors. 

Another standout of the Hocents screen protector is the included installation frame. You simply need to align the frame over your iPad and set it into place. It’s super easy to install and doesn’t get any bubbles on the screen. But we noticed here isn’t as much friction as paper-feel film screen protectors. You can still feel the paper-like texture, but it’s slightly dampened by the tempered glass layer. 

Otherwise, the Hocents Paper-Feel screen protector is a great option. It’s slightly more expensive, priced at $16 but it’s well worth the price for added durability and anti-glare coating. 

What’s the Closest Alternative to Paperlike? 

In our experience, products like screen protectors are rarely ‘different’ from the competition. Most screen protectors are identical and there isn’t much distinguishing a $40 screen protector from a $10 screen protector. 

With that in mind, we’d recommend Motcha Matte Glass or Hocents Paper Feel Glass as great alternatives to Paperlike. They have the added advantage of a tempered glass layer which helps increase drop protection and durability. 

The caveat is they’re not as ‘paper-like’ as film screen protectors. The added depth of the tempered glass layer means it doesn’t feel exactly the same as Paperlike and other film screen protectors. 

If you wanted an exact 1-to-1 alternative, the BERSEM Paper Feel Film or KCT Paper Feel Film is your best bet. They’re the same type of film as Paperlike and don’t have a tempered glass layer. 

They’re eerily similar to the Paperlike screen protectors in terms of thinness, ease of application, and natural paper feeling. 

Verdict

There are plenty of awesome, inexpensive Paperlike alternatives but it really depends on what you’re looking for. Does durability or natural paper feel matter more? Depending on your answer, your screen protector of choice can be very different. 

If you want durability, opt for normal tempered glass. It doesn’t have a matte surface but it’s inexpensive and protects your iPad.

If you want the best paper feel, go for a paper-feel film screen protector. It doesn’t protect against drops or bumps, but it feels the best when you’re drawing or writing.

If you want both durability and a paper feel, get a paper-feel screen protector with a tempered glass layer. It has the best of both worlds, but it doesn’t feel as natural as film screen protectors.

ProductFinishTempered Glass LayerPriceScore
SPARIN Tempered GlassTempered GlassYes$10.987/10
KCT Paper FeelMatte/Anti-GlareNo$10.978/10
ESR Paper Feel MagneticMatte/Anti-GlareNo$19.998/10
iCarez Anti-Glare Matte FilmMatte/Anti-GlareNo$7.958.5/10
BERSEM Paper Feel FilmMatte/Anti-GlareNo$10.988.5/10
Hocents Paper-Feel GlassMatte/Anti-GlareYes$16.988.5/10
Motcha Matte Glass Matte/Anti-GlareYes$14.999/10
Tech Armor FilmMatte/Anti-glareNo$15.959/10
XIRON Matte FilmMatte/Anti-glareNo$10.979/10

Related Articles:

Paperlike Screen Protector Review
How Does Using Apple Pencil Not Scratch The iPad’s Screen?
Paperlike Cleaning Kit Review
Paperlike Pencil Grip Review
Apple Pencil 1 vs 2
Best Drawing Tablets

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I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.