Want strong protection for the looks of your BlackBerry Bold, Storm, or Curve (8900 only)…but want it to be attractive, too? And not interfere with phone usage? Check out these skins from iSkin, Inc.
iSkin, Inc. was kind enough to provide me some samples to evaluate, and here are my findings:
- The skins are very tough
- The skins come in really nice colors
- The skins are precision-made for a perfect fit, so you must choose the right skin for your BlackBerry model
- The skins do not interfere with operation of any buttons, camera, microphone, speaker, headphone jack, or charging/data connector.
What iSkin Offers
To be sure about iSkin, Inc.’s latest product line, check the iSkin website since I’m sure that over time they will offer new products and make changes to old products. But at the time of this writing, the BlackBerry models that will work with iSkins are:
- BlackBerry Bold
- BlackBerry Storm
- BlackBerry Curve 8900
I hoped the skins for the Curve 8900 would, by chance, fit my Curve 8330 or my Tour 8630 since the dimensions are quite close. But the iSkins are made to such exacting dimensions that they would not fit. Millimeters matter! But that’s the good news: these skins are not stretchy, floppy, droopy, puckered, wrinkled skins (have you seen that kind?). Rather, they are just flexible enough to fit on the proper models with ease, and stay on!
Not surprisingly, the iSkins are also trimmed perfectly to expose the phone’s display screen, headphone jack, microphone opening, camera lens, charging port, etc. The camera flash is protected by a clear, colorless, but tough membrane that does not reduce the intensity of its illumination.
The standard sleeves, or holsters, that come with your BlackBerry cannot really be used when these skins are on. I could force my Storm into its sleeve while an iSkin was on, but the fit was so tight it really wasn’t satisfactory. I have observed that many BlackBerry users don’t use these holsters anyway.
Here are some promo shots of the BlackBerry iSkin product line at this time:
iSkins for Bold
iSkins for Curve 8900
iSkins for Storm
My Storm with an iSkin
First, let me apologize for the less-than-professional quality of my home photographs. In person the iSkins look more attractive than they might in these photos. What looks like speckles and scratches result from my camera flash being so bright at so close a distance from the phone. My intent is to focus in on some of the precision dimensions that I described earlier.
As you can see, the overall fit is excellent: no slop, no puckering, etc. No overlap of the screen or buttons.
This view shows that the opening for the headphone jack is perfectly aligned. There are raised “bumps” on the skin just where needed for the up/down volume controls and the right-side convenience key. I verified that pushing them still worked even with the tough skin over them. It did take a stronger squeeze or push to activate them, but I thought it was acceptable.
This view shows the “bump” for the left-side convenience key and also how a protective flap can be folded down to expose the charging/data port. Normally, the flap is tightly closed to protect that port.
On the bottom, the microphone opening (did you even know it was there?) is exposed to assure that your voice can still be heard and not muffled. Brilliant!
On the back, you can see the clear, colorless membrane for the camera lens and flash, but the photo does not clearly reveal that there is, indeed, an opening for the camera lens. So the lens is not obstructed at all by the skin.
Finally, on the top you can barely make out the tiny symbols for the lock and mute buttons. On the Storm, these really aren’t buttons so much as pressure-sensitive areas on the Storm case. I verified that with an extra amount of force, the lock and mute functions can still be activated. Actually, the skin helps prevent inadvertent activation of these features, which is a good thing!
These iSkins are great protection and look very stylish. They are well-designed so that no functions are obstructed or diminished. Again, in my opinion, they are not compatible with the standard BlackBerry holster, so that’s a choice you have to make.
If you decide to try one, please return and let me and other readers know what you think.
And…thanks to iSkin, Inc. for reaching out beyond the unwashed masses of iPhone users to all of us BlackBerry users. Would you consider changing your name to bSkin?