Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tech Time ::: Gadget Wipes

All photos by {accordingtoame}

A clean phone is a happy phone.  And a while back I wrote about my love for Zagg's wipes, which is what I would regularly use to keep my phone and my husband's iPad clean and disinfected. I still do use them.  However, a newer brand called Well-Kept came to my attention not long ago, and I decided to give them a try, and do a little comparison to see if, besides their super cute packaging, they were a better choice for me and my needs.

What are "my needs," you ask? Well, because I like to keep my gadgets clean, non-greasy and not harbor germs (did you know cellphones are some of the germiest surfaces around?!!) and I want to do so in the safest way possible for the device, I need a wipe that will not do damage to the components, will not damage the screen (many screens have coatings to resist oil that are easily damaged) or my case/screen protectors, that is not "too wet", that is preferably not alcohol based, that dries quickly, doesn't require additional steps, and is super portable (i.e. not a little spray bottle and cloth situation.) That's not asking the world of a little piece of dampened cloth, now is it?

Device-specific wipes have been the best solution I have found thus far.  Zagg was one of the first I tried, and was one of the first I liked, in part because it is a one-stop job--none of this wet wipe then dry wipe, or spray on this solution then wipe with this special cloth nonsense.  I also really liked that it was a drier wipe than I found elsewhere, while also keeping the device clean, sanitary, and not damaging anything. They're also very easily accessible, sold at Target stores and Best Buy locations nationwide making it really quick to stop in and grab another pack or two if I am running low (as well as an entire cart full of crap!)  Zagg wipes also come in two sizes, which is ideal for a multitude of devices. I use the XL wipes on my husband's iPad and my Mac screens regularly since I am a "screen toucher." (*hangs head*)

However,  as great as they have been, there have been a few downsides. The regular wipes tend to dry out within even a seemingly well-sealed package very quickly, which is why I store them inside two Ziploc bags, and even that doesn't really prevent it.  I think that's partly from a smaller seal than the one on the XL package which is larger and overall "better."  

I tend to use one wipe every few days, unless one of us is ill, then sometimes more than one a day. Unless I go through a package very quickly, they dry out before I am finished.  On the opposite end, the XL wipes are often too wet to start with, even on a month old package, and I have to wait a minute before I can use them on any device or I get streaks, or standing liquid. If I am in a pinch, I'll wring them out a little first and just use them.

When I started seeing the Well-Kept wipes pop up around on blogs and in magazines like People Style Watch, the packaging caught my eye immediately, and I liked that the brand was started by a woman, Neeley Kolsch, who was getting herself out there to stump for her product. I have NO idea who started Zagg...not a clue...and have never seen it in any publication, I only found them because I used their screen protectors.  So knowing the name behind the product? HUGE. Even bigger? She gives back. Philanthropy is cool, yo.

Each brand/type comes in a similar tab-seal package, though obviously the packages for the Well-Kept wipes are infinitely more attractive and appealing to my design sensibilities. I have a photo of each side by side below. I am hoping that I will not need to do the Ziploc bagging with the Well-Kept like I do with the Zagg, because I am hoping the larger seal keeps them damper longer.

Zagg Wipes, Well-Kept Wipes, Zagg XL Wipes

Speaking of huge...Based on measurements I found before ordering, I knew the Well-Kept wipes would be a little larger than the regular Zagg wipes, and smaller than the XL. So kind of the goldilocks size, though I would personally like them a hair wider vs as long as they are.  Here's a side by side. Vanna, let's show the viewers!

Zagg Wipe, Well-Kept Wipe, Zagg XL Wipe

Notable difference.  Besides the size difference, the difference in the material was interesting and my initial reaction to the Well-Kept was "Hmm..."  The original Zagg is kind of a fabric-y, flat "cloth" paper towel. A much stiffer version of Viva paper towels is perhaps a good comparison. The XL Zagg is most like a baby wipe or like an antibacterial wipe from Target or CVS--note that they're not the same material, I want to make that clear because I have a feeling that's part of why the moisture is more easily retained by the XL.  The Well-Kept is a thinner, perforated, and not really a cloth-like material. Kind of like a wet-ones wipe or wet-nap wipe.  When I posted about this, er, post on my Instagram feed and tagged Well-Kept, I learned that their fabric choice was deliberate since the "wipes have oil absorbing properties."  Good to know!  

Here are more close-up shots for more comparison. 

Zagg on left, Well-Kept on right

Zagg on left, Well-Kept in middle, snippet of the Zagg XL on the right

Well-Kept on left, Zagg XL on right

Well-Kept on left, ZaggXL on right

Something I noticed...and probably shouldn't do but I've done it anyway: I was able to put my Well-Kept wipe back into it's packaging to use again later because of that material and it's remaining moisture after I wiped my phone down.  That means I can get two uses out of a wipe, which while it maybe contaminates the next wipe, is something you cannot do with the Zaggs, even the small ones. So, toss up on good or bad, but multiple uses out of a wipe isn't a bad thing in a value proposition. You could also maybe cut the wipe in half and shove the other half back in to avoid contaminating the whole pack...Next time...

When the Zagg wipes (original) are fresh, they're just slightly dampened, just enough to get the device clean, and not soak it. Since the XL wipes are designed for larger devices, they are much wetter, more like a baby wipe. For a phone, they're too wet to start. For an iPad or computer screen, still maybe a tad too wet but if you wait a few seconds they dry a little and work much better.  The Well-Kept out of the package is more like the XL in the regard that it's pretty wet, but it's solution smells and feels more alcohol-based and as a result dries VERY quickly on the surface and leaves no streaks.

So like I said above, my initial reaction of the Well-Kept was met kind of with a question mark. At first I was kind of unsure how this would work out, since besides being so wet and not being wowed immediately by the material, the solution smells alcohol-based and many of those solutions tend to mar screen protectors and eat away at the oleophobic coatings on touchscreens, which makes me avoid them. The Zagg doesn't have that same noticeable scent, and I have not really identified what it's cleanser really is, which frankly could be good or bad, ignorance thus far had been bliss.  

Can you see the Well-Kept solution evaporating?

However after using the Well-Kept wipe, my skepticism went away immediately.  It left my screen protector in pristine shape, cleaner than ever before, and does not appear to have had any affect thus far on any exposed glass coatings. Mind you, it's only been about a week.  In fact, compared to how the Zagg looks after it dries, where I sometimes feel I need to wipe the screen down with my tshirt or a microfiber cloth to get any random streaks off, the Well-Kept left my screen protector and any exposed glass looking brand new, there were zero streaks, plus it dried almost instantly. Getting that photo above was a test for even my ridiculous shutter speed on my dSLR!  It also cleaned the areas left exposed by my case infinitely better and easier than the Zagg sheets did, probably in part because of the material being more malleable.

All clean! 

Pricewise, the Well-Kept wipes are $4.99 per package of 15 wipes. I ordered the Trio Pack, at $14.97, and with shipping of $5.36, brought me to $20.33 total. For the same amount of wipes--slightly smaller wipes I might add--the Zagg wipes at Target are usually $4.99 per package depending which store you go to, with the XL version (much larger) typically around $7.99 per package, however they're more easily accessible, both the regular Zagg wipes and the XL wipes are available at Best Buy and Target stores, besides on their website and mall kiosks, and often available on sale.  Considering that I felt the Well-Kept wipes did a better job, can likely get more than one use per wipe, and barring any issues down the road, I think the Well-Kept wipes are a better value, and are going to be what I go with in the future. 

Bottom line: The Well-Kept wipes did a better job, and are a better value, and will be my wipe of choice in the future. 

PS: When you order yourself some of these wipes, check out their newest pattern, Karogoto, benefitting the community of Karogoto, Kenya.

Does you use a gadget wipe? Do you have a favorite product? I'd like to know down in the comments!

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