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Review: GelaSkins Protective Skins

GelaSkins Protects Devices With Style

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Review: GelaSkins Protective Skins

Full view of a Nintendo DSi with a GelaSkins custom cover.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Regardless of what some people might say, I do NOT have an unhealthy personal attachment to my electronics devices.

Now that we've got that out of the way ... so I was making giggly eyes at my beloved 17-inch laptop "Black Beauty" one night and I said, "Baby, can you possibly be even more beautiful?"

"What do you think, Persephone?" I asked my PSP-3000, which lay nicely buffed in its padded protective case nearby.

Still, as wonderfully dazzling as my precious Persephone and Black Beauty are, the plain truth is that there are a kajillion other Persephone and Black Beauty lookalikes out there.

If only I could make both of them truly one of a kind.

Enter GelaSkins' protective outer skins for electronics devices. Designed to protect and add a touch of style at the same time, the skins sounded like an intriguing way to address my electronics issue.

In fact, I liked them so much that I ended up ordering a bunch as Christmas presents for my little cousins' Nintendo DSi's. Read on for the full GelaSkins review.

PROS

Design options: With a lot of art styles to choose from, you're almost certain to find a GelaSkins design that suits your tastes. And even if you don't, GelaSkins' customization option broadens your choices so your skins can be pretty much as stylish as you want them to be. Just upload the photo or image you want to the GelaSkins' site and you can use the online editor to fine-tune your custom creation.

Customization is especially a great option if you plan to give the skins to, say, little kids who like certain cartoon characters who aren't available via the regular selection of skins. Just make sure your image is large enough so it prints in decent quality. Although the online editor does automatically resize images, I'd err on the side of caution.

Protection: GelaSkins are made of a special 3M vinyl material that's scratch-resistant — to a point. After bringing my laptop with me to a business trip for the first time, I noticed a couple of scratches on my GelaSkins cover after going through airport security on the way home. While I was bummed about it at first, I thought it was much better to have a scratch on my skin than to have one on my laptop.

A custom GelaSkins cover on a 17-inch laptop

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Cost: Although not as cheap as a skin from, say, DecalGirl.com, GelaSkins compare favorably with (and in some cases are cheaper than) competitor Skinit.com. Laptop skins were $29.95, for example, while PSP and DSi skins were $19.95. The PSP skins also come with a screen protector as an added bonus. Order three skins and you can get a fourth skin for free.

Prices are the same for custom jobs but customization adds a few extra days to your shipping time.

Removable: GelaSkins aren't permanent so you don't have to worry about them ruining the finish of your device. You can just take them off and your device will be back to normal again. Do keep in mind that you typically can't re-use an already-applied skin once you peel it off.

CONS

Coverage gaps: GelaSkins don't act as full covers so you will get some exposed areas regardless of which device you get it for. Exposed areas will be typically on edges or corners. Also, if you have a 16-inch Windows-based laptop, GelaSkins' only has a 15.4-inch laptop skin, which leaves a lot more uncovered space on the top and bottom compared to the sides. This may look a bit unnatural for some, though you can minimize that by matching the skin you get to the color of your laptop's exterior as closely as possible. Also, make sure you leave ample space around buttons of gaming devices. Get it too close and your buttons can end up getting stuck occasionally.

Application issues: This largely depends on how used you are to applying skins. Needless to say, it's probably not a good idea to let a 10-year-old do this. Laptop skins are usually the easiest to install but can be tough to center. Fortunately, the adhesive is quite forgiving so you can retry several times. Just make sure you don't get any dust specks underneath or that's going to show up as a small bump or dot on the skins' outer finish. Rounded or raised surfaces also make it easy to get creases so you'll need to pay extra attention to those. The raised corners of the DSi's bottom screen is especially notorious for this but it is possible to cover those crease-free if you're careful.

Device selection: Although GelaSkins has many of the most popular electronics devices such as iPods and iPhones covered, it doesn't have as big a selection as some of its competitors. Skins aren't available for older devices such as Game Boys and the first-generation DS. And while the selection for Mac laptops is good, you only have universally sized skins for laptops from other brands.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

A PSP-3000 with a custom GelaSkins cover

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

GelaSkins are a great way to jazz up your electronics devices while offering it protection from scuffs and scratches at the same time.

The surface has a grid texture that some may or may not like. But it does get the job done while also allowing you to add some personality to your laptop, media player or gaming device.

Personally, I'm pretty happy with how the skins have performed on my devices. It was also one of the more popular presents during the big exchange gift session that my family and relatives do during the holidays. As such, you should at least include it in your list of products to consider when mulling skins to put on your electronic device.

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