Are you the owner of a new Apple iPad (or another Apple gadget)? As you are probably aware, products like the iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and iPad have screens that are made of gorilla glass, which is a very thin but extremely strong electronics glass. This glass is very scratch resistant as it can even resist metal keys.
However, despite how scratch resistant it is, it is not scratch proof and since you probably spent somewhere in the hundreds purchasing the gadget, you should definitely consider getting a screen protector.
There are many screen protectors out there from a huge selection of brands, including well known ones and random unknown brands on eBay. Even though many of them look the same, not all screen protectors are the same.
For my new iPad 2, I chose the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD (Screen only) and I have been using it for about 4 weeks now.
Note: This is a review made by an actual customer (myself). I purchased this myself and was not provided this as a review unit.
What is the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD?
According to the company, the invisibleSHIELD is a durable polyurethane military-grade film originally used to protect the blades of helicopters. ZAGG claims this film uses special nano-memory technology that gives it unique self-healing capabilities and durability, while helping to reduce the appearance of fingerprints and smears.
ZAGG shields also come with a lifetime replacement warranty, meaning you are allowed to get free replacements (excludes shipping).
The iPad 2 Screen Only shield will cost $29.99 (USD) and shipping is free to the lower 48 US states.
Many of the reviews you find will have a complaint about a difficult installation process. Unlike a traditional screen protector, ZAGG uses a wet application method, meaning the shield is applied with a liquid solution. This is the first time I ever installed a ZAGG shield and personally, I found the wet installation easier than the dry ones.
But wait! Wouldn’t liquid damage the device? Don’t worry, just make sure the device is off for 12-24 hours following installation to make sure everything dries.
Each shield order comes with a complimentary install kit, which includes a 10 mL bottle of application solution, a microfiber cloth, and a rubber squeegee.
You may see some installation and review videos have a large bottle of solution, however, the solution that comes with a front shield is a 10 mL flat rectangular container, as shown below.
The most important thing to remember when installing the invisibleSHIELD is to ensure that the shield can easily slide across the device surface. This ensures that you can easily align it perfectly and also helps when removing water/air bubbles. To do this, you must spray lots of solution onto the shield (and you should spray the actual screen as well). This is the part I messed up on.
So what went wrong? There was not enough solution and the container of solution was incredibly difficult to spray. I was told by the support staff that the “bottle” could be refilled up to 3 times with just water, but how exactly can this container even be opened? Your only option is to order more solution or attempt to make your own.
I have not tested this myself but according to various other customers, the solution can be created by mixing water with a few drops of soap.
Fortunately for me, the installation still worked out all right, but it took much longer than it should have.
Here’s an installation video from ZAGG. It’s for the original iPad, but the instructions are exactly the same for iPad 2:
The installation really isn’t difficult at all but if you prefer to have someone else install it, stores like Best Buy will install it for you for a fee.
I had quite a number of bubbles after the installation and most of them disappeared after two days. The great thing about the wet installation is that its not a huge disaster if dust wounds up under the shield because the water could push it out, unlike with dry installations, where just a little dust could ruin an entire shield.
I have been using the shield on my iPad 2 for about four weeks now and in some ways, I like it but in other ways, its getting irritating.
The invisibleSHIELD is military grade protection made of the same material that was used to protect the blades of helicopters. It is an extremely durable material and I feel very confident using the iPad in all conditions with this shield on.
It is highly unlikely for any normal object to penetrate through the shield, however do note that the shield itself is in no way scratch proof.
ZAGG claims the shield has self-healing capabilities so it will “heal” itself from some scratches.
I am a bit disappointed that my shield has already received several scratches, one of which is very noticeable while the others are only noticeable at certain angles under light. I’m not sure how it got scratched, but luckily its just the shield. I have not noticed the self-healing work on these scratches.
Look and Feel
The shield looks great on the iPad. It is crystal clear and does not seem to distort the display clarity in any way.
The shield’s nano-memory technology gives extra grip to the iPad so its easier to hold as opposed to the slippery feel of the naked iPad. Unfortunately, this comes with a downside of making it difficult to swipe on the touchscreen due to the extra friction. Unless you have oily fingers, there will be a significant drag when sliding your finger across the screen. This creates a significant problem when using apps involving lots of finger swiping or pinching, such as games. The amount of friction did reduce after two weeks of usage, but it still is quite noticeable and makes the experience of the touch screen less enjoyable in some cases.
The friction also makes the shield feel slightly “sticky”. As a result, I found the sides of the shield to be dust magnets, attracting some dust.
Despite the friction, touch sensitivity does not seem to be affected.
The shield does not show nearly as many fingerprints as a normal screen, but fingerprints will still show. The same thing applies to smudges, although the extra friction between the shield and your fingers can cause even more smudges.
ZAGG has also claimed the shield will reduce glare a bit. While I found it to slightly reduce glare, it is in no way to the extent of being helpful. The invisibleSHIELD is not a matte shield but instead is glossy, therefore, does not do much to reduce glare.
It is clear, but in no way is this shield “invisible”. When the device is turned off, there is a very noticeable orange peel effect. Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to capture this on camera because of glare and lighting issues. This doesn’t affect the display clarity at all and is not that important. I noticed that over time, the effect does get reduced.
It’s difficult to see the shield when the display is turned on, but once you attempt to swipe your finger on the screen, it immediately becomes obvious that there’s a screen protector.
There are also several small hair light lines all over the screen. They somewhat look like small scratches. Others have reported small hair like vertical lines on the screen, although I’m not sure if my issue is related. The support team just recommended me a free warranty replacement.
The lifetime replacement is a big plus. If the shield ever gets damaged, just request a replacement and they will send it to you at no charge, as long as they receive your old shield within 60 days. You have to pay shipping though.
For the iPad 2 shield, there is actually a free shipping option available to the lower US 48 states because the order is above $29.98. The return shipping for the old shield is only one standard stamp (currently at 44 cents). So 44 cents for each replacement is a pretty good deal in my opinion.
When requesting a replacement, there are options to upgrade your shield to full body (+ $10) or anti-smudge (+ $5). Interestingly, the anti-smudge isn’t available to purchase anywhere else.
The ZAGG invisibleSHIELD is a great way to protect your valuable iPad’s screen from scratches. The lifetime replacement warranty is a big plus.
However, as of finishing this review, I have switched to another anti-glare screen protector and requested a free warranty replacement of the ZAGG. I like the extra grip that ZAGG provided but its becoming very difficult to use many of my favorite apps.
Overall, its all based on personal preference. If you don’t mind extra friction on the screen, then the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD is definitely the way to go. The installation is quite easy and the protection it provides is amazing. However, if you use a lot of apps that require swiping across the screen, the ZAGG might not be right for you and your device screen.
One year after writing this review, I installed a new replacement invisibleSHIELD and continue to be annoyed by the friction. The review rating has been dropped to 3 stars (from 4). Because of this, I cannot recommend the invisibleSHIELD. However, you might want to try their newer HD line of shields, which is supposed to have a “glass-like surface”. A few people have reported this more expensive version is much better, but I have not personally tried it myself. If you’ve used the HD shield, please share your experience in the comments. Thanks.
What do you think of the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD? Do you prefer another screen protector? Or do you prefer using your device naked? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.