Review: Gadgetshieldz phone screen protector is great until it isn’t

If only the world of YouTube reviewers would learn the value of tested-in-the-field reviews. "I've been using this for a week and I give it five stars" is so dumb. I've used a pretty good phone screen protector from Gadgetshieldz for over six months now and here's my damn-sight-more-useful review.

My newish Nokia 8 needed protection. I buy devices for their aesthetics and function, so I hate covering them up with chunky cases, but I don't want them scratched to hell by being naked. I found some positive reviews for the Gadgetshieldz product in a few places (YouTube and XDA) and thought it was worth giving a go after discovering that the Nokia 8's screen was too curved for the usual tempered-glass screen-protector strategy.

screen protector with no marks
Gadgetshieldz screen protector after six months. All you see is the reflection of the wall; no scratches to be seen... almost.

Gadgetshieldz produce an almost full-body cover made of a thin plastic film. I ordered it online and it arrived (from India) pretty quickly. Together, the various pieces cover most of the phone, except the front edges and buttons/ports/speaker. The material is thin and quite stretchy. Applying the pieces takes a little finesse, but isn't bad. Some people freak out that it traps lots of bubbles initially, but in fact the bubbles all work their way out very quickly. At the end of the process, you can't see the film unless you look closely. Most obviously, the cut-outs and small corner pieces give its presence away.

I was really really impressed with the product at first. The surface shows hardly any scratches marks at all, even six months in (I recently discovered that if you see the film in very bright light at a quite oblique angle, there are some little scratches, but I swear I was very surprised by this, because they aren't visible at all under normal lighting).

two scratches on screen protector
Gadgetshieldz screen protector with two fine scratches after six months - pretty good!

Even when the edge of the film has occasionally caught on something as I've slid it into my bag, the bump and bubble has settled down within a day or two. I guess it would be nice if the film weren't so easily distorted when it catches on something, but the recovery every time has been impressive.

So why was the early tone of this review sounding a bit negative? Well, recall that the film was applied about six months ago. That was early autumn here. Cooler temperatures. In June I went north and it was warmer. I was using my phone as normal (mostly slipping it in and out of my trouser pocket). The daytime temp was around 28C. The edges of the film around a button started lifting. Badly. There was no re-sticking possible, because the inner surface of the film had picked up pocket fluff immediately. I had to trim it back with a craft-knife. One corner piece also started lifting.

Corners of screen protector started lifting
Corners of screen protector started lifting

When I returned to cooler climes, there were no more problems (other than the careful trimming of the bad bits). Everything was back to wonderful normal.

And then last month I went travelling again. 30-35C daytime temps. Immediately, all the corner pieces started peeling off and some other edges began lifting.

Screen protector lifting around camera
Screen protector piece around camera/flash lifted and had to be trimmed

There's not much more I can say. If you live in a cool environment, it seems the Gadgetshieldz film is a great solution, but the adhesion deteriorated massively for me within hours of being in a warmer environment. At about USD 16 a go (current price), I don't think replacing the film every time I travel is a reasonable requirement.

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