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ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Protective Film

Is your portable media player getting banged and bruised as you carry it around? Is the beautiful "brushed metallic" surface looking bruised, or accumulating ugly finger smudges? Or, worse, did a key in your pocket scar the screen?

You can get fancy cases and carriers to protect your media player, in snazzy colors and with cute animals and bright rainbows, but these take up more room and can make it clumsy to access the controls.

Or you can wrap your player in a thick layer of bulletproof plastic -- or at least something close to it -- ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Protective Film.

invisibleSHIELD is a clear, thin adhesive film that provides tough and durable scratch protection for a wide variety of gadgets. The film is a clear urethane plastic, with self-healing and abrasion resistance properties. It's based on a material used to protect the leading edges of helicopter blades in the U.S. military.

The InvisibleSHIELD covers are custom designed for each device, available both in front cover screen protectors and full-body wraps that protect the entire device, including the screen, front, back, edges, corners, and sides.

Covers are available for some 2,000 specific devices, including iPods, MP3 players, cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, game systems, GPS devices, digital cameras, laptops, and even watches.

Prices for front covers to protect phone and music player typically range from $9.95 to $14.95 (for the iPhone). Full body covers range from $19.95 for smaller devices like the iPod nano to $24.95 for larger devices like the iPhone, iPod classic, and LG chocolate phone. And you can protect your notebooks, with protection for the MacBook Air including wrist rest coverage for $24.95, standard coverage for $39.95, and full body for $54.95.

What's great about the InvisibleSHIELD, besides the protection, is that it is so non-obtrusive -- so thin that you don't even notice that it's there. So the video iPod, for example, still slips snugly into its small case.

See the InvisibleSHIELD site for videos showing the installation process and strength tests.

See my Portable Media Players Gallery for information on players and accessories.

    Find the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Film on Amazon.com

More on installing the InvisibleSHIELD below ...

Installing an InvisibleSHIELD case does require some care and delicacy. The case for my video iPod, for example, came in several pieces: the back (with tabs to wrap around the sides), the front (including the screen, but with a circular cut-out for the click wheel), plus a donut and a dot to protect the click wheel and the center button while still allowing them full freedom of movement.

First, clean and buff up your device's case, since you will be preserving any imperfections under the film. Use a soft cloth, like the fabric found in glasses cases, to wipe off any finger grease or smudges.

Now all you have to do is peel the backing off each piece of adhesive film and position it precisely on the iPod's case... But you know how awful this can be, even trying to install a screen protector -- as the film sticks to itself, catches on the wrong places, and then ripples and bubbles on the surface.

InvisibleSHIELD has a secret weapon to alleviate these problems -- the product includes a bottle of Application Solution -- basically distilled water to spray on both the film and your fingers (but not the device!) so that it is easier to work with.

Then, roll the film carefully onto the surface. The material is thick enough to work with -- it does not naturally roll up and catch on itself. Plus, this is not a one-shot deal -- If the fit is not right, you can simply peel it off, re-moisten, and re-apply for a better alignment. If you wet the film enough you even can slide it into place on the surface, though we did not try this. The trickiest part for us was getting the back positioned so that the small taps that wrapped over the top, bottom, and sides were aligned properly.

At this point, the film should be in place, and relatively smooth. There will still be some bubbles under the surface, though, so the product also includes a rubber squeegee to smooth out the bubbles. Then wipe with lint-free cloth to absorb any excess moisture, and you're done. Just let the device sit for 24 hours to "set" -- InvisibleSHIELD says that any microbubbles and imperfections will work themselves out over 2 to 3 days, although we really did not see any of these.

In addition, this process is not permanent -- You can peel off the InvisibleSHIELD adhesive film without marking the device or leaving the surface covered with sticky residue. The company suggests using a hair dryer to heat the film when doing this.

Manifest Tech Site