I love iPhone skins. They provide pretty good protection from scratches, and are the equivalent of getting a tattoo for your iPhone. Except these images aren’t permanent — you can change skins as often as your mood.
Three of the best iPhone skin makers — Gelaskins, Smirk About and Infectious — all offer designer skins from original artists. The offerings are all pretty similar: they all cost around $15, they are pretty easy to apply, and all offer similar levels of protection.
How they differ is in their unique designs that make your iPhone stand out from the masses.
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Smirk About Skins
Smirk About, a company based in Sydney, Australia, offers 46 weird and wonderful designs for the iPhone that cost $14.95 each. Smirk About’s designs are pretty avant-garde, turning your iPhone into a mobile showcase of cutting-edge art.
Smirk About skins are made from cast vinyl with a matte laminate. They also have Glide Apply, which allows you to position the skin before it sticks to the device. The skins have a nice smooth feel to them — unlike other brands — and they are extremely thin, making them easy to get on and off.
Smirk About offers a lifetime guarantee on all their skins. If your iPhone breaks, Smirk About will replace the skin, as long as you don’t attempt to take it off or get it wet.
Although there are two small stickers for the front (above and below the screen), there is no screen protection. Smirk About offers Home screen wallpapers to match your skin. Every skin has a special code on it to access your free wallpaper. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to download and how great it looked. My iPhone was completely coordinated from front to back.
As one of the original skin makers, Gelaskins have long been a favorite. For the past few years at MacWorld, I have labored over which Gelaskins to purchase for my MacBook. They easily have the largest selection of Mac and iPhone skins, making it difficult to choose.
The Canadian company features work from over 100 artists and offers 219 designs for the iPhone. They have a skin for everyone’s taste (even my mother-in-law). If that weren’t enough, you can even design your own skin.
Gelaskin’s designs are more mainstream than Smirk About’s. Be sure to check out the comicbook images from Marvel Comics and National Geographic. The Orion Nebula skin is especially cool!
The Gelaskins are made from a patented 3M adhesive that contains micro-channels that prevent air bubbles from forming. They are fairly easy to put on and take off again. Gelaskins cost $14.95. If you buy three they will give you one free.
Gelaskins does not have protection for the front screen but a protective screengurard can be purchased for an additional $12.95.
Gelaskins also offers free coordinating wallpapers for the iPhone’s Home screen.
Infectious, a community-based company in San Francisco, pedals a range of retro and gamer-themed skins. They company allows the customer to play an active role in designing or voting on new skins. Infectious has the usual skins for iPhones, iPods, laptops and gaming devices, but they also have wall covers, skateboard and car decals.
The skins are made from 3M vinyl with channels that allow you to push out air bubbles. The vinyl should last for three years but with over 179 designs to choose from, I can’t imagine that one would be able to wait that long before changing it. At $14.99 each, changing the skins often won’t break the bank.
The Infectious iPhone skin is slightly smaller than other brands. It does not curve around the sides of the iPhone allowing for use on older iPhone models. Wallpapers are available but no protection is offered yet for the iPhone screen.
Infectious has some interesting tips on what to do about creases with blowdryers and very detailed information on how to apply the skins.