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Review: HTC EVO camera lens protector

Htc-evo-lens-protector

Since the Amazon.com customer reviews for the polycarbonate ring also known as the recently featured HTC EVO camera lens protector were all (suspiciously) glowing, I decided to find out for myself whether the 5-star rating was really deserved, especially since a set of two rings is only $6.95 from Amazonir?t=goodandevo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B004GZSXQI - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here.

In brief, the lens protector is an adhesive-backed clear plastic ring that you place around the EVO's camera lens. The ring creates a "wall" or raised border that recesses the lens so that it's protected when the phone is resting on a hard surface. Cell Innovations, the company who makes/sells the product (and is likely responsible for the initial reviews), believes the protector "eliminates the need for a bulky case," which would otherwise only serve to make the "largest [phone] (size wise) on the market . . . even larger."

So will your $6.95 be well spent on the lens protector? Or should you treat yourself to something from Starbucks instead? Read G&E's full review below to find out.

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Quality

When I first saw a photo of the lens protector online, I thought it was a cap that covered the entire lens.

Htc-evo-lens-protector-pkg3

And although it's definitely better that it's only a ring (since anything that covers the lens could affect image quality), it's still hard not to feel slightly ripped off when you open the box and see a small bag containing two plastic rings that look more like throwaway spare parts. Even though the product is less than $7 (and eligible for free shipping when you spend $25 or more at Amazon) and there are two in each box, I immediately thought the price should be cut in half when I had the dinky piece of plastic in my hand.

Htc-evo-lens-protector-warp

Cell Innovations makes it a point to mention that the thin ring is made of polycarbonate, "the same material as bullet proof glass," but I bent one of mine almost in half with nothing more than my fingers. I had to use both of my thumbs and index fingers to do it, sure, but that may be more a testament to how weak I am than to how strong the ring is.

To be fair, the company never claims that the lens protector is indestructable and I honestly can't think of any way that it would bend like that once it's attached to the EVO. But when someone mentions bullet proof glass, one of the first things most people want to do is see if they can break it.

Installation

Htc-evo-lens-protector-pkg (2)

Getting the lens protector onto the EVO is very straightforward. Just peel off the backing on the adhesive, position it around the camera lens, and press it down to stick it on.

Nothing to it!

Htc-evo-lens-protector-adhesive

There's no tab on the backing to make it easy to pull off, though, so it can be hit-or-miss, especially since the instructions clearly say DO NOT TOUCH THE ADHESIVE. Companies don't use all caps to shout at their customers without good reason.

Htc-evo-lens-protector-adhesive2

So while you're trying to pull off the backing without the help of a tab, all the while making sure not to touch the adhesive, there's a chance that you could end up pulling off the adhesive itself (shown above). It's probably a very slim chance, depending on how well the backing is already sitting there, but it's something worth noting.

Function

Once the lens protector is properly attached to the EVO's battery cover via a "high bond engineered adhesive tape backing," it works as advertised.

Htc-evo-lens-protector-altview (1)

Htc-evo-lens-protector-altview (2)

The ring fits perfectly around the camera and recesses the lens so that it doesn't touch any hard/rough surface when the EVO is placed on its back.

The adhesive does seem strong and should be able to keep the protector in place under normal conditions, but it's important to note that Cell Innovations says that the bond is "long lasting" and not permanent. So if it falls off from the constant rubbing inside your pocket, I guess you'll have no grounds for a lawsuit.

I was actually able to pull the ring off my EVO with my nails and some force. I used my stock back cover instead of my daily-use glossy carbon fiber one just in case there was any damage from the removal, but the lens protector came off cleanly and left behind no residue. I only had it on for a few days, though, so your mileage may vary.

Conclusion

So that's the HTC EVO camera lens protector by Cell Innovations in a nutshell of about 850 words.

Htc-evo-lens-protector-fin

Is it worth $7?

As long as you 1) like the way it looks when attached to your EVO, 2) can get the backing off the adhesive with no problem, and 3) don't want to use a real case (unless you're willing to perform surgery on it to make the camera cutout bigger), then yeah, the lens protector is a pretty good buy. It should probably be a little cheaper considering some of the points I made above, but it's still a very small investment for keeping your EVO's camera lens safe.

The Cell Innovations Lens Protector for the HTC EVO is available now for $6.95 from Amazonir?t=goodandevo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B004GZSXQI - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here. Use the special G&E coupon code NKSDF28X to save a dollar.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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19 thoughts on “Review: HTC EVO camera lens protector

  • I bought this after seeing it here on G&E.

    I prefer my Casemate Barely There case, which recesses the camera quite nicely and adds no bulk or weight. In my opinion, it is the perfect case.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jonathan

    I was thinking about buying one of these things and per your review I’ll try it. I have one question… Bent it in half? I can take the battery cover off the phone and do the same. Is that even relevant? I’ll need to check it with my case, though, as some other reviews suggest that many cases still work with it. Did you find that it fit yours?

    Reply
  • Nice… I like it but i’m always mucking with the back of my evo door with different vinyls and designs so this would be a waste of cash for me in the end. :) Good one though to the creator!

    Reply
  • Avatar of SamDaMan

    Bending it in half is a comment on durability. Some people might have been wondering about if it was flimsy or really solid.

    Even if a case does fit over it, why would anyone do that? Don’t all cases already recess the camera lens?

    Reply
  • I’m Daniel, inventor of the Lens Protector. Thank you for the fair and honest review. Our goal is to show that we have a quality product that works as advertised.

    Jenn, please send me an email if you would like us to send you a set of Lens Protectors for free. If you decide to use them, it will confirm that the Lens Protector lasts for as long as you have your Evo but just in case, we include 2 Lens Protectors in each box to be certain that our customers are satisfied.

    @ Jenn – We have looked at adding a tab for the release liner and previously decided that it wasn’t necessary since removing the release liner only occurs once but we will definitely reevaluate our decision before we initiate the next production run at our factory. We may add a pull tab to the release liner.

    @Jenn – The Rubbing from the pocket won’t cause it to be removed. It’s designed so the entire outside wall is one large round so it can’t grab on to your pocket or anything else. The only way to remove it easily, is to insert your fingernail under the base from the top side of the phone (where the surface of the phone begins to curve. It will take a little effort, but it will come up with no damage. But again, it won’t come off unintentionally.

    @Brinsmaid – If a case is barely there, it probably isn’t protecting much.

    @Jonathan – Good point, The Lens Protector is designed to minimize the overall footprint and to minimize the overall height to make it blend well with the Evo and to ensure that it will work in conjunction with your case, if you decide to put it back on. We have tested several cases and confirmed that it should fit with your case, however, some cases might be a snug fit.

    @Jonathan – In all fairness, steel is very, very strong, but I can bend a steel paper clip. The ability to withstand force is dependent on the geometry as well as the material.

    Thanks again for the review Jenn ! We at Cell Innovations appreciate it.

    Reply
  • How about a coupon code for g&e readers?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jonathan

    I only meant to say that bending it in half is taking it out of the context of its use. If a car tire was unbalanced before you mounted it on the wheel, would you call it a crappy product? But I think your comment about durability is valid, and this appears to look pretty durable when you put it in its intended environment. Also, you’re right, some cases do recess the lens, but many of the thinner ones that I like don’t, or the cover doesn’t get close enough to the rear camera. That’s why I think this ring is a good fit for me.

    Reply
  • Avatar of MildlyDisturbed

    You can also go to Home Depot, go to the plumbing section, look for faucet o-rings, find one that fits (60 cents for a 10 pack). Pick up a tube of whatever their 97 cent glu stick is and bam, you and 10 friends are in business. Same effectiveness, which is pretty minimal.

    My EVO lens is not going to get scratched by setting it on a table, it’s going to get scratched when I have to throw it in my pocket and a key scrapes across the unprotected lens. My wife’s is going to get scratched in the Sarlacc Pit my wife calls a purse (although to be fair, it’s more of a Death Star Trash Compactor, I just call it the pit due to color)

    Yeah, I’d get a screen protector or similar piece of plastic, cut a little section out to place over the lens, and place that inside the case, place the case on to hold it down, and have the lens actually protected from keys.

    Reply
  • Avatar of robisthename

    if htc would have come up with a better shell (housing) design there would be no need for after market concepts….

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jonathan

    True, but you can almost say that about any phone maker. Unless, of course, you are talking about just this issue with the EVO. Seems like they fixed it on the Thunderbolt. I went to Radioshack today, and I think the whole flush mount lens might even STILL be an issue on the EVO Shift… Someone in their design wing is looking at a pink slip…

    Reply
  • Avatar of Raechel

    …”the Sarlacc Pit my wife calls a purse (although to be fair, it’s more of a Death Star Trash Compactor, I just call it the pit due to color)”

    Thanks I really needed the laugh. Well not everything is for everyone. This is true.

    Thanks for the review Jenn.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Brinsmaid

    @Daniel – Perhaps you should check out the case before you write a blow-off comment like that. I gave your product a shot and my $7 and chose not to use it.

    Reply
  • @ Carl – Great idea Carl. We now offer G&E readers a discount when ordering the Lens Protector. Any G&E reader can now use NKSDF28X to receive $1.00 off the Lens Protector.

    Reply
  • My dream lens protector for my EVO: some type of actual lens cap that adheres to the case, and has a hinge that’ll flip up for picture taking

    Reply
  • Thanks! Ordering when I get back in town.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Charles S

    Wow look at the flurry I’ve caused! :)

    I sent this product to Jenn as a tip that I “accidentally” found on Amazon, then Jenn graciously reviewed it in great detail (thanks Jenn!), and before you know it now it’s all over the place! Oh the power of suggestion…

    I’ll get it eventually as I think with Jenn’s review it seems decent enough to withstand normal wear.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Frisco84

    Without tooting my own horn…after desperately tying to find a good lens replacement, I took to making my own. I figured out all the dimensions and a good medium for the lenses. I’m planning on mass producing them if there is a call for it. I’ve installed it on my camera and it has yet to scratch, as well it is optically clear. Granted it doesn’t say “8 MEGAPIXEL” but its cheaper then what’s online coming from Hong Kong. Hell, it seems durable as well. Just thought I’d throw this out there. Contact me for more info.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Ricky

    Yeah, I gave it my $6 and am choosing not to use it either. I wish I read this article more carefully instead of just skimming through it.

    Reply

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