You come back home, pull your Switch out from your backpack and you see a giant crack on the screen. This is the scenario that screen protectors are meant to prevent, but how likely is it to happen in reality? And do these protectors preserve your screen, or are they more placebo than anything else? In other words...
Is the Nintendo Switch screen fragile or durable?
The screen on the Nintendo Switch is made of plastic, instead of glass. This means that it is more "bendy" and less likely to crack altogether if you drop it against something.
On the flip side, plastic is more malleable than glass, so while it does not break outright, it is prone to get scratched, especially if it´s being tossed around inside a bag. One scratch seldom affects the functionality of your Switch, so you can still use the touch screen to your heart content, albeit with a pretty big eyesore.
While one scratch isn´t an issue, they can quickly add up. If you are not careful, the screen might get covered in so many lines that you´ll be able to play Tic Tac Toe on it. This level of damage can ruin your touch screen and/or create dead pixels, but it normally takes many years or a lot of bad luck to reach that level of damage (under normal circumstances).
So, yes. If you move your Switch around a lot, then it is liable to get scratched
Getting in and out of the dock, scraping against a table, hitting other objects in your backpack, each of these collisions has its toll on the console. If you don´t want cracks, then you might want to find a way to protect the screen, like with the aforementioned protectors. But do they work? If so, how?
How do these screen protectors work?
Quite simply. You put a sheet of glass or even more plastic on top of your screen and it will protect it from dirt and scratches. It acts kind of like a shield that takes the hits instead of your console.
These protectors are never really thick, so you don't have to worry about the touch screen losing its singular characteristic. They are transparent too, so they don't affect the quality of the image at all.
Because of their simplicity, they are easy to install and remove. Just stick them across your screen and you are done, nothing else is required.
You might think that this sounds a bit too flimsy to work. So, do they?
A thin layer of glass and plastic might not sound like much of a defense, and to a certain point it isn´t. If you expect the screen protector to keep your Switch together after getting hit by a hammer or being dropped to the floor, then yeah, it´s probably not going to do much.
However, if you instead want something to make sure that your screen is intact even as your Switch rolls around your backpack all day, then yes, the protectors are well suited to the task. They will prevent any scratches from occurring on the Switch itself, often at their own expense.
As you can see by comparing my Switch with and without the protector, they aren´t immune to getting cracks, but the screen itself remains intact. And, if the protector gets unbearably damaged, you can always take it off or swap it for another one. Needless to say, you can´t do that with your screen.
So, does the Switch actually need a protector?
You don´t need one, your Switch will most likely keep working fine as long as you treat it with care. However, they can and will prevent your screen from getting scratched or damaged. Of course, there are other ways to prevent damage to your console. Being careful or carrying it around a specialized case, like the ones in this article, can go a long way in preventing any scratches and dead pixels.
If you are confident in your discipline and never drop your phone, then you might want to forgo the protectors altogether. This is especially true for people who only use the Switch on the dock or at home, and rarely take it outside.
On the other hand, if you like to take your Nintendo Switch for a ride, then it is plenty likely that it will get damaged along the way, so buying these accessories is a no brainer. If nothing else, they will give you peace of mind when you carry it around or even play with the Labo, as you can use the Toy-Cons in several creative, and possibly scratch-prone, ways.
Either way, if your screen does get scratched and cracked, remember that fixing it will always cost more than even the most expensive protector, they are pretty much the cheapest accessory for Nintendo´s console on the market. You can get one pretty much everywhere, like Amazon and even eBay, so give it a chance if you have 10 dollars laying around.
Also consider buying caps to protect your thumb grips too, as Joy-Cons are notoriously fragile.