It’s been a long time tradition: the first thing you do with a new iPod is to make sure that it is protected. After all, we all know just how easily that back scratches, even with extremely light use. The biggest problem with more traditional cases is the extra bulk they add to the device. After all, Apple designed the iPod to be extremely thin, and you want to keep it that way, right?
Well, that’s where skins come in. Skins are extremely thin cutouts of various materials that protect against scratches while adding the least amount of bulk possible. That’s where the Skinomi’s Techskin Carbon Fiber for the iPod touch 4 fits in.
Read on for the review!
Something this particular skin has been called on in reviews from Amazon.com is the installation directions. In short, some people feel the directions are to vague. Honestly, its not a huge deal, though I can see where some confusion might arise. As soon as you open the box, the clever design pops the instructions up into plain view. You can tell that the directions are used for multiple skins, though there’s not much room to mess up. Just use some common sense, and read.
The Techskin Carbon Fiber ships with the Techskin pieces, Application Solution, an Installation Card, and Installation Instructions. The Techskin pieces includes the front and back parts of the skin, as well as the screen protector. The solution is used to wet your fingers so the adhesive back of the skin doesn’t stick to them (protip: keep your fingers wet the entire time; don’t be afraid to use the solution more than once). The card is for the screen protector, to smooth out any pockets of air, and the instructions are pretty self explanatory.
I didn’t have a timer handy, though I’d say it took about 15 minutes to install it completely and to where I was satisfied. I left it drying overnight, though I did use my case I got off of Amazon to help make the edges of the skin stick to the back of the device better. I’m not sure if this is normal, or if it was because of the liberal amount of the solution I used, but it took some pushing and holding to get the skin to stay.
Look and Feel
At first glance, the Techskin looks like a matte version of the front of the iPod touch; in other words, it doesn’t reflect light like the glass on the front does. This is a pretty nice bonus, considering that using the iPod in bright conditions could be difficult to do because the front reflected so much light.
The real plus here is on the backside of things, though. Instead of the easily scratched, pretty-at-first-ugly-later stainless steel, you now have a matte back, made of “… the same film material used to protect luxury cars, military aircraft, and NASA space shuttles.” That may be marketing jargon, but it does have some pretty unique properties (more on that later).
As for the button and port cutouts, they work fine. Like any quality skin, you are able to plug in headphones and the 30 pin dock connector without any problems. Same with the cutout for the camera, volume buttons, and the power button. A plus of using a skin that doesn’t cover the power and volume buttons is that it doesn’t affect the tactile performance at all (duh). Compared to my TPU case off of Amazon, the difference is huge. So, if you’re worried about that at all, then this may be for you.
In the hand, the Techskin actually does make a giant difference. This is due to the texture of the ‘Carbon Fiber’ version of the Techskin, which is like small rectangles running in rows diagonally across the device. It makes the iPod much more grip-able than before. The material used doesn’t feel plasticky or cheap, and the adhesive seems to be be working great.
Of course, none of the above matters if the protection isn’t there. The coverage on the front is very good – especially if you do use the included screen protector – though the silver lining around the bezel is uncovered, and is prone to scratches.
Overall, my thoughts on the protection are that if you want the best protection, you aren’t looking for a skin. Instead, look for a full case. However, if you want thin, then this will probably work out just fine. The included screen protector is of very nice quality, so the screen shouldn’t be a problem.
Here comes on of the best parts about this skin: it heals. Like a futuristic organism dedicated to protecting the device, I watched as a scratch from a car key slowly fades away. I’m actually very impressed with this; it’s easy for something to become just marketing jargon, but it actually worked. I’m not sure how deep the scratch can be for it to fade away, but a moderate scratch to the back of the case is gone.
If you aren’t extremely concerned about the occasional scratch to the thin stainless steel strip surrounding the bezel, then the protection this skin offers is perfectly fine.
If you ever need to remove the skin, you’ll wan to know that it’ll come of clean and without a hitch. Skinomi advertises that the Techskin will come off clean, and they aren’t lying. After peeling off the skin, I was able to find absolutely no evidence of the adhesive used to attach it to the device. There was no left-over residue, no stickiness, nothing. However, while removing the skin, I did rip it. This indicates that the skin is meant to be put on, and not removed until you don’t want it anymore. Either way, its a good thing I waited to test this out last, and after I had pictures, because there’s no way I can put it back on. In fairness, I wasn’t being overly gentle to the Techskin.
I found the best way to remove the skin was to simply start prying it up at the corners, and going from there. I’m sure that if you were more careful and patient than I am, you would be able to get it off without ripping or tearing it, and would probably even be able to reuse it. Just be sure to use the Application Solution — there’s a reason they give you a lot of it!
As with most products, this won’t appeal to everyone. Skins, in general, are not for those who want their device as pristine as possible at the end of a long day. However, for those who want as much protection as they can get without sacrificing any of the portability Apple endowed the iPod touch 4 with, this skin may just be the perfect solution. The extra grip is provides is fantastic, while the scratch ‘healing’ feature is much more than cool; it’s legitimately useful. If you are still looking for a good, thin accessory to protect your touch, this is probably exactly what you are looking for.
Note: The review unit I received was free of charge, shipped to me by Skinomi. This in no way impedes the honesty or accuracy of the review.