I’ve tested stick-on skins for the iPad 2 before, so I jumped on the chance to test out a competitor from DesignsSkins when I was asked.
DesignsSkins is a German concept with nativized offshoots in several countries, including my country, Norway. This means that aside from catering to a worldwide audience, DesignSkins is perhaps especially useful for those who live in the countries where DesignSkins operates directly, people who are perhaps not used to ordering online.
Anyways, DesignSkins produces vinyl skins like the kind you can buy from all sorts of places. You have a decent set of designs to choose from and even use to create a personalized skin, or you can simply upload your own images and use those. The selection isn’t the best as far as templates go, lacking a lot of the most recent tablets, but it’s still way better than e.g. GelaSkins which is apparently still under the belief that Samsung has two tablets.
I chose to make my own skin and went through the relatively simple process of ordering it. I had almost forgotten about it by the time it actually shipped though, almost three weeks after ordering. In comparison, GelaSkins shipped my other custom skin four days after ordering. Just something to keep in mind if you need your product sooner rather than later.
The iPad 2 skin comes with two pieces, one for the front and one for the back. I don’t particularly like skins on the front, leading me to not order that piece back when I ordered from GelaSkins, but DesignSkins includes both pieces either way. The print quality was fairly good, being a bit dark compared to the actual professional photo print I have on the wall of the exact same image file, but I was generally impressed with the quality. The skin itself feels durable enough, and the glue side shouldn’t leave any residue when removed.
The cutouts were a bit of a hit and miss. They leave less of a margin for error than the GelaSkins skin, which is also the reason why the skin didn’t fit 100%. I tried to first align it by the volume rocker, but that left the speaker, dock connector and everything else misaligned. Aligning by the dock connector lined up the headphone port, SIM slot and speaker, but left the volume rocker covered by half a millimeter of skin. A general rule when making things like skins and screen protectors is to leave a bit more room than the absolute minimum, and if they had only done that here it would have been perfect. Still, it’s nothing like the ridiculously misaligned products that come out of China, and really only require you to be a bit forceful with getting the skin aligned. As for the corners, GelaSkins’ design of cutting a bit more out of the corner than DesignSkins was a wise one, as the latter skin left a bit of a fold where the two sides met.
From a purely product quality point of view, DesignSkins disappointed me a bit compared to GelaSkins. Some poor cutout choices and very slow production times subtract from the final score, but on the plus side the device selection is much better. Nativized web pages is a big part of why anyone would choose DesignSkins over the other offers out there, and that’s not a feature to be dismissed easily.
As for price and purchasing, the easiest thing to do is to head to the DesignSkins website and use the language selector on the top to get the language and currency you use. For us Norwegians, an iPad 2 skin is 199 NOK, and that doesn’t include shipping. This is fairly competitive, though more expensive by a bit, than GelaSkins.