PureGear’s Smart + Buttons Screen Protector ($45) isn’t your typical iPhone screen cover. Yes, it’s a thin tempered glass screen protector, but most noteworthy are its unseen shortcut buttons. The screen protector allows iPhone 6/6s users to control buttons at the top of the screen by pressing directly to the left or right of the Home Button, below the actual display. For instance, if you’re in Safari, pressing left of the Home Button will go into Reader mode, while pressing just to the right of the Home Button will refresh the page. It’s an interesting alternative to using Reachability. PureGear also sells a iPhone 6/6s Plus version of Smart + Buttons for the same price.
Smart + Buttons works pretty well — maybe better than you’d expect. After a fairly easy, multi-step installation process, the screen protector is ready to go, and the hidden buttons work pretty well once you’ve got a sense of their location. Whether such an innovation is necessary all depends on how you use your iPhone. Screen protectors can be found for much cheaper, so are these shortcuts worth the extra dough? If you’re a heavy user of Reachability, we’d say maybe. Keep in mind that not all apps use the top corners, and longtime iPhone users will also have to teach themselves to use extra, unseen buttons. Smart + Buttons is a clever product, but most users probably won’t use the shortcut buttons enough to justify the purchase.