iPhone 5 skins from DecalGirl review

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Reviews

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Provides: Scuff/scratch protection
Developer: DecalGirl
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 5 (other models available, of course)
Price: $9.99
Availability: Now

Considering how long I’ve been reviewing skins for Apple’s iDevices, it’s surprising I’m just now getting to DecalGirl. The company has been around since 2003, growing from a staff of two part-timers to over 30 employees in their facility in Delaware. A few of them made the flight out to San Francisco for Macworld/iWorld 2013, where they set me up with a skin for my iPhone 5. I haven’t removed it since, and here’s why.

You already know what skins do for your iPhone. They’re not going to protect it from drops, but for common use, they’re great at preventing scratches, scuffs and fingerprints from marring the iPhone’s appearance.

DecalGirl iPhone 5 skin

If you’ve tried iPhone 5 skins from other developers, you should know DecalGirl does a couple things differently.

First, the skin wraps around back to and over the edges. Most skin manufacturers either ignore the sides or give you separate pieces for them, but DecalGirl gives you one full piece. This is great for continuity of design and, surprisingly, placement. Openings for the camera and flash can be used to align the skin when applying it, but I had better success starting with the volume buttons on the side. The cutouts are perfectly aligned, all way around to the SIM card cutout on the other side.

DecalGirl iPhone 5 skin

Separate pieces can be applied to the top and bottom of the phone, as well as the top and bottom of the front screen. All pieces went on easily with absolutely no bubbles (I’ve gotten quite good at this, if I may say so myself).

Second, the designs are available in matte prints. These are not as shiny as your standard skins, of course, but do a much better job of hiding scratches, fingerprints and other imperfections. The designs and colors are muted in a matte print, but I like that; they’re more subtle. After comparing the matte print with a glossy skin they provided for my iPad (separate review to come), my family decided to go matte on all the DecalGirl skins we subsequently ordered.

DecalGirl iPhone 5 skin

DecalGirl of course offers thousands of design options, most of which feature unique designs from artists who have teamed with the company. The choices can be overwhelming, but it’s worth your time to explore them all (the site allows you to “like” your favorite designs to help narrow down your choices). Some brand options are also available—including Lockheed Martin, Futurama, Kawaski, and various video game franchises—but the strength of the selection is in the artists.

DecalGirl iPhone 5 skin

All orders come with a lock and home screen wallpaper via code that’s e-mailed to you for online retrieval. Grab the e-mail, save the image to your camera roll, open your wallpaper settings, and done. Very easy process.

DecalGirl iPhone 5 skin

Some of the designs are not conducive to sitting beneath your app icons, however, so consider that when selecting your artwork. I’d like to see DecalGirl take the initiative and tone down the color and business of some designs before sending over the wallpaper image.

Skins are skins, for the most part, and you’ve likely already made up on your mind on whether you’ll ever use them. If you do, make sure you give DecalGirl a look when selecting your next. If you don’t, the matte option could be enough to change your mind. At only $9.99, and with the ease at which they’re removed, risking the money is better than risking the appearance of your iPhone (and its resale value).

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DecalGirl iPhone 5 skin review

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