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iWrap offers case-free iPhone protection

iwrap iphoneThe iWrap is a thin, tough film meant to protect your iPhone from nicks, smudges and dings. After a month of use, I can say that it will appeal to a certain group of users, but not everyone. Those after thin, case-free scratch protection should consider the iWrap. Here's my look at iWrap for the iPhone.

In four short years, the iPhone has spawned a huge industry of accessories, apps, whatever this is, and cases -- lots and lots of cases. On one end of the spectrum is the Griffin Survivor, a hardcore badass that dares life to damage your phone. It's bulky, tough and not afraid of a little pocket lint to say the least.

The Survivor's polar opposite is the iWrap.

What you get

This pair of adhesive films from Virtuosity Products clings tenaciously to your precious, sparing it the occasional scratch. While Virtuosity claims that the "iWrap protects your entire device from scratches & falls," I wasn't willing to perform a drop test.

Inside the package, you'll find a cleaning cloth, the iWrap squeegee, instruction pamphlet and the skins themselves.

Application

The process takes concentration, but it's not difficult. Here's how it works: first, clean off your nasty, smudgy iPhone with the supplied cloth and then apply the skins.

The skins are actually double-sided and go on with the logo intact. You'll find a blue tab at one end. Peel it back slightly and line up the sticky portion with your iPhone. Then, with the paper backing still in place, slowly pull it down along your iPhone. The paper backing will come off, leaving the film stuck securely in place.

Next, grab that squeegee and push any bubbles to the edges. I couldn't remove every bubble, but the tiny ones disappeared in few days anyway. More on that later.

Once you're satisfied, pick at a corner to separate the the logo from the film itself. It easily peels away, leaving the iWrap in place. You'll notice that it's a bit cloudy at this point, and the logo appears to be imprinted on the film. Don't worry, that will fade. Finally, repeat the process for the back (you'll also find pieces to cover the edges, but I didn't test those).

Use

I'll come out and say that I typically dislike film that covers my iPhone's display. While functionality is maintained, the feel is compromised. With that in mind, I tolerated the iWrap on my iPhone's face better than I thought I would. The surface is slick, and after the cloudiness "settles out" (that's a technical term), it's all but "invisible." Still, I'm aware of touching something other than the iPhone when swiping. It doesn't feel bad, just different. Many of you who are less picky than me won't mind.

The scratch protection is fantastic. The iWrap absorbed many dings and scrapes in the month that I used it. I don't know if those knocks would have damaged the iPhone's glass, but I didn't have to find out, either.

Speaking of damage, my iPhone does have a crack. Just weeks after getting it, it fell onto some stairs and acquired a hairline crack that extends from the upper left-hand corner to the far right of the earpiece. The good news is that the iWrap has held it in check, preventing it from spreading (I initially used a Gelaskin for that task).

My only complaint is this -- initially, I didn't apply the back piece exactly perfectly. The mis-alignment was slight enough to go unnoticed until it began peeling back, slowly, slowly, right where my thumb rests against the phone. Eventually I had a small "lip" of the skin that had let go, collected dust and other gunk, and did not want to go back into place. It's entirely my fault for not aligning the thing properly, and it also drives home the point: take your time when putting this on. Send the kids outside, make some tea and slow down.

Conclusion

While I don't think the iWrap could protect your device from a fall, it is very tough. As I said, after a month of use it took some serious dings and scrapes. After removing the iWrap, I found my iPhone in the same condition as the day I applied it. It becomes completely transparent after a day and doesn't interfere with functionality at all.

If you're the Bear Grylls type, pick up a Survivor. Those looking for lightweight, durable and inexpensive iPhone protection should consider the iWrap. They're available now for US$19.95 for the full body, or $12.95 for just the screen and $14.95 for just the back.

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