BestSkinsEver vs invisibleSHIELD DS Lite Skin Review
By: Kurt Knudsen
When it comes to our portable electronics, protecting them is usually number one on the list of things to do. What’s the point of paying $150-$300 on a device only to have it ruined by pocket change and keys, normal usage, and moving it around your work place or room? When it comes to protecting your devices there are tons of choices, literally hundreds of products exist to protect your device in a variety of ways. Two companies reign supreme when it comes to a clean cut method of protecting your devices. Instead of getting a thick, and ugly, silicone protective skin for your Nintendo DS or a simple screen protector that doesn’t help keep the outside of the DS clean, you can choose a full body kit that not only protects most of the product but is also transparent and doesn’t affect functionality.
The first picture in the set below is the BestSkinsEver protection kit. It doesn't come with any spiffy packaging, just a regular envelope. The skins arrived in mint condition and were ready to go right out of the package. The invisibleSHIELD comes equipped with packaging and instructions on how to use the solution. If the mail man is reckless with the mail, the BSE skins could get bent, though it's hard to determine whether or not that would actually affect the product. It's nice to know that the invisibleSHIELD comes with retail packaging.
invisibleSHIELD from Shield Zone Corporation and Best Skins Ever offer two similar protects to help keep your DS Lite protected over its life. In this review both skins will be compared to let you know how they work and how they differ. While the material seems similar, both companies offer two different coverage methods and different warranties. The material is scratch resistant and can take a beating. Not only that, but it’s extremely hard to puncture and rip apart. Using my bare hands and a pen, I was unsuccessful in poking a hole in the material and couldn’t rip it apart. Generic store bough protectors don’t offer this kind of quality.
Applying the shields is a mixed bag. If you have patience and are willing to take a few extra steps, the outcome will make you extremely happy. Many people recommend going into a dust free area to apply these skins, the reasons are obvious after applying the skins. Running a shower for a while and letting the steam build will cause the dust particles to drop down and get out of your way for a few hours. Instead of going this route, the skins were applied in a normal room since your average consumer probably doesn’t know about using a shower to dissipate the dust.
BSE tells you to mix a few drops of liquid dish soap with a bowl of water to create a solution for the skin. The invisibleSHIELD tells you to spray your finger tips as well as cover the adhesive side of the shield. Shield Zone offers a nice video tutorial on how to apply the skins, check it out here. The reason for this is simple, it activates the adhesive and allows you to correctly place the skin into position before it dries. Also, getting the air bubbles out before it dries is a lot easier than static activated skins or sticky skins. The problem is once dust gets stuck under these skins, it’s near impossible to remove it because it’s so hard to see and it gets stuck to the skin. Sadly, while applying the Invisible Shield skin, I dropped it. If I would have dropped it early on while applying it, it could have been salvaged, but after I applied it I noticed a hair under the skin so I removed it. By this time the adhesive was a bit sticky and since it was dropped, it was ruined. The gunk stuck to it was impossible to remove no matter how hard I tried. Since the skin from invisibleSHIELD comes with a lifetime warranty, I wasn’t worried.
Installing the BSE skin took about 30 to 45 minutes total. The toughest part is getting the skin perfectly aligned. After that, it sets and all is well. There wasn’t any trouble getting the skin to wrap around the corners, though if the skin is not aligned, it will bubble up when you smooth it out. The reason it took so long was to let the part of the skin set for several minutes before turning the DS over to apply the bottom skin set.
Installing the invisibleSHIELD was practically the same. Though, each company covers the DS Lite in a different way, it still took the same amount of time to apply. Aside from dropping the bottom screen protector skin of the floor and ruining it, the installation went well. There were a few pieces of dust caught under the skin that were only noticeable a few hours after applying, once the solution starts to dry. It’s very hard to see the dust under the skin when it’s still moist so you may want to inspect the skin moments after applying if you are picky about that sort of thing.
In my opinion, BSE covers the DS Lite a little better than the invisibleSHIELD. BSE covers the following:
• Top lid
• Bottom lid/Battery cover
• Top and bottom screens
• D-Pad and ABXY areas
• GBA dust cover
• Front, left, and right sides (volume, power, and stylus areas)
The invisibleSHIELD covers the following:
• Top lid
• Bottom lid/Battery cover
• Touch screen
• Entire top screen including the speakers
• Top lid edges and sides
Why would you want to protect the area around the speakers? It makes absolutely no sense for that area to need protection other than to absorb shock from when the lid is closed, though there are rubber pads that already exist for this purpose. Covering the area where your thumbs are likely to rest seems ideal and that’s where BSE takes an advantage. Since the paint around these areas are white, for us Americans anyway, it’s more likely to discolor over time due to usage. The Invisible Shield neglects this area completely, though if BSE didn’t cover it, it would have never crossed my mind to offer coverage there. For a better example of coverage, see the pictures below. The first one is what BSE offers and comes directly from their site. The second picture had to be created by hand to show what the Invisible Shield protects since one could not be found.
The biggest fear with these skins is that it may hinder the accuracy or usability of the touch screen. I can attest that they do not, at all, affect gameplay. The skin has a tad bit of friction that takes some getting used to, but after a few hours of play, it feels completely normal. I tested True Swing Golf and Trauma Center, both games rely heavily on speed and accuracy of the stylus. During the tests, my scores actually improved in the golf game and remained the same in Trauma Center (it’s just so hard!). The skin does actually make the DS a little bit more comfortable to hold, though it could just be the added peace of mind. I find that the added friction from the screen protector does make some games a little easier to play because it gives you some more control. When you put the stylus down to tap something or to begin a sliding motion, it won’t move around at all, so the accuracy is improved. Also, drawing straight lines very fast is easier, which is why my golf game has improved so much.
Another complaint some people have is that the screen protectors leave a small gap between the edge of the screen and the actual protector. This holds true for both the Invisible Shield and the BSE skin. The gap is negligible but is needed to remove the excess solution from underneath the skin. Also, it makes positioning it easier and allows you to easily remove bubbles. The majority of the games don’t make you use the stylus down that far and there has been some trouble finding a game that actually does. Few games utilize the entire screen, some allow you to scroll around as if it were a map or to allow your character to run around. Even with these titles, there have been no ill effects.
Overall, both protectors perform well and a lot better than anticipated. Due to the thickness and materials used, it was unnerving at first to use these because one would think it would lessen the sensitivity of the touch screen. There has been absolutely no loss in sensitivity and functionality when using these skins. Both performed better than expected and now it’s up to personal taste.
BestSkinsEver offers a more complete package. They cover more area, mainly the sides of the DS, as well as protecting the D-Pad and ABXY areas. Also, it’s much cheaper, more than half the price of the Invisible Shield. The downside is that BSE does not offer a lifetime warranty with their product, so if you do mess up on installation or have to remove it for some reason, it’s no longer usable.
invisibleSHIELD offers protection where it matters most, mainly the top and bottom of the DS as well as the screens. Why they chose to protect the area around the speakers is questionable. invisibleSHIELD does offer a lifetime warranty, but at a higher cost than the BSE skin. If you plan on roughing up your DS or possibly replacing it in the future, then the invisibleSHIELD is the way to go. Both shields offer supreme performance and scratch resistance. Even after several days of usage, and lots of it, the protectors show no signs of scratches or peeling. Both skins are still intact and are as flawless as the first day they were applied.
After this review was written I asked the folks over at BSE if they would replace skins that were applied on defective DS Lites. My main concern was applying this skin to a DS Lite that had a cracked hinge, it was not cracked at the time of application, but shortly thereafter it became cracked. They said that they would replace the skin for those that are affected by the cracked hinge free of charge as long as you can prove you sent your DS in for this reason and return the skin to BSE for replacement. This is most excellent news and definitely gives some bonus points to BSE, since they normally don't offer a replacement. Obviously, if you are worried about future mishaps or manufacture errors, such as the clicking touch screen, yellow touch screen, or more cracked hinges, you're better off getting the invisibleSHIELD because it'll pay for itself in the long run.
BSE offers quality protection at a lower cost. The lack of a lifetime warranty does hurt them a tad, though the cheaper cost makes up for it. Even if you have to replace the BSE skin once, it's still cheaper than 1 invisibleSHIELD skin. invisibleSHIELD offers over 450 different protections for a wide variety of devices. Not only that, but their lifetime warranty is something to consider when purchasing a protective skin.
If one skin had to be chosen, it’d have to be the BestSkinsEver, simply because it’s cheaper. Though, with the recent hinge fiasco, one might choose the invisibleSHIELD because there’s no telling what else could happen. If you want peace of mind knowing your skin is covered for life, get the invisibleSHIELD. If you want the same protection at a lower cost, knowing you won’t be replacing it, get the BestSkinsEver protection kit. Both are phenomenal protection kits and live up to, and surpass, their names.