The iPad needs protection. It is big. It is beautiful. And it will get knocked around and scratched up if you aren’t careful. So yes, the iPad needs protection.
Larry has this down to a science. When his iPad 3G came on Friday he didn’t open it. Instead he hopped in the car and drove to the mall near him to have a Clear Coat put on the device. Half an hour later his iPad was wrapped in a clear protective layer that ensures his device will be unmarred for months to come. The WiFi version of the iPad that I bought last month has a Clear Coat on it that I installed, and I am – and was – super impressed. My iPhone 3GS has one on and Clear Coat will be on the new iPhone when it comes out for sure. I’ll likely go that route with my new iPad some time soon. But not yet. Right now I want something more unique.
Fortunately GelaSkin offers a slightly different approach to giving your iPad, or other electronic device, almost complete protection. In the process it adds style, flash and uniqueness to the device; I just bought one for my iPad 3G.
The GelaSkin site is nicely laid out with the ability to search by device, artwork or, if you so desire, you can create your own skin.
You will most likely want to go the “Shop By Device”. In the drop down menu you will see the option for “Other”. Under it you will find the iPad. This is not a surprise since the iPad doesn’t full fit into any specific device category. It isn’t a huge surprise however that it falls in line with (and on top of) a number of eBook readers.
The options available for the iPad are numerous. In fact, there are already four pages of designs. Each page has 50 GelaSkins for the iPad. You do the math.
Nice as it is, since this is about protecting my iPad AND making it unique I decided to pass on all of the stock artwork. Instead I chose to make my own.
Again, the site is nicely designed so you don’t have to guess what the next step is. It spells it out. It also lets you know that although the iPad and the Kindle DX are about the same size you will pay a premium to have your iPad covered. $30 for a skin is pretty expensive, but I had come this far already and there was no turning back.
First step: pick and upload artwork. I knew from the start that I did not want to use someone else’s image. So I looked at iPhoto and tried to pick one. Simple right? Not so much. It took me a long time to decide which image I wanted to use.
These are the ones that made it to the final cut…
Ultimately I decided to use this image from a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands a few years ago…
I uploaded the image. The site seemed kind of slow and a few times returned the message that the image was in the wrong format. It wasn’t; the site was just having a hiccup.
It finally uploaded and I began the process of laying it out.
I did the same with the front of the device…
I was happy, hit order and waited. I only waited a couple of days. Seriously, the turn around time was super fast.
The skins came. Included in the package were the skins and… no actually that’s it. The skin came without any bells, whistles or extras. I will say I was impressed with the quality of the skin and the way they rendered my image on it.
Installing the skin was simple and fast. There were no bubbles, creases or other issues. I will, however, note that the black cutout for the 3G antenna made a slightly noticeable crease but that was not the fault of GelaSkins. It is what it is. (And won’t be there on the WiFi model.
So in 60 seconds my iPad was personalized and entirely protected on the back. Well, not entirely protect…
The skins got close to the edge of the device but not up to it.
And this is the case the entire way around the device. This is a bit of an issue since the edges are the most likely candidates for bumps and bruises. Then again, if the skin was precise all the way to the edges the odds of putting it on properly would be greatly reduced. If the skin went to the very edge I imagine there would be numerous failed installs… and unhappy customers. It is a trade-off, and the company probably made the right call from a business perspective.
In all I am impressed with the product. It lets me create any skin I want and the company produces and ships the skin in record time. The image I ended up using is a bit bright for me. My fault not theirs. I may end up ordering another skin, but this time it would be a simple black skin to protect the device without any flashy image. Then again, for the same amount I could order this case from SwitchEasy which does the same kind of thing, but is also removable…
Oh, that’s right… I did order it.
The GelaSkin for iPad is available directly from GelaSkins for $29.95.
What I Like: Great quality, fast shipping, easy install, decent protection of most of the back, you can make your own unique skin
What Needs improvement: Relatively expensive for what you get, skin does not go to the very edge of the device and thus leaves the edges unprotected.