Summary and ordering:
This review is for the BestSkinsEver (http://www.bestskinsever.com/) clear protective skin for the Google Nexus One. Upon recommendation of this skin, I decided to try it out and see what it was like. I’m not a professional product reviewer or an expert of any kind, this review represents my unbiased opinions only. For a quick summary on the different types of cases available for phones, please see this other article I wrote – https://senk9.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/phone-cases-what-are-my-options/ . Ordering was easy via the BSE website (it worked out to only around $10 shipped to Australia), and it appears there is free shipping internationally for orders of 5 or greater. The items arrived in exactly one week.
Unlike normal clear screen protectors from eBay (which are harder plastic), the BSE and similar skins (such as Zagg Invishield) is also reasonably thick, but very flexible. The reason for this is to make it bend around the curves of the device easily. One side of the film has a non-water-soluble adhesive on it which keeps the skin on. The provided instructions (http://www.bestskinsever.com/blog/index.php/application/) advise a mixture of soap and water during application to allow for easy repositioning of the skin parts. I used a spray bottle and lightly sprayed the adhesive side of the skin, not spraying on the phone itself. I found that just a little bit of water was needed to help relocate the skin. Once applied, you have around 5-10 minutes before the part dries and sticks to the phone, during which I used a card to push the bubbles out. This method is less difficult than normal screen protector application where even a speck of dust can ‘raise’ the film and cause bubbles, however it does take longer to apply.
Depending on the shape of your phone (ie. if it’s boxy or rounded), this process may take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Once all pieces are on, you can then inspect and push down the parts which are raised up and they will grip to the phone’s surface. If you want to remove the skin in the future, this can be the done easily. Where the various brands differ appears to be on the thickness of the skin (thicker skin offers better protection, but it may affect screen responsiveness or the bendability of the skin around edges), and also on the gap between different parts. The BSE skin I found to have extremely close clearances, which is great for protection especially on angles when the phone may be resting on it’s side or corner, however this means that you must be very precise in your positioning or else there will be overlap (and eventually peeling).
The whole procedure took me around 60 minutes, it’s tedious, but for a skin that may stay on your phone for it’s entire life, it’s worth doing it right. The instructions indicate to leave the phone for 24 hours before turning it on, but after another hour, I fired up the device and all appears well. The skin is not visually noticeable unless you look at it closely, it just looks shinier than a normal phone.
Overall, the skin seems quite decent, it’s thick enough to resist keys in pockets, sliding short distances on concrete, the odd coin or stone counter, and because it doesn’t add noticeable bulk to the phone like a leather or plastic case, it is nearly unnoticeable. You can still slip it into your pocket like before, and use it as before. The texture of the skin is glossy, like a clear coat, and there is a slight orange peel effect. The responsiveness of the touch screen does not appear to be affected. So far so good, but I noticed on some parts there was a murky residue underneath the skin as seen in the photo below. However, it’s not really as nasty as it looks. Upon further research this appears to be a characteristic of the glue used, that shows up on some people’s application of the skin, and not on others. It’s not a problem on the plastic panels, but on the screen it is noticeable when the screen is off. With the screen on it’s not really noticeable.
Out of curiosity, I will persist and see if it changes. After about an hour with the screen on non-stop, I noticed that it was beginning to clear up, so I believe it’s just residual moisture underneath and will eventually be clear, maybe in a few weeks. If it still persists, then removing the screen part of the skin and replacing with a generic screen protector is also an option. The other thing is if you have a smooth phone and like the smoothness of it, then the edges of the clear skin may be annoying to you. I believe this may also become less apparent over time as the edges round off and smooth over, but just something to keep in mind. Overall, seems quite good, manufactured very accurately, a bit tedious to apply, but nothing too bad. Suitable if you want good scratch protection, without sacrificing the looks and size of the phone.
Score – 6.5/10
Photos: Note that in some photos, I haven’t yet cleaned the phone. Make sure you clean all dust off before application!