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Old March 22nd, 2011, 07:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cases, screen protectors, etc.

So I got a Nexus S about a month ago and decided that I wanted to somehow protect it from scratches, dings, etc. I read quite a bit on the different product available (sadly, for the Nexus S there aren't many options). Here's my short summary of the things I tried:

- Tech 21 3do silicone case: This is the first thing I got as it does provide great protection. It basically covers the back and the sides. It did not add much bulk to the phone but for some reason I felt that it did make the phone a bit awkward to handle. The fit was fine, with one exception: there were not cut-outs for the power and volume buttons. Instead, there are these "bumps" where the buttons are. The power button was fine, however, the case was a bit too snug on the left, where the power buttons are. This basically meant that the case had a small gap just above the volume buttons and they became so sensitive that I would inadvertently press them every single time I picked up the phone or did anything on it (while I am talking, browsing, texting etc., etc.). I actually, cut the little bumps out with a razor which did make the fit perfect. However, I could no longer press the buttons as the case is just a tad too thick for me to reach them. The case did improve the phone "grip" feel but at the same time made it a bit difficult to slide in and out of pockets. Also, due to the silicone, it became a lint-magnet. All-in-all, I removed the case after 2 days.

- Generic non-slip, black matte plastic cover: Then I bough a generic plastic cover from eBay for something like £3 shipped. Surprisingly the make and fit were perfect (the case was the type where you have to basically "sandwich" the phone between the front and back pieces). All the cut-outs were where they were supposed to be and the case did have cut-outs for the power and volume buttons, instead of the standard "bumps". It did add a just a bit of bulk to the phone. Handling the phone with the case on felt OK, as the case followed the phone contours. Since the case was not silicone, I did not have the lint-magnet problems anymore. I am not sure what kind of protection the case would have provided against dropping the phone as you were talking for example (would it just fly apart? which actually, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing). All-in-all, I don't really have many negative things to say about the case, however, I did remove it after about 3 days or so, as I felt that it detracted from the phone's look and feel.

- Terrapin screen protector: I used the Terrapin screen protector along with the case I got from eBay. I got the Terrapins from eBay as well, for something like £5 shipped (for a pack of 6). The install was fairly easy, although I did have to waste about 2 or so protectors before I got it just right . However, I could never get the protector to completely stick at a couple of places along the edge of the phone, also around the ear piece, front camera and proximity sensor. Initially the feel was very plasticky but improved after about 1 day or so of use. The protector is a bit thicker than the Zagg for example. I did not feel that it detracts much from the phone's display. Maybe if you really pay attention you would see some tiny difference. Glare did increase a bit. Overall, the Terrapin seemed like a good product for the price. I am wondering if it would have become unstuck after a while though, since it did not stick evenly everywhere (as described above). I took the protector off, after about 3 days or so.

- Zagg Invisible Shield: By this time, I knew that I wanted to keep the phone's "stock" look and feel, so the only other option I hadn't tried was the Zagg Invisible Shield. After doing some research, I found that some people had horror stories with, that it was difficult to apply, it had the "orange peel" effect, etc., etc. However, there are also a whole lot of people who have had no trouble at all and really like the product. So, I decided to buy the full-body protector (got for about £16 from eBay). The kit had front and back piece. Before I received the Invisible Shield I read a bunch of installation instructions and watched a number of videos, which I think is a good idea if you are thinking of installing it yourself (I didn't want to pay Carphone Warehouse £10 for the installation). The install was definitely not as difficult as many people seem to be making it out to be. You just have to be careful, take your time and make sure you do the back first (so you can get used to the process). The front came out nearly perfect, I had some micro-bubbles and a few smaller bubbles here and there but nothing too major. The back on the other hand had a whole bunch of micro bubbles and smaller bubbles (so I was a bit worried of what it would look like when it dries). Also, it seemed that the back piece was not cut precisely enough, and although all the cut-outs were fine (camera, flash, etc.) it still left a small strip of the phone uncovered, just along the edge of the back cover. Definitely nothing to go be really upset about, but I just knew it was there and it is visible if you look. On the other hand, the front fit perfectly. Anyway, after installation, as suggested, I just left the phone for about 18 hours or so to let it dry. By the end of the 18 hours, some of the micro bubbles were gone, but not all, and the smaller bubbles were still there (the back still did not look very nice). After reading up a bit more, it seemed like I had to give it a couple of days and any minor imperfections would disappear. So, after about 2 days, all the bubbles did actually disappear (although I kept smoothing out the smaller bubbles). The back of the phone also looked just fine (which is surprising, as I thought that I had completely screwed that up). There were a couple of minor imperfections, but overall, they did not bother me that much. The phone "grip" did improve, since I had the full body protection. Initially, screen swipes did feel rubbery but that improved after about one day (I thought that the Zagg felt much better than the Terrapin). Also, I don't think that the front piece detracted from the display colours or brightness, although glare did become worse. I kept on the lookout for the dreaded "orange peel" effect and sadly, it appeared about 4 days after the install. Interestingly, the feel did not change much, however, you could definitely see the tiny bumps under any kind of light and did make the glare worse than before, however, I thought that display brightness and colours remained unchanged. I did decide to give it some time to see if it would go away. After, about a week or two, the "orange peel" effect was still there, which is about the time when I decided to remove the Zagg. Overall, I think that the Zagg Invisible Shield is a very good product. I definitely didn't think that the "swipe" feel is as bad as many people are making it out to be, the kit improved the phone's grip, installation wasn't all that bad (if you spend some time researching), display brightness and colours remained virtually unchanged. With that said, like I mentioned, glare did get worse and I did get the "orange peel" effect (which may be related to the way I installed it, as I've read a number of reviews where people did not get this), which are the two main reasons I decided to remove the Zagg.

- Mofi pouch: So, finally, I decided that I wanted to get some sort of a leather case or a pouch (there by providing some protection against both dropping and scratching. Of course, I guess I could always drop the phone while I am talking or something, but with my old phones, I found that the vast majority of accidents happened for example when I picked up the phone and it just slipped out my hand, phone falling out of pockets, etc.). Again, I wanted to get something that added as little bulk as possible, as I tend to carry the phone in my pockets. I found a couple of leather cases, but they all seemed to add more bulk than I wanted (although PD Air was probably the closest to what I was looking for). Finally, I bought the Mofi pouch (you should be able to find it at both Amazon and eBay for about £5 shipped). The phone fits perfectly in the pouch and it does not add a lot of bulk (I can still pretty much keep the phone in my pocket, although, as expected, it does bulge out a bit more). The outside of the pouch is made from what seems like velour and the inside is lined with some sort of a really soft material (not sure what it) and provides adequate padding. There is something like a tie string on the top which you can secure to prevent the phone from falling out (although the fit is pretty snug as it is, so I don't see that as a huge risk, maybe if the pouch expands a bit from use?). So far, I am really happy with the Mofi and it seems to be exactly what I was looking for. Initially, I thought that it would be annoying to constantly take the phone out of the pouch, but at the end of the day, it's not really such a big deal. The pouch is also soft enough so that I can press the volume buttons while the phone is in it (you can't really feel the buttons but if you know where they are, you can press them )

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Old March 23rd, 2011, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Excellent post, mirroring many of my own experiences with the Zagg, Terrapin and Mofi. I also found the Terrapin didn't stick well, and removed it as it scratches very easily.

My experiences with the Zagg are detailed in another thread, as are those with an alternative which I've found to be vastly superior. Check out the Skinomi TechSkin™ for Google Nexus S. You have to order it from the US but it arrived quickly and there wasn't any duty.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 11:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I use this cheap screen protector I got over at amazon.com called EZ Guard its a cling on screen protector so no worries about spraying or if it accidentally falls off as well its as good a protection as invisible shield but the down side would be that its hard to apply w/o getting dust on it
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