When I reviewed the iPad 2, I mentioned that I had ordered an invisibleSHIELD from ZAGG to protect the metal back. I have the Smart Cover to protect the screen, so I ordered only the skin for the back. You’ll notice I called this a mini review. Dave Rees did a great review of the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD for the original iPad. You should refer to his review for a complete set of installation pictures. I’ll just talk about the fit and performance of the invisibleSHIELD for the iPad 2. Actually, this review will be mostly pictures to illustrate the fit.
Most of the pictures in this review can be clicked for an enlarged view.
The invisibleSHIELD for the iPad 2 came with a spray container of “application solution”, a microfiber cloth, and a black rubbery squeegee. You are instructed to turn off your device and remove the battery, if possible. (You can’t remove the battery from an iPad 2, but I decided to proceed anyway.) You are also instructed to leave the device off for 12-24 hours – to prevent shorting it out if liquid gets inside, I suppose. This instruction is because you’ll be using quite a bit of fluid while applying your skin.
As instructed, I washed my hands, and I decided to let them air dry since I didn’t have a lint-free towel. I used some of the application solution and the microfiber cloth to clean the back of the device. I wet my fingertips with some more of the application solution; this step prevents getting fingerprints on the adhesive backing of the skin.
After removing the skin from the backing paper, I sprayed a light coating of the solution on the front and back of the skin. I placed the skin on the back of the iPad 2, and the moisture aided sliding it into place. I did a pretty good – but not perfect – job of aligning all the cutouts on the screen with the camera, buttons, and ports on the iPad 2. I used the squeegee to push all the trapped water droplets and air to the sides, and I used the microfiber cloth to absorb the water as it oozed from under the skin. I was especially careful to keep moisture away from the Home button. In just a couple of minutes I was able to squeegee out everything, and I had an almost perfectly clear application. Any small bubbles that remained disappeared by the next day. The application was easy – but scary because I was afraid I’d get moisture in the iPad 2. However, the device is still working perfectly, so no damage was done.
I’ve had ZAGG skins for iPods I’ve owned, and the skins all seemed to fit much better than this skin fit the iPad 2. (Actually, I applied a ZAGG skin to my husband’s iPad 2 also, with similar results.) As I mentioned, I got the skin aligned pretty well, as you can see from the photos showing the full sides of the iPad 2. It’s not perfect, as you’ll see, though. I don’t have a problem with how it aligns. All the ports and controls are open and accessible.
But that’s where the problem comes in – it seems everything is too accessible. The corners are all left uncovered and vulnerable to scratches. I understand that the curved edges of the iPad 2 will require some extra cuts to allow the skin to properly fit the corners, and that may have made the cost a bit higher and required a couple more minutes to smooth the skin over the corners. However, I bought the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD because I wanted to protect the entire back of the device, so I could have excused a dollar or two more for more coverage. I’ve included close-ups of the corners so you can see just how much was left uncovered.
Despite all the corners being left bare, ZAGG didn’t cut out the area where the Smart Cover attaches. I suppose they covered that area because they know that not everyone is going to use the Smart Cover. Of course I can’t quantify the change, but the Smart Cover didn’t attach quite right with the skin on. It seemed to lessen the “grip” of the magnets holding the cover in place.
I felt I had a good application with the edges sealed well. However, I’ve had one place peel up from the iPad 2. I always hold my iPad in the horizontal position, with the Home button to my right. I hold the iPad 2 in my left hand, so my right is free to navigate the screen. My hand loosened a place about an inch in length near the headphone jack. I’d press the edge back down every time I’d see it was loose, but eventually it wouldn’t stick anymore. Now there’s dirt and lint under there, and that place curls up a bit.
I love the extra bit of grippiness the invisibleSHIELD gives the iPad 2. I feel like I can carry it in one hand without worrying I’ll lose my grip and drop it. It also makes it easier to hold for long stretches while I read or surf. I love that it doesn’t add any bulk to the iPad 2. The exterior of the skin itself doesn’t attract any dirt and it disguises fingerprints. I’ve seen how protective the ZAGG skins were for my other devices, so I’m sure it will protect the iPad 2 from scratches – at least the parts it covers and stays stuck to.
I must admit that I’m disappointed in the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD for iPad 2. I wish it covered the corners better. And every day I use the iPad 2, that peeled up section seems to be a little bigger. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to tolerate that dirty, curled up side before I decide to peel the whole thing off and look for another solution.