Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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May 10, 2012 • Reviews

DecalGirl Nokia Lumia 900 Skin Kit Review

I go through stages where I don’t want a protective case on my gear, but when I got the Nokia Lumia 900, I knew right away that there was no way I’d put that phone in a case.

Why not? Well, let’s start with the 900’s size. The cases that I saw at the AT&T store, even the simplest bumper style, looked as though they would make the phone even wider; while the full-size cases looked as if they would make the phone much too thick. The Lumia 900 has such a beautiful polycarbonate body that I didn’t want to cover it up, so my first thought was to go with a clear skin.

While it should be obvious that a “premium  automotive-grade cast vinyl with a special adhesive backing” — or skin — that is only five thousandths (0.005) of an inch thick isn’t going to keep your device from being crushed or totally protect it from a chest high drop onto concrete, covering your device with a skin does serve a purpose.

If you have a skin on your phone, all of the odd scratches, scuffs and dings which would normally appear on the device over time will be prevented, which aids in resale value should you ever want to go that route. Another benefit is that when you have a skin on your device, you generally don’t have to worry about whether accessories, mounts, headphones, or even other cases will fit. It’s a pretty cool setup, actually.

And then I got an email from DecalGirl asking if I’d like to check out a couple of their designs. Weil, don’t mind if I do!

There is an overwhelming number of artwork from which to choose on the DecalGirl site, everything from classical art to fractured patterns. I picked out Blossoming Almond Tree (by Van Gogh), a predominantly blue design that I thought would compliment my 900’s cyan coloring.

The skin came on a single printed sheet which contained the front and back pieces, and a code was included so that I could download a matching wallpaper. I’ll admit that I was a little bit surprised not to find any “cleaning supplies” in the package, but the price of the skins compared to others is so low that I couldn’t really complain … plus it’s not like I don’t have a supply of microfiber cloths in my drawer already. 

To install,  first thing I did was wipe my Lumia down thoroughly with a microfiber cloth. I figured I had better start with the back, so I pulled the skin off the paper, lined the camera cutout around the lens on the Lumia’s back, and started to lay it down; it wasn’t exactly straight. Fortunately, I was able to gently lift the corner, pull the entire skin back up, and reposition it. I doubt this would work days later, but doing so was no problem this early in the process.

I used a credit card wrapped in a microfiber cloth to smooth down the skin once it was placed correctly, and there were no bubbles when I was done.

 

I was disappointed to find that the skin stopped just short of the back’s edges, and there was no protection for the 900’s sides. Even so, I think I chose wisely with the design; the colors do look good together.

 

The front was a bit more tricky to install. There were tiny cutouts meant to frame the three buttons on the bottom of the screen, and getting those lined up correctly with the cutout for the front facing camera took a bit of repositioning while trying not to end up with a wrinkle on the thin right side border. I eventually got it right.

Pressing through the cutouts to activate the front buttons works well enough, but I do wish that they had been just a tad larger.

DecalGirl Nokia Lumia 900 skins retail for $9.99

What I Like: Adds a layer of stylish protection between your device and potential scratches, scrapes or dings; provides an affordable way to personalize your device; the thinness of the skins allows you to use accessories, mounts and most cases when desired

What Needs Improvement: No protection for the sides, top or bottom of device; cutouts on the front buttons seem a little small Also included in my package was a skin for the original iPad.

 

Obviously DecalGirl makes Skins for the latest model iPads, but I thought it would be fun to jazz up the original iPad that we are giving a friend for her high school graduation later this month. I had asked her mom to pick out a skin from the DecalGirl site, and she liked the bright colors and crazy design found in the artwork, Flock.

Once again, both pieces of the skin were packed on the same sheet, and there were no other items in the packaging.

Due to the size of the skin, It was a little more tricky to get the iPad’s larger back cover situated properly. When I realized that I had things a bit cock-eyed, it was no problem to stop, pull the sheet back up and then reposition until I got it correctly aligned.

As I’d found before, the skin stopped just short of the iPad’s edges, giving no side or edge protection.

I felt that the iPad’s larger front skin was easier to install than the 900’s had been, probably because I was dealing with much wider pieces

 

Here’s the best thing, though: because the skin is so thin, if my friend is concerned about protection, her “new” iPad can still go into even the most form-fitting case with no problem.

DecalGirl Apple iPad skins retail for $19.99

What I Like: Adds a layer of stylish protection between your device and potential scuffs, scratches and nicks; provides an affordable way to personalize your device; the thinness of the skins allows you to use accessories, mounts and most cases when desired

What Needs Improvement: No protection for the sides, top or bottom of device

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