For Gear Diary about my experience installing the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD
October 30, 2007
Let me start by saying I am a big fan of protection. I have purchased more than my share of cases for the devices I have had over the years. I end up liking them less and less because they make the device bigger and often (to my eye) less attractive. I had a silicone skin for my Trinity and it seemed to cheapen the feel and look of the phone, which means I didn’t use it, which means I ended up with a phone that got tattered and abused.
To prevent this from happening to my new toy, I ordered the skin before I ordered my Advantage. Much to my dismay, one of the products that ZAGG (invisibleSHIELD) makes is for the iPhone, and filling those orders put the company behind in their order processing. (Damn iPhone.) I had my Advantage a full two weeks before the skin arrived and despite using the OEM leather case religiously, I still ended up with a little chip in the case above the indicator lights. (I dotted the mark with Sharpie before installing the protector to minimize the cosmetic flaw.)
I have used the invisibleSHIELD screen protectors on many devices and have been very happy. The Advantage is the first item I have had for which they offered a Full Body Shield.
Let’s start with the name, because as much as I like the whole idea, I was very cranky to finish the installation and find that there are no pieces to cover the sides. I was really looking forward to having some protection around the charger slot because that’s where I feel like I am scraping the device. I was expecting full coverage. No dice.
OK. Now that I have my biggest gripe out of the way, let me walk you through the process.
The instructions are not device specific, so I didn’t know where to start. I decided to start with the screen, since I had done that before and figured I was competent enough to give it a go.
I sprayed my fingers, and both sides of the film as directed. It took a little finessing to get it lined up just so, but I was successful. Time to move on to the front, I figured, and here is where I had my first problem. Having only used screen protectors in the past, I was unprepared for the narrow bits that would go on as a picture frame on the metal around the screen. It would have been helpful to know that the film can stretch. I had a really tough time lining up the holes in the film with the holes in the Advantage. In fact, I was unable to make it line up. I had to cut out a tiny bit of film to make it work. (This is where “cranky” began to creep in.) The skin is for the X7500 and not the X7501, so already it has a hole for the front facing camera that doesn’t exist (that’s another gripe for another time!) I knew this going into it, so I had prepared myself for that, but wasn’t expecting to have to do surgery. This is also where I learned how tough the shield is. I couldn’t slice it with an Exacto knife and had to use scissors to cut it. I removed a smidge of the product so that it wouldn’t overlap. (I am a “picker” and an overlapping bit of film would be an invitation to pick.)
The big pieces all went on easily. The most difficult section was the edge with the battery cover. It was tough to get the opening lined up so that the hatch cover wouldn’t bump into the housing.
The kit comes with a squeegee which was helpful on the large bits, but I found a cloth to be more helpful in many places. It’s a bit of a balancing act to get enough moisture for the film to be movable and not so much that you feel like you are soaking the machine. (The instructions do suggest spraying the film, not the device.) There were a few occasions where I just couldn’t maneuver the film into the right spot, so I used a piece of packing tape to lift a corner, spray more fluid, and try again.
The instructions also suggest that you leave the device alone for 24 hours for all the residual bubbles to work their way out. Of course none of us are going to be able to do that with our primary communications device. To that end, I performed the installation on a day off, before dinner, so I could minimize any use of the phone for as long as possible.
I do like the look of the screen without a cover, but I am not willing to risk the wear on the screen without one. (I had a device once on which I played A LOT of solitaire and after a while, there was a visible wear pattern on the glass over the stack of cards and down to the seven rows!) I hated using the Advantage these two weeks with no screen protector, but I also didn’t want to install one of the OEM and have to remove it when the invisibleSHIELD came. (These are the thoughts that keep me up nights. Aren’t you glad you don’t live in my head?)
All in all, I am happy with the coverage. I can still pan easily in Internet Explorer (using SPB Pocket Plus) and the screen seems plenty responsive, so I don’t feel I have sacrificed much in the tactile department, and the VGA screen is still attractive through the film (in fact maybe better with the glare being cut.) I wish the directions were specific to each device, and I wish it covered the sides, but I am glad I have it. Now I’m hunting for a pouch-style holder with a belt clip to carry the phone (without the keyboard.) If you have any brilliant, solutions, fill me in!
The ZAGG (invisibleSHIELD) for the HTC Advantage (7500) is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: The idea of not beating up my device with regular daily use.
What Needs Improvement: The directions should tell you where to start and to be careful not to stretch. Full Body Shield should mean full coverage.