I had a great opportunity to review the Power Support
5G iPod Film Set (for Judie at the Gadgeteer),
and I must say that I am happy that I did. I have used all manner of film protectors over the years on devices
including Palm handheld devices, phones, watches, cameras, laptops, micro PCs, and iPods. I am serious when I
say that these films offer the most invisible look, highest scratch resistance, ease of installation, and even
increased the tactile experience of the iPod.
So, where to start? Well, I guess that would be with the package. They are very nicely packaged in a cardboard envelope complete with detailed instructions right on the outside of the package. When you open the package, you can pull out a card with all three (yes, three) pieces attached. You find that you have a rear cover, a front cover, and a wheel cover. You attach each one separately. I started with the rear one, and would advise that you do the same since that gives you a chance to practice, and it is the easiest one to try first. I immediately noticed two things that I liked. First, the heaviness of the films. They are nice and stiff, which helps them be easier to install, and gives them better durability. Second, the “adhesive” is perfect, not too sticky, but plenty sticky enough to hold them firmly in place. It is the perfect balance and it allows you to install and remove the film in stages or even taking the whole thing back off to try again. It is really a cling technology as opposed to just a sticky adhesive. This ensures that when you are finished, you will have the best application of the film possible.
So, on to the installation. I followed the instructions, and peeled the backing away exposing a little edge of the film, then just slowly worked the film onto my iPod while working the film backing off. I used the edge of a credit card while I was doing it to smooth out the bubbles. Both the rear and the front films are just the right amount smaller than the iPod border to make sure that the edges don’t get caught and pulled up during use. It also allows you to get it centered nicely and properly aligned. If you get any bubbles, they ca be worked out with a cloth after the installation by just rubbing them to the edge. If you have any dust or debris under the film, you can use a piece of tape to peel the corner back up, and also use a piece of tape to remove the debris (see the instructions on their site). After peeling it back a few times, I found that I had a perfect installation.
Once I moved to the front, I found it a little more challenging since you want to concentrate on making sure you have the cutout for the wheel centered while at the same time being aligned properly with the edges, but I found that the tack of the adhesive allowed me to scoot it around before sticking it down just enough to get it placed perfectly. The third piece is the wheel cover, which goes on quite easily because all you have to do is center it. A really nice bonus is the fact that it has a little raised area in the center button that helps when you’re navigating just by feel.
The Look and Feel
This is the part I almost couldn’t believe…As soon as I had this film on and smoothed out, I had to seriously inspect my iPod to be sure that it hadn’t fallen off! It is seriously invisible after the fact. It is transparent and looks great! The feel of the wheel is smooth, and seems to operate at the same speed and resolution either with or without the film. As I mentioned, the little bubble in the middle emphasizes the center just right, and I found my self using it as a reference when pausing or playing the iPod, as well as when scrolling. I’ve included a few pictures here. They might be kind of pointless since the films are so invisible, but you might get the idea. The one with the reflection is trying to show how transparent the film is, but I don’t know if I succeeded?
After the Fact
So, how do I feel about it now, after a little over 3 weeks? I love it. It still looks like I just installed it yesterday (the front one at least). The rear one has a few more scuffs, etc. but that’s because it lays and scoots around on it’s back all the time. In the picture to the right, you can see the back and a few scuffs. You can see the circle (top center) where I installed it over the StuffBack sticker on my first video iPod (see below about my second video iPod). But the front screen is still perfect. The pictures of the front, above, are taken today after over three weeks of heavy use. I carry it in a pocket in my backpack with a bunch of other stuff. It looks way better than my iPod did after one day of use when I first got my 5G. These films seem to have better scratch resistance than the iPod itself… I noticed that if I wiped the iPod with my finger or my shirt, that whatever dirt was on it, would cause little scratches all over it. However, once I installed the film, I found that I could use either, and it would clean right up, and not leave any scratches behind. I highly recommend these film sets.
What about 5.5G iPods?
Well, I have two bits of good news. The first is that I got an 80Gb second generation 5th generation iPod today : (They’re being called 5.5G iPods on the Internet). The second is that I was able to easily peel my films off the 5G and reinstall them on the 5.5G. They came off in perfect shape, left ZERO residue behind, and installed just as nicely as the day I got them. It’s sitting here syncing up right now and since I’ve had them on from the moment I took it out of the box, I know it will be scratch free when I go to sell it someday.
About the only thing that I could find is the fact that you don’t have seamless coverage for the front of the iPod. This is good because the separation of the wheel and the front cover allow the most genuine tactile feel. However, I can see how dirt or moisture could still get into the area between the two. I didn’t experience this being a problem, but could see how it could. I think this a very minor issue, and it doesn’t detract from how wonderful I think this product to be. It was, by far the best fitting, and properly designed/aligned product I have tried of its type.
So, if you want great looking, great feeling, very durable scratch protection for your iPod, get yourself a set of these!
I’ve included what they say about the product on their web site here, and believe me; I found it all to be true.
Power Support’s Crystal Film Cover Set PAT.P safeguards the iPod from dirt and abrasions. The iPod has a high luster finish and brilliant color LCD screen, which can show wear and tear with regular use. The Crystal Film’s protective veneer will keep the shiny exterior of the iPod clean and looking like new. Each three-piece Crystal Film Cover Set includes one front, back, and wheel film.
We use the finest quality film, finished with a high gloss that is specifically developed for LCD screens. This remarkably transparent film offers exceptional clarity of the display. The surface of the Power Support Crystal Film is treated with a scratch resistant, hard coat, protective process. The adhesive side is made of a newly developed, static cling polymer plastic. Air bubbles are easily removed during installation allowing optimal adhesion. The film leaves no unwanted residue when removed.
Power Support’s Wheel Film for the iPod provides complete protection of the player’s Click Wheel. The lightweight sheet is easy to position and enhances the feel of the Click Wheel and center button, improving traction and responsiveness. Wheel Film is easy to install and does not leave any sticky residue when removed.