Review: BodyGuardz iPhone protector

When I bought my iPhone last year I also bought a simple pouch-type leather case to go with it. I’m generally careful with gadgets so I didn’t bother with any sort of screen protector – after all, the screen is made of tough glass, right? I never put my iPhone in my pocket with keys or anything like that.

So I was somewhat bemused last month to discover an ugly scratch on the screen:

[click image to enlarge]

Luckily the scratch is only on the edge of the screen, and it’s not that big, but it’s pretty deep and noticeable (especially in sunlight) and just impinges on the first few pixels on the left side of the display.

I knew that the iPhone hadn’t had any rough treatment, or been dropped. It’s still a mystery to this day. I can only think that a grain of sand or something got stuck between the screen and the pouch case. Whatever – if you think the iPhone’s screen is unscratchable let this be a warning! It isn’t – it can get scratched easily, even if you look after your phone.

The scratch prompted me to look into those plastic film screen protectors that stick onto the phone. My hopes were:

  1. The protector might somehow disguise/cover up the existing scratch. (I read this on a forum somewhere.)
  2. It would prevent the screen getting scratched any further.

After reading various reviews, the two front runners seem to be the ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD and the BodyGuardz.

I went with the BodyGuardz on the basis that it seems to get slightly better ratings (many say the overall finish is smoother) and because you get two sets of protectors in the pack, in case you mess up. You also get an instruction card with minuscule writing (you’ll need a good pair of eyes or a magnifying glass), a bottle of solution (basically water and baby shampoo) and a squeegee:

[click image to enlarge]

In fact, as I discovered, it’s quite easy to mess up. You get a front (screen) protector and a back protector in each set. The front protector was easy to apply as it’s just a flat surface. However the back protector was a pain.

For each protector, you squirt the solution on your hands (to stop the protector sticking to them), then peel off the protector and squirt the adhesive side. Then you lay the protector sticky side down on the phone. You can slide it around to get it spot on, then you squeegee out the bubbles and let it dry for a couple of days. You’re supposed to keep your iPhone off for the first 12-24 hours to avoid the liquid damaging it.

I put the front protector on first, with very little effort. I did think about skipping the back protector (in fact I only wanted to buy the front protector, but the Aussie distributor only sells the version with front and back protectors), but decided to go for it.

I think I took the instructions “You can NOT (sic) use too much solution” a bit too literally – I’d just finished spraying the back protector when the bottle ran out! Luckily I just had enough to wet the protector, but if I ever want to use the second set I guess I’ll be making my own solution up. However it meant I only had one chance to get the back protector on. I managed it, but it’s pretty tricky to line it up with all the various holes, switches and buttons on the phone.

Once the back protector was on, the corner pieces wouldn’t stick down. This is a known problem – all you have to do is wait a few minutes for the adhesive to dry a bit, and try again. Eventually they went down; however I was left with unsightly (and rough-feeling) “kinks” on two of the corners:

[click image to enlarge]

No amount of flattening or squeegeeing would make these kinks stay flat. So I guess I’ll have to live with them (or try to cut them off or glue them down).

After a couple of days, the protector is pretty much dry and most of the remaining bubbles have disappeared. The screen still has a kind of moire (rainbow) effect with thin vertical lines, but hopefully this will go away once it’s completely dry.

There are also a few dimples here and there, but again hopefully these will disappear:

[click image to enlarge]

[Update 11 March: I'm sorry to say that neither the rainbow effect nor the dimples have disappeared. Which is rather disappointing. :( ]

The great news is that the scratch is now pretty much invisible – yay!

[click image to enlarge]

I’ve read comments saying you can hardly tell when the protector’s on. This is sort of true – you can’t easily tell at first glance. However, the phone does feel more plasticky (especially the screen, of course).

That said, I’m glad I bought the BodyGuardz, and that I applied the back protector too (despite the trauma). Not only does my iPhone now feel much better protected (I now dare to keep it in my pocket, though not with keys!) but I’m happy I don’t have to stare at that scratch any more! And the plasticky feel means that the iPhone is less likely to slip out of your hand.

Recommended if you want to keep your iPhone in top condition and hate putting it in a case (and don’t mind the slightly plasticky feel of the protector). I’d prefer it if the back piece were easier to apply though (and I’d like a bigger bottle of solution!).

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9 Responses to “Review: BodyGuardz iPhone protector”

  1. ceg Says:

    did the kinks go away??

  2. Matt Says:

    @ceg: No :(

  3. oren Says:

    Hi bro, awesome read, I just bought a ‘handy’ screen protector and it was Fed I had to throw it away >_> god damn it waste of 15 bucks.

    Anyways, I’d go get a bodyguardz or invisible shield someday instaed of these crappy ones =] thanks for your time and info (Altough I do have to know someonthing, did the scratch really disapear? it’s like INVISIBLE that part is a bit hard to belive… >.<)

    Email me =] have a good day

  4. Matt Says:

    @oren: Yes the scratch is no longer visible, although I wouldn’t say the protector itself it entirely invisible. You also get a kind of moirĂ© effect on the screen – it’s annoying at first but you soon get used to it.

  5. oren Says:

    I’ve bought my iPod about a week ago and I’m really really afraid about it, it’s only 8GB and I only realized I need more space after I’ve bought it :P

    So I’m selling it as soon as I could afford 32GB and I’m really afraid when I see anything that resembles to a scratch, I’m afraid even of putting it in my pocket being afraid there’s a small tiny grain of sand that would scratch my screen.

    I don’t care if it looks a bit bad (I’m not sure what does Moire mean) I pretty much only care about the iPod itself, I wanna be able to sell it for about 80% of the price I bought it for.

    I really do appriciate your review and I’d buy a bodyguardz kit soon.

    Thanks for your time and if you wanna contact me Email me at

    Blakdevils102@gmail.com

  6. Tara Says:

    What happens if you turn your iPhone on before 12-24 hours? Will it be ok?

  7. Matt Says:

    @Tara: I wouldn’t recommend it. If you accidentally turn it on, I’d turn it straight back off again and leave it to dry out properly.

  8. MintOreo Says:

    I purchased the bodyguardz and before the 12 hour mark was up, I totally forgot about it and started to use it again.. Unfortunately, there’s a rainbow line that’s going down vertically on the screen. Will THIS disappear, or do I have to reapply? Man, I feel like such fail. ><

  9. Matt Says:

    @MintOreo: This sounds much like the moirĂ© effect that I got (and still have). It might go away or diminish as the liquid dries, but it might not. Make sure you’ve squeezed all the bubbles out to the edge of the screen.