When we did the Kindle2 review, one of the few things that Dan, Doug and Kerry griped about was the device’s pasty white front. I didn’t really mind the slightly off-white color, but when I purchased the Kindle DX I decided it needed a bit of personalization. Since I don’t yet have a case for the oversized ereader, I thought it would be fun to give it dash of protective color; I purchased a DecalGirl skin.
DecalGirl skin kits are designed to be thin enough to maintain compatibility with most accessories and cases, but tough enough to absorb the minor abuse that makes a device look dingy. Each of the high-res designs is digitally printed on a premium grade adhesive backed vinyl using vibrant, UV-resistant inks and coated with a glossy protective layer for the a durable and stylish finish.
There are 74 Kindle DX skins available on the DecalGirl site; I ordered Van Gogh’s Irises. The skin was shipped in rigid flat packaging, offering no chance that it would arrive damaged or bent.
Because it looked simpler, I decided to install the back cover first. Taking a cue from the way that I’ve always installed PDA and phone screen protectors, I decided to “roll” the skin from its backing onto the DX, from the top to the bottom.
Once installed and totally off the backing, I realized that there was a gap of about 3mm on the bottom that looked weird, and at the top – where the power button is – the skin was a bit puckered. The skin needed to be pulled off and reinstalled! Grrr.
That is when I found out how resilient a DecalGirl skin actually is. I pulled it off – being careful not to let the skin flap back onto itself (sticky side to sticky side would be a disaster) and being careful not to stretch it out – and I reinstalled, this time starting from the bottom. Of course, installing from the bottom left the same 3mm gap as before. But this time there was no funky pucker at the top; I can live with the gap.
Installing the front skin looked a bit trickier; there are 35 little buttons on the bottom of the DX, and I wanted to make sure that they lined up properly with the pre-cut holes.
The holes for the buttons are precisely cut so that there are no “dangling chads” when the skin is removed from the backing.
There was simply no way I was going to be able to get the front skin – with all of its cutouts, properly lined up by leaving it on the backing paper. I went ahead and folded the skin back upon itself after carefully peeling off the backing, got the button holes lined up, and got the skin applied; it was actually much easier to do this than I had thought it would be.
See? Perfectly lined up buttons and perforations with no weird gaps or unwanted overhangs.
After also installing the covers for the various buttons on the DX’s right side, my Kindle DX is now anything but boring. Bright and cheerful? Check. Slightly distracting from the reading material? Meh, not as much as I thought it might be.
My DX is now covered with a thin layer of vinyl that should give it protection from scratches and perhaps minor dings. I’ve got a screen protector on order which should complete the package.
If you want to give your Kindle 1, Kindle 2, or Kindle DX a face lift, you can do so quickly and easily by applying a DecalGirl Skin. There’s no need to worry about gooey residue when you remove the skin, so if you bore easily you can eventually try a different design.
DecalGirl skins are available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Quick and easy way to change the Kindle’s appearance; easy to install – the skin can be pulled off and repositioned during installation; adds scratch protection to the device without any bulk
What Needs Improvement: The skins seem a bit pricey, but that’s all relative