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Hands on screen protector test, Invisible Shield vs Boxwave Crystal

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Invisible Shield vs Boxwave Cleartouch

 

Two screen protectors that go about their business in different ways, each has it's pros and cons.

 

Whats in the box

 

Invisible Shield

Special spray applicator

Rubberised plastic tool for squeezing out bubbles

Precut Shield

 

Boxwave Cleartouch

Lint free cloth

Plastic tool

Precut Shield

 

Neither the Invisible Shield or the Boxwave 'crystal', affect the clarity of the screen at all.

 

The basic philosophy of the Invisible Shield is to make a (virtually) indestructible screen protector for your screen and they back it up with a no nonsense lifetime replacement warrantee should your shield become damaged as a result of protecting your gps. So if you take a tumble on your mountain bike and you don't smash your gps it is more than likely your screen will be completely unscathed. In fact it is not unlikely that your shield will be fine to due to its self repairing qualities.

 

The Boxwave cleartouch takes a different approach, the same tumble is also likely to leave your screen undamaged but the shield itself will need to be replaced at your expense. The Boxwave philosophy is that the shield should do it's job with minimum impact on the function or aesthetics of the gps. Like the space shuttle heat tiles which get destroyed on entry while protecting the hull. Unlike the shuttle tiles though, the Boxwave shield will not fall off.

 

The Invisible shield is used for protecting the leading edges of helicopters (so they say) and after some testing I'm prepared to accept this claim. It's tough. It has a rubbery texture with a soft 'orange peel' finish on the surface which is clearly visible in reflections off the surface but which is completely invisible with regards to transmitting light. You will not see the surface texture unless you position the shield to purposely to pick up glare in which case you would not be able to read the screen even without a shield.

 

The rubbery texture gives the Invisible Shield self repairing qualities similar to a cutting mat. You can slice across it with a scalpel and you won't see the cut. You can scrape the sharp part of a key over it and it will not leave a mark. There have been reports of horrendous accidents that did leave some marks but they seem to disappear after a couple of days. It will not pick up hairline scratches ever. Unless you do some serious damage it should look brand new, permanently.

 

Once it's on and set it is permanent in the sense that it cannot be removed without stretching the shield. It is very securely attached and will not peel up at the edges. However it's still easy to remove and leaves no residue.

 

Because of it's rubbery texture the invisible shield has a bit of bite and it does tend to want to cling to the vinyl window on a gps case. I personally don't find this a problem because I cases tend to make the gps too difficult to use. Especially Gilsson cases which are badly made. You won't find two stitched the same. Cutting the window out is not much of a solution as it is an integral part of the structure. If you do like to use a case then the sticky window thing will be a problem.

 

There have been some issues with the fit on the Invisible sheilds, it's OK if they are a bit small but if they are a bit big they tend to collect dirt on the overhang. Even so it probably is only a worry for the excessively anal like myself.

 

The Boxwave Cleartouch,

 

The first thing you notice about the boxwave is that it looks like there is nothing at all on your gps screen. The finish is exactly like the original screen. After using the Invisible Shield for a few months the Boxwave shield really looks stunning, The surface also has a slippery feel and does not adhere to other plastic materials. If you want to know what it looks like, then just look at your screen without anything on it. That's what it looks like. Like the Invisible Sheild, the Boxwave does not affect the clarity of the screen at all. It's made of a fairly rigid material and has a tacky (screen side) surface that sticks to the screen, not as well as the Invisible Shield, but it won't peel off either. It is possible to peel it off and replace it but it's best to get it right first go. It's claimed you can wash it and dry it, and this is true but I don't see the point a normal wipe with a dry cloth on the surface should be all that is necessary.

 

There is a price to pay for the visual appeal of the Boxwave. It is not as durable. It will scratch. Not easily though. I've been using it for a week not being particularly careful but not being reckless either. It did not get any scratches. However dragging a key across the surface put a nasty scratch in it, this would have no effect at all on the Invisible sheild. The Boxwave people feel that if the sheild gets scratched you can buy another one. I'd be happier if they supplied two shields for the price bear in mind that if you are a bit careless you will scratch the shield and it is not a pretty site, but it will protect your screen.

 

I'm careful with my equipment, in that I would not put the gps in my pocket with some keys, so a week of normal use did not leave any marks at all on it, I had to purposely damage it.

 

Another curious effect of the Boxwave shield is that it stop the screen reacting to polarised light. If you look at your screen horizontally with polaroid glasses on, it will go black, the Invisible shield does not alter this but the Boxwave eliminates this effect.

 

The boxwave comes in two types, 'crystal' and 'antiglare'. The 'crystal' keeps your gps looking immaculate as if it had no protector on it, however the 'anti glare' is a bit weird. It's not a true anti glare it is in fact a textured surface that diffuses the reflected light. So it does not reduce the glare at all. In fact it increases the glare. It does reduce reflections. It does not look good. It has a milky matt look and does reduce visibility. I don't really see the purpose of the anti glare model for a gps screen where one does not want to reduce the visibility of the small lettering even a tiny bit. You can see in one of the photos where I have stuck the anti glare and crystal boxwave on each half of the screen. As they have been peeled off and replaced there is some bits of crap visible but just ignore that, the comparison is purely to see the difference in clarity.

 

Application:

 

Both shields are tricky to apply perfectly if you want them to look their best. The Invisible Sheild is a wet application and the Boxwave is dry. The Boxwave is also very rigid whereas the IS is rubbery.

 

The Invisible Shield comes with a spray that you need to spray on your fingers and on both sides of the Shield, the screen must be completely lint free. Probably not a bad idea to install it in the bathroom that has been steamed up a bit. Use lots of spray, in fact use the whole container. The good thing about the IS being a wet application is that it can be slid around a bit when it is applied to get it into the perfect position with no overhang.

 

The Boxwave has a tacky surface and so it has to drop on to the correct place as it cannot be slid around. If it needs to be moved then it must be lifted. This is a fairly tricky operation to get right the first time and like the IS, if you don't get it right the first time then it is likely that you will leave some sort of imperfection that will permanently bug you depending on how anal you are about these things.

 

Summary,

 

Invisible Shield: more complex to apply but easier to get perfect lasts forever won't scratch but has an visible surface texture that does not affect legibility not suitable for use with a case as it sticks to the case window.

 

Boxwave Crystal: easy to apply and easy to get a speck of dust under it too. When it is applied correctly it looks like there is nothing on the screen at all. Looks really good but will also eventually need to be replaced as it will scratch easily but not if you are careful.

 

After a few weeks of testing I kept leaning one way then the other. In the end I personally opted for the Invisible Sheild because it won't scratch. If the Boxwave came with say, three in a packet then I'd be tempted to go with that due to the more elegant finish.

 

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very nice review, the bottom picture demo's best the feeling I get from my invisible shield, the box one does look clear :)

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After using the Invisible Shield for 3 years on my Dell Axim X50v it looks almost new with only a couple very slight scratches. I have no doubt that without the IS, my screen would have suffered MAJOR damage instead. Consider that I carry and use my PDA on a daily bases not only for my geocaching, but for EVERYTHING else as well. It gets way more use than a GPS would and still looks good. The egg shell texture does not affect the view of the screen at all.

 

The only thing that I really noted when I first applied it was that my stylus doesn't slide as easily on the screen as without a protector at all. For the normal tapping this can be a advantage because it helps to prevent your stylus from sliding on the screen causing a unintended tap entry. On the other hand, if you use some type of hand writing recognition instead of the virtual keyboard, their is slightly more slide resistance with the IS than with no screen protector at all. This took me only a little to get used to and now I don't even notice it. I can best compare it to the difference between writing on a thick note tablet verses writing on a single sheet of paper on a hard surface such as a desk or glass. Yes, their is a difference in how easily your pen glides across the paper as you write, but it's not a problem.

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...The only thing that I really noted when I first applied it was that my stylus doesn't slide as easily on the screen as without a protector at all. ...

 

The Boxwave protector is ideal for PDA's. The stylus does slide well. For a GPS this doesn't matter.

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What is in the Invisible Shield spray bottle? Is it sticky? Won't the moisture ruin the actual screen?

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What is in the Invisible Shield spray bottle? Is it sticky? Won't the moisture ruin the actual screen?

Not sticky and it definitely didn't ruin the screen on my 60csx or my ipod.

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The early versions of the Invisible Shield instructed users to make their own [very] mild detergent solution...we're talking a couple drops of dish detergent in a 1/4 cup of water. I suspect that's what the spray bottle contains.

 

One of the reasons I favor the Invisible Shield is the wet application technique. It's much more forgiving in getting the protector positioned just right.

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People have report good results by installing Invisible Shield under water. Wouldn't try in on a PDA, but a few minutes under a few inches of water shouldn't hurt a GPS.

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Great review! I have IS on three units and love it. Wish I had come across it two years ago when my C80 was new. Haven't got it installed yet on that unit but hoping it will reduce some of the light scratches..

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I haven't had a screen protector for a couple years and have no scratches what so ever on either my 60Cx or my VistaCx. I did used to use them but even the invisible shield does make the screen a tad harder to see than a screen wihtout. Maybe I'm just more careful now, but it seems to me these screens are very durable even without the added protection.

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People have report good results by installing Invisible Shield under water. Wouldn't try in on a PDA, but a few minutes under a few inches of water shouldn't hurt a GPS.

 

I've swam with my 60Cx and an Invisible shield. No problems.

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I managed to find a roll of the stuff at work. Cut out my own shield, wiped clean with an alcohol prep pad and applied to my screen. If you know anyone in aviation they might be able to get their hands on some of this stuff for you. It is a 3M tape product used to prevent abrasion to leading edges and chopper blades.

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What happens when you remove the Invisible Shield protector? Being a wet appliation does it leave a residue on the screen? Can that be easily removed?

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What happens when you remove the Invisible Shield protector? Being a wet appliation does it leave a residue on the screen? Can that be easily removed?
I just removed one from mine due to a couple of huge scratches and a rock gouge that destroyed the shield. No residue and the screen is completely unmarked. I am currently waiting for a replacement shield.

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I managed to find a roll of the stuff at work. Cut out my own shield, wiped clean with an alcohol prep pad and applied to my screen. If you know anyone in aviation they might be able to get their hands on some of this stuff for you. It is a 3M tape product used to prevent abrasion to leading edges and chopper blades.

One caution on the bulk stuff...I had purchased a couple square feet at $10/sq. ft.--way cheaper than the precuts. It was a little difficult to trim to suitable size because the stuff is so tough. But I got something without too much difficulty on my Delorme PN-20. I found that it did some sort of a funny polarization interaction thing with my screen. It was still viewable...I left it on several months. But moving the GPS around resulted in some wavy viewing.

 

I took advantage of the recent 50% off offering to get an Invisible Shield to replace it. The precut is crystal clear on the PN-20.

 

I can vouch for no residue being left when I peeled off the old one. There some schmutz on the screen that a little glass cleaner easily removed. It took some leverage to pull the protector off...it adheres pretty tightly (in a nice way).

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You mean this stuff? Helicopter Tape

No, the stuff I used is a 3M product. It is crystal clear, but difficult to trim to exact size. It won't look as nice as one cut with a die, but free is good! I can get a part number for you if you are interested. I won't be able to get that until Tues. at the earliest.

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They sell 9" or 12" pieces of protective film at motorcycle shops. They apply them to gas tanks to prevent scratches. 3M makes an automotive version as well. Maybe a local shop that applies it will give you a scrap piece.

 

Be Warned -- It does have a strong adhesive and may make a mess or harm the display.

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I went with the invisible sheild. Glad I did after a day or so you can't even tell its on there. Mine fit the screen perfect. Not too short at all.

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I've been using the InvisibleShield on my 60CSx for almost a year now and I love it!! I'm in Iraq and my 60CSx is always with me. Either attached to my body armor via the belt clip or in my pocket. I've been really hard on it and the InvShield is still immaculate. Highly recommended.

 

BTW, EXCELLENT review. Well detailed and well written.

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UPDATE:

 

After many months of careful considerations I have come to the inevitable conclusion that the Invisible Shield, correctly applied (which does take some practice) is a far superior product to any of the other hard finished screen protectors.

 

There has been and is still some ongoing frustration with the sizes of the Invisible Shield, especially with the Colorado, there appears to be two batches, one that covers the word 'Garmin' on the screen and one that doesn't. Nevertheless in spite of this very frustrating problems, I still have to say the Invisible Shield is incomparable due to the fact that it looks as good as when it was first applied even after one year. This sucker just will not scratch or mark.

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UPDATE:

 

After many months of careful considerations I have come to the inevitable conclusion that the Invisible Shield, correctly applied (which does take some practice) is a far superior product to any of the other hard finished screen protectors.

 

There has been and is still some ongoing frustration with the sizes of the Invisible Shield, especially with the Colorado, there appears to be two batches, one that covers the word 'Garmin' on the screen and one that doesn't. Nevertheless in spite of this very frustrating problems, I still have to say the Invisible Shield is incomparable due to the fact that it looks as good as when it was first applied even after one year. This sucker just will not scratch or mark.

 

Also an update, I notified Zagg on how the shield was not the right size and even sent a picture and they confirmed it. They asked for the name of the employee that packaged the item. I gave them it. Now they are sending me out 2 brand new shields that will fit. I will update on if they really fit or not. I was pretty impressed with the customer services, very apologetic, and they didn't ask me to pay for anything and just return the old shields on their dime.

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Gallet,

 

I got my replacement shields for my colorados and both of them are sized perfectly. I was pretty impressed, first time and they shipped it priority mail. Now I just have to redo the installations on the two colorados.

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Also an update, I notified Zagg on how the shield was not the right size and even sent a picture and they confirmed it. They asked for the name of the employee that packaged the item. I gave them it. Now they are sending me out 2 brand new shields that will fit. I will update on if they really fit or not. I was pretty impressed with the customer services, very apologetic, and they didn't ask me to pay for anything and just return the old shields on their dime.

 

Well, you can't say that I haven't been fair with Zagg. I feel that after your post it is encumbant upon me to publish the latest email I received from kari at zagg. When you consider the time and effort I've put into assisting them to assist us and thereby assisting themselves, this latest email is nothing short of pathetic, weird, bizarre, and dare I say it a little bit demented. They are sick people. They are certified idiots and it's no wonder that they are so $%#@ing stupid. Yes, STUPID, that they are unable to measure something. For your reading pleasure here it is...

 

Thank you for contacting ZAGG, home of the invisibleSHIELD! As you know, my name is Kari and I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

 

I appreciate your feedback, and have forwarded it on to the appropriate parties that will use it as they deem fit. In addition, I have re-shipped you a replacement invisibleSHIELD for the Garmin Colorado 300 (Screen), which I handed off to one of our shipping specialists to inspect and ensure that it is the correct shield. I can't apologize enough for the inconvenience.

 

As far as returning your old shield goes, we believe that you received an incorrect shield, but our policy states that a customer cannot have more than two invisibleSHIELDs (Their original and their replacement) out at one time. We've already made an exception to this policy, but would still like you to return the shields. This is not an issue of your integrity, but of policy. Unless we receive your shields back, our mail processor will not renew your warranty. I apologize, again, for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding in advance. However, I have included a self addressed stamped envelope with your replacement, so you can simply stick the two shields in the envelope and mail it off at no cost to you, at your leisure.

 

I hope this has been a help to you, (my name). If there's anything else at all that I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask!

 

I hope this helps! Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or comments.

 

All the best,

 

If there's anything else at all that I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask!

 

Well there is, kari, but this is a family forum so I'll have to keep it to myself.

 

Here's my email that prompted the above response...

 

Hi Kari,

 

Thanks for getting back to me in the forum [the zagg forum], I was getting a bit despairing but your kind reply has reassured me.

 

You are correct, the invisible shield has a massive fan base at Groundspeak and In fact I wrote up a review there (updated today with my honest long term opinion)

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...p;#entry3552718

 

I had many email conversations with nicholas chipping who appears not to be with Zagg any longer, concerning the overhang on the old Vista HCx screen, I pointed out many inconsistencies in Zagg's listings of the Garmin shields and how they could make life a lot easier for both themselves and their customers, but my suggestions were ignored even after the website was redone.

 

I would be happy to explain the obvious errors you guys are making if you are interested.

 

My original Colorado Shield order number is xxxxxxx.

 

I have not sent back the first shield yet, (the one that was uncut) it's sitting in an envelope ready to send, but if truth be told, I'm wondering why I should pay to send it back, I can photograph it and show you that it is not cut out, in fact I'm going to open the envelope and do that right now.

 

You may find this thread above I started unpleasant to read, I did not want to link to it on *your* forum as that seemed a bit too harsh.

 

What is ironic is that all these complaints are only due to the Invisible Shield being so good, otherwise I'd have no hesitation in using an alternative (as some others have already done out of their own frustrations) however I am not one to cut off my nose to spite my face. Therefore my strategy is to just make you guys pay and pay and pay for your error and encourage others to do the same.

 

Ultimately Zagg, and it's customers both want the same thing. To be happy. And all Zagg has to do is exactly what they ostensibly really want to do, which is make a great product.

 

We are trying to help you to help us.

 

Please fine enclosed the original shield I ordered that was not cut, I have placed it on a credit card so you can see that it is in fact the full shield. I have shot it with plenty of reflections so you can clearly see that there is no scoring on it.

 

As you can appreciate there's no need for me to pay to send it back as you can see that it's not cut out. In my original complaint I did note the number of the inspector which is all you really need to know.

 

Please appreciate how anal we gps users are especially about the very elegant and beautiful Colorado. I remember a thread on Groundspeak where someone had ordered a shield after they had bought their gps and the day before it arrived (not your fault I hasten to add the customer just didn't get around to doing it in time) there dog stepped on it and scratched the screen. Imagine if that had happened because a faulty protector had to be sent back!

 

 

kind regards

 

 

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