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ZAGG invisibleSHIELD EXTREME for the iPhone 5 review

on December 20, 2012 11:00 am

I have considered ZAGG invisibleSHIELDs one of the Cadillac protective films on the market for sometime. A majority of my tech-gear has ZAGG‘s military grade films protecting them from what life’s hard knocks throw at them. As their products have evolved and improved, I have reviewed many of them, so much so I thought I was done – that is, until ZAGG recently released their invisibleSHIELD EXTREME for the iPhone 5.

The invisibleSHIELD EXTREME is engineered to not only protect your device from scratches and scuffs, but impacts and beyond. Instead of being a thin film like previous invisibleSHIELDs, the EXTREME is a thick piece of relatively rigid plastic. This video by ZAGG is to illustrate just how much punishment the EXTREME can protect your iPhone against.

The Full Body iPhone 5 invisibleSHIELD EXTREME includes protectors for both the front and back of the device, installation fluid, cleaning cloth, squeegee, and installation instructions. The ZAGG invisibleSHIELDs also includes a lifetime warranty.

Installation:

As with all ZAGG invisibleSHIELDs I have previously applied, the EXTREME uses the same liquid installation process as the rest. To begin the process, you must clean the surface of the iPhone 5 to remove any dust or oils that might interfere with placing the protector on the surface of your device.

Next you spray your hands with the solution to reduce the chance of oils and fingerprints getting on the sticky face of the screen protector.

The EXTREME is MUCH thicker than the other invisibleSHIELDs I have used, making it easier to manipulate and apply.

Once removed from the plastic backing, you spritz the face that will be pressed onto the front (or back) of the iPhone.

As I said, placing the thicker film is easier to set and maneuver compared to its much thinner counterparts.

Once situated, you use the squeegee to force the extra liquid from between the phone and screen protector.

I typically remove the solution as I go so to not impact whatever device I am working with.

As you can see, the invisibleSHIELD is many times thicker and stiffer than than any liquid-installed film I have ever seen/used.

Even though I did my best to remove all the liquid between my iPhone 5 and the invisibleSHIELD EXTREME, this is what it looked like 48 hours after applying it. It really did make the Retina display screen look bad.

This is how my iPhone 5 screen looked at day 9; there are still a few small bubbles. The bubbles looked so bad day 4 or 5, I was ready to take it off and go with a different protector. According to the ZAGG website, ‘Cloudiness may appear under the invisibleSHIELD EXTREME for up to 4 days after installation.‘ So, it is apparent that this is a known issue and will eventually completely go away. Where the screen does lay properly, its clarity is very good.

The top and bottom edges of the EXTREME have not setup (cured) to the iPhone very well at all, with nearly zero improvement since the first few days. This is a picture from day 9, and I have little hope that it will eventually get better. Other than looking bad, dust and other gunk can get under the plastic, causing the film to potentially come up over time.

It has been a long time since I have been this unimpressed and dissatisfied with a screen protector. The brown dots in the middle of the screen will eventually go away and are a function of the thickness of the film. But its failure to adhere along the top and bottom edges is unacceptable. I consider ZAGG to be one of the top protective film manufacturers, but in the case of the invisibleSHIELD EXTREME, they have missed the mark. In theory, the EXTREME has the potential to raise the bar in the world of screen protection, but unless it looks as good as a naked screen, it fails in one of its primary functions.

 

Product Information

Price:As tested: $49.99
Manufacturer:ZAGG
Requirements:
  • - iPhone 5
Pros:
  • - Fitted for the new iPhone 5
  • - Crystal clear
  • - Great scratch and (now) impact protection
  • - Easier to apply than the original
  • - Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • - Expensive
  • - Takes a week plus for liquid to completely disappear
  • - Edges never completely cured to screen surface

Comments

  1. 1
    Nancie says:

    I had my ZAGG invisibleSHIELD EXTREME installed on my iPhone 5 at the mall. It was worth the $ because mine does NOT look like yours. It’s 100% clear and I find the display to be unaffected.

    I’m quite pleased with mine, and love that I don’t need a case. I’ve had this setup since the day I got my iPhone, so it’s a good 3 months of hard use, keeping the phone in my pocket with keys, change, et al. It was totally worth the money!!

  2. 2
    RainyDayInterns says:

    We have not used a screen protectors for the past 2 years and have had no problems at all. The Gorilla Glass is definitely tough enough for everyday use.

    We say forget the shields and go naked!

  3. 3
    1000Acres says:

    This is the worst product ZAGG has ever produced. I’ve purchased and installed many ZAGG invisibleSHIELDs on phones and iPads, but this one is just miserable. It’s been 4 days since installing the Extreme on my iPad Mini backside and still huge bubbles even after numerous hairdryer and edge treatments. There is no way I’m installing on the screen. I’m very disappointed.

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    @Rainy I’m all for going naked too. I never use a protector…

  5. 5
    Flavien says:

    I’ve had several small screen devices over the years, and used several protectors along the way.
    I once purchased a ZAGG invisibleSHIELD, and I must say I wasn’t thrilled by the result (bubbles, not as easy to place as others).

    So far the best experience ever was not coming from a screen protector, but a whole case: Switcheasy’s “rebelcase” (http://preview.tinyurl.com/btyog8a)

    But time passes, and today, I also find the Gorilla Glass to be more than enough protection, so my devices go commando now.

  6. 6
    zahadum says:

    r u ppl nuts?

    u think that gorillaglass (Mark I) is sufficient protection?
    against what? — little girls with daffodils!

    i just watched my ipad screen shatter when it came into contact with an ipod that bounced off a pillow! — gorillaglass is NOT capable of handling anything more dangerous than a sharp fingernail. HMPF!

    while it is true that Corning has recently improved gorillaglass, apple has inexplicably failed to utilize the Mark II in its most recent ipad/iphone/ipod products :( … which is an ironic short-coming considering that it was apple (and steve jobs personally no less) that dragged gorillaglass technology out of decades of mothballs to be used in the original iDevices! … one presumes that apple would have had early & favourable access to this technology so its omission is as bizarre as it is glaring (no pun intended).

    nonetheless, obviously i am disheartened to read that the new Invisishield Exteme doesnt have a reliable application design.

    so thanx for the heads-up review! :(

  7. 7
    Marcus says:

    I used Zagg years ago for my Blackberry and it was great, so I decided to purchase the protector for my new iPhone 5. REALLY disappointed especially because I bought one normal (not extreme) shield and it started peeling off after a few days… I was really careful putting it on. Plus the cut wasn’t great, same problem mentioned about the extreme.
    I then got a replacement Extreme cover (before reading this review) and it’s been on 1 day and the bubbles/brown patches are here. Might go away after a few days. My main complaint is that they didn’t consider that the touchscreen would lose sensitivity. Finding it much harder to use compared to the normal invisibleshields…

    Grr

  8. 8
    Kevin says:

    Thanks for the write up David. I installed the extreme on my 5 as well and facing the exact same issue as you by the earpiece triangle having a bubble in the left part.. did it eventually go away for you or it stayed like that?

    Thanks.

  9. 9
    Dave Rees says:

    It did get better in the middle but failed to adhere around the edges. I finally removed it to try/review the Spigen GLAS.tR tempered glass screen protector, which I love.

  10. 10
    Jeff says:

    I installed mine with no issues at all. Installed easy and looks great. The whole process only took about 15 minutes. Edges are fine and the phone is in it’s silicon protector. No bubbles, no problems.

  11. 11
    Lynn says:

    I have been using Invisible Shield on my iPhones since the 3S. Today I applied the extreme to my 5S. So far I am getting similar results. The ‘brown streaks’ are particularly annoying, but will hopefully go away as I let it dry. The sensitivity issue Marcus mentioned above really is difficult to get around.

  12. 12
    Michael says:

    I’ve had the og zagg shield on my old iphone4, then I got a iphone5 and I got the Zagg extreme shield and now no case fits besides the cheap snapbacks. Otter box, Lifeproof and Griffen cases don’t fit and start to lift the edges of the screen protector. If you want to rock any good wrap case I wouldn’t waste the extra money on the extreme shield ever again.

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