Company: Skin EFX
Model: Skin EFX iPod
Price: US $6.95 - $14.95 (set of two)
Compatible: iPod 3G
Skin EFX iPod stickers
Pros: Inexpensive color-changing solution for the iPod.
Cons: Relatively pricey gold sticker was hard to apply, adhesive residue was noticeable. Leaves four corners uncovered when used normally.
Initially, we snickered a bit at Skin EFX’s new iPod Skin stickers, relatively inexpensive adhesive covers for the white front panels of third-generation iPods. Our early skepticism was premised mostly on a limitation of the stickers: they fail to cover the iPod’s front four corners, which we found to be a highly visible, unprofessional touch.
But focusing solely on this problem ignores two positive aspects of Skin EFX’s first products - first is the competent color-shifting they achieve. We received 12 different colored stickers: carbon fiber (black and gunmetal gray), pastel blue, aqua, pink, rose, forest green, metallic red, metallic blue, metallic “hologram” rainbow, silver, etched chrome, and swirled 22 karat gold florentine. Other colors are also available.
With the exception of the gold florentine sticker, which we found difficult to attach and had to throw away, each of the stickers did a good job of changing most of the front of the iPod. While you wouldn’t confuse the results with a professional ColorWare iPod paint job, you also won’t confuse the prices: ColorWare’s product prices are higher by a factor of four to ten times Skin EFX’s, depending on the two-sticker set you choose.
Second is the opportunity the stickers provide to make the iPod look even cooler inside of certain iPod hard cases. Though not expressly recommended for use with Contour’s variously colored new Showcase iPod cases, we found that Skin EFX’s stickers perfectly matched them - the black Contour Showcase looked superb with the carbon fiber sticker, for example - and we would therefore consider the stickers recommendable primarily as a complement to that set of products, though only if you intend to keep the iPod in the case. (We continued to be put off whenever we removed the iPod from the Showcase and saw the white corners.)
The result wasn’t quite as good with Pacific Rim’s new iShield case, as neither the case nor the sticker appeared to appreciate each others’ thickness. Each insertion and removal of the iPod from the iShield added slight scuffs to the stickers’ surface, and only two removals were enough to visibly mar the sticker. Additionally, the iShield’s frosted clear plastic top exposed the uncovered upper corners of the iPod, which if you haven’t guessed already we found an unattractive distraction.
Skin EFX’s stickers are intended to be applied once, then discarded rather than reapplied - a fair design limitation for a $3.50 to $7.50 investment. Removing the stickers wasn’t difficult, but each removal did leave a bit of adhesive on the iPod’s surface - contrary to Skin EFX’s claim that the stickers don’t leave any adhesive or residue. In fact, we found that the chrome sticker even left large noticeable silver traces on the iPod. In each case, the residue could be removed with rubbing alcohol, though it wasn’t easy after a couple of stickers had been put on.
With its current design and pricing, Skin EFX is close to having a product we could recommend without reservation to our readers. As-is, however, we would only suggest these stickers for users of Contour’s Showcase, or people who are willing to trade a somewhat unprofessional finished appearance for an inexpensive iPod case modification.
Jeremy Horwitz is Senior Editor of iLounge and practices intellectual property law in his spare time. His recent book, Law School Insider, has been called the “best book about law school -ever,” and he continues to contribute to Ziff-Davis electronic entertainment magazines.