I always put my cell phones and portable music players in my pocket. I like my devices thin and in my pocket. I just don’t like bulky belt clips that make you look like Batman. So I buy thin devices but they tend to get scratched in my pocket and dust can get under the screen. The biggest issue is the screen of these thin devices … they tend to get very dirty, scratched, or even get dust particles under them. So I started looking into finding something that would help keep the screen protected. The Q has such a crisp and bright screen that I do not want it to become blurred by fuzzy protectors.

I first bought some cheap disposable protectors (who shall remain nameless) from a local store and they were just horrible. I had to cut them to fit the Q (pretty easy to do) and applying a new one every week. It looked slightly blurry as soon as I applied it and got worse with every passing day. (It was smudged and never cleaned up well at all.) So I gave up on the inexpensive/disposable protectors and started looking for something better.

After doing some research, I contacted a few companies about their products so I could try them out. In this review I will be reviewing the Invisible Shield (aka IS) product by Shield Zone. I chose to try the one for my new Motorola Q Smartphone since the phone is thin, looks very susceptible to scratches and pretty much goes everywhere with me in my pocket. There are 2 models of IS for the Motorola Q: one that fits just over the screen for $9.95 and one that fits the front and the back (including the screen) for $24.95. I am reviewing the front/back model.

I chose the IS product because it claims to be super thin, very durable, is supposedly easy to remove (just in case I don’t like it) and very transparent. The manufacturer (Shield Zone) also boasts a lifetime warranty on the product. I have not read the fine print yet but it looks like its covered for life. IS is a bit pricey for me as some competitors like Best Skins Ever (BSE) are about 1/3 the cost of the IS and get great reviews, the lifetime warranty made me give IS a shot. Most of the better products available from different companies make these protective skins for a specific phone or music player. So if you invest in one, make sure you get the one made specifically for your device.

OK, so I got the IS today in the mail and I took some photos of the packaging (see below). It comes with the plastic-like screens, a black squeegee, a water based solution in a spray bottle and instructions.

<TABLE border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD> <P><IMG height=273 alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147003/425x340.aspx” width=322 border=0></P></TD> <TD> <P><IMG height=274 alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147005/425x340.aspx” width=322 border=0></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <P><IMG height=398 alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147004/340x425.aspx” width=322 border=0></P> <P> Installation:</P> <P>Instructions said to turn off the device, remove the battery and its cover so that’s where I started. I also spent a few minutes washing my hands and cleaning the device with a soft eye glass cleaning cloth to remove grease and smudges from the Q.</P> <P>Note: There is a video that you can watch on their web site to show you how to install it, as well. </P> <P>Next I removed the shield for the battery cover off of its paper backing. There are several pieces that have to be applied, so I figured I would start with the least important to me just in case I screwed it up. I removed the IS for the battery cover, sprayed both sides of it lightly (one side is sticky) with the provided solution, and stuck it on the battery cover. Then I used the squeegee to work out the excess water and bubbles. It took me about 2 minutes for this entire step, most of which was spent working out the water and bubbles with the squeegee (gotta love that word). So far it looks pretty good. Here is a photo of my battery cover just after I installed the IS on it.</P> <P><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147007/425x319.aspx” border=0></P> <P>At this point you are supposed to repeat the process for the remaining IS pieces. I continued on with the back, then the front pieces and finally the screen. It took me only a few minutes to apply each piece, other than the screen protector. It took me about 30 minutes to apply the screen protector to my liking. I actually got it on in the second try (after about 5 minutes) the way I liked it but then I noticed there is a small line in the IS for the screen. So I took off the IS that was on the screen completely and sprayed it with the solution again and tried to rub off the line. I thought it might be lint at first, but after a while I realized it was not moving anywhere. I even tried running water over it in the sink and rubbing it with me fingers. It never moved. I gave up after a while realizing it was an imperfection that I was going to live with until I could contact Shield Zone and request a new screen protector. I guess I will get to try out their lifetime warranty. For now I will leave it on and see if it works itself out somehow as it “cures”. The instructions say to give it 24 hours to completely dry.</P> <P>Here are some photos of the Q with the IS installed (front and back). You cannot see the imperfection in the lower left corner of the screen protector in this photo, unfortunately … but its there.</P> <TABLE border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147008/319x425.aspx” border=0></TD> <TD><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147009/319x425.aspx” border=0></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <P>Wrap-Up (for now)</P> <P>The installation was very simple for all of the pieces. The only issue I ran into was with applying the screen protector. I think there is an imperfection in it and I will contact Shield Zone and get a replacement screen protector based on the their lifetime warranty. I will follow up with my review after a few days of testing out the new IS to see how it holds up … which if course is the true test. The whole point for me is to find something that is durable, thin and barely noticeable. The Q has such a crisp and bright screen that I do not want it to become blurred by fuzzy protectors.</P> <P> </P> <P>Overall … I am very disappointed in the appearance of the screen so far. But since there is a warranty and i can get a replacement for the screen, I will hold off on judgement on that for now. The rest of the pieces went on just fine and look good to me. The product appears to be very durable so far … I will post more after I get to use it a bit more.</P> <P><FONT color=#ff0000></FONT> </P> <P><FONT color=#ff0000>UPDATE (7/3/2006):</FONT></P><FONT color=#000000> <P>It has been a few days since I installed the IS … its very slim and has protected my phone quite well. I purposefully put in in my pocket with coins and my cars keys and it did not scratch the phone at all. Also, I find that its easy to clean. I can rub smudges off of the screen protector easily with a lint free cloth (I use an eye glass cloth).</P> <P>There are some things so far I am less than thrilled with, though. For example, with the IS on I can still get my Q in the desktop charger that is made for the Q. However I had to work it in the first few times. The IS makes puting the Q in the charger a bit more difficult as the IS doesn’t allow the Q to slide smoothly … instead it sticks a bit as it slides in. Once in, the Q appears to barely fit in the charger stand and I have to be careful to take it out. Its a very snug fit with the IS.  Whether its the IS that’s too thick or the stand that is to tight, who knows. It works, but its just something to think about.</P> <P>As stated earlier, my screen protector appears to have an imperfection in it. Its a small line in the screen that I just could not remove (I thought it was lint but was wrong). The imperfection is still there and its quite annoying to have on the screen. I now also appear to have a spec of dust on the screen between the IS and the Q. it probably got in there while I as so focussed on cleaning the imperfection. Instead of taking it off and cleaning it again, i’ll wait for the replacement screen protector to arrive for Shield Zone. </P> <P>Overall I am very impressed with the IS. Assuming the replacement screen protector is as clean and clear as the other pieces I received then the only issue I will have to deal with is working the Q into the charger stand smoothly. The IS is very clear so its easy to see the screen through it. Unlike other screen protectors I have had, I barely notice and fuzziness.</P></FONT>