Review: invisibleSHIELD iPhone Screen Protector

Though it came as a surprise to absolutely no one, along with the Apple iPhone has come an absolute barrage of accessories and other products to pair with your iPhone, leaving all of us with a sea of merchandise to sort through and evaluate. Slowly but surely, feedback will be available on all of these products. Some things, however, are important to be informed about right from the get-go. Depending on the person you're asking, virtually any mobile phone accessory can be considered essential. One that should be, without argument, considered essential for all PDAs is a screen protector. When considering that typical PDAs are commonly more expensive than less featured mobile devices and the usage more intense, protecting one's investment should be considered a must. Thus, the first accessory each one of you should buy for your iPhone (yes, before the fancy Bluetooth headset), is a screen protector.

Update: The invisibleSHIELD is now available for the iPhone 4 and iPad 2.
Update: The invisibleSHIELD for the Apple iPad is now available (04/03/09)
Update: The invisibleSHIELD for the iPhone 3G S is now available (06/10/09)

The problem is, you've got dozens to choose from, most of which aren't worth your money or effort to apply. I've had experience with numerous different brands, all of which came at a relatively high cost (usually around $20 a pack) and offered extremely disappointing results. One other thing that each of these brands had it common was that each required, through various suggested methods, that they be cut to fit your device once arriving home. Consistently, each offered bubbly application results, poor clarity, and a short life span due to the fact that the protectors themselves were easily marred and scratched.

A few weeks before the iPhone was released, I decided to try moving up in the world of screen protectors. After talking to a few trusted colleagues, I decided to make my first foray into the screen protector upper crust with ZAGG's line of screen protectors, the invisibleSHIELD. Suffice it to say, I was skeptical. The invisibleSHIELD typically costs between $15-$25 for one protector, a price for which I was used to getting a pack of 8-12 protectors.

ZAGG makes an extremely boastful array of claims for it's flagship product line, the invisibleSHIELD. Specifically, ZAGG states, "invisibleSHIELD is the toughest, most durable gadget scratch protection film available on planet Earth" ... and they're just getting started. They describe the protectors as "invisible", "invincible", strong enough to protect helicopter blades traveling hundreds of miles per hour, and even go so far as to impart "self healing" properties to the urethane plastic which the invisibleSHIELD is made of. The website features pictures of someone attempting to tear the protector apart and even puncture the shield with a pencil, failing on both accounts. Finally, according to ZAGG, each protector comes pre-cut to custom fit your device perfectly.

Okay, enough, I'm sold. Let's check these out.

The Package

The invisibleSHIELD comes with the shield components, a tapered black plastic squeegee, and a small, misting bottle of spray solution which is intended to aid in the application of the protector to your device. The iPhone full body protector, unlike the other full body protector we received, comes with two bottles of the solution.

package.jpg

Durability

Considering ZAGG's momentous claims about the durability of the invisibleSHIELD, I decided to test that first. As mentioned above, ZAGG shows images depicting plenty of different stress tests on their protectors. So, I figured I'd try a couple of my own. Instead of their pen test, I figured I'd try to bust through the shield with a fork. Using some test material sent along by the company with the actual protectors I ordered, I placed the material over a four pronged fork and pulled. Much to my delight, the material performed as promised. Until I could no longer keep a grip on the plastic, the urethane stretched and stretched, ever more conforming to the fork, but not puncturing.

puncture.jpg

My scratch test yielded similar results. Using first my trusty fork and subsequently a pair of scissors (opened to expose the sharp blade), I scraped away at another sheet of the invisibleSHIELD scrap material. Again, as promised, the shield performed as touted. None of the fork or scissor strokes left any observable scratches on the material. Later, once I had applied my invisibleSHIELD to my iPhone, I worked up the courage to try a few fork strokes along the screen of the protected iPhone. Much to my delight, the iPhone and the invisibleSHIELD emerged unscathed.

scratch.jpg
Since you might not believe the scratch test took place, at least this photo shows how smooth and clear the invisibleSHIELD is even with my hasty appliation

Application

The installation instructions that come with the invisibleSHIELD urge both care and patience. Due to my lack of the latter, I tend to abandon the former. So, what follows is a description of a hasty application of the invisibleSHIELD. Luckily, I had my Samsung Blackjack handy to try first, hoping to get better results out of the iPhone as a second victim.

Both applications turned out to be far easier than expected. Using the provided spray and squeegee, it was surprisingly simple to correctly position each piece of the protector. More importantly, smoothing air bubbles out from under the plastic was a breeze. Though other protectors may ship with a similar accompaniment, the invisibleSHIELD application spray is presumably the lifesaver here. Having only performed dry applications before, and achieving less than desirable results, the liquid made the application smooth and effortless. The included squeegee, in my opinion, is heads and tails above using more credit card like tools to smooth out wrinkles and bubbles.

One common sense tip - start with the back first. That way you can get your feet wet on an area of the device where you won't offend yourself by not doing the job perfectly.

Fit

The invisibleSHIELD for the iPhone fits perfectly. It's almost shocking how well it handles the fluid shape of the device. The protector I tried on my Blackjack faired almost as well, but there were a few pieces that I couldn't figure out where to put.

Clarity

So, is the invisibleSHIELD truly invisible? Of course not. Will you, at times, almost forget it's there? Probably.

Once you've completed a modestly capable application (I got good results on my first try), you'll be surprised how clear and unnoticeable the invisibleSHIELD is, even on the non-screen areas of the device where illumination from the LCD doesn't help hide the protector's presence. You'll mostly notice the protector by it's feel, rather than by sight.The screen protector will begin to become more apparent as it dirties, and the invisibleSHIELD is quite good at picking up fingerprints, dust, and smudges. This, however, is likely no different than the surface of the device your protecting had you not applied an invisibleSHIELD to it.

Texture/Touch

Though this probably isn't a topic of interest in most screen protector reviews, for the iPhone it is. As the iPhone is operated almost exclusively via it's touch screen - it's important to know what a prospective protection material feels like. Something incredibly sticky could potentially inhibit use as might a material that roughs up easily or becomes scuffed.If there's one area where the invisibleSHIELD is less than ideal, and there almost isn't, it's here. After application, once any residual application spray dries off, the screen protector becomes a bit tacky. Though light, graceful strokes of a finger won't bother it at all, heavily pressured strokes can drag or "stutter" across the tacky surface. Women (or men, I suppose) with long fingernails might also find invisibleSHIELD catchy. It's worth noting that in the 10 or so days between applying the invisibleSHIELD and writing this review, that the tackiness seems to have reduced significantly. The slight tackiness actually pays off big time on the back of the device (for the full body invisibleSHIELD) by greatly reducing the inherent slipperiness of the iPhone.

Overall

Put simply, I've been introduced to a whole new world in screen protection. After a couple of years of dealing with what are apparently bargain basement screen protection products from companies like 3M and Fellowes, ZAGG's products have significantly upped the bar.

The invisibleSHIELD delivered handily on all of it's promises (though I can't speak much to the "self-healing aspect" since there's been nothing to heal as of yet). It's also more than worth mentioning that all of ZAGG's products ship completely free and are all covered by a free lifetime replacement guarantee. Even if you need to send your phone in for repair, and have to remove the screen protector first, ZAGG will send you a brand new one.

The Apple iPhone invisibleSHIELD is also available in a front only model for $14.95. The full body model costs $24.95.Update: This review also applies to the invisibleSHIELD iPod Touch Screen protector.

Products reviewed: invisibleSHIELD Apple iPhone Screen Protector, invisibleSHIELD Samsung Blackjack Screen Protector

The invisibleSHIELD screen protector for the iPhone is available directly through invisibleSHIELD.com and includes free shipping.

Here you can find more info, including ordering options, about the invisibleSHIELD for the Apple iPad.

Comments

I ordered one of these a week or so ago, and can confirm, they rock.

I got it 2 weeks ago and it is superb. I bought the iPhone and didn't open it for 1 week until I got the invisibleShield. Before I activated the phone, I put the invisibleShield on.

The material is awesome. Even if you manage to have some bubbles on it, they will be gone in 2 to 3 days. I got 4 bubbles, one was very large, in the back and 3 days later they all were gone. Really, they will be gone.

The wonderful thing is you can get a free replacement for life with the company. You just have to send the old skin back to them to be eligible for future replacement. Why you ask, well, not everyone is honest in the world :)

um...you should know it absorbs stains.

be careful. :)

That stuff is expensive. I got a fully body scratch resistant protector for a 1/3 of the price here http://www.ecrater.com/p/8701511/iphone-4-screen-film-full-body

ok but be careful. it picks up stains. bet you didn't know that.

you can heed my advice, or find out the hard way.

stay away from new bags, new jeans, or anything with any sort of pigment.

oh, and this product attracts dust. especially in high-static areas.

good luck.

i give you about a month before you decide to take it off. :)

why use an invisibleSHIELD when the screen is made of GLASS...even PCWorld did a much heavier stress test on the bare glass and couldnt scratch it...

my buddy had his for 6 days and dropped it from about 2 feet and shattered the glass. it looked like someone shot it with a bb gun. so they do break.

My iPhone has scratches up to a quarter inch in length that do not come out after a month. I have kept in in my pocket, facing the cloth pant lining with nothing metallic in my pocket that could scratch it. Saying its glass is not the same as saying it can't scratch. In fact, there is a film over the glass to enable the touch sensitivity, which is what is likely getting scratched, not the glass.

Trust me, it can scratch. Dropped my first gen iPhone in Lowe's and watched in horror as it slid with reckless abandon down the isle. Got a nice little scratch on the screen from grit on the floor. It bugged me even though it was mostly imperceptible. Given that replacing the glass costs almost what the phone is worth I opted to try the invisible shield (and to prevent future damage). I was pleasantly surprised to find the invisible shield masked the scratch perfectly. Can't see it at all and two years later the invisible shield looks new.

I preordered one for my 3G S so it would be here when the new phone went on sale. Best thing you can do for your iPhone, hands down.

When a friend of mine got his 3G earlier this year I told him to get the invisible shield as it was cheap insurance. He installed it front and back and the used an incipio silicryllic case on top for drop projection. Two days later he walked into his home office to find one of his dogs had taken the phone from the desk and was laying on the floor using it as a chew toy! Outcome: the hard part of the incipio was chewed into a ball. The silicone portion was punctured and torn. The Invisible shield was marred and stretched. He thought his phone was toast. The dog was definitely toast. After removing the Zagg he was surprised to find only one very tiny dent in the corner of the back plastic case from a tooth mark. Other than that the 3G was pristine.

the back of my iphone 4 is already scratched by putting it in the same bag as my keys.. bad idea.

Mine is scratched!

why take a chance? you just spent $500 or $600 on your iPhone, isn't $25 worth not scratching it? Also, will people wake up to the fact that GLASS IS NOT SCRATCH-PROOF! Yes it can be strong, but I have two "tempered glass" tables in my office and guess what... they are scratched!

So, is the iPhone tough? Will it withstand scratches longer than other devices. Probably. For a $500 investment, are you willing to take a chance?

By the way... I have an invisibleSHIELD on my iPhone and I love it.

That's so typical - people always take spending money as a justification for spending more. Doesn't make sense to me. The iPhone should be sold with a protector like that on it. Especially for that price - Apple is enjoying a healthy profit margin.

It is not.
You can either scratch it, lose your 500 bucks and blame apple
or you can buy one of these for 25 and go worry free.

You'd have to think long and hard before ordering this stuff, is it really worth the cost? I got a full body protection for my device from gadgetshieldz.com for 6.99, go figure.

not worth the cost. it absorbs stains!

You can scratch your iPhone 3G glass screen. Trust me, my husband did. Have NO idea how. Didn't drop it or anything, just in his pocket (with other stuff I assume). Just looked at it today and it is scratched, wish we would have bought a screen protector, but didn't think we needed to since everyone says you "can't scratch it." Oh well, not too late to save my beautiful phone!

Amen to that! My husband is terrible about putting his IPhone in the same pocket as his keys, I had to get him the full body protector for his device from gadgetshieldz because Invisible shield and the other sites I found were charging so much more for the same thing.

isn't you buying a computer then paying extra for internet the same thing i.e. your a Hypocrite.

no it;'s not. what the hell kind of analogy is that.

I've used invisibleSHIELDS on my last three PDA/phones.

I won't even consider owning anything I travel with that has an LCD without putting one on it. HIGHLY recommended.

I bought an IPhone the day of the release. I'm already noticing some scratches on the screen :-( and I'm really careful with it.
I have gotten the invisible shield for my nano before and it has worked great. I was just a little leary on how they would work with the touch screen. Now I can be confident to get one.

You might try the Clear View Skins iPhone shield. Its the same material has a lifetime skin replacement and only costs $.14.99

Thanks to everyone who have posted before me. I just bought 2 iPhones and definately want to protect this investment. I now feel confident in this product because of your posts. Thanks again for sharing your experiences with invisibleSHIELD.

I just got an invisible shield for my iPhone and put it on about two days ago. It is AWESOME! I think it is actually nicer because it makes your iPhone less slippery. I think it is a great product! I am so glad I purchased it and it was so easy to put on! I am very happy with it. I also bought a foof pouch to protect my iPhone. They are awesome too.

The InvisibleSHIELD works. Don't bother with bulky silicone cases. My Canadian readers are just eating up the shield, it's that cool. Read my full review here: http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/iphone-accessories/invisibleshield-iphone-full-body-screen-protector-review/

Great! Now also for Europe at www.schutzfolien-shop.com

Have had an iPhone 3G since 30 minutes after the AT&T store opened on July 11. Noticed the silver apple on the back getting some light scratches and decided I needed something to protect it.

The local Apple authorized retailer had a leather case and the InvisibleSHIELD in stock. The sales representative showed me an iPod Touch with the shield applied, and it looked and felt pretty good, so I bought one for my iPhone.

I tried to apply it with as much patience and care as I could muster. I applied the front one first, following the written directions and some related videos from the manufacturer's site. I didn't get it quite lined up properly, but it was a simple matter of peeling it off, respraying the film, and reapplying it.

The back was a little harder. I got everything lined up after a good bit of work (although to have it fit the hold switch required obscuring a sliver of the headphone port--not a problem for sticking the headphones in, but a visual annoyance on close inspection). However, it seems like the corner pieces aren't molded quite right. I couldn't get them wrapped around the corners without some minor folds and air bubbles at the bending points.

I suppose I could attempt reapplying the back, but it's 98% there and I don't want to mess with it again--though maybe I'll try again in a few days. It's a bit annoying, though, as the fim's folds create sharp corners, which make the handset a little less comfortable to hold.

I wouldn't give the invisibleSHIELD a negative review, as a reapplication attempt might solve my problems. Perhaps the folks at ZAGG might be able to make a few minor adjustments to make sure it fits properly, though.

Also, my front film has a collection of very minute ripples or air bubbles on the left hand side. I tried peeling that portion up, respraying it, and reapplying it, but they are still there. They may dissappear over the next few days, though, but in the meantime, they are another visual annoyance.

I'd still recommend this product over the bigger, thicker leather, acrylic and other cases.

Let's party!

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