I've always disliked using a case for a smartphone. It adds bulk and obscure the clean designs of the phone. But to prevent cracks and scratches, it's a necessary evil. ... or is it?
I recently tried the Wrapsol Ultra protective phone wrap for my iPhone 4 (also works on iPhone 4S). The cover -- made of high-strength polyurethane 12 mil thick film -- protects the glass, back and sides of the iPhone. Wrapsol says it can withstand impacts from a 6-foot drop. It also resists scratches from a Dremel tool, and they have
videos to prove this
The kit for the iPhone 4/4S comes with pieces for the front, back and side; microfiber cloth to clean the surfaces; a squeegee to apply the film; and an instruction diagram.
Installation is fairly easy. First, clean the surfaces of any dirt and fingerprints. Punch out the openings for the home button and cameras that are pre-cut in the film sheet. Then peel the white backing off the film, grab the "handles" and place the sheet sticky side down on the surface you want to cover. It's a dry application, so no water or spraying is needed. Secure one end onto the surface, lift up the other end holding the tab, then push forward with the squeegee to lay it flat and push out the bubbles. Remove the top protective layer, tear off the tabs, and you're set.
Are some bubbles left? I've done many wraps on phones, race cars, other devices, and bubbles are always a pain. But no worries. With the Wrapsol Ultra, the film is "breathable" so the bubbles work themselves out. No puncturing needed. Give it 24 hours or so, and the surface is clear of those annoying bumps for a slick, glossy finish. One thing to note: Make sure you work in a dust-free environment. If a speck of dust gets stuck to the film before it's applied to the surface, it's difficult -- near impossible -- to get it out. (At least with my level of patience.)
The thin strips for the edges of the iPhone were easier to apply. I used my fingers, not the squeegee. The trickiest part is to figure out which piece goes where.
The first thing I noticed when I installed the film on the screen is how vivid the images looked. That's mostly because it's glare-proof and finger-smudge resistant. Unlike some wraps, there's no haze and the touch sensitivity isn't compromised. It doesn't feel too sticky or too "dry." And so far, my phone has survived a few unfortunate tumbles. It's comfortable in my hands without a bulky case. The only discomfort is getting used to the edges of the film, which, in the beginning, is noticeable because of the scratchy edges, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
Wrapsol UItra, which comes with a lifetime warranty is $14.95-$29.95 depending on if it's for one side or for front and back. The film is available for several devices, including the new Samsung Galaxy S (which we also tested with success), and tablets. Interesting enough, Wrapsol seems to have a crystal ball: Among the choices is one for the iPhone 5, which Apple is expected to debut tomorrow.
Wrapsol is available at
, or check locally at Walmart and Staples.