The Ultimate Skin Guide for iPhone

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thegasguru

New Member
Bronze
Jun 27, 2007
180
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0
#1
OK first of all, I think a skin is the only way to go for my iPhone. It's sleek and slim and beautifully designed, so I would never want to cover it up and bulk it up with a case. Plus, the reports of dust getting under some of the cases and scratching up the chrome has bummed me out.

I just can't get myself to be comfortable with using the iPhone naked. I want to feel free to put my phone in the drink holder of my golf cart, or toss it on the car seat next to me when I'm in a hurry, etc. I don't want to have to worry if it's going to get scratched up during everyday use the way *I* want to live my life.

Plus, I've used bestskinsever on all my previous iPods and cell phones, so I know from personal experience that they are nearly indestructible, and they add virtually no bulk to the device - the most important thing about that is that you can still use your cradles and other peripherals without constnatly taking the device in and out of a case.

So.... I have actually purchased and installed skins from Invisible Shield, Bestskinsever, and BodyGaurdz. Here is my summary:

I got the Invisible Shield first, since they were the first to market and I have the patience of a gnat...I had to put on a skin pronto. The Invisible Shield is the most established vendor of the skins competitors, so I figured I couldn't go wrong. However...the InvSh does NOT cover the chrome bezel. For that reason alone, I put them in last place of these three competitors. The other two DO cover the bezel...so if you're going to the trouble of installing a skin, you might as well get more complete coverage of the device, IMO.

So...when bestskinsever came out with their skin, I ordered one right away. I peeled off the InvSh, and I think it's important for everyone to know that these skins leave NO residue of any kind. Never has for any of the umpteen devices for which I've installed them in the past, and it didn't for the iPhone either. Now, I also know from past experience that the BSE is the exact same material as the InvSh, only it costs, like, a third as much. Plus, in the case of the iPhone, it covers a greater area of the device, including the chrome bezel (well...at least as much of the bezel as is possible with manufacturing tolerances). Both the BSE and the InvSh were crystal clear after installation...of course, it's important to know that it takes 24 - 48 hours for the skin to "cure". During that time, the little micro-bubbles that might have occurred during intial installation will "absorb" and disappear. That is an actual fact, I've seen it happen many times before. Plus, any cloudiness under the skin from the solution you use will also aborb and clarify in a day or two. Finally, after all the solution from installation has dried, you can do a final wipe and clean of the skin, and it's crystal clear. And I can confirm that, with any of these skins, the touch responsiveness of the screen works just fine.

However...both the InvSh and the BSE skins have a certain tackiness to the touch. Unlike the slick, slipperiness of the iPhone glass screen, these skins have just a little stickness to them. Now, I use klearscreen cleaner ( www.klearscreen.com ) on *all* my screens (that stuff is fantastic), and once I spritzed a little onto the skin over the screen of the iPhone, it made the skin a lot less tacky to sliding and dragging my finger on the screen. Not a problem at all. Also, I think the naked iPhone is pretty slippery...I thought the extra tackiness of the InvSh or BSE skin was a good thing, since that made it less likely to drop the phone.

But soon the stickiness of the skin became annoying to me. It never bothered me on previous devices, but on the iPhone...so much of the user experience is dependent upon tactile interaction with the device. I just didn't like the extra stickiness interfering with my fun. So I took off the BSE so I could try out the BodyGaurdz (BG) next. Again...no residue of any kind left on my phone from the BSE, esp. after I gave it a quick spritz and buff with the klearscreen - and yes, I use the klearscreen on the entire device, not just the screen.

The BG is, IMO, the best of the breed. It also is crystal clear after installation, and it has none of the tackiness to it's feel that the other two skins have. I'm not sure how the material is different, so I had concerns about whether it is as rugged-tough as the other two (which I know are amazingly durable). However, after removing one Bodyguardz because of a botched installation, I took the opportunity to do some informal field testing. I could not jab a pencil through the material, and it was not possible to tear it with my bare hands. It seems pretty rugged, just like the other two, but has a more pleasing feel to the touch when installed. It is *definitely* nicer over the screen of the iPhone, since it doesn't slow down the finger dragging at all. Plus, the BG has a very slightly better coverage of the iPhone than the BSE. Yes, it covers the chrome bezel (at least, as much as possible), but covers the corners every slightly more than does the BSE. This makes it trickier to install, but worth it if you do it right. For all these reasons, I give the Bodyguardz the nod for users like me who want to enjoy the naked look of the iPhone, but in a see-through evening gown. :)

So...the tricky part is the installation. After having installed dozens of skins on my own devices and those of my friends, I have come up with a method that I think works the best. I will outline it in the next post.
 

thegasguru

New Member
Bronze
Jun 27, 2007
180
0
0
#2
Here is how I install a skin...

First of all, I firmly believe in the "Windex" method. If you use the stock solution that comes with some of the skins, the skin itself will be just to sticky when you apply it to the device, and it will be to difficult to place it properly. These skins are made with cutouts that are very precise, so it's very important to get the skin positioned just right so that all the little flaps and corners lay down properly at final installation. I just can't get that done with the stock solutions. The advantage of Windex is that it allows you to slip and slide the skin over the surface of the device for a few minutes before the adhesive starts to set up, so that you can get the skin positioned just so.

I get a clean, lint free t-shirt (or towel, whichever is less linty) and put my freshly cleaned and dust free iPhone onto the shirt for the installation process.

Then I get a bowl, and pour some Windex (or any generic blue window cleaner) in it. I dip my finger tips into it, so that they won't leave fingerprints on the skin as I peel it away from it's paper backing. However, with my method, I can't imagine that fingerprints would ever be a problem...that's because the next thing I do is to dunk the entire skin into the bowl of Windex. I make sure I know which side is the sticky side (since it's a clear skin, once it's wet, you could lose track of which is the sticky side if you don't pay attention), and I make sure that I don't let the skin fold over onto itself and stick together on itself - you might not be able to pull it apart without stretching it out, which would then ruin the skin for proper fit.

Then I hold the skin over a corner of the shirt to let the excess Windex drip off the skin. Then - while the skin is still sloppy wet - I lay it on the device. If the idea of having something wet touch your beloved device, let me assure you - none of it gets inside the device, and I've done this dozens of times before and had no problems...ever.

I recommend you apply the screen skin first. It's the easiest one to apply, since it's flat with no corners. You just put it on the screen, then slide it around till it sits just right. For the iPhone it's pretty simple: you have to line up the top earphone hole and the bottom home screen button within the skin cutout. You slip and slide the skin over the screen until it's positioned, and while you're sliding it, make sure any large bubbles and air pockets are squeegeed out. Get the little bubble too, if you can, but don't obsess about it. The little bubbles self absorb over the next day or two. Once you've got it positioned just the way you like it, LET IT SIT! Do NOT fuss with it any more. The directions talk about dabbing off the excess fluid with a towel, but I say *NAY* to the dabbing...all it will do is catch the skin and slide it OUT of position. Let it sit for, I don't know, half and hour to an hour. You can check on it periodically if you want, but don't mess with it! As it dries, it will look like a milky, hazy mess, and if you've never done this before, you will freak. DON'T! Once the adhesive is dry enough that you won't wipe it out of position, you can give it a spritz with you're iKlear (you DO have some, don't you? did you know it's great for plasma TVs too?). I usually wait until the next morning to clean the screen, so that I take no chance of dislodging it. Sure, I take some extra time, but once you install your skin, it lasts for, like, a year, so I figure I might as well do it right.

Once you wipe off the dried milky Windex, magic will happen. You will suddenly have a crystal clear screen skin that you couldn't tell was on the device unless you were looking for it. Sure, there may be a few micro bubbles, but they will absorb in a day or two. Plus, with my method, it is MUCH easier to get out the air pockets and big bubble, because there is such a generous layer of liquid that makes it easy to gently squeegee out such things. I've never had to use a credit card to squeegee, and I advice against it since it's too easy to dislodge the skin from it's proper position. The generous Windex liquid layer makes it simple to do a fingertip squeegee, and it virtually gaurantees no fingerprints. You just need to make sure there is no dust/lint on the device before you lay the skin down on it.

The drawback to my Windex method is that it takes a much longer time to dry. I wouldn't touch it at all for at least an hour, and like I said, I usually wait overnight before wiping off the screen, for fear of dislodging the skin. But the advantages far outweigh this, IMO, in that you get an easy way to position the skin, and a nearly foolproof way to get out air pockets, bubbles, and leave no fingerprints.

Also, I usually apply the screen side first, then wait at least until the next day to apply the back side. That's because the back side - with all the flaps and corners - will requiure much more handling of the device, so I want to make sure the screen skin is thoroughly adhering to the device before I start handling it a lot.

More in a minute...
 

thegasguru

New Member
Bronze
Jun 27, 2007
180
0
0
#3
Now for the back side skin.

Same deal. Clean, lint/dust free iPhone. Fingertips dipped in Windex. Peel skin away from backing, then dunk it in a bowl of Windex. Hold it over a towel/t-shirt to allow excess to drip off, then apply it sloppy wet onto the device. Do not fear the wetness...it is your friend, it will not get to the inside of the device.

Slip and slide the rear piece into the correct position. This is a little trickier, since it needs to be positioned such that the corners all line up, the bottom speaker ports line up, the upper sleep button/headphone jack lines up, and the side volume buttons line up. What I do is to line up the little hole to position correctly over the cameral lens, and then slide the bottom of the skin so that it lines up over the speaker ports correctly.

Here is an important point: when you get a skin sloppy wet, it takes a long time for the thin adhesive layer to dry enough to really stick. This is especially noticeable with the side flaps and corner flaps. They will NOT stick...they will just fall off the device. The smaller the flap, the longer it will take until it gets sticky. So what I do is, once the skin seems to be positioned well on the back of the iPhone, I then gently fold the side flaps over, planning for them NOT to stay stuck there, but just to give me a sense of proper positioning. I might need to adjust the skin a half a millimeter or so (of course, you don't have to be nearly as much of a perfectionist as I am). On my current skin, for example, the camera lens hole is not lined up perfectly centered over the lens. It is just microscopically off center. Of course, if I had just lined up the camera lens hole, the bottom speaker port cutout, and the top headphone jack hole...I would be just fine.

Now again, once the back piece is lined up over the back of the iPhone...LET IT SIT. Don't even try to get the side flaps or the top/bottom flaps to stick. they won't...and what little part of them that does stick...will just screw up the proper alignment later. Just let it sit for an hour, with the the flaps all standing out spread eagle, so they can dry.

Come back in an hour, and now the flaps should lay down and stick nicely. Do the sides first, they're the easiest. Start from the center of the back of the iPhone, and work your way out to the sides...first one flap, then the other. This will ensure that you are pushing any air pockets and potential bubbles out the sides. You may need to apply some prolonged gentle pressure to some of the flaps for them to stick well.

Please note: the corner flaps probably still will not stick. That's OK. LET THEM SIT FOR ANOTHER HALF HOUR. Come back and try to stick them down. They will look like they might get dog eared, but if you hold some prolonged (a minute or three) gentle pressure over the junction where the corners are, you can get the rubbery skin to sit down and stick flat to the device. Of course, the adhesive has to be dry enough to stick. If they still don't stick, don't fight it. Set it down and try again in another 30 - 40 minutes. Everntually, you'll get them all to stick. Then you let the device sit overnight to really let the adhesive cure, before you try to wipe off any milky excess.

Now, what if after coming back after several half hour increments, you still can't get that last little corner or dog ear to stick? No problem...now the issue is that the adhesive has actually dried out, and needs to be rewet. Do NOT jump to this conclusion...it is amazing how being patient and waiting for the adhesive to dry will solve almost all problems (some people have taken a hair blower to the skin to speed up the drying process). But if you're several hours into this and it's still not sticking, then it might have actually gotten too dry. Here's what I do: I dip my single finger into some water (I don't need the detergent in the Windex to help me with slipping/sliding any more), and then just TOUCH my finger to the area that needs re-wetting. I do NOT want to overdo this, since I now have to wait for it to dry once again before I try to stick the flap down.

There. Those are all the secrets I know to get the best possible placement of your skin. And once you get a well-placed, crytal clear skin on your iPhone, you will NOT want to cover it up ever again! And with the smooth texture of the BodyGaurdz, I think it can't be beat.

I really hope this helps, since my carpal tunnels are going numb...
 
X

xSEOx

Guest
#4
I too have bought all 3 of the "skins" and completely agree with you in choosing BodyGuardz as your favorite for the front. It seemed to have a clearer look to it (less orange peel effect) and the fact that it was less tacky helped as well.

For the back I like BSE the best. While BodyGuardz had a better coverage of the corners i found that BSE covered the delicate metal rim better. That is really the only reason I liked BSE for the backing.

Thanks for such in depth review and installation guide!
 

ronak223

New Member
Bronze
Jul 16, 2007
57
0
0
#5
Funny how I just ordered my Bodyguardz just seconds before stumbling upon this thread, and now I'm three times happier with choosing Bodyguardz over any of the other brands. Thanks for the sweet guide :)
 

zteg

New Member
Jun 26, 2007
18
0
0
#7
Can anyone post some close up picks of their iPhone + Bodyguardz? I am interested to see exactly how much of the chrome it covers and exactly what the corners look like. Thanks.
 
Jun 7, 2007
545
0
16
Queens, NY
#8
Can anyone post some close up picks of their iPhone + Bodyguardz? I am interested to see exactly how much of the chrome it covers and exactly what the corners look like. Thanks.
i have the body guardz skin on the back. and front. i find that the corners attract dust and lint when you put it in a pocket . cause when i take it out of my jacket pocket the corners because of the stickyness, its covered with lint. anyone else have this problem?
 

thegasguru

New Member
Bronze
Jun 27, 2007
180
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0
#9
just ordered mine as well! hopefully it doesn't look awkward. also, 48 hours to dry? thats ridiculous...I need my damn phone!
nahhh, not 48 hours!

Just put it on in the evening, and let it dry overnight. And yes, I think you'll get better results if you put on the front one night, and the back on another night.
 

thegasguru

New Member
Bronze
Jun 27, 2007
180
0
0
#10
i have the body guardz skin on the back. and front. i find that the corners attract dust and lint when you put it in a pocket . cause when i take it out of my jacket pocket the corners because of the stickyness, its covered with lint. anyone else have this problem?
My devices have never been covered in lint. Sure, after a while, the corners of *any* skin can attract some grime and the occasional micro lint fiber. But you can get the same dust and stuff under any case that you might use as well. In fact, dust and debris under the rubber casing of the InCase has been reported to cause scratching of the chrome bezel.

All in all, in think a skin provides the best combination of protection, lack of bulkiness, and good looks. And I happen to like the Bodyguardz the best.
 

vrsc

Member
Bronze
Jun 22, 2007
204
0
16
Orlando, Fl
#11
thanks for taking the time to post this! I have the BG and couldn't be happier! I do have a couple of orange peel places on my screen that I was hoping would go away! great review and dyi
 

thedwp

New Member
Bronze
Jun 24, 2007
271
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0
#13
Hey @thegasguru,

Thanks for the tips...my question is does the BG skin cover the mic and speaker on the bottom of the phone?
 
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Headie_Fishing

New Member
Bronze
Jul 16, 2007
41
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0
#14
Have any of you found that the use of a skin improves your overall grip when holding the iPhone? I am interested in a clear skin that would add some additional grip to the slick iPhone but that would not attract lint or tend to stick to my pocket lining. Any ideas?
 

Napoleon PhoneApart

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Jun 19, 2007
33,433
4,529
113
Upper Marlboro, MD
#18
Have any of you found that the use of a skin improves your overall grip when holding the iPhone? I am interested in a clear skin that would add some additional grip to the slick iPhone but that would not attract lint or tend to stick to my pocket lining. Any ideas?
The Bodyguardz kit definitely improves the grip on the iPhone!
 

ronak223

New Member
Bronze
Jul 16, 2007
57
0
0
#19
I just put on the front piece of Bodyguardz on my iPhone like 5 minutes ago. Right now it looks a bit hazy and weird, but I think that will go away in just a little while as all the moisture starts to get out and it starts to stick on to the iPhone. I'm debating whether to put on my back piece tonight (In probably 8 or 9 hours) or just wait till tomorrow. Anyone got any suggestions?
 

zteg

New Member
Jun 26, 2007
18
0
0
#20
I'm debating whether to put on my back piece tonight (In probably 8 or 9 hours) or just wait till tomorrow. Anyone got any suggestions?
Wait, IMO. Of course I say that but when my Bodyguardz comes in I'm sure I wont be as patient as I tell you to be. Although, the back is the trickier of the two so I doubt you could "mess up" the front by doing the back. I would be a little more hesitant if it was the other way around.

And now the power is going out. I better post before it does.