Most helpful critical review
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Poor quality control
on May 20, 2014
There's three options for screen protection now: hard cases, plastic protective films, and wet-application polyurethane protectors such as this item. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, as well as legions of die-hard devotees that are convinced that one particular method or brand is 'the only way to go.' Having used many top-rated brands from all three, I can say for certain that there is no such thing as an ideal solution and your choice is largely a matter of personal preference. A lot of marketing hype goes into all these products since the competition is so fierce, but here's the truth of it:
Pro - They offer the strongest protection, no question. These are the only things that might save your screen from a drop or very sharp impact.
Con - Bulky, heavy, expensive compared to other options. The stronger the protection the more they impair functionality.
Pro - Inexpensive, very thin and clear, available in different styles (e.g. matte/anti glare), offers good scratch protection.
Con- Can be a pain to apply. Picks up fingerprints easily. Quality varies greatly depending on manufacturer.
Wet-on polyurethane protectors:
Pro- Offers good scratch protection, can mold over existing scratches, can recover from shallow cuts and nicks.
Con- Can wrinkle or crease, wet application is inherently risky.
Wet application protectors, such as this one made by IQ Shield, add a soft layer to the screen. This layer compresses when something is pressed against it, and has some ability to 'spring back' which is often termed 'self healing.' Note however that this will not 'heal' if they take a serious cut or gash, and that the malleable nature of the cover does make it more susceptible to distortion.
Quite a few people claim that wet application protectors are the clearest, most durable, and best-feeling protectors. Well, in my experience there is no significant difference in look or feel between good quality films and wet protectors. If you get a really bad film, or if you don't know what you're buying and buy an anti-glare when you really want a clear protector, then that may be an exception. The degree of protection for both types of protectors is totally dependent on the thickness, and the thickness impacts responsiveness and appearance.
This LiquidSkin protector comes with one protector sheet, a soap solution sprayer, a squeegee, and a microfiber cloth. There's directions included but they ask you to watch an instructional video. If you've put one of these on before, you'll already know what to do- if you don't, watch the video. Application itself is a pretty straightforward process: wipe down the screen, spray your fingers, spray the adhesive side of the protector, and position it. Then squeeze out the liquid with the squeegee and let it sit for at least 12 hours.
I had no problems with the application itself, putting it on a new Galaxy Tab 4 7.0. It went on and after 12 hours I turned the device back on and tested it out. The screen is still responsive through the film and it felt good. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only good thing I had to say about this- there are visible streaks in the protector itself (not liquid, possibly a manufacturing defect) that were only visible after application and when backlit. They did not vanish after several days' additional wait. Also, it appears the microfiber cloth they included is cheapo and it left little black particles of lint on the screen that were also not visible until backlit. I knew I should have used Magic Fiber- figured it was better to use a new cloth than a used one, though. Bad idea. At any rate, this one was pretty unacceptable, and therein lies a problem:
You might think that these wet app protectors can be removed and reapplied. Not so- they are one time and done, just like most dry application films. They have adhesive that gets smudged very easily if you pull it off, and it looks terrible if you try to reapply the same film. So that's where you email the company and ask for a replacement (which they did offer me)... but there you run into the second, more serious issue: it's a very bad idea to put two of these on the same device in a row. The problem is the fact that these need to be applied with that soap water solution. Most devices out there are not water resistant, and the screen is attached with an adhesive seal. In fact, you can use a heat gun to soften this adhesive and then just pull the screen right off- there's literally nothing else holding it on. So when you put one of these wet-app protectors on, the moisture tends to get into that adhesive and weaken it. This is why they instruct you to wait 12+ hours for it to dry out- it's not because the protector might have air bubbles or get moved by using it. The real reason is that liquid probably seeped into the seal, soaking it and making your device very susceptible to further water damage. If enough liquid got into the seal, putting pressure on the screen can cause it to leak into the device itself. Note that in the fine print of these protectors they disavow any results of water damage to the device. That's because it's a very real possibility, especially if you fail to apply the protector and either try to reapply it or put a replacement on within a short period. This greatly increases the risk of damage, since the adhesive will still be wet from the first attempt.
If you're wondering how I know this, it's because I killed a brand new HTC EVO once (that one using a Skinomi techskin, which is very similar to this protector). In that case, the first application worked fine but it got permanently creased within a week of use. Putting on the replacement did the device in- caused water to seep behind the digitizer and under the screen. Ironically, I eventually used the same model phone with no protector at all for 2 years and it never got scratched.
This IQ Shield product did not impress me quality-wise. The protector itself was flawed and the cleaning cloth was bad quality. It's going back for a refund- I'm not willing to risk the device putting a second one on; instead I'm going to go find a good film. Customer support was responsive and helpful, and I'll grant that this could have just been a bad lot (this was also what they said). No harm done in the end- the device still works and their return policy is good.