Review: Applesauce Products Scratch Removal Kit for iPod
Pros: A combination of two creams and three polishing cloths that bring back most of the shine of a scratched iPod, especially its front face. Reasonable pricing, easy to use.
Cons: Kit neither fully restores iPod to original factory gloss or as impressively handles metal damage as top competing product; thin scratches are left on both surfaces. Included cloths are disposable rather than reusable.
The number of iPod scratch removal options has recently grown by one: a new company called Applesauce Products has released the Scratch Removal Kit for iPod ($20), a collection of two bottles of cream and three disposable polishing cloths. Together, these items are designed to “safely and easily restore the original finish to your iPod,” newly reformulated for “superior results on black iPod nano and video.”
Of course, Applesauce’s timing is superb. Complaints of scratched iPods have reached their apex with the release of the black iPod nano and video, and iLounge’s own units have suffered the same fate, our nano in particular scratched and scuffed almost immediately after purchase, then gouged during a trip overseas. The scratches on its face were unseemly, making use of the Scratch Removal Kit - or something similar - a top priority. So we spent the better part of a week testing the Kit on these two iPods.
First, the good news: like the other scratch removal options we’ve previously tested, Applesauce’s Kit did get rid of the worst gouge-like scratches on our two iPods, and it does a good job by the standards of the best products we’ve seen. You begin by rubbing pink “Microfinishing Polish” with a cloth onto your iPod’s front and/or back, spending 20 or so minutes removing the deepest of your scratches dab by dab. Next, after several applications of green “Microfinishing Glaze” with a separate cloth, you’re supposed to remove the residual front scratch marks, restoring the iPod’s gloss. No second step is used for the iPod’s metal rear. This procedure works pretty much as expected, taking an iPod from scarred back to what appears from a distance or in the right light to be its original lustre.
As with other solutions we’ve tested, your results will depend on large part in the time and pressure you’re willing to invest in polishing. We’re not sure whether half an hour of casual polishing is going to be adequate for most people, though: we used a fair bit of pressure and followed the directions on two different test iPods, and found that really significant scratches tended to require more than 30 minutes (or stronger pressure than we were willing to apply) to blend out.
(For what it’s worth, the company is currently working on a new version of the polish, which will include a third polishing tool - a set of two microabrasive pads - capable of more quickly buffing out significant damages to your iPod. We may revisit the company’s polish when this version is officially released, but can say that the pads mostly worked well in our preliminary testing.)
One of our two big issues was that the company’s secondary polish - the green-colored Glaze - didn’t fully restore the iPod’s original mirror-like finish, even after a few attempts at re-application. Because it includes a solution that’s intended to fill in the rough edges of the buffed iPod’s face with a new glossy polish, it came pretty close to doing so - enough that the iPod looks great under the right light. But up close, we could still see hairline surface scratches all over each iPod’s face. Admittedly, both of our black iPods looked a lot better after the glaze than they did before we’d started the polishing process, but neither of them looked as good as new. It’s also worth noting that the glaze changed the matte finish of the black nano’s Click Wheel, giving it a shine that looks fine, but not original; you should cover the Click Wheel before starting the process if you’re concerned about this.
The other big issue was the iPod’s metal. We’ve yet to see any solution perfectly fix a scratched up rear iPod casing, and Applesauce Polish barely tries. You’re supposed to use the pink polish to remove light to medium-sized metal scratches, which works, but there’s no second step to even try and bring back a completely mirror-like finish - neither the green Glaze nor a special metal polishing pad or cloth is included. The company’s web site doesn’t do a great job of explaining this limitation to consumers, either. Only if you dive into the company’s frequently asked questions (FAQs) will you learn that “restoring [polished metal] to its factory state is not possible once scratched.” We’d imagine this is a frequently asked question only because it’s not what you’d expect to hear after seeing the restoration claims elsewhere on the site. It’s worth a brief note that RadTech’s Ice Creme Version 2 does a better job with metal than this.
As a final and smaller point, it’s worth noting that the company’s current kit includes three thin, disposable polishing cloths that you may not identify as three parts until too late. You’re supposed to use one cloth for the initial pink Polish, one for the initial green Glaze, and one to gently wipe off the residual Glaze when you’ve finished. It’s our feeling that you should start by separating these cloths from each other, and we’d have preferred that Applesauce would include a fourth “just in case” cloth at a minimum. Better yet, we wish the company would use better, washable and reusable microfiber cloths like Radtech’s for polishing. The results would likely be better, and users with seriously beaten-up iPods could stand a better chance of having second or third chances to achieve their preferred level of restoration.
Overall, Applesauce Polish is a good option if you’re looking to mostly restore the front plastic surface of an iPod after it’s taken serious scratch abuse. Though it’s not a perfect solution, and works almost identically to similar products that remove serious damage and leave comparatively trivial scratches aside, it certainly leaves a scuffed iPod looking considerably better than before. For the $20 asking price, we think it’s recommendable to most of our readers.