Skinit is one of the first smartphone skin/cover manufacturers I’ve known. Since the explosion of the smartphone market, a couple others (i.e. dBrand and Slickwraps) have aggressively pounced onto the scene, but Skinit has remained prevalent with what it does best – highly customizable skins. Over the years, the company has expanded to skining a variety of gadgets, such as laptops, gaming consoles (and even their controllers), and audio devices (headphones and speakers). They have also added smartphone cases to their lineup, of which you’re similarly able to apply your own design on the back.
We reached out to Skinit to test out their latest offerings, and they were generous to hook us up with a skin of our choice for the Galaxy S9, as well as one of their robustly protective cases. This synopsis runs through the main installation details and end results.
Skinit probably has the most diverse inventory of skin designs. Choosing one can be a daunting task (but a good problem to have). And if none are your cup of tea, you can create your own. Same goes for the back panel of the smartphone cases. The high level of customizability is achieved by laminating the printed images onto a 3M sticky pad. So it won’t feel as premium as a textured case (Skinit offers these too, but in fewer choices), but if the ultimate goal is a believable facade, then it succeeds.
- Ton of design options
- Easy and quick installation
- Skin provides rear protection without any bulk
- Case is robust and tightly sealed
- Not the cheapest
- Skin fit wasn’t 100% for us
- Glossy material may not be for everyone
- Plastic film on case feels flimsy
What it’s like to use
- Skinit’s standard skins (custom image/non-textured) just cover the back of the phone. So the packaging is straightforward – a sheet holding the vinyl that’s trimmed to match the back panel of the Galaxy S9, in this case.
- The skin is essentially a sticky pad with cutouts for the rear sensors of the phone and subtly curved edges to match the shape of the Galaxy S9’s back glass panel (only up to where the glass meets the metal frame).
- This is as simple as a skin gets, but note that you won’t get any protection on the sides or front of the phone. Installation a breeze as a result.
- The first step with skin installation is always to thoroughly wipe the phone’s panel free of debris. We then peeled the skin and lined up the rear sensor cutout.
- Don’t slap the entire skin down after you’ve lined the cutouts. You’re safe setting the top section down, but there’s a bit of play at the bottom that can lead to misalignment. We recommend slowly laying the skin down towards the bottom little by little, checking that the overlap on the sides are even.
- Fortunately, the skin’s stickiness is forgiving if you want to pull it back up and try again. Just don’t be careful not to fully press it down until you’re sure it’s where you want it.
- The last step is to bend the edges down onto the curved slopes of the phone. No heat is needed. Press everything down firmly to set it in place.
- We had a concern with our fit. The bottom didn’t exactly reach to the frame, leaving a small but noticeable gap. We looked around to see if we messed up the alignment somehow, but everywhere else looks lined up perfectly. Skinit should look into this. That said, it’s minor and the effect isn’t disrupted.
- The surface of the skin is glossy, so it doesn’t help with respect to slipperiness (a little better than the phone’s glass). What you gain with this skin is a new look and light protection on the back of the phone.
- A waterproof case may seem redundant for the IP68-rated Galaxy S9, but this ingress rating is more “water resistant” than “waterproof”. Skinit designed this case to make the phone “Adventure” ready, largely sacrificing form for protection.
- The case is made of two pieces that interlock tightly. Installation is as simple as prying it open (takes a bit of force), placing the phone, and snapping the two layers back together.
- You have the similar ability as with the skins to choose whatever kind of design you want on the back of the case. We went with Marvel’s Shield emblem (Skinit has a bunch of Marvel-themed designs). Note that the custom vinyl will only get inlaid onto the flat portion of the rear panel. The rest of the case is matte black plastic.
- The front of the case has a plastic film to protect the front of the phone (this is a comprehensively rugged case). So you’ll want to wipe the inside free of debris, as well as the phone’s screen, to keep the view clear.
- We have mixed feelings about the plastic film. Function-wise, it’s fine. It shields the phone’s glass, doesn’t hinder touch usability, and is clear (doesn’t dull the screen quality). It just does so without finesse. It’s not seamless (you can tell you’re touching a plastic layer atop the phone) and there’s a visual waviness to it at an angle view.
- There’s quite a bit of thickness protection on the case’s perimeter. So the whole unit will feel quite a bit bulkier than the phone itself. On the front, this results in the S9 gaining a bit of bezel all-around.
- Grip is enhanced substantially, due to the increased grip-able area, flat sides, and raised bumps. The buttons are amply raised but a bit narrow. They’re really firm and require a good amount of pressure to depress, so they dig into the fingers.
- Nothing is left exposed, so the phone’s bottom ports (charging and 3.5mm headphone ports) sit behind sturdy flaps. There’s a small opening with a screen for the bottom speaker output. Audio from the top and bottom speakers sounds a tad muffled compared to no case, but nothing concerning.
- The rear fingerprint scanner has a plastic film as well, but is a little weaker than what’s on the front. We could easily puncture it with our nail. The scanner functions just fine, though. The rear camera window is hard, clear plastic, so no worries there.
Skinit’s skins are a good option, especially if you like the idea of personalizing your own. No one has this vastness of design choices, across a variety of categories (not just patterns but also things like sports or pop culture references). They aren’t the most premium feeling, but certainly get the job done.
The waterproof case, on the other hand, is more tuned for a certain crowd, that put protection above all. It degrades the form of the Galaxy S9, most notably with the plastic film overlays. Fortunately, it’s not clunky in function, and works as advertised.
Also See: Slickwraps Honeycomb Skin for the LG V30