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

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December 5, 2012 • Reviews

Bodyguardz Sentinel and Armor Carbon Fiber Protection for iPad mini Part 1 of 2

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I love my iPad mini and I’m honestly a bit surprised. Sure, I was looking forward to having a smaller, lighter iPad option but I really expected the mini to be something that augmented my 9.7″ iPad. Instead, it has effectively replaced it for everything except watching videos. I love reading on it. I find it more than fast enough for productivity. And, quite honestly, when I’m using it I really don’t sense it being substantially smaller. It isn’t and that’s the key. It is thinner and lighter but the screen isn’t THAT much smaller. (Oh, and yes, I do miss the Retina display but everything in life is a tradeoff.) The result of all this is the fact that I moved my unlimited data plan over to the iPad mini and it is the device I am carrying everywhere. I even left the larger iPad at home when I left for vacation this morning.

But since the iPad comes everywhere with me I need a good way to protect it. Currently that comes in the form of two Bodyguardz products- a Bodyguardz Armor skin and the new Bodyguardz Sentinel. Let’s take a look at the first layer of protection, the Armor, and then move on to the Sentinel in part two of this review.

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From Bodyguardz:

BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber is the ultimate in expression and protection for your Apple iPad Mini. Each carbon fiber skin is custom designed to fit your Apple iPad Mini 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 Mini.

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Features:

Durable, Ultra-Thin, Stylish Protection

Easy To Apply And Remove

Strong PVC Based, Carbon Fiber Textured Film

This isn’t the first time we’ve looked at Bodyguardz Armor series. In fact, since I first reviewed the line it has become my goto form of protection. I even have an Armor skin on my MacBook ProR. The Armor series protects my devices without adding any noticeable bulk or weight. I also like the fact that, at least in my case, the skins don’t look worn, even after months of use. I also love knowing that when the time comes to sell a device- Elana says I “rent” my electronics for a year before selling so I can buy the next generation all I need to do is remove the Armor and the device looks pristine. Nothing fetches a better price than that.

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The Armor is certainly easier to put on than film screen protectors. (I’ve never had much luck with them.) You will, however, want to take your time and ensure the most accurate placement. In my fact it usually takes a few tries to get to the point where I am happy. Even then, I can’t say my alignment is always perfect. But it is close enough that no one will notice unless they are looking for it.

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And when you have finally settled on the placement you want you’ll need to take the time to press the smaller pieces firmly into the iPad and hold them until they adhere properly. This can take a few minutes but is time well spent.

When you do place the Armor down on a clean device and hold the smaller parts so they adhere you will, hopefully, encounter what I have- unless you push the device into a case that lifts the skin it won’t go anywhere until you want to remove it.

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That does, however, introduce the one area of concern I have run into with this mode of device protection. It is an extra layer of material sitting on top of the device. That’s fine if you are using something like the Sentinel case that holds the iPad in a “pocket” of material rather than use pressure to “click” the tablet into place. If, however, you use a case that has a hard interior shell into which the iPad snaps, for example this is the design of the Bodyguardz Garrison you may find yourself pushing small pieces of the skin out of position or entirely off. And if the tolerances are particularly tight you may not be able to use the case at all. This isn’t a huge deal but is something you should know when considering the Armor.

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Included in every pack is a BodyGuardz ScreenGuardz screen protector to ensure maximum coverage. I like and appreciate the inclusion of screen protection.

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There is a cutout version of the Apple logo on the back. The company includes both a black and a white overlay for this so you can choose whether or not you want the logo to show. While appreciate the flexibility the result actually reveals a small gap showing through. Big deal? No, but it does disrupt the otherwise clean look.

The company touts the Armor saying, “Thin, tough and durable, Armor Carbon Fiber lets you relax, knowing your Apple iPad Mini is protected.” I agree. It’s why I have Armor on pretty much every device I currently use. It also why I stocked up on extras during the company’s Cyber Monday sale! If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.

I like the Armor and have spent a small fortune of the line as the protection of choice for my devices. It isn’t for everybody, for example Elana doesn’t like the look or the feel of it, but for many of us it is a terrific option. You can learn more and order yours here.

MSRP: $29.95

What I Like: Protects my iPad mini without adding substantial weight or bulk; Goes on fairly easily and without much hassle; Available in black or white; Stays on quite well; Works with Apple’s (overpriced) SmartCover

What Needs Improvement: May prevent some cases from working; Other cases my push some of the skin out of position; It protects from scratches not from drops and bumps

Source: Personal purchase

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