Review: ShieldZone InvisibleShield Full Body Shield for iPod nano (Aluminum)
Model: Full Body Shield nano 2G
Compatible: iPod nano (Aluminum)
Pros: A thin and almost entirely clear protective film for the new iPod nano that enables you to scratch-protect every bit of its body save its plastic top and bottom. Allows you to show off nano’s color and thinness without the bulk of a case.
Cons: Partial top and entire bottom of nano are unnecessarily exposed; film continues to have slightly wrinkled texture that’s most noticeable when iPod is viewed from the side. Perfect alignment of sticker requires a little attention during 24-hour drying process.
We recently re-examined ShieldZone’s InvisibleShield Full Body Shield for iPod 5G and the original iPod nano (iLounge rating: A-), finding that the company’s almost clear protective film was a nearly ideal way to protect a glossy-bodied iPod without adding the bulk and additional cosmetics of a case. Now ShieldZone has released an InvisibleShield for the aluminum-bodied, second-generation iPod nano ($20), and the results are similarly impressive.
The 2G nano InvisibleShield consists of three main pieces - a single film wrapper that runs from front to back across your nano, covering literally every millimeter of its metal casing save the Click Wheel, and two separate circles that cover the Click Wheel and its central Action button. There’s also a small partial cover for the nano’s top, which we didn’t initially notice when we opened the package. You apply each piece of the Shield by spraying its adhesive side with a mist of soapy water, included in a tiny spray bottle, and then use an included soft plastic squeege to remove air bubbles. With the 2G nano, the only bubbles we couldn’t fully remove were at the seam between the nano’s screen and casing, and then, the air pockets are tiny and inoffensive.
Once the film dries - a process that takes 24 hours - your nano looks almost identical to how it started, only glossier rather than matte finished. We didn’t mind this at all, as Apple’s colorful anodized aluminum shells shine through the clear stickers, and the nano’s screen looks virtually perfect inside, as well - a better compromise than is achieved in most of the iPod cases we’ve seen. The film adds scratch-resistance, as well; an uncovered aluminum nano is less scratch-attractive than its glossy predecessor, but InvisibleShield renders its metal surfaces and screen basically unscratchable, unless you drop the nano from some great height or run over it with a car. As with its prior iterations, InvisibleShield enables you to carry around your iPod with only small changes to its looks and bulk, an option we’ve found increasingly attractive as we’ve tired of the endless stream of me-too cases out there.
The only issues we noticed were very small: the film’s left and right sides come together on the case’s back, and though we tried to get them to dry touching each other, the final seam was a little wider at the top (still under 1mm) than at the bottom. Similarly, the alignment of the Click Wheel hole was very close to perfect, but not quite. We possibly could have prevented both of these issues during drying; take care during your own application and drying periods.
InvisibleShield doesn’t rate a flat A for only two reasons, both disparities between its name and its actual performance. First, as our pictures show, it’s not quite invisible, with the slightly wrinkled texture of cooked Saran Wrap evident on any flat surface. We still hope that the company can come up with an alternative that is perfectly clear and flat; as-is, this version is only close. And second, despite the Full Body Shield billing, ShieldZone has left out protection for two parts of the nano’s body - part of its top and its entire bottom plastic surfaces - which are left susceptible to scratches. Prior iterations of this product have suffered from the same issues - the 2G nano version of InvisibleShield, in our view, could easily have been fixed.
Overall, our only gripes about InvisibleShield for the aluminum iPod nano are very small, and we’d continue to highly recommend this product if you’re looking to keep your iPod looking like new. While it forces you to compromise a little on the nano’s original texture, and isn’t the cheapest sticker-like protection out there, it preserves so much of what makes the ultra-thin iPod special that most people won’t mind at all.