invisibleSHIELD for Treo 700w Reviewed
Posted on March 1, 2006 by Chris Duke
There has been much talk about the invisibleSHIELD by ShieldZone Corporation lately, and for good reason. There aren’t any other skin-tight cases for the Treo 700w that look good! This $24.95 is “military strong”, is a clear application (kind of like a screen protector, but for the entire Treo), has a lifetime warranty, and covers about 75% of the Treo (with the remaining 25% being the keyboard, the bottom, and the sides). ShieldZone also makes an application for the Treo 650 as well as 100’s of other devices. Their application guide is quite impressive. It may be easier to use their search feature if you are looking for something other than the shield for the 700w.
I was skeptical at first, having some background in vinyl decals. I still have my vinyl cutter, and some clear vinyl… how is this any different? If I had the pattern, could I just make it myself and spend a buck on the clear vinyl? I had to find out what this was all about myself.
I’d like to re-iterate that this article was written at my own free will. I am not employed by ShieldZone, or any other manufacturer or retailer for that matter. This article is being published for other owners of the Treo. All images in this article can be clicked to view a larger version.
The main problem I was hoping to solve was the deterioration of my existing screen protector. When I first purchased my Treo I put on a Fellowes “WriteRight” screen protector, designed specifically to protect the screens of PDAs. After a few short weeks of use I started to see a permanent scroll bar mark etched onto the screen protector (click photo to the right to see more detail). I was dreading having to replace this cheap screen protector on a monthly basis. After reading about the invisibleSHIELD at a few Treo forum sites, I decided to give it a try. This would solve my screen protector problem with a lifetime guarantee, plus protect the rest of my Treo.
I ordered the “PalmOne Treo 700W Full Body Shield” (part #PLMTREO700FULL) online at their website. I messed up my first order, and after calling their customer service line, it was quickly resolved. Their customer service was extremely friendly and they were eager to assist. Plus, I didn’t have to wait on hold for 20 minutes. My issue was quickly resolved.
Within a few short days of placing my order online, it arrived in the mail. There were two options upon ordering: Free via first class USPS mail, or for a nominal fee it can be delivered via UPS which includes some application liquid. Being a cheapo, and already having a spray bottle full of my own application liquid (soapy water), I went for the Free shipping option.
- Front top piece which covers the “palm” and “Verizon” logos, goes around the ear piece and wraps around the antennae as well as the silver plastic on the top of the Treo. There is also a small oval piece that goes on the oval ear piece itself.
- The screen protector.
- Top back piece which has cutouts for the speaker, the camera lens, and the rubber pieces below the antennae. It, like the front top piece, wraps up to the top and stop just short of the silver plastic on the top.
- Lower back piece which covers 98% of the back battery cover.
There aren’t any installation instructions that come with the product, which is a bit disappointing, considering the cost of the product. Further troubling, the included “Application Instructions” (shown to the left) are incorrect. It directs you to a page which is an invalid URL. They obviously updated their website, but not their 1″ x 3″ piece of paper that comes with the product. That’s fine, as I was able to find the registration link at their site. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find the installation instructions, along with a very instructive installation video. I highly recommend watching the video prior to reading the installation instructions.
I am not going to walk through the install step-by-step, as between the instructions, the FAQ, and the video, ShieldZone has it pretty well covered. In addition to their suggestions, I recommend a can of compressed air to spray off any microscopic fibers that might exist on your Treo prior to applying the shield. On the body pieces, use a minimal amount of solution to apply the shield and be prepared to spend a lot of time directing bubbles to the edge and making sure some of the pieces which curve around the top stay put. I probably spent about 30 minutes applying the shield to my Treo, only because I’m such a perfectionist and I didn’t want to have to re-do it some other time. My final tip is regarding the screen protector. It covers the screen pretty well, but if you aren’t paying attention to centering it perfectly, you can easily leave a gap on one or two sides. My recommendation is to err on the side of having the screen shield be more to the right than anywhere else, so that you don’t risk having a “ledge” when you are using the scroll bar.
My overall opinion of the product so far is good. I just applied it today, so I’ll update this article when I’ve had a week or two of use under my belt. I don’t believe I could have cut these pieces myself with my vinyl cutter and some clear vinyl as I mentioned above. The shield pieces are an exact cut for the Treo 700w. They are “spot on” with their sizing, plus the shield does seem to be better and stronger than normal clear vinyl that you buy at a sign shop. The shield does add a bit of a shine to the Treo, which isn’t a bad thing… in fact it actually looks pretty cool. My only complaint so far is that on the screen shield, the material is a bit more “rubbery” which makes scrolling using the stylus a bit harder because the tip of the stylus wants to stick, not glide. Again, this could be just due to a fresh installation and ShieldZone does recommend waiting 24 hours for the shield to fully set in.
The other goal of this article was to do something nobody else has done (at least to my knowledge)… take some decent photos of the shield! It’s hard, because the shield is invisible, and only a few millimeters thick. Lighting has to be just right, and you have to have a decent lens. Thankfully, I had my trusty Canon digital SLR with a 100mm macro lens nearby and grabbed a few photos of my final installation. Hopefully it will give you a better idea as to how it looks on your Treo! As with all photos in this article, click it to view a full-sized version with more detail.