I have always been a huge fan of minimalist iPhone and iPad cases. After all, why hide such sweet, beautiful pieces of metal and glass in large, bulky cases if you don’t have to? The operative word here is, of course, “cases”. While I have always liked minimalist cases, I’ve never been a huge fan of carrying my iPhone or iPad with nothing on it but a scratch protective skin. That changed earlier in the week when BodyGuardz was kind enough to send me their BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber for the iPhone 4S and and the iPad 2.
Both kits (the iPhone 4S is $19.95 and the iPad 2 is $29.95) consist of a protective backplate that is made to look like carbon fiber, a protective screen film and a few additional small items like a screen wipe. The iPhone 4S kit also includes some similarly colored strips of vinyl that go on the sides and top of the device. The iPad 2 needs no such strips since the back plate simply curves to meet the touchscreen screen without actually creating “sides”.
Let’s walk through both kits and take a look at what you get, how it installs and how it looks once in place on the device.
The BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber for iPad 2
BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber is the ultimate in expression and protection for your Apple iPad 2. Each carbon fiber skin is custom designed to fit your Apple iPad 2 and provide tough scratch protection. Made from a strong PVC based film, Armor Carbon Fiber is simple to install and can be easily removed. The carbon fiber pattern is stylish and smooth to the touch. Armor Carbon Fiber is very thin and will not add bulk to your Apple iPad 2. Included in every pack is a BodyGuardz ScreenGuardz screen protector to ensure maximum coverage. Thin, tough and durable, Armor Carbon Fiber lets you relax, knowing your Apple iPad 2 is protected.
Armor Carbon Fiber Protection
Durable, Ultra-Thin, Stylish Protection
Easy To Apply And Remove
Strong PVC Based, Carbon Fiber Textured Skin
Includes HD ScreenGuardz Screen Protection
30-Day Money Back Guarantee
In both cases, getting the back protective sheet in place was not all too difficult. Yes, because of the iPad 2 is so large it took a few tries to get the film lined up properly but by the third or fourth try it was close to perfect. (As you can see from the camera hole it is good but not perfect.) The iPhone, thanks to its size was far easier.
I had tried a DODOcase leather back place when the iPad 2 first came out. I liked the look and feel of it but it only protected the main part of the back. That meant the sides, top and bottom were left unprotected. That kind of defeats the purpose, you know??
With the BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber for iPad 2 there is no such issue. It protects the entire back, the sides, the top and the bottom almost entirely. With the Armor on I am totally confident my iPad won’t get starched up.
As noted, as hard as I tried I was not able to get the entire sheet perfectly aligned. It works just fine but the camera hole it a tad bit off-center. Now, for the first time I am comfortable using my iPad without a case. I’m enjoying it tremendously.
The BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber for iPhone 4S
As previously noted, the$19.95 iPhone 4/4S kit is quite similar to the one for the iPad 2, but it includes side strips to keep the stainless steel band running around the device protected. The company sent me a red Armor Carbon Fiber kit. I’m not a huge fan of something so bright and flashy, but it has been growing on me.
In this case I was able to get the Armor installed pretty much perfectly. Perhaps my biggest issue with it aesthetically is that the camera hole is large enough for the lens and the flash. That means it shows some of the black original plate sitting between the two. That wouldn’t be an issue with a black carbon fiber backplate but it looks a bit odd and unfinished with the red.
Since they don’t totally cover the stainless steel band, I’m mixed on the side strips. The just look… and feel… a bit unfinished.
In fact, after just a few days I’m thinking I may pull them off.
I like the look and the feel of the BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S quite a bit, and I am enjoying using my iPhone and iPad as close to naked as possible. The backplate may not stay on my iPhone for very long since I need to put the phone into a Mophie Juice Pack Air for some upcoming travel but, for now, it’s in place.
The iPad is an entirely different story. Up until now I have always kept my iPad in one case for another. That’s not a problem except for the fact that the iPad 2 is so small, thin and sleek that keeping it in a case is a bit of a shame. With the backplate in place, I now am able to use the device without any case at all and still be confidant that it will not get scratched. Because of the nice curved pieces on the sides top and bottom of the film, the iPad’s back is almost completely protected.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have similar luck with the iPad 2 screen and the film that came with the kit. Try as I might I was unable to get the screen protector in place without having numerous bubbles or dust particles, and that just made me nuts. I tried to get it on cleanly, failed, tried again, and failed again. After the third failed attempt to install the screen protector I gave up, went to the mall, and had some screen protection professionally installed. It’s a bit of a bummer since the kit comes with an excellent screen protector, but I didn’t have luck with it. You might, and if you do, I would welcome any suggestions for future attempts at installing iPad screen protection.
All in all this is a product I highly recommend. If you could buy the back plate on its own I would likely recommend that but, at least for now, it comes as a complete set. Still, if you want as minimalist approach to protection as possible but still want scratch protection this is the way to go. You can get more information here on the BodyGuardz website.
MSRP: iPhone 4 $19.95; iPad $29.95
What I Like: Looks and feels great; Offers excellent back protection for the iPhone 4/4S and iPad 2; Can still use my iPad in most cases with the Armor in place
What Needs Improvement: Had a terrible time trying to install the iPad screen protector; Side strips for the iPhone 4S are a bit silly; Scratch protection only, these won’t actually save your device if you drop it