Paperlike Screen Protector Review

Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by Saad and Ernests Embutnieks

Paperlike’s original goal was simple. Produce a screen protector that mimics the texture and feel of actual paper whilst also protecting your device. And, before I even get started, spoiler alert, they’ve nailed that point to the highest degree.

In fact, I was very thoroughly impressed with the overall protector and the entire process, from the initial packaging to the eventual application and experience. So, without further adieu, here’s my review of the Paperlike Screen Protector. 

Best Screen Protector For iPad
Paperlike - Where To Buy It?
9.5/10 Our Score

You can order Paperlike via their website, or if it’s more convenient you can make a purchase on Amazon. Overall we’re happy with the product and we definitely recommend it if you take notes on your iPad and especially if you draw on your device.

You might want to look at: Paperlike Alternatives

Why You Should Trust Me

Before I get started with the protector, let’s get a few questions answered. After all, why should you trust me, of all people, to be providing you with an honest review of a screen protector? Well, firstly, I’ve been using my iPad Pro M1 and iPad Mini 6 for almost a year now and have been a religious fan of the iPads for as long as they’ve been released.

So, for all intents and purposes, I’ve used a ton of screen protectors. From off-brand glass protectors, plastic protectors, and matte privacy protectors, I’ve had the pleasure of testing them all. 

The Paperlike was one of those screen protectors that I honestly shied away from. Why? Well, I’m the kind of person who didn’t watch Game of Thrones simply because of all the hype the show had. So, just like the show, Paperlike just felt like it was too good to be true.

Now that I’ve actually gone through the product, man, I now want to watch Game of Thrones since the Paperlike does actually live up to its claims. 

What’s In The Box?

whats inside paperlike screen protector box
  • 2x Paperlike Screen Protectors
  • 2x Cleaning Wipes
  • 1x Dry Wipe
  • 2x Sticker Pack 
  • 1x Postcard

Application Process

Applying a screen protector can feel like a daunting task, especially for someone as clumsy as me. “What if I mess up?” was a common question I asked myself multiple times throughout the process.

Thankfully, though, Paperlike’s CEO, Jan Sapper, was here to the rescue. With a handy instructional video that detailed everything you need to know about the product and its eventual application, the process felt much easier as compared to me trying to go in commando.

First things first, you place the protector on your iPad and line it up precisely. Then, you use the included guiding stickers and use it to create a sort of hinge. After doing so, you place a sticker on the other side and open up the protector as a book of some sort.

Now, you clean your iPad. I used the Paperlike Screen Cleaning Kit. However, their included wet wipes and dry wipe will also do. Now, you peel off the sticker, sort out the bubbles by using a credit card, and voila, you are done. 

Overall Experience

how to apply paperlike to ipad

The Paperlike feels like a mixture of a matte screen protector with a little bit of a smooth plastic built right into it. The texture itself is grainy and has slight depth to it. It feels like very soft, smooth chart paper to an Apple Pencil but feels quite different when using it bare.

In terms of color accuracy and display quality, the immediate lack of glare was noticeable. I couldn’t see the lights of my office shine back at me when I was using the iPad with the protector installed. This also led me to lower the brightness down just a tad since there were fewer reflections overall.

Contrary to popular belief, this particular screen protector did not make my screen look any less vibrant, nor did it feel muted. In fact, the lack of fingerprint smudges constantly accumulating on my display and the glare reduction led to a more pleasurable experience overall. 

Writing Experience

Writing was where I noticed the greatest amount of difference with the Paperlike Screen Protector. After all, it is meant to simulate paper, right? Well, yes. And it does a great job at it. The grainy texture, combined with the lack of glare led the Apple Pencil to roll off on the device better.

Combine this with my Paperlike Pencil Grips, and I was in for an absolute treat. For reference, I used the Comfort grip. But, even though I was using a grip that isn’t really meant for accuracy, I was still able to write much faster and didn’t need to apply as much pressure as I did when using a glass protector. 

Writing has turned into a much more enjoyable experience now. There were times when I preferred using a journal or notebook, especially for longer, more drawn-out sessions. But now, I  reach out to my iPad Pro to jot down some notes a lot more with this protector installed. 

Drawing Experience

Full disclosure, I’m not a professional artist. But, we have enough designers and illustrators here around the office to quantify whether a Paperlike is worth it for artists. Short answer? Yes, the Paperlike Screen Protector is great for artists. This is because the grainy texture that simulates paper leads the entire experience to feel more natural.

But, besides that – the protector allows for a greater deal of control compared to using the iPad’s initial glossy screen. For instance, you are able to get a greater idea of the pressure you are applying at any given moment alongside the entire process feeling a bit more controlled due to the more paper-esque experience.

Is The Paperlike Screen Protector Prone To Scratches?

Related: How Does Using the Apple Pencil Not Scratch the iPad Screen

Throughout our testing, we applied a lot of pressure at various points on the protector. The card that we used to initially sort out bubbles did leave a few marks. However, I’d blame myself since I used a bit too much force.

But, from actual daily use, there were no scratches on the protector whatsoever. There was nothing left on the protector that couldn’t just be wiped off or cleaned at the end of the day. For Apple Pencil nibs being dulled on the protector, that’s totally dependent on your use.

Yes, a grainier texture can lead to your nib declining a bit more quickly by the slightest of margins, but it isn’t anything to ride home about. Your nib will primarily degrade depending on your habits. So, if you apply a lot of pressure, you’ll notice the nib winding down regardless of whether you apply the protector or not. 

How Long Does Paperlike Last?

A Paperlike screen protector will last about 2-3 years before you need to change it. So, if you’ve not used the extra screen protector, one package can net you about 6 years of usage with no issues whatsoever.

From loitering around the office, I’ve come to find out that most of my peers who have had Paperlikes for multiple years now still have no scratches or permanent marks on the protector, which may lead to them needing to change / remove it. So, all in all, the product seems to be very durable and will last you for a long time.

Does Paperlike Wear Out Apple Pencil Nibs?

The Paperlike has a matte, grainy texture, while the Apple Pencil is originally designed for a glossy glass surface. So, yes, technically, the Paperlike protector should lead to your Apple Pencil wearing out on a Paperlike’s surface.

But, case in point, Apple Pencil nibs generally take a long time to wear out, given that you use them without applying obscene amounts of pressure. So, the comparison between both surfaces isn’t particularly that intimidating when it comes to wear and tear. 

Why Do People Buy Screen Protectors For iPads?

There are several reasons why someone would want to add a screen protector to their iPad:

  • An extra layer of protection: it prevents scratches, cracks, and other damage that might be caused by accidents.
  • Enhances the writing experience: writing on an iPad feels like you are writing on a glass, but if you have a Paperlike screen protector on, it feels more like writing on a piece of paper.
  • Prevents smudges & fingerprints: The screen protector prevents fingerprints and smudges from accumulating on the screen. If you like to keep things tidy and clean, a Paperlike screen protector will help with this issue.
  • Reduces glare: the screen protector will reduce glare and reflection on the screen, especially if you are outdoors or working under bright light.

What Do People Say About Paperlike?

As Rocky Balboa said: life is not rainbows and sunshines, some people don’t like Paperlike, but mostly they don’t like it because they failed to read the instructions and didn’t apply the screen protector correctly.

Most people love Paperlike, and some hate it, but in those cases, no one is being really rational and giving a reason for hate. Some people just like to throw that word around for no reason. Overall, more positive reviews than negatives. We’re definitely leaving a positive one.

Is The Paperlike Screen Protector Worth It?

Protector TypeDurability / ProtectionDrawing / Writing ExperienceGlareColor Reproduction / Accuracy 
Glass ProtectorGreatBelow AverageSomeNo Difference
Plastic Protector Below AverageAverageSomeNo Difference
Paperlike AverageGreatNoneSlight Difference 

A quick glance at this table and you’ll immediately realize that the Paperlike beats out both of the two other common screen protector types by a huge margin. So, yes, the Paperlike is definitely worth it for all individuals, regardless of your use cases.

Besides just offering your screen some much-needed protection from scratches, it goes a step beyond and provides an upgrade to your writing and media-consumption experience. The application process is stress-free – and the protector really does bring out the best in your device.

So, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who wants to really take their writing and drawing experience with their iPad to the next level. 

How To Remove Paperlike Without Damaging The Screen?

Honestly, it is easier than it looks. I created a video for this purpose. You just need a sharp object so you can have a grip on the edge of the screen protector after that, it peels off easily. I personally used a knife, but you can get it done with anything else that’s sharp, perhaps even with your nails.

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4 Best iPads For Procreate & 1 to Avoid
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Content Creator | + posts

Saad is excellent at what he does. He's a tech fanatic. He strives to improve himself wherever he can. He tries to make each article he writes a little better than before. He explains difficult things in a very simple way.

+ posts

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.