Bitt (wfaulk) wrote,

Review: Zagg InvisibleShield for Nexus One

I got a Google/HTC Nexus One cellphone recently.  I have scratched too many gadget screens in my time, and I told myself that I'd always get a decent screen protector in the future.  So when I got this, I got a screen protector as soon as possible.  I liked the thinness of the device, so I thought I'd also get as small a case as possible, too.  I did a little bit of research and decided that Zagg's InvisibleShield (which is a urethane film like the stuff people apply to their cars to protect from rock chips) looked like a good solution.

First, I ordered it on a Thursday and they didn't bother shipping it until the next Tuesday, and I finally got it that Saturday.  There's no reason that they couldn't have shipped it out sooner.

When I got it in, I discovered that the spray bottle of positioning lubricant described on their web site and videos was missing.  I realized that they'd shipped me a small heatsealed plastic basin with a sponge in it instead.  Odd, but I figured they knew what they were doing.  Boy, was I wrong.

The back side of the film is very sticky, so you need to cover it with as much of the lubricant as possible in order to make it slide around.  The great thing about a sponge is that it absorbs liquid.  It's not so great at applying liquid, though.  Try as I might, I had a nearly impossible time of getting enough of the lubricant on the back of the sheets to make them not immediately stick.  This means that the sheets would stick to the wrong area and I'd have to peel it off.  Peeling it off often deforms the plastic and sometimes makes the adhesive orangepeel.

You're supposed to be really careful about getting all of the lint off of the device and keeping it from getting on the back of the shield, for obvious reasons.  You know what else a sponge is good at?  Shedding little flakes of itself.  To be fair, it's not like it was a kitchen sponge; it's somewhat neoprene-like.  That doesn't keep little black pieces of foam rubber from flaking off, though.  So once I did get enough lubricant on the sheet to make it positionable, that means that I'd gone over it with the sponge so much that there were bound to be little flecks of black rubber caught underneath.  Which means I had to pull the sheet up again.  And getting those little black flecks off was near impossible.  I had to use something hard, like my fingernail or the "squeegee" (unpressed credit card) to get them off.  Which usually left the adhesive orangepeeled.

Also, you're supposed to apply one piece at a time, let it dry for at least 12 hours, then apply another.  Why is not exactly described in the instructions, but based on personal experience, it's because if you don't wait for one piece to adhere before applying the next, you will move it while trying to get the next one positioned.  If that's the case, an unresealable plastic basin is probably not the best storage device for a liquid.

All of these problems could have been resolved if they just included the spray bottle instead of the sponge.  But those are not all of the problems.

I think it probably makes sense for the protection for the screen to be separate from the rest.  And it definitely makes sense for the battery cover to be done separately.  It may make some sense for the front to be separate from the back.  That's four pieces.  Why, then, did Zagg separate it into ten distinct pieces?  There's one for the screen, one for the battery cover, one for the back below the "stripe", two for the stripe itself, one more for each side above the stripe, two for the trackball area, and one for the earpiece area.  The most egregious one of those is the two for the stripe.  It leaves a seam right across the middle of the stripe.  Why?

The answer may be part of the next problem.  The pieces simply don't fit well.  The battery cover and the screen protector seem to fit fine.  The two-piece stripe cover is too long, either going just past the seam between the screen and the body, or overlapping at the back.  It's also too narrow, leaving several millimeters of space unprotected.  The rear bottom piece has an overly complicated shape for the corners.  Before it's applied, it looks like maybe it's going to wrap around to seam up with itself.  Well, it doesn't, and it also leaves significant portions of the case unprotected.

The long thin stripes for the sides are incredibly fiddly, and there's no reason they shouldn't have been part of the whole stripe assembly, unless they were unsure about the fit, which is the impression I get from the product.  Honestly, at this point, I gave up.

Also, the pieces are diecut or laser cut or something.  But they had little isthmuses of plastic attaching them to the detritus, as if it was some sort of punch-out paper doll for an eight-year-old girl.  All this did was serve to stretch the plastic as I was trying to remove it, and help me get more fingerprints all over the sticky side.  Yes, I washed my hands, and, yes, I applied the lubricant to my fingers before I started manipulating the pieces, but you try snapping little pieces of intentionally really resilient plastic and see if you don't press the ridges of your fingerprints into the adhesive.  I suppose I should have used a knife.

So, in summary, The Zagg InvisibleShield is not shipped as advertised, but with inferior accessories, would take you at least five days to install if you followed the recommendations (ten pieces times 12 hours waiting time for each piece), is ill-fitting, and leaves the device unprotected.  I have requested a refund.  I'm not sure if I'm going to try someone else's urethane film, or if I'm going to get a silicone case.  I think I'll probably get a silicone case as a stopgap measure, anyway, not that the included protective sleeve does a bad job.
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