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ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD for iPhone 4 Review

By on December 11, 2010
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Decent protection from the scratches of evil.

I will admit, I keep my iPhone 4 as if it’s a precious gold bar that I take with me everyday. It rest, always, on soft material, be it on a handkerchief in my home or a stolen pouch cover in the office. I also give it a good scrubbing twice a day. My iPhone 4 lives a pretty kingly life, I must say. This goes to all of my gadgets, I want them in pristine condition always for its entire duration I own them (except keyboards…they…they  don’t last long).  A scratch makes a lump in my throat, and keeps me morally down for days. That’s how fussy I am about my stuff, and so for me, something like Zagg’s InvisibleSHIELD for the iPhone 4 should be God sent.

The InvisibleSHIELD boasts of military grade material, apparently used on helicopter blades in the US Army, which is unscratchable and unbreakable. On top of its He-Man durability, the InvisibleSHIELD also self heals, meaning that if a scratch does manage to get past, it will automatically sooth it out in a couple of hours. Sound good enough to be stuck on my precious(sss), but is it as good as it sounds on paper?

Packaging & Installation
In the box, you will find a cardboard with the various SHIELDs stuck on it, one spray bottle, one squeegee, one cleaning cloth and the instruction paper.

That's not empty sheet of paper. It's the Invisibles.

When Zagg says that it’s protection covers are invisible, they actually mean it. And I don’t mean that in a good way. It is difficult to make out the various protection stickers on the cardboard, except the main front and back ones. You will have to twiddle it under sunlight to spot them. And pray that you have a long nail somewhere on your fingers, the small stickers that are meant to cover the individual parts of the steel band on the iPhone 4 can be a bitch to pull out otherwise. How hard, or costly, would it had been for Zagg to draw outlines for each of the stickers? Or were they trying to be cheesy by proving how invisible their stickers are, eh?

If they didn’t wanted to do that, maybe they could have done a proper instruction manual like a good product should be handed out with. The instruction paper is absolutely useless, providing instructions that could belong to any of those cheap stickers out there.

Installation wasn’t particularly hard, at least not harder than how applying such stickers are. As usual, a steady hand and excellent alignment skills are needed to slap the stickers in its place. I had to reposition it a couple of times, however, but that really depends on how good you are with this stuff.

As you can see the SHIELDs are pretty thin but not entirely invisible. It was hard to get all the bubbles squeezed out, and it seems I have made permanent dents on the surface, as if bitten into, during my scrubbing to get my iPhone bubble free. So much for military grade, eh.

I also managed to get a finger print, which thankfully is on the backside of the phone, a place I hardly look anyway. The trick is to wet your fingers with the provided solution to avoid finger prints, though do it quick or else it soaks away pretty damn quickly.

Feel & Test
As you can see from the picture below, the invisibleSHIELD is not a smooth surface due to the material being used. Thankfully, and on the contrary to what I believed, it does not interfere with the smoothness of controlling the iPhone; it also gives better grip over the mobile. However, it does leave a ‘cloud’ over the screen which some may find irritating and uncompromising over the iPhone 4’s magnificent Retina display. The sticker also does not seem to avoid finger prints, which I thought it would. That’s one of my major gripes and I am disappointed the invisibleSHIELD is not engineered to hide the finger prints. It also makes the screen look dirty and clouds the screen even further, especially under sunlight.

One other thing I have noticed is that the borders around the stickers seems to be collecting dust and residue. It’s hard to rub it off because, well, it’s a sticker. It’s meant to stick.

To test out Zagg’s bold claims, I ran a pair of scissors over the surface. It did seem to leave a scratch but as I noticed, over time the scratch disappeared. To test it out further, I gave it in the hands of the ultimate destroyer, the Zeus of destruction: my one year old nephew. Ensuring he was playing on a cushioned surface alas he decides to fling the phone around, I gave my iPhone in his hands to fiddle around. With his evilness overcoming his cute exterior, he went at it completely. Surprisingly, the SHIELDs came out damage free, a decent feat to achieve considering how gleefully my nephew loves to break things.

Conclusion
Zagg invisibleSHIELDs, while may not offer protection from bumps and knocks, will ensure maximum scratch-safety while it bumps and knocks. They aren’t exactly bruise-free, though, as I did manage to get it dented even while just using the squeegee to knock ‘em bubbles off. For AED 91, the invisibleSHIELDs are decent protection stickers to have though I would still prefer a case + front sticker combo over it.


About

Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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