I love the utility of the iPhone 3GS, but am often scared the shiny screen won’t last. I decided to try out a state of the art screen protector to protect my state of the art device. The ZAGG invisibleSHIELD is a highly marketed screen protector for the iPhone and other similar gadgets. In the over-supplied world of iPhone accessories – and particularly screen protectors – the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD tries to distinguish itself by claiming to be the “gold standard” of screen protectors. The dilemma I decided to tackle was to find out if the high price ($24.95 retail) was worth it.
Attributes of the ZAGG inivisbleSHIELD
The high priced screen protector originates from military technology designed to maintain helicopter blades in different environments. Because of this it claims to prevent anything from scratching your iPhone. Additionally, it’s more than a stick-on screen. It requires a tedious process in which the user carefully cleans the iPhone, attatches the screen protector, blowdrys it for a perfect stick, and then carries the iPhone in a special bag for a few days as the plastic hardens. Best of all, to back up the claims, ZAGG offers a lifetime replacement guarantee.
- Military grade protection
- Unique application process for a less noticable attachment
- Lifetime replacement
My Real Life Experience
After using the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD for a few months I noticed a few light marks on the screen protector. I had thought the protector itself would not scratch, but I have later learned that it can receive a few dents. These don’t significantly take away from the iPhone appearance and thankfully prevent scratches on the iPhone itself.
While protecting the iPhone from scratches, the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD does have some significant downsides. First and particular to the iPhone 3GS, the screen protector does not stay attached very well. This is due to the iPhones oleophobic coating (literally meaning “scared of oil”) which helps prevent fingerprints. Sadly, it also keeps the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD from staying attatched for more than a few months. In my case, it slowly started peeling from the bottom which let in air bubbles and made my iPhone look cheap. At month six, it had peeled off halfway and folded under losing all practical value.
Finally, since the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD does not have an oleophobic coating itself, fingerprints show up very quickly.
Six Month Experience Summary
- Successfully prevents scratches
- Does not stick well on iPhone 3GS
- Attracts fingerprints quickly
Is the ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD Worth Your Time and Money?
In the end, I paid $24.95 for the screen protector plus forked over $10 for “professional” installation at a mall kiosk so that I wouldn’t mess up the tedious process. I am very thankful for the reduction in scratches, but did not expect the screen to peel off so easily (the installation is not refundable) and was saddened that my friends’ iPhones without the screen protector looked and felt much sleeker.
When I called the company to discuss my experience, I was told I had to either pay another $10 for a third-party installation or do it myself. Also, they reminded me that the free replacement cost $3.95 for shipping despite the fact that it can fit easily in a standard envelope, and they would hold a charge on my credit card for the replacement until I returned the original (to prevent someone from gaming the system).
After pointing out the problems specific to the iPhone 3GS and letting them know I would be letting all my loyal blog readers (thanks everyone!) know about my experience, they decided to make the shipping free and not place a charge on my credit card. I really just wanted a refund, but apparently that was asking too much.
In Conclusion – the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD is for you if…
- You really want to prevent scratches with a screen protector
- You don’t mind fingerprints showing up on the iPhone 3GS
- You are willing to order a replacement ($4) every 3-6 months