Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jenny Craig: Year 2 - Week Twenty Four

Last week I was down 0.2 pounds. This week I was up 0.2 pounds. We'll call it a draw.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Review: Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard

I recently reviewed a Seidio Innocase II Surface case for the HTC Evo 4G Android smartphone and gave it a thumbs up. But the Innocase only protects the body of the phone. What about that beautiful 4.3" screen? Enter the Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard:

Now, I have to say, I am typically not a "screen protector" type of guy. I have tried a few of them in the past on other phones, and was never happy with the feel, or worse yet, the way it changed the look of my phone's screen. The only thing worse than using a phone with an orange peel screen is using one made by a different kind of fruit all together (see what I did there?)

So I didn't have very high hopes for yet another screen protector when I received Seidio's Ultimate Screen Guard. But the fact that it didn't require any liquids or other adhesives to stick to the screen got me curious, at least.

The back of the package lists several features for the Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard.

These are:
  • Made from quality, Japanese materials to resist scratches or tears [Ok, so far so good]
  • Only 0.1mm thin [Excellent]
  • Designed precisely for your device for a perfect fit [Yup]
  • Advanced material adheres to screen without glue or messy liquids [Bingo]
  • Anti-glare and anti-fingerprint finish (Anti-Glare Model Only) [Mine was not this model]
  • Enhanced clarity without reducing touch sensitivity [See below]
  • No orange peel and rainbow marks [See below]
  • Simple installation with included cleaning cloth and application card [See below]
Enhanced Clarity without reducing touch sensitivity
This screen protector is hard to see, which is a good thing. It is very thin, yet feels very durable. Does it enhance the clarity of my screen? Meh. Not really. It doesn't really make it LESS clear, either. But I can certainly vouch for no loss of touch sensitivity. It's as if the thing isn't even on your screen. It doesn't quite feel like the naked screen, but it's certainly better than any of the previous screen protectors I've tried. Less drag than a Zagg, for sure. Which is a good thing.

No orange peel and rainbow marks
Definitely no orange peel effect. Smooth as silk. A+ there. I do see some rainbow marks, however. Not permanently on the screen, mind you, but the fingerprints that do accumulate on the screen sometimes show a slight rainbow effect at certain angles. Wipe it off and it goes away, but they will come back. It's almost like the finger oils start to group on certain parts of the screen where you swipe. The screen protector I was sent was NOT the Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint version, so perhaps that is not an issue with that model. And this is not really an "issue" since a good wipe clears it up, but it needs to be said.

Simple installation with included cleaning cloth and application card
Ok, first, I have to let it be known that I am notoriously bad at putting on screen protectors. Always have been. I inevitably get dust under them, bubbles, hair, whatever. Always. It's probably a skill that I simply lack, but installing the Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard was no different. Granted, I did not follow the directions exactly, which is obviously my problem, but I got tons of dust between it and the screen. I ended up having to wash the back of the screen protector a few times and let it air dry completely before trying again. But I finally did it successfully. I can't ding Seidio for this...the instructions are simple and should take no more than 5 minutes. This is all me.

What's comes with it?
The Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard comes in a little plastic envelope that includes the screen guard itself, an application card with instructions on it, and a microfiber cloth to clean your screen before applying the screen protector.

The screen protector is in its own protective bag and consists of a piece of plastic with the Evo screen shape cut into it.

You have to peel off the bottom and slowly roll it onto the screen while peeling it off the backing. This is the part I missed. I peeled the whole thing off at once then tried to apply it. Don't make that mistake.

Feel after some use
I've had this almost two weeks now and there are honestly times I forget it's on. Combined with the Innocase, it's almost imperceptible. My only gripe, and it's minor, is the little rainbowing I mentioned above.


  • Very thin
  • Little drag, feels natural
  • You can tell it protects the screen, so there's a feeling of comfort having it on.
  • Easily removable. Just use sticky tape on one corner to lift it off the screen and it comes right off, cleanly. Easy to reapply.
  • Slight rainbow effect from fingerprint smudges
  • It feels great, but still not QUITE like the naked screen.
This is the best screen protector I have ever used. It's the first one I have ever forgotten was on my screen, and the fact it doesn't use liquids is a huge plus for me. Is it as good as the naked screen? Nothing ever is, but this comes very close.

If you want a quality, hardly noticeable way to protect your Evo's gorgeous screen, I recommend trying the Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard.

Jenny Craig: Year 2 - Week Twenty Three

Down only 0.2 pounds this week. Not bad considering I was in San Francisco all week at a conference.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jenny Craig: Year 2 - Week Twenty Two

Well, after going to a friend's wedding this past weekend, I'm up 2.4 :-)

But I've already started working on getting it back down. I hate the gym, but it does provide results!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Review: Seidio Innocase II Surface for HTC Evo

Seidio is one of the leading 3rd party phone accessory companies catering to gadget freaks everywhere. From extra batteries and cables, to protective screen guards and cases. They were kind enough to send me an Innocase II Surface for my Evo to review, and I'm kinda glad they did.

Couldn't be easier. Slide on the top half, then slide on the bottom half. Boom. Done. I recommend cleaning the phone of dust/fibers/lint before installing, as sliding the parts on with anything abrasive caught inside could potentially scratch it.

The quality is great. The case is solid, with a good grip, and feels very sturdy. You certainly feel safer with this case on. After using it a few times during a call, I did notice a bit of creaking if I shifted the phone around in my hand. Nothing major or distracting, but thought I would mention it. This creaking is due to the fact that it is made of two separate peaces snapped together. There are tolerances involved, and even the tiniest gaps would cause some creaking. Is it a problem? No. On the plus side, I was informed by Seidio that they are now inspecting all cases thoroughly before they ship as a precaution to eliminate any possible defective cases. Can't ask for more than that.

A big plus is the inside felt lining, which helps prevent scratching and cushions the phone nicely. However, I wish it would span across the entire inside of the case. For some reason, it only covers the inner parts, leaving the edges unfelted.

There's nothing like using your phone in its natural state, unencumbered by anything that adds size or weight. That being said, the Innocase II Surface adds just enough to protect the phone from scratches or minor drops, but not enough to make a huge difference in size. I'm not saying it's not will certainly know you are using a case...but the trade off is only minor for the feeling of safety you will gain from keeping it on.

To put it in perspective, I originally bought the HTC Messenger Vertical Pouch from HTCPedia since I wanted to use my Evo bare. And that pouch is quite nice. What I didn't forsee was how big that pouch was in my pocket. It was significantly larger than the bare phone. The Innocase, however, is MUCH smaller in my pocket...almost as comfortable as the bare phone. Almost.

Removing the Case
At first, I was having trouble removing the phone from the case. The two pieces interlocked and it seemed extremely challenging to try to remove it. The instructions that came with it said to hold the top half and wiggle the bottom half. Well that just didn't work for me. A successful method I came up with was to use a guitar pick to slide into the crease between the two halves...but that was not practical, and it was still a little difficult to get it right.

I finally saw a post on an Android forum that mentioned pressing down on the middle part of the bottom half, then sliding the top right off. Brilliant. Basically, the bottom half contains a little plastic clip that grabs on to the top half. By pressing down on that spot, the clip loosens and the top slides right off. Watch the video to see how it's done. Very easy.

Seidio tells me they have listened to the feedback of their customers and have included a better install/remove instruction sheet for the case. That's good, because what they suggested in the original instructions was near impossible to get to work. Hopefully, the new instructions will mirror what I have suggested :-)

Generally, the case is a matte color, so you would think it doesn't pick up too many fingerprints or smudges. It certainly picks up less than the screen, but it does pick up some. You can see it a bit in my video. Now I don't know if my fingers are greasier than most, but they certainly do leave prints all over my phone, bare or in this case. It's less on the case, but they still show up. I'm not overly concerned here, however. The prints wipe off easily, especially with a moist towel (with the case off, please...don't "wash" your case while the phone is still in it!)

Overall, I give the Seidio Innocase II Surface a solid 8 out of 10. It's size is great, and it provides great protection, while managing to stay stylish in the process. I got the black one, but Seidio offers them in blue, pink, burgundy, and more...a nice touch. I wish it didn't pick up my fingerprints so readily, and the slight creaking when squeezing your phone a bit are really the only two minor issues I had with this case. For now, this is my main case (along with a Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard - review to come). My leather messenger pouch is good for when I need to pack my phone in my gym bag, for example, since it will offer a bit more protection as it fully covers the screen, but for day to day use, I highly recommend the Seidio Innocase II Surface.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Review of the HTC Messenger Vertical Pouch for the HTC Evo 4G

Having gotten one of the Google I/O HTC Evo's before the official launch, I'm a lucky man. The drawback, however, is that none of the official accessories for the Evo have been released yet, so I've been carrying this thing in my pocket without protection. With the huge 4.3" screen on this bad boy, I'm constantly afraid of scratches, drops, nicks, and other unthinkable occurrences.

One of the first things I did (after playing with the Evo for a day) is go searching for a case. I scoured forums, searched Google, eBay, Amazon, etc. It wasn't until I came across that I found what I was looking for. It's the HTC Messenger Vertical Pouch, presumably made for the HTC HD2, which has similar dimensions to the Evo, and now being marketed as for the HD2 as well as for the Evo.

The case is elegantly simple...a soft leather pouch, open on one end, with a cloth material inside that supposedly helps wipe the smudges off your screen as you pull out the phone. The fit is nice and snug, but not too tight. It won't fall out by itself, but it is still easy to remove by hand.

The leather looks nice, and smells like real leather, but not overwhelmingly so. The inside cloth material is soft, almost like suede. As for cleaning your screen of smudges, well it does help, but it certainly does not completely wipe them off. I suppose with repeated removals and insertions it will eventually clean the screen, but when I remove the phone, I use it and add more smudges. So in practice, the "clean your screen" is really more about removing minor bits of dust than it is about removing finger smudges.

Using this case, I have no fear of throwing the phone in my pocket along with my keys. Sure, it adds some extra bulk, but it's safe.

  • High quality manufacturing - well stitched, nice leather
  • Form fitting - helps keep the Evo protected, won't fall out accidentally
  • Soft cloth interior - helps keep the dust off the screen
  • Removable - use the phone in its naked glory, then put it back in the pouch when done

  • Makes the Evo bigger in your pocket
  • Contains a small label on the inside that I'm afraid will somehow scratch the screen if I insert the phone facing backwards. I'm probably being paranoid, though.
  • To charge the phone while in the case, you have to insert the phone upside down, which could turn the phone on accidentally if the power button is pushed.

Overall, I am very pleased with this pouch since it lets me still use the phone naked (the phone, not me) and provides a nice protective "house" when I'm not using the phone.

For more pictures, please view my Picasa gallery.