It’s inevitable at this point that most of us have at least one or two tech gadgets that we carry around and use on a regular basis. Alot of these things that previously came in silver or white are now showing up in pretty colors, which is great. But what do you do with gadgets that you own that are looking a bit boring? When I got my Android phone a few months ago (LOVE), it was plain black. I started looking for a case for it, only to find that most sites had pretty much the same selection. There were rubbery cases in bright colors, a few printed hard cases with an airbrushed type look, or rhinestone snap on cases. I frequently put my phone in my front jeans pocket, so I was looking for something that wouldn’t add alot of bulk to my somewhat sleek little phone.
I finally found the answer I was looking for… Skins. These are stick on decals for your gadgets in a huge variety of prints, patterns and colors. I get mine from Decal Girl, who use a high quality vinyl like what is used to put advertisements on race cars. They have decals for phones, laptops, netbooks, ipads, kindles, etc, and they are custom cut for your specific model. (Although they do have some generic sizes for laptops and such, that you can cut to fit, if they don’t have your model). If you don’t like their selection, there’s several other sites with similar types of skins for your device, some even offering the option to use your own designs or photos.
Check out the before and after of some of my gear…
My phone isn’t pictured here, but it has the same skin as my netbook. The skins come in several pieces that you peel off the sheet and apply to your device. The packaging says, “applies in seconds!”… well sure, it applies in seconds… if you want it to look like crap. I’m a little OCD about this sort of thing, so I really took my time putting the skins on, knowing that if it was crooked it would bother me forever.
The phone skin was the most difficult for me to apply because it has thin strips on the front to cover that small area on the edges of the screen, and those strips are hard to line up perfectly. If you make a mistake, you can peel it up a little and readjust it. When removed, they are supposed to leave no residue at all. I got the phone skin first, and liked it so much I bought one for my ipod and netbook. Another cool feature is that the phone skins come with a matching wallpaper that will line up with the skin, (I often use mine as the lock screen wallpaper and use a live wallpapers on my main screen).
The only issue I really have with these skins is that it will not cover every last edge of your gadget. On my phone for example, it came with four separate skin pieces.. back, front, a piece for the button area and a piece for the slanted top of the phone. That leaves the sides all the way around uncovered. I knew this ahead of time, so I bought skins that matched my gadgets, and once I got used to it, it was fine and not very noticeable. It’s actually better for grip to have the sides uncovered anyway.
The skins will make your gadgets look nice and protect it from minor scratches. I’ve had my phone skin on for several months, and it hasn’t peeled up at all. If you want a screen protector, it would probably be best to put that on first, then the skin over it. (Skins won’t cover the screen). It’s a good idea to put a clear hard case over the skin to protect it further, which is what I’ve done with my ipod and will eventually do with my phone. A skin by itself won’t offer much protection if you drop your item. Be sure to look for sales and coupon codes; the larger your gadget is, the more expensive the skin will be. Also be sure to choose the correct skin for your model, so that the size will be right and button cutouts will be in the proper places. All in all, these vinyl skins are a great way to change the look of your tech gear to something unique, and you can easily change them when you’re ready for a new design.