Review: Skinit vinyl skin for Dell Streak

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After writing about Skinit.com's vinyl skins/decals for the Dell Streak last week, I bought one to see if I could find out why it was more expensive than competing products. Other companies offer similar skins for half the price and even throw in a free matching wallpaper, so I wanted to know if the higher cost was justified.

Skinit lets you create your own skin using personal photos and other artwork, but there are also hundreds of pre-made designs to choose from. I didn't look at all of them, but the black flourish skin ($19.99) stood out to me immediately so that's the one I picked.

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The skin ships in a cardboard envelope with absolutely no consideration of presentation. The order info is printed on the back of the application instructions, which are folded over the skin.

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What the skin lacks in packaging, it makes up for in quality. The graphics are printed on thick auto-grade 3M vinyl that is stiff enough to not fold over and get stuck to itself when removed from the backing, yet flexible enough to make application very easy.

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All of the vinyl pieces peel off easily, including all the cutouts on the front (earpiece, front camera, sensors, capacitive buttons) and back (camera and flash). I didn't get the skin onto the Streak perfectly on the first try, but it was easy to remove it from the device and try again. There's no sticky residue and I never felt like the vinyl was going to rip or stretch out of shape.

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The skin only covers the front and back of the Streak; the sides are left exposed.

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Although the vinyl is quite thick, it isn't thick enough to completely conceal the raised Dell logo on the back of the Streak, especially after you smooth out any air bubbles. I actually kind of like the embossed look of the logo beneath the skin, but that's just me.

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I was worried that the capacitive buttons would lose sensitivity, but they're completely unaffected. There's a very slight ridge around the buttons now, of course, but it's almost imperceptible when you're just tapping them with your thumb.

The vinyl is smooth and glossy without being slippery, so although it isn't designed to protect the Streak from anything more than surface scratches, there's enough grip to it that I'm still using it without a case.

So is the Skinit Streak skin worth $20 when similar products are available for $10? Probably not. I think $15 would be a fairer price, particularly since the Otterbox Impact Series case (review coming soon) is $20. That's a super thick silicone case, while this is basically just a big sticker. I like how it instantly transforms the look of the Streak without adding any bulk, though, and compared to one of the $10 skins I also have, Skinit's quality really is superior.

When I bought the skin, I expected to just keep it on long enough to take the pictures for the review. Now I don't think I ever want to take it off.

Skinit vinyl skins for the Dell Streak are available now for $19.99 (premade design) and $24.99 (custom design) each.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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