The ZAGG invisibleSHIELD for iPhone 4 is a set of thin, adhesive plastic strips designed to be stuck to the stainless steel edge of the iPhone 4. The claim is that it provides insulation sufficient to allow better signal reception.
Out of Box Experience
Inside the large 4-1/2 x 8-inch cardboard packaging is a small plastic bag, 3 x 4-1/2 inches. Inside that is the master piece of plastic, 1-1/2 x 4-1/4 that has the precut pieces on the surface. Each tiny piece, 0.2 mm thick, is designed to be placed at various locations on the edge of the iPhone 4.
The plastic master has the various pre-cut pieces. There is no difference in color or contrast, so exceptional eyesight and lighting are required to determine where each strip is, not to mention where it goes. Applying the strip requires one to peel it off the master and apply it to the edge of the phone. I found that I couldn’t make out all the pieces on the master, no matter what kind of lighting I used. As a result, seeing where to peel and actually getting a grip so one could, in fact, peel was difficult.
Applying the pieces perfectly the first time was impossible. I had to reposition the plastic strips a couple of times. In the process, I got finger prints on the sticky side and an occasional bubble. It wasn’t as pretty as the ads suggest.
Once the pieces are positioned, the edges clearly stand out, and that, in my mind, detracts rom the aesthetics of the stainless steel edge. It seemed to me that with enough wear and tear, the edges would also start to curl and lose their adhesion, and in fact, that started happening to me right away.
None supplied with the packaging I was sent.
I have learned how to hold my iPhone 4 so that I can kill off the signal bars one by one, even with the 3G Microcell. Basically, I hold the iP4 in my left had with the palm of my hand completely covering the left side of the phone. That brings me down to one bar in a few seconds. (Note, I can still place a call with one bar.)
After applying the invisibleSHIELD, in a one time test, I couldn’t get the bars to go lower than two. Later, because I wasn’t able to apply the unlabeled strips where they were supposed to be, I tried to use other strips to cover the gap on the left side. (Not a recommended approach) That allowed the phone to go down to one bar. So one has to make sure every strip goes where it’s supposed to, but without a map, you’re on your own to figure that out.
ZAGG provides a video that shows how this thin layer of plastic solves the iPhone 4 antenna problem. Because the product was hard to understand and hard to apply, I couldn’t authenticate this claim.
Another problem is that the graphics used on the website to represent the product is a stylized image with lots of uniformity and pretty reflections. No photos are shown of what the product actually looks like after application.
I believe it will be a challenge, given the state of the product, without documentation and without better markings to identify each strip, for any normal person to apply these very tiny strips to the phone accurately and keep them there. Finally, my personal opinion is that products like this strain one’s vision, patience and hand-eye coordination to the limit and one’s money is better spent on a bumper or case.