Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ZAGG invisibleSHIELD! for HTC Magic

I'd had my phone for a few days and decided seeing that I need to keep it on my current contract for 2 years that it might be a good idea to look after it.

Over to the trusty Google for suitable solutions. It's a pretty new handset so the choices are a bit limited.

I found invisibleSHIELD! from Zagg and did some reading and a bit more research, found a few youtube videos showing how good it is and how easy it is to install. So after a few more days of not being able to find anything better I decided to order the full body version for my HTC Magic directly from them (from the states). I also ordered the full body kit for my wife's new Nokia 5800.

The kits duly arrived yesterday, about 5 days after the order. Not too bad seeing as it was coming from over the pond.

So after dealing with the kids, I washed my hands and got comfortable at the dining room table under some good light.

I opened the HTC Magic kit first.

Not to be too gungho I decided to get the hang of it by trying a small piece rather than go directly for the screen section.

As directed I sprayed their magic water on my fingers and proceeded to try and peel off the 1st piece. FAIL! The contact sheet split before the film so I had half the film off with half the contact sheet still firmly stuck to it! Eventually I got it off, by this time having mangled the film nicely and put my fingers all over the 'sticky' side of the film. Thus rendering my attempts to keep finger prints off the sticky side pointless (My fingers had dried so despite their best efforts to inform me to keep the fingers and film wet with the magic water I was unable to do so). I managed to spray both sides as directed and proceeded to put the film in place.

I used the provided black cloth to move it into place and mop up the residual liquid. Getting it into place was quiet easy. keeping it in place while trying to smooth out bubbles and water is another. I let it dry a bit so the contact was a bit stickier. I managed to get it into place and started to mould the edges into place. This took at a lot more patience waiting for the film to dry enough for the contact to adhere sufficiently.

Unfortunately my constant attempts to smooth the edges down ended up with tiny bits of black lint sticking to the edges so I now had black lint lines along the edge of the film against the pristine white of the Magic's cover. Completely unacceptable so I removed it. It wasn't a crucial piece and I wouldn't miss it (it was the bit that covered the speaker above the screen).

Next I proceeded with the main bit, the important bit - the screen protection. Having learnt from my previous attempt I made sure I could lift a corner of the film cleanly then sprayed my fingers and both sides of the film. I placed it on the screen of the phone without a problem. it slid about rather a bit while still very wet, so I mopped up the residual water with the cloth and smoothed out the bubbles with the supplied credit card tool. After a short while it was sticking nicely and no longer moving about and was in place. I continued to smooth out the remaining bubbles with the supplied cloth.

To my surprise the cloth managed to scratch the film. I wasn't worried, after all this is invisibleSHIELD. It will sort it self out. So I left it and continued with getting it just right. But the scratch remained. A little more patients maybe...

So next I started to install the film for the back cover. Luckily this time the film came off the contact sheet pretty easily. Nimble fingers got it in place pretty quick. I'm getting good at this I thought! Getting the edges folded over was again a bit of a pain and a game in patients.

However I ended up with the same problem as the 1st piece I tried. The lint from the black cloth managed to get stuck on the edges and I was again left with horrible black marks around the edges.

Another thing that I didn't particularly like was the ridges of the film along the edge of the phone. It was noticeable when holding the phone in the plam of my hand and really took away from the smooth curves of the Magic. So that bit was removed and binned too.

I decided not to continue with the other peripheral bits. The screen protection was really the bit I was after so I left it and made some dinner.

After dinner I switch the phone on. The cloth scratches were still there and irritating me already. There were also 2 other marks near the top edges that I just could not smooth out. They were really only noticeable if you looked for them and angle of the light was right. But I knew they were there and they bugged me.

So after the phone was on I started to navigate my usual way. As you may be well aware, the HTC Magic is a touch screen phone with a smooth glass surface for use with a finger. The invisibleSHIELD film does not have the same smooth gliding surface as the Magic's glass screen. It's a bit stickier so I found my finger was not gliding across the screen as smoothly and easily as I'm used to and expected.

I left it for a bit and them came back for another try. The stickiness was still there and it was really annoying. Typing and selecting was good and accurate without any problems but the friction of the film made dragging and dropping as annoying as the finger gestures ( e.g. while drawing the unlock pattern, swiping to move between home screens or pulling up the application tab).

So unfortunately I decided to remove the screen protection too.

That leaves me searching for another way to keep my phone protected. I guess I need a Wii remote type cover to protect it from the rough and tumbles and trust myself to not scratch the screen with my keys or other sharp instruments.

A Great concept, a good solution for screen protection for non-touch screen devices but not a viable solution for me and my HTC Magic and not as simple and easy to apply as the promotional videos I saw made it out to be.

I've contacted their customer support and they've offered to process a refund. Very good of them.

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