Lightning Review: Keeping Your iPhone? Clear Armor Apache-Grade Scratch Protector Reviewed (B.S. Alert)

Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Keeping Your iPhone? Clear Armor Apache-Grade Scratch Protector Reviewed (B.S. Alert)

The Gadget: Case-mate's Clear Armor film for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic (80GB and 160GB) or BlackBerry Curve protects against scratches using a military-grade Scotchgard film from 3M.

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Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Keeping Your iPhone? Clear Armor Apache-Grade Scratch Protector Reviewed (B.S. Alert)
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Keeping Your iPhone? Clear Armor Apache-Grade Scratch Protector Reviewed (B.S. Alert)
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Keeping Your iPhone? Clear Armor Apache-Grade Scratch Protector Reviewed (B.S. Alert)
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Keeping Your iPhone? Clear Armor Apache-Grade Scratch Protector Reviewed (B.S. Alert)

The Price: $19.99

The Verdict: Yes, yes, we know that the 3G iPhone is here, but if you are anything like me and on the fence about upgrading, Case-mate's Clear Armor will do a good job of protecting against scratches while preserving the natural beauty of your original iPhone, iPod or BlackBerry Curve. However, there is some major bullshit involved with their advertising campaign that put me off. First of all, Clear Armor is basically the same thing that Zagg has been selling for years under the name Invisible Shield. The difference is Zagg uses their own nano-memoryTM technology instead of 3M. However, Case-mate has tried to differentiate by relying on gimmicks like throwing a BlackBerry Curve 8300 wrapped in Clear Armor into a blender to demonstrate its durability. As Giz reader Shaun and others pointed out in the comments on the original Clear Armor post, it appears that the BlackBerry used in the demo is absolutely caked in this stuff.

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The other issue I came across involved the application of Clear Armor. The video on the site makes it seem as though it is easy to pull the film off the backing before applying-but the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, using my gigantic man-hands I managed to tear off the portion of the film that covers the top of the phone on both sets of rear films. All I can say is that it is a good thing that each set of front and back films comes in doubles, because you will probably need them both to get it right. In retrospect, I probably should have used a pair of tweezers or an X-Acto knife to ensure that I got the film off in one piece.

Again, the technology behind Clear Armor is great. I mustered up enough courage to scratch my keys along the back of my iPhone and it came away completely unscathed. However, if you were foolish enough to put your phone into a blender wrapped in a single layer of this stuff, I can guarantee that it would not survive the beating. That having been said, my advice is to stick with Invisible Shield. They offer a lifetime guarantee on their product, they protect a wider range of devices and they are already taking pre-orders for a 3G iPhone version. [case-mate]

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DISCUSSION

I don't think I'll be holding on to my 1st gen iPhone for too much longer. Put it on craigslist right after the keynote for $250 thinking I could wait a month for the new one. I got about 30 responses within 20 minutes or so. I have since raised the price to $350 and am still getting a few calls/emails, but am reluctant to give it up because I will be without an iPhone for a full month. I am thinking that the 1st gen iPhones will continue to bring good money until they figure out a way to jailbreak the new firmware. Also, besides the people who want to use an iPhone outisde ATT, there are those that simply want a first gen iPhone and they have been nearly impossible to find for the past several weeks. So if youre gonna sell it, do it now before the demand goes down in a month.