iPhone 4 and Zagg screen protector

by mike ~ July 22, 2010

I had to exchange my first iPhone 4 two weeks after getting it. The screen had a few scratches on it already, and the proximity sensor was a mess. I cheek-dialed, cheek-hung-up on calls, etc.  Luckily, Apple was good about swapping it out with no drama.  The replacement phone still has the proximity sensor issues, but since then, Apple has committed to fixing that with a software update soon. Both phones also had/have this annoying habit of hanging up the call when I try to lock the screen while not using a headset or speakerphone. That’s really annoying, and I hope that’ll be folded in with the other fix.

Otherwise, I’m actually rather happy with the new iPhone.  It’s noticeably faster than the 3GS, and the camera is a significant improvement.  (Of course, more internal storage would facilitate taking and storing bigger photos and videos, but hey.) The flash is more useful than I thought it’d be, though mostly as a flashlight, since its being so close to the lens makes for some great red-eye. Multitasking, gimped as it is, is actually pretty useful and well-implemented.  The antenna issue exists, but in practice has yet to be an issue for me. Yes, the bumper alleviates it to some extent, but doesn’t “solve” the issue as some would have you believe. Of course, the bumper also has a way of muffling your voice due to the little echo chamber it places right atop the microphone opening.

Anyway, since the first iPhone 4 I picked up got scratched so quickly, even while being carried mostly in my hand or in my jeans pocket with only guitar picks and a plastic usb thumb drive (that I haven’t used much in the last year or so thanks to Dropbox, now that I think about it…), I decided it would behoove me to get a screen protector. Gorilla Glass, my ass.

I read a bunch of reviews and wound up going with the only product I could find in person that offered front and back protection:  Zagg invisibleSHIELD Dry. On the box it says “The original military grade, clear protective film”, except in all caps and orange text.  They’re being half-honest.  The front screen protector is actually pretty nice and clear. However, the back is a mess:

Back of phone with Zagg invisibleSHIELD

“Why would they want us to put such an ugly thing on our iPhones?”, I wondered. And then I emailed the president of Zagg.

Hi,

I just got the dry application invisibleSHIELD full body screen protector for my iPhone 4.  I installed it fairly well (only slightly askew so the home button isn’t quite in the center of the circle…), though there was an issue with the instructions from the applicator staying on the shield.  I attached a picture below that shows the problem.  I was able to wipe it most of it off with some difficulty and some moist paper towels, but I was surprised that I had to do that. There are some places where the cover is now scratched as a result of this scrubbing.

The other issue is with the protector for the back of the phone.  It is not clear, nor is it invisible.  It’s this terribly ugly textured/matted thing.  Nowhere on the packaging for this product, nor on your website anywhere, is this described to be as such. I expected the back to be the same lovely crystal-clear product as the front. Why is it different and worse?  Did I get a defective item?  Is there any way I could get a replacement set that doesn’t have these problems?

Sincerely,
Mike Grosshandler

Leftovers on the Zagg invisibleSHIELD

We’ll see if I get a response.  Has anyone else experienced this?

*EDIT*

Well, not an hour after I emailed him, Cameron Leishman, from the Office of the President of Zagg Inc. replied to me.  Impressive!

Hello Mike,

Thank you very much for your email, as well as your purchase of the invisibleSHIELD Dry! From the picture you provided, it looks like you have not removed the layer above the invisibleSHIELD. This layer has the alignment pattern printed on it, and is designed to come up. You can actually remove this layer at the corner indicated by the “Remove with Tab” and arrow printing. You can gently use your fingernail to separate the two layers, and then carefully peel up the alignment layer.

If this is not the case, please let me know at your earliest convenience and I will be more than happy to get a new invisibleSHIELD Dry sent out to you!

All the best,
Cameron Leishman

I replied:

Hi Cameron,

Thank you very much for the quick reply! I assure you, I removed the alignment layer as it was significantly larger than the remaining cover.  Right?  The printing was left behind on the actual shield, I’m sure of it. However, like I said, I was able to remove it by scrubbing it with a moist paper towel for several minutes, though that process left scratches on the shield.  You didn’t address my other question, though, which was about the BACK cover.  Would you be so kind as to let me know if that leathery/matted texture is the way it’s supposed to be, even though that’s not how it is described anywhere?  Don’t you have a back cover available that is just like the front one – clear and smooth? Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about with the back cover: (same picture from above)

If you can send a replacement set, I’d be most appreciative.  Here is my address:

Thanks!
-Mike

*EDIT 2*

His reply:

Hello Mike,

Thank you for your email. There are three layers of the invisibleSHIELD Dry, other than the original backing paper you have already removed: The top layer, which you is significantly larger than the invisibleSHIELD and the screen itself. The second layer is what you see on your screen–the alignment template This is identical in size to the invisibleSHIELD. The third, and final layer, is the invisibleSHIELD itself (i.e. it is under the design template you have noticed). This makes it highly unlikely that the template has transferred its design to the invisibleSHIELD, especially in a manner as detailed and unblemished as your pictures indicate.

In addition, the texture of the invisibleSHIELD Dry for the back of the device is different from the front. You will notice that it is slightly “rough” to the touch, almost akin to leather. This is an intrinsic property of the invisibleSHIELD Dry, and is a texture that many customers actually prefer to the smoothness of the regularly installed invisibleSHIELD. If you were interested in the purchase of a normal invisibleSHIELD for the back of your iPhone 4, I’d be more than happy to offer it at 50% off. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

And mine:

I tried, with my fingernail, to see if I could tease out two separate layers as you described, but it still seems this is just one piece remaining here on the front.  I followed the directions in this video here on your website:

http://www.zagg.com/support/dryinstallvideo.php

That video does not describe the 3rd layer you mention. It just says to peel the application film away from the shield, and shows it all coming up in one motion. It is impossible to separate the design template from the shield as you describe, if they are even two distinct pieces by design. All I’ve accomplished in trying in two of the corners is getting fingerprints UNDER the shield and further scratching the screen protector!  If there’s some secret method to separating the two pieces, please let me know.  As I said, I was able to remove the white overlay paint from the screen protector, at the expense of slightly scratching the screen, so the phone is usable as it is now, but it’s not ideal, especially for $30!

As for the back, that’s interesting.  People really prefer that?  Well, personal preferences aside, it’d be supremely helpful if somewhere on the packaging AND on your website that difference was clearly and obviously disclosed. As it is, the product is very misleading. I noticed now that it is mentioned briefly in the video, but that goes by quickly and the point isn’t made obvious. It should be listed in the product description with a photograph.  I can live with the textured back, but I may not have bought your product if I’d known it’d be like that.

I’d still appreciate a replacement front shield.

-Mike

*EDIT 3*

Then:

…It sounds like the invisibleSHIELD stayed on the backing when you first began your installation. I would be more than happy to provide you with a replacement at no cost to you.

So, score one for good customer service. Hopefully the replacement works better!

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One Response to “iPhone 4 and Zagg screen protector”

  1. mikegrosshandler.com » Zagg invisibleSHIELD – Update Says:

    […] is a followup to a post I made about a Zagg invisibleSHIELD iPhone screen protector.  Zagg did indeed ship me a […]

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