StickerBoy Skin User Review

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Steve S, Mar 26, 2013.

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  1. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    Bottom line First: Stickerboy ( Stickerboy — Welcome ) tablet skins are made out of high quality material that is cut to fit (at least on my Surface Pro) with excellent precision. Reflecting these facts, StickerBoy's prices are on the higher end of the scale. Application is quick and easy; if you've ever managed to do a screen protector installation even semi-competently, you will find the StickerBoy kit much easier to cope with. Even if you haven't ever managed to get a screen protector on, I suspect that you will not have a lot of trouble skinning your tablet (provided that you exercise at least a little care). One downside to this particular product is that, although the flat surfaces are well and stylishly protected, the very edges of the tablet remain exposed and can still be dinged. However, a skin is what it is; it is intended for casual protection, not padded case or OtterBox-level protection. The StickerBoy skin fits as advertised and provides the protection that one would expect from such an approach.

    What Was Tested: Over the years, I have owned more than a few tabletPCs and many accessories to go with them. I have waited a long time for these tablets to become thin, and now that they are, I am unwilling to compromise their form factor with folio cases that inevitably make the combination too thick for my taste. The Samsung Series 7 case was one of the first such products that I found barely acceptable in this regard, but I couldn't help thinking that, somehow, things could be still better.

    The Microsoft Surface Pro, with its innovative Type Cover, seemed like a perfect combination to me. But after reading about various attempts to fashion a suitable folio case for the Pro, I couldn't escape the feeling that we were once again headed in the same old direction, trading a lot of thickness for some moderate level of protection. Surely, there had to be another way.

    Although I have known about skins for a few years, I never seriously considered them. However, the Surface Pro was thin enough that it seemed like a skin might work well with it. Add to that some of the critical comments on the Microsoft forum about how "fragile" the Surface case seemed to be to some users, and a skin started to sound even more attractive.

    I have to tell you that I had no particularly good reason for selecting the StickerBoy product other than my impression that it had a certain level of quality, based on an hour or so of Internet surfing. I ended up buying a Surface Pro kit in the "Metal Series," "Graphite Brushed." I selected this color because it appeared to be a good match for the existing color of my Pro's "VaporMag" case (a sort of a dark Gunmetal color, I guess). Although the web page said the price would be $14.95, the actual kit for back, sides and front actually cost $34.95. However, partial kits were also available (Back only, Front Only, Sides only) and I suppose that one of them might have been the $14.95 option. Interestingly, there was also an option for a piece that would stick to the outside of the Touch / Type Cover, and they even stressed that this piece would stick to the felt on the black covers! (I decided to pass on this particular option!) Shipping was a nominal amount but the total price ended up being $41, quite a far cry from the $15 that the site seemed to promise. However, as we will see, the money appears to have been well spent...

    Once sent, the order appeared in my mailbox several days later. I had hoped that the gores ("gores" are the individual pieces that fit together to cover your tablet) would be shipped flat, but StickerBoy shipped them as a loose roll in a plastic sleeve:

    [​IMG]

    There were two sheets that held the individual gores. The Graphite Brushed material is made by 3M and had a thick and quality feel to it. To my surprise, two complete sets of edge gores were provided, perhaps as insurance in the event of a poorly aligned installation attempt. However, I never even came close to needing any back-up pieces, they were that easy to align and install. The adhesive back on the gores had an interesting, "textured" feel to it. StickerBoy advertises that this texture allows air to escape so that you don't end up with any air bubbles. I certainly found this to be true.

    Below, the two sheets of gores. The 9V battery was used to keep the sheets flat for photographing and to give a sense of scale:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After wiping off the case of my Surface Pro with a damp paper towel (to remove any finger oils) and giving it a blast of canned air to remove any residual dust or lint, I started to apply the individual gores, working on the back first, then doing each side and then the top edge. It literally took me 12 minutes, and I was going very slowly! Each gore is an extremely close fit for its corresponding surface on the tablet, so lining up the first edge is the most important part. You need to place each gore right at the edge of each surface segment! Once aligned, smoothing each gore down flat is extremely easy, due in part to the thickness of the material (and, of course, the textured adhesive). On the sides, I took care to align first to the port (or switch) locations and then checked the edges. The gores are cut so precisely that everything lined up perfectly. When working on the sides, I found it useful to prop the Pro up on edge so that I had easy visibility and access to the edge that I was working on. I used a vertical "file organizer," but a few books stacked up to hold the tablet on edge would have worked just as well.

    Because I already had a full-face Incipio screen protector installed, I didn't bother to install the front gore, which was simply a frame that covered the screen bezel.

    The results pretty much speak for themselves. In the images below, note the color match and appearance. In the close-ups, note the fit and alignment:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Does the skin make my Pro hotter in operation? No, I don't think so. The Pro's active cooling dissipates the heat, as it should. Is Wi-Fi or Bluetooth affected? StickerBoy's customer service claims that the Graphite Brushed material contains no metal. So far, I don't see any adverse RF effects.

    Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the result. With the exception of the very, very edges of the case, as already mentioned, my Pro seems well-protected with no impact to the thin form factor that I value. This product is tentatively recommended...
     
    bloodycape and neongolden like this.
  2. Mhotep

    Mhotep Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Nice review. Thanks.

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2
     
  3. jl199954

    jl199954 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Also thanks for a great review. Looks like a winner product.

    How hard will these things be to remove once on? Are they more "cling" link a screen protector...or sticker like?
     
  4. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...How hard will these things be to remove once on?..>>

    jl: Good question; thanks for asking! I meant to briefly discuss this in my review, but forgot.

    The straightforward answer is, I don't know. In fact, this will eventually be part of the experiment because when I eventually sell my Pro, I'll probably have to take the gores off.

    However, a thought: I have a fairly long history using 3M products, and they are very high quality. Adhesives tend to be most troublesome when they dry out, but I have not had that experience with 3M. There is no question that the adhesive on the gores is more aggressive than the softer, low-tack silicon adhesive on screen protectors, but as long as the adhesive ages gracefully and remains stable, I don't think that removing the gores will be a problem.

    One other comment about the fit of the gores on the Surface Pro: The VaporMag Pro case features flat surfaces and sharp angles, making it relatively easy to shape gores that will lay flat and fit tightly. Other tabletPC's which have more "sculpted" case shapes (for example, the back of the Samsung Series 7 Slate), will require more complex gore shapes that may be somewhat harder to apply and / or may not lay quite so flat. Unfortunately, that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Some tabletPC's will be more amenable to skinning than others. Fortunately for me, the Pro is one of the former...!
     
  5. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...How hard will these things be to remove once on?..>>

    Follow-Up: I e-mailed StickerBoy and asked them about this. They responded with the same answer; they use 3M sheet stock because of its quality and because it ages gracefully. StickerBoy says that removing the gores at some point in the future will not be a problem...
     
  6. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    You sold me Steve (they should pay you a commission). My 6 week old SP128 is still unblemished, and thanks you for the protection.

    Now if only my favorite screen protector company, Wrapsol, would release a Surface Pro screen cover...:(
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  7. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    Skinned and covered, the Surface Pro is probably the best designed portable tablet system on the market. Its angular lines are beautiful and utilitarian. Folded up, it is slimmer and sleeker than all of its competition, even the upcoming Helix. Thanks for the review. If I still had a Surface, I would skin it. Do they make a clear version? Anybody know if the MS Store is skinning Surface Pros yet?
     
  8. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Anybody know if the MS Store is skinning Surface Pros yet?..>>

    ...By coincidence, I spoke to the folks at our local Microsoft kiosk at lunchtime. We discussed the StickerBoy skins and one of the sales team mentioned that when they move into their permanent B&M location, they will have a roll printer that can print out any skin you might want. So for this location, Microsoft skins are still in the future somewhere.

    However, given the fit of the StickerBoy product, there's really no reason to wait...

    <<...Do they make a clear version?..>>

    ...If they do, I couldn't find it. However, there are several gunmetal-like colors that look like they would match the Surface just fine (certainly the Graphite Brushed color does). If you are looking at the Fujitsu Q552, I suspect that one of StickerBoy's lighter colors would come pretty close. Either way, I suggest that you contact their Tech Support; they've been very good about answering my questions...
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  9. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    I went over to the MS Store this weekend to pick up a Nokia Lumia 920 (in Cyan) and while I was there I decided to Skin my Surface. They use SkinIT and will let you upload your pictures or use stock photos, they charge $15 and will apply it for you. I took a picture of my Limited Edition Skulls Type Cover and made my skin from it and here are the results:

    SkullSkin_Back.jpg SkullSkin_BackCover.jpg SkullSkin_Front.jpg SkullSkin_StraightOn.jpg SkullSkin_with_TypeCover.jpg
     
  10. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Steve - skinned mine with the gunmetal gray as well - very professional looking - love it (but didn't put the one on the glass - kept it 'nekid.
     
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