12 August 2014

Phone Dressing: dBrand Skin Review

One of the most bizarre traits among people these days is how they dress their phones. Some people use cases, some people don't. Some use screen protectors others don't. Some use both, some use neither and the strangest of all (to me at least) are those that use wallets. Seriously, what is up with phone wallet/cases? How are you comfortable pulling out and opening your wallet, exposing your cash and cards for everyone to see, usually with these items dangling on a flap while you take a photo or check your messages? How are you not concerned that the all of the most important items you have are all bundled together in one package and could very easily be stolen, dropped or lost? I don't understand you.

Either way, regardless of which camp you're in, odds are you feel pretty strongly about where you're standing: You need to have protection around your phone because it could so easily explode if you drop it. Cases are stupid and make the phone gigantic. Just don't drop the thing. Why would you want to cover up such beautiful looking technology?

I'm not different. I'm not a case person. They always just added heft and bulk to a device and I've always thought they took away from the phone's aesthetics.

I've been told it's ironic, but I've always loved skins. To me, they're the perfect balance between keeping original form, but still adding just a small amount of protection. Over the last few years I've owned the following:

Nokia e71
Samsung Galaxy S
Samsung Galaxy SII
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
LG Nexus 4 (Current).

The plastic backing of the Samsung phones were great for durability. Plastic doesn't really scratch, and if it does, who cares. It's plastic! But, I still had a trusty $2 Starry Night skin courtesy of eBay. I loved that it added just a small bit of personality.

With the Nexus 4, the skin became crucial. For those that may not know, it has a (gorilla) glass back. A beautiful sparkly glass back. It feels very strong and sturdy, but it's glass. I loved the look, but hated it's fragility. I hear gorilla glass is strong, and tried to go without it because just how beautiful it was. The problem was, I would be terrified to just place the phone down on surfaces. A dirty park bench, the street while tying my shoes, or the roof of my car if my hands were full of shopping bags all may have well been lava to me. I couldn't handle it.

So I went back to skins. I did some searching for the best quality skins and found dBrand Inc. A Canadian company that makes them in house and frankly, does an incredible job and making well design, quality feeling and perfectly cut skins for mobile phones (smart watches and tablets). Compared to the cheap eBay variety, these look and feel so much better. They are more expensive, but $9 really isn't much considering how obvious the improvement in quality is. Their textured to match the design (leather, metal, carbon fibre, etc) where my Starry Night was just a printed image on a vinyl sticker. This adds in both form and function. The textures just feel higher quality but add to the grip and control of the device in hand.

I've also noticed that they're much easier to place. With previous vinyl skins, my first attempt was the only. There was no way of readjusting. WIth dBrand, not only can I apply and reapply until the placement is perfect, but I've been able to save used skins by peeling them off and sticking them back on to clean backing paper.

Look at the photos above. It's such a simple product, but if you ask me the design is just incredible. I'm currently on the mahogany wood grain. The sheen of the metallic gold really made my phone stand out. Because of the solid glass behind it it felt like cool brushed metal. I love how the light catches the brushed pattern. The red powder is the simplest, yet boldest of the bunch. The colour really pops, so much so that it makes what is really just a red sticker, a lot more than that. If you have a Nexus 4 you may agree with me. The flat back and distinct edges make it perfect for a skin. I've actually held off on upgrading my phone because I'm not sure backings of newer devices will look as clean.

Click on the image of Popular Devices to check out their website.