Review: Radtech Ice Creme Version 2 Scratch Remover
Pros: Substantially improved version of company’s prior iPod polishing formula enables restoration of original gloss to an iPod’s front and back surfaces.* Reasonably priced, not especially difficult or dangerous to use if you follow the directions.
Cons: Metal polishing system requires more time/labor to fully remove “deep” scratches than suggested, creates residue that may get on the front of your iPod and discolor its non-glossy surfaces.
(* Please see comments below for additional information.)
For the first two and a half years of the iPod’s life, a sizable fraction of the iPod user base was scratch-obsessed: Apple made the hardware’s mirror-like back and glossy front so perfectly that many people worried over small scuffs and dings. We know: we were among these people. And after the release of the largely scratch-resistant iPod mini, something else changed with the fourth-generation iPod - despite their scratch-attractive bodies, they became so ubiquitous that obsessively protecting them seemed unnecessary. Call it the psychological transformation of a sparkly luxury item into a common tool.
In recent weeks, our own pendulum has swung back - we recognized how bad our iPods looked when their screens and backs were covered in scratches, and knew we’d caused them by carrying our iPods in jeans pockets and elsewhere without protection. We wanted to fix them and go back to full-time protection. But were the scratches reversible?
Last year, we did a comparison review of iPod polishes from Radtech and iCleaner, rating iCleaner a B and Ice Creme a C+. At the time, we noted that iCleaner properly restored an iPod’s factory gloss, while Ice Creme did a good job of removing bad scratches, yet left small scratches of its own. We weren’t totally happy with either solution, but found that it was possible to bring an iPod mostly back to original shine when using both in tandem. Now Radtech has created a second and much-improved version of Ice Creme ($20.95-25.95), with results that are nothing short of spectacular for acrylic resurfacing, and decent for glossy metal. (Note: It’s not for use with the iPod mini.)
Ice Creme 2 makes two major changes to the company’s prior three-bottle polishing system: first, there are now two bottles of Ice Creme rather than three - the old Ice Creme M polishing creme is gone, leaving only Ice Creme A and B for all plastic and metal polishing purposes. Second, deep metal scratch removal is handled with a sponge-like pad rather than a separate polishing fluid, so when you buy Radtech’s more deluxe Ice Creme kit - still called Ice Creme M - it’s now just that pad and the two A and B bottles.
Every Ice Creme package comes with Ice Creme A - which is labeled as a “severe abrasion formula” for acrylic (plastic) surface refinishing, but also removes light metal scratches - and Ice Creme B, a “finishing formula” that’s intended to restore the shine of your iPod’s plastic parts. You also get two microfiber polishing cloths made from Radtech’s Optex fabric, and instructions on proper polishing and cleaning of the iPod.
After cleaning off your iPod, you shake Ice Creme A up, apply a pea-sized dab to one of the included cloths, and use back and forth motions to apply it to your iPod’s glossy white front. As contrasted with our prior experiences with Ice Creme, a fair bit of physical pressure and 30 minutes or so later - carefully avoiding getting creme in the iPod’s crevices - scratches were entirely removed from the front surface, and the iPod begins to look brand new again. Best of all, even with some fairly significant scratches at the beginning, our test 4G iPod looked so glossy that we considered not using Ice Creme B to “finish” the job.
Ice Creme B is a finer polish, and restores gloss to any plastic surface that requires it after application of Ice Creme A. It didn’t make a tremendous difference in our experience because Ice Creme A worked so well, but it’s there if you need it for plastics. Metals don’t benefit from its use, according to Radtech’s instructions.
Polishing the iPod’s back was a bit more of a challenge. Not knowing whether our scratches qualified as light, medium, or heavy, we first used Ice Creme A rather than Radtech’s Ice Creme M refinishing pad, which is intended for heavy duty scratch removal. Ice Creme A gave the back of our test iPod a beautifully glossy, mirror-like shine - better, in fact, than the one we’d achieved with either iCleaner or Ice Creme before - but didn’t remove the more noticeable scratches on the iPod’s back.
So we assumed that these scratches were “medium or heavy,” and gave the new Ice Creme M pad a try. Even after applying significant pressure over a period of about 40 minutes - a process that isn’t fun, and might make you groan a bit - we couldn’t make the scratches go completely away with the pad. But they were noticeably reduced, and it’s possible that they might have been removed after an hour of additional work (or even greater physical pressure). As the instructions suggested a 10-20 minute “typical working time for a 3 cm scratch,” we had the sense that the estimate might need to be more generous.
When the M pad was used, the iPod’s back became dull as if it had been lightly sanded, precisely as anticipated by Radtech’s instructions. Use of the A creme rapidly brought back the metal’s glossy shine, leaving us with an iPod that looked substantially better than it started, albeit not perfect. It bears mention that the M pad is made for at least one full iPod restoration, but will likely do two or more, and the Creme bottles will last for a few complete front and back restorations. Radtech’s new Optex cloths are larger and better than before, and can be easily washed for repeat use.
Our only gripes with the M version of Ice Creme are simple: it didn’t fully remove the deeper scratches in the stated period of time, and the rear polishing process created a black residue that got on our fingers, discoloring our iPod’s Click Wheel. More significantly, the residue couldn’t be removed completely with two different cleaning agents we tried, but most of it came off, as shown in these pictures.
As the company’s instructions and new labels aren’t yet complete, we see this as an issue that could be easily solved with a conspicuous warning not to polish the rear of your iPod without covering its front.
It’s hard to really knock Ice Creme too much for these issues, however, as the results it accomplishes are considerably better than those of its predecessors, and we feel that both of the problems could be resolved: the metal deep scratches through additional time and pressure, and the discoloration through updated instructions. Both were issues only with the Ice Creme M package, so bump our A- grade up to an A if you’re only looking to restore the front of your iPod’s body.
All in all, we were very impressed by the new Ice Creme’s performance. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to our readers - so long as they’re willing to follow the steps and put in the time to use it properly.