So I went ahead and ordered the ZAGG InvisibleShield full protection kit for the iPad over Memorial Day weekend. The site was having a 50% off sale, making the full body kit $20 plus shipping/handling. Since there wasn’t much price differential between the full body and front only versions, I went for the whole shebang. I received it this weekend and installed it. Here are my thoughts.
The kit arrives in a short tube. That explains why S&H is a bit on the higher side, though overall reasonable. It also pretty much means your shield is going to be curled. I fixed that by rolling/unrolling it several times in the opposite direction and flattened it pretty well. The package comes with the two shields, plus a generous bottle of application fluid and the standard rubber squeegee.
The instructions are generic. How do I know? Because they recommend removing the battery if possible (hah!). Also note, that there is no cutout in the shield for the antenna plate of the 3G. Not sure if that was deliberate or not. In any case, I’m pretty well versed in the InvisibleShield routine, since I’ve had one on every iDevice I’ve owned since the company started.
The installation process is pretty standard. First, clean off your glass. Really rub out all the fingerprints and smudges using a clean microfiber cloth. Then the fun part of putting on the shield itself begins. This was, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. There’s no good way to put it. ANY sort of floating particulate matter will adhere to the screen. They give you a generous size bottle of fluid, which is good because I ended up using almost all of it.
I covered the front glass pretty easily, though aligning such a large sheet of sticky material is difficult even with the lube. The back shield was even worse in some respects and easier in others. The back shield is a bit larger than the front shield (or seemed to be) but I also didn’t care as much about any particles that might have stuck to it. I’m planning to keep the iPad in a case for its natural lifespan, so the back protection is kind of moot.
I ended up removing and reapplying the front shield about five times. Even so, there are still bits of fuzz and grit that are now bonded to the underside of the shield. Luckily, none of it impacts the usability of the iPad, but it’s annoying because I can see them in certain positions and under certain conditions. But I also don’t know how ZAGG could do any better. I wouldn’t want to use multiple smaller sheets to create a coverage surface, and you want the thing to stick to your screen, so you can’t make it easy to take on/off. The shield can be removed/re-applied for about an hour or so after you’ve put it on, but much longer than that and I’d be worried about stretching when you’re taking it off.
The shield does NOT provide side protection. The sheets are just big enough to cover the front and back plates only. I’ve not noticed any signal degradation due to the covering of the antenna plate, so that’s good. I’ve also not seen any issues resulting from the ginormous pools of fluid that were wiped out from between the glass and the shield during the multiple applications process. I think 95% of the lube I sprayed onto the shield ended up being squeezed out and I got a little panicky seeing my new iPad with so much liquid on it.
Now that I’ve had it for a day or so, I’ve enjoyed the slightly more tactile sensation that the InvisibleShield gives the screen. It does, however, impede the usability of my stylus. You have to push a lot harder to get the stylus to be recognized. Which is weird, since I don’t notice a similar issue with fingers. Also, if you think the iPad has glare before the application of the shield, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The screen seems much more reflective.
All in all, I’m glad I put the shield on my iPad. But I don’t know that it’s going to be as useful as it would be on an iPhone, since the iPad is not going to be spending tons of time in my pocket with keys and change. Also, I’d guess that the majority of users will put the iPad into a case of some sort, so the times that it will be naked in public are pretty small. But for peace of mind, it was worth the $25.