BodyGuardz is a special, thin film material that protects the surface of your iPad. Unlike the well-known anti-reflective films for the iPhone that are difficult to handle and apply, this material can be specially managed with an accompanying liquid. Even so, the application process is tedious and time consuming.
Traditional sticky films we’ve applied to our iPhone displays are prone to pick up dust during installation, are hard to apply without bubbles, and because the adhesive is fairly sticky, bubbles are difficult, if not impossible, to purge. BodyGuardz uses a different kind of adhesive which, if liberally sprayed with the included liquid (diluted baby shampoo), allows the user to make repeated attempts to lay down the film and squeegee out bubbles. After the film is placed just right, it cures in 12-24 hours.
Contents (not shown: small squeegee card, manual)
When opening the shipping tube, there is a strong plastic-hydrocarbon-like smell which is probably harmless. However, it is a bit off-putting. Included are: the plastic pages, two bottles of application liquid, instructions, a squeegee card, and a layout diagram showing where each piece of plastic goes.
The included instructions are on a 4 x 5-1/2 inch (10 x 14 cm) card with ultra fine print. The text height is about 1 mm, and it’s extremely hard to read. Never mind. It is paramount that you watch the BodyGuardz application videos to get a feel for the actual procedures. There is no iPad specific video, so I recommend watching two: the Sony PSP and the MacBook Pro videos.
These videos will provide vital instruction on the handling of the of the films, how they behave, how they must be kept wetted with the supplied solution, how they can be repositioned, and the squeegee process. If you don’t watch the videos first and gloss over the instruction card’s fine print, the film could stick to itself, and you’re likely in for a headache and delays, according to the vendor.
One of the design elements for the iPad is the thin edges with openings for speakers, microphone and controls.
iPad thin edge
Accordingly, the BodyGuardz package has very thin strips that are designed to interleave with those openings. These strips are very tiny and will require delicate handling. (Again, the Sony PSP video gives some insight into the handling.) Fortunately, if properly wetted, you’ll be able to apply and adjust these ultra-small strips and get them properly positioned.
Edge of film with small pieces
It’ll require 12 to 24 hours for the film to cure, so the manufacturer recommends starting the procedure in the evening so it can cure overnight.
Removal: the thin film is easily removed by peeling it off. BodyGuardz says that there is no residue left behind. Thickness: The total film application is thin enough (8.5 mils, 216 micrometers) that it won’t interfere with the use of other harder shell devices. However, if the harder shell or leather case is plastic or leather, there could be some friction that would partially peel the BodyGuardz film away as they slide together, so one would need to be very careful. Air Bubbles: BodyGuardz says that because of the nature of the material, any remaining air bubbles will bleed away after a few days. Small ones, as a result, shouldn’t be a cause for alarm after the squeegee process is complete and initial curing.
Film cross-section (6.5 mils, 165 microns, exclusive of adhesive)
What I Liked
- With proper use of the wetting solution, the film can be positioned and repositioned many times during the application process.
- The total film + adhesive is very thin (216 microns). It protects the surface against abrasion, but, of course, not against shock.
- The demonstration videos are very, very thorough.
What I Didn’t Like
- The need to work with very tiny pieces along the edge of the iPad.
- The minuscule print on the instruction card.
- The time and patience required for the installation.
- The full body price for iPad is high: US$29.95. This is due, likely, to the advanced technology of the film.
If the customer has used this product before with success, I think the motivation to use the product will be high. However, the first time customer, confronted with the packaging, the (apparently) delicate films, the spray bottles of wetting solution, the fine print on the instruction card, the need to watch tutorial videos and the long cure time may be less than enthusiastic about the prospect. At that point, a nice leather portfolio case from InCase or Apple’s protective case may look like a better solution for some. It all depends on taste, experience and motivation.
I have no doubt, however, that if the user has the skills and patience to apply this film, it will perform as advertised and provide a nice protective coating to Apple’s awesomely beautiful iPad.