Review: Skinomi’s TechSkin™ Protector for the N97

by MajorDouble7 on November 12, 2009

Hello, Fanatics!  MajorDouble7 here with a look into Skinomi’s TechSkin™ for the N97.  There’s been a lot of discussion in the cloud regarding protection for the N97, and it always seems to boil down to preference.  Some go for stronger, more durable cases, while other prefer a ‘cleaner’ screen protector-style look.  I count myself as member of the latter group, which brought me to Skinomi’s TechSkin™ phone protector.

Of all the screen protector brands out there, Skinomi drew my attention first because they offer a skin to protect the entire phone, not just the screen.  Most of the common ‘cheapy’ screen protectors offer you 5 or 10 sheets in a packet, thus admitting that their protectors are ‘disposable’ and eventually wear out.  Skinomi makes no such admission.  In fact, they offer a lifetime guarantee with every product they sell (products which, by the way, vary from digital cameras to portable gaming systems).

This is from the Skinomi website:

Skinomi TechSkin™ Features:

  • • Toughest clear protective film on the market
  • • Clear protection that is virtually invisible
  • • Preserves your device’s original design
  • • Protects your device from scratches and “wear-and-tear”
  • • Patented layer of UV protection for anti-yellowing
  • • Provides protection without affecting the functions of your device
  • • Non-sticky or restrictive outer surface
  • • Lifetime Replacement Warranty
  • • 100% Made in the USA

Skinomi TechSkin protectors are the clear choice for maximum scratch protection. These go beyond your traditional screen protectors, skins, covers, and cases. TechSkin is made from the same film material used to protect luxury cars, military aircrafts, and NASA space shuttles. Skinomi TechSkin protectors are custom made to specifically fit your device.

So what’s the real story?  Does their TechSkin stick to the issues?  And what about installation?

I’m going to offer my experience regarding these questions, starting with the installation.

Installation was a real concern for me before, during, and after my purchase of the Skinomi product.  I was dreadfully terrified of marring my N97 for life, even though for all intents and purposes I was just sticking a piece of plastic over it.  Skinomi says that their protective skin is removable during installation to the point where you can do minor adjustments (it is also claimed to leave behind no residue of any kind if you decide to remove the protector later down the road).  “Fear not” is the mantra coming out of the website.  Well, I still like to err on the side of caution, I thank you.

All of the instructions for installation are posted on their website, www.skinomi.com, which is a real relief.  When looking for which product to use, I wanted to know how it worked and how it was applied, in hopes to make a more informed decision.  So having the instructions readily available was a real plus for me.

What I couldn’t find, however, was an application video.  I was really hoping to find a video in the cloud that would show how to install the protector accurately on any device (whether by Skinomi or a fellow user).  Let’s face it, I was probably a bit too paranoid about messing up my N97.  Needless to say, no video was found.  In fact, the only Skinomi application video I found at the time was for an electric cigarette device that’s basically in the shape of a cylinder…no help there.

So!  I finally decided to get on with it and give the Skinomi a whirl (I know what you may be thinking, “Why didn’t YOU make a video while you were installing?”  Well, the only camera I have is on my N97, so that wouldn’t quite work out as you can imagine).  I followed all of the rules and tried my best to line up the edges just right.  By the time I was finished, what was in my hand was a very unattractive piece of phone.  Skinomi’s instructions say that any small bubbles and the like will disappear over time and remember:  “Fear not.”

Being the trustworthy person that I am, I decided not to judge too quickly, and left my device to rest for a full 24 hours as instructed.

Fast-forward a week later and my device still had very unattractive bubbles and marks.  NOW, it is completely possible (and highly likely) that my installation job wasn’t the best.  Perhaps my nervousness got the better of me.  I did admittedly blunder a bit when placing the front screen sheet, thus causing two nasty looking air bubbles that wouldn’t ‘push out’ with the supplied plastic tool for that exact purpose.  After a while most of the micro bubbles did disappear, and my phone started to look a little more normal.  There were still a few large ones present, but overall the skin was doing what it claimed it would.

After a while longer, say, three weeks or so after installation, I began playing with the idea of removing the skin, undecided as I was about my satisfaction.  I finally decided that I didn’t like the ‘rubbery’ feel of the back of the phone.  It was almost too ‘tactful’ (some call this ‘sticky’)…I liked the original, smoother feel of the plastic on the back of the device.  Also the small pieces encasing the chrome frame felt a bit wonky around the edges.

Having made up my mind, I removed the back piece and the slender chrome-covering pieces.  I opted to leave the screen and other side pieces on, as they were both ok for the time being, and I certainly wanted something to protect my screen until a replacement could be found.  There was no problem whatsoever with removing the previously installed sheets of the TechSkin™ and my phone felt the same as the first day I took it out of the box.

Fast-forward yet again, to approximately six weeks after installation, and I find that my Skinomi TechSkin™ looks perfect…almost perfect.  The large bubbles that I was no doubt the cause of have all but disappeared.  You can’t see them when the screen is on or off (only if you know where they are and look *real* close).  The tact of the protector is nice and smooth; no more ‘tacky’ or ‘rubbery’ feel at all.  I’ve scratched it (intentionally) and nothing happens.  If there are any marks, they either wipe off or disappear in a matter of minutes.  The TechSkin™ has truly delivered as advertised.

Have a look at some shots of my (admittedly dirty) N97.  You can see where the edge of the screen is.  It looks a lot more pronounced in these photos than it does in person.

The smudge right by the green call button is one of my bubble mistakes...hardly noticeable in person

The smudge right by the green call button is one of my bubble mistakes...hardly noticeable in person

The screen no longer has the 'sticky' or rubbery feel...nice and smooth

The screen no longer has the 'sticky' or rubbery feel...nice and smooth

The small pieces along the side of the N97...the pieces included with the Skinomi package that cover the chrome have been removed

The small pieces along the side of the N97...the pieces included with the Skinomi package that cover the chrome have been removed

Back of N97 without Skinomi Protection

Back of N97 without Skinomi Protection

I’m convinced that any imperfections and marks are due to my poor installation of the product.  I’ve never installed a screen protector on any of my previous phones, and can tell that this is a practice that you can only improve on in time.  Eventually I’m sure I’ll call up Skinomi again and re-order the N97 full phone protector.  Sure, they have a lifetime guarantee, and I could make up some story to get a new one, but at only $19.95 USD, I’m willing to pay them again for what I now know to be a great product.

Overall the Skinomi product does exactly what I was hoping it would do when I first placed an order for it along with my N97.  The best part about it is the fact that I can hand my phone over to (almost) anyone without any fear whatsoever that they’ll smudge it, mark it, or otherwise defile my beautiful N97.

How ’bout it, Fanatics?  what screen protector do you prefer?  Was it a hassle to apply?  Tell us all about it.

Until next time…

MD 7

has the ability to resist the highest level of abrasion, making it the ultimate protection for gadgets and devices. The film’s “self healing” technology makes it immune to scratches and virtually indestructible. Passing numerous OEM tests in the United States, the TechSkin’s film has been hailed superior in scratch resistance to any other film on the market.

Skinomi TechSkin™ Features:

  • • Toughest clear protective film on the market

  • • Clear protection that is virtually invisible

  • • Preserves your device’s original design

  • • Protects your device from scratches and “wear-and-tear”

  • • Patented layer of UV protection for anti-yellowing

  • • Provides protection without affecting the functions of your device

  • • Non-sticky or restrictive outer surface

  • • Lifetime Replacement Warranty

  • • 100% Made in the USA

Skinomi TechSkin protectors are the clear choice for maximum scratch protection. These go beyond your traditional screen protectors, skins, covers, and cases. TechSkin is made from the same film material used to protect luxury cars, military aircrafts, and NASA space shuttles. Skinomi TechSkin protectors are custom made to specifically fit your device.

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  • audioxbliss

    I've just been using a crappy eBay screen protector… got a 6 pack for under $3, shipped! Obviously, they don't stand up to wear and tear too well, but it's definitely some good practice for once I want to get a GOOD protector. I've been swapping them out about once a month, so I'll probably order one of these in about a couple months and see how it goes… thanks for the review :)

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    That's actually an idea that I never thought of…buying some cheap ones to practice on! I probably never would of thought about it when I first got my N97 because I was so intent on protecting it right away…but I like that idea now.

    Thanks for reading!

    MD 7

  • Rich C

    At the risk of pissing off one of your sponsors, is there any difference between Skinomi and Invisishield?

    I still have Invisishield on the screen, but worried that it wouldn't protect me against a drop (something I say I will never do but know at some point I will), I got a cheapo hard case ebay special from China. (Get the clear one that only goes around the very edge of the screen – fits it very well with the Invisishield screen protector still on. You will have to remove the Invisishield everywhere else for it to fit, however.)

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    Rich,

    It would appear to me that the Zagg product and the Skinomi product are almost identical. They both advertise something that sounds like the same product (to me). Having heard a few testimonials from the InvisibleShield users out there, I would assume that they both work pretty much in the same way. The only thing I don't see on the InvisibleShield that Skinomi's TechSkin has, is coverage for the entire phone. On Zagg's website it only shows a front and back sheet for the phone, whereas Skinomi provides several smaller pieces for the sides and edges of the phone (all tailored to fit of course).

    Also, Skinomi is 5 bucks cheaper…not too bad of a deal. I did just notice however that the Zagg website has video tutorials on how to install their product…something I would've liked for the Skinomi one.

    Maybe someone who has used both can shed some more light on the subject.

    MD 7

  • Rich C

    It may not show coverage for the side of the phone, but it actually does include several small pieces for the side (again, probably identical to the Skinomi).

    The only part that is still vulnerable to scratches (I've found) is the very top edge of the metal trim that's flush around the screen as well as the menu button. At some point I must have skidded it a little bit on its face and it scuffed up the button and the edge not protected by the Invisishield (something that would have been protected with the hard shell I have on now).

    So, I tried an experiment – I peeled off the Invisishield around the rest of the metal trim and took a rough-edged sponge to it and made it a brushed metal look – looks really good, I gotta say. You'd never know it didn't come like that from the factory. Matches the faux-metal trim around the camera and volume controls really well.

    One other thing – if you do a google search for Invisishield coupons, I suspect you can get a 5% discount, I think. Not sure if that's still more expensive than the Skinomi.

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    Great comment! Very thorough…

    It sounds like our two protectors are indeed the same. Of course,
    InvisibleShield does seem to have a better marketing strategy and stronger
    web-presence.

    Glad to hear that you were able to 'scuff' the chrome lining to make it all
    match…and it sounds like it looks better than before to boot!

    Sounds like it just comes down to preference and availabilty. By the way, I
    watched a couple of the tutorials on the Zagg site, and application was
    identical to Skinomi…so for all intents and purposes it looks like they
    probably use the same exact material.

    MD 7

    ——- Original message ——-

  • NinjahhKittehh

    Unfortunately For Me. In Austraila (Well Everyplace I've Currently Rung)
    Doesnt Sell Screen Protectors. Or The Sell Dodge Ones. Same With The Casing. And I Cant Get Anything Over The Net. For A Couple Of Reasons.
    I Would Love To Have A Top Knotch Screen Cover Thats Like The One You've Explained. Im So Nervous About Scratching My Phone!

    Thanks For The Awsome Read Though.
    Im Loving This Site. Everyones Friendly And Very Thorough With There Posts. And I've Always Gotten A Reply. Unlike Some Horrible Sights I've Been On.

    *Sigh* Its taking Me A Month Just To Save For The Phone. Almost There Though. So Excited!

  • http://enta10ment.blogspot.com/ Entertainment

    Form Factor, 32G of onboard memory, Multi-Media feature (excellent video playback, music functionality), radio, S60 community, fully-loaded with Joiku-Spot, Bloomberg, Qik and other productivity apps, beautiful large screen.

  • Bazil

    I have used the Zagg screen protector for my N97 and I was very disappointed. It completely ruined the touch-screen feel and operation, as it gave it a rubbery feel that didn't let me trail my finger across it. It was also not completely transparent, with hundreds of small vertical lines all over the screen. It was also not scratch-resistant.

    So, I removed it and decided to try the MartinFields screen protector (which I also had on my N95). It is simply amazing, with none of the Zagg's drawbacks. You can try it to see for yourself.

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    Good luck in getting that phone! Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later…

    But it is a good idea to protect your device…even if all you can find are the dodgy ones, it's better than nothing.

    Amazon doesn't ship to Oz or have and Oz site? That's odd…they should remedy that…

    MD 7

  • http://twitter.com/deefrawley Damien Frawley

    I bought a generic screen protector from Crazy John's in Melbourne (Australia) and also bought a black rubberized plastic case for my N97 at a place called Calculator King. Not sure if it is a guarantee against a drop onto a hard surface, but it should take most of the shock if not all and of course no scratches on the N97 itself. Having said that, cases are very hard to find here in Oz.

  • NinjahhKittehh

    Hey!
    Thanks For The Reply.
    Hmm To Be Honest i've Never Actually Heard Of Calculator King.
    That Being Said. I Do Know Crazy John's. Haha.

    Well Im Going To Have To Look Around Some More! =)
    Im Going To Try And Find A Black Cover.
    Hopefully. Haha.

  • NinjahhKittehh

    Hey! =)

    Its Not That They Dont Ship Here (Actually I Wouldnt Know. I've Never Checked =P)
    Its That Im 16 And Cant Order Anything Over The Net. Instructed By Parents. Unfortunately.

    Thanks For The Reply Though!
    I Would Have To Strongly Agree To. Dodgey Is Still Amazingly Better Than Nothing. Although I Do Have To Say The Idea Of Hidding The Sexy Phone In A Silicon Case Does Sadden Me Imensly. Haha.
    Oh Well. Better That A Broken Phone. =P

  • audioxbliss

    I've found, with these cheap protectors I've been using at least, the “stickiness” wears off after about a full day or two of use, as small bits of dust/dead skin get stuck on it. As for the vertical lines, I have no idea. I know I see some little dots on mine, but I figured those might be thin areas for the protector to “breathe” and let the bubbles out.

    If I end up with some extra money around Christmas time maybe I'll try comparing them all… cheap eBay stuff, Zagg's stuff, Skinomi's stuff, and MartinFields.

  • audioxbliss

    Spam?

  • http://www.n97fanatics.com Mike Macias

    Yes it was spam. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • http://www.n97fanatics.com Mike Macias

    Yes it was spam. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Larrytne

    I’d rather use Gadgetshieldz instead. Most of the other protector products are costly but not as good as Gadgetshieldz.I mean c’mon, $19.95 for something that only makes your phone look a little better, and doesn’t really protect against scratches like the cheaper Gadgetshieldz. I categorize Skinomi, InvisbleShield and those other costly products as ‘ineffectual’. I don’t wanna spend money (after buying a costly smart phone) on some useless product.

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