Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Protective Skins for Your Gadgets

I've owned enough gadgets and have been through so many different types of cases, offering different levels of protection, that I know exactly what I'm looking for now.  I want to share with you two excellent protective skins but before I do that, I need to explain that these are for a certain demographic of user.  These are for people that are already careful with their gadgets and just need something lightweight and scratch resistant.  If you work in a harsh environment, or tend to drop things, these aren't for you, as they do not offer any shock protection.  However, if you want to be able to throw your device into your purse or slide it into your pocket without worrying about it, these are perfect.


Nintendo DSi XL with ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD
Taken from their FAQ - "The invisibleSHIELD - ZAGG's customized, patented flagship product is tough. Created from a resilient film that was first used to protect U.S. Military helicopter blades from high-speed damage, the invisibleSHIELD is your personal electronics defender. This rugged film wraps around consumer electronics and keeps them functioning and looking great, just like the day they came out of the box. Featuring ZAGG's exclusive Nano-Memory technology, the invisibleSHIELD has unique properties that provide self-healing qualities and unrivaled abrasion resistance. Custom designed for thousands of devices, including mobile phones, digital media players, laptops, GPS devices, handheld gaming systems, watches, digital cameras ad more, millions of invisibleSHIELDs have been sold with ZAGG's Lifetime Replacement Guarantee."

I am a fan of anything mil-spec, so this product immediately caught my attention back when there were only decorative silicone skins available.  The lifetime replacement is hassle-free - it can be requested right from your account on their website, and you just have to pay for shipping.  This is great for me, since I tend to walk into walls while holding my gadget out in front of me.  :P   Note, you must purchase the product from their website in order to qualify for the replacement guarantee.

The InvisibleSHIELD has what they call an "orange peel texture" and a slightly tacky feel.  It offers more assurance that you are not going to drop your device, especially those with smooth, matte finishes like the Kindle Fire. 

They provide a screen protector which is the same orange peel texture, claiming that it is anti-reflective, but I cannot confirm that.  I prefer "real" anti-reflective screen protectors since I tend to use my devices outdoors a lot.  So I cannot say I recommend InvisibleSHIELD for screens since I haven't tried it. 

Check out this impressive scratch test video to get an idea of the kind of beating it can take, which is considerably a lot more than your device would take, in your purse or pocket.

Skinomi - Brushed Metal Series

Nintendo 3DS XL with Skinomi Brushed Aluminum skin.
Comparison of skin and real brushed aluminum.
One drawback to ZAGG is that gaming consoles are not their highest priority.  So it's a toss-up whether or not they are going to come up with a template for your gaming device.  It turned out to be a good thing because that's how I discovered Skinomi.  Skinomi offers a clear skin that sounds really similar to ZAGG but also offers decorative, textured skins with the same durable strength.

From their website - "TechSkin is the next generation of clear protectors for your devices. It is the toughest scratch protection film in the world made of the same material used to protect luxury cars, military aircrafts and NASA space shuttles. TechSkin has the ability to resist some of the highest level of abrasion. Durability combined with "self healing" technology makes TechSkin truly scratch-proof......Our film material also contains a patented acrylic adhesive that separates us from the competition. Unlike other clear film protectors, our extra thin layer provides additional protection against lubricants, oils, UV rays, and corrosion."

I was pretty upset that the Nintendo 3DS XL was only available in silver in Europe but after I installed Skinomi's Brushed Aluminum on a blue 3DS XL, I was MORE than pleased with the results.  The template is slightly smaller than the device, allowing a bit of color to peek through, making for some pretty nice accents.  My blue/silver 3DS XL now reminds me of Babylon 5 or R2-D2.  :-)  The texture is amazing close to real brushed aluminum, as shown in the picture.  But it's a bit lighter in color, almost white, under some lighting.  I think a red 3DS XL would look great with their black Carbon Fiber skin.  Aside from Brushed Metal and Carbon Fiber, Natural Wood skins are also available.

Both ZAGG and Skinomi skins come in sections (ZAGG, with different levels of coverage available) which allows for a little flexibility.  I chose not to install the sides on my 3DS XL because I prefer the matte black look on those parts.

The following is a breakdown of the layers of a Skinomi skin:


- http://www.zagg.com/
- http://www.skinomi.com

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