Thursday, December 23, 2010

GelaSkins Review

At around the same time I ordered my Oberon case, I also decided to get a skin for my iPad. I was somewhat on the fence about how I felt about skins on iPads, but I saw a skin that I really liked, so I decided to give it a try (rather than spending the rest of my life wondering "what if?").

There are several sites that sell decals/skins for various electronic devices, and the skin that I fell in love with is made by GelaSkins. I heard good things about them from the people on Kindleboards, so I went ahead and indulged myself.

This is the packaging that it arrived in:

I was apprehensive about applying it. I've had difficulty in the past applying screen protectors, and the perfectionist in me is petrified of air bubbles and off-centerness. To my relief, it went on beautifully. Air bubbles were easily smushed out and the adhesive allowed me to reposition the skin when I had it out of place. According to the website, Gelaskins utilizes "advanced 3M adhesive [that] contains patented micro-channels that prevent air bubbles from forming and allow for easy application and clean removal after years of use." In my experience with the skin so far, this appears to be true.

GelaSkins also allows you to download a free wallpaper that matches your skin, so the final product looks like this:

I also feel like the website's claims of scratch protection are valid. I've been paranoid about the aluminum back of my iPad getting nicked and scratched, and now I have nothing to fear. Excellent.

My skin is called "Bookshelf" by artist Colin Thompson, and is available to buy for pretty much every portable electronic device in production. My one complaint, like with my Oberon cover, is the price. My skin cost $29.95 (though you can get a 10% discount right now with the code "TECSKINS"). Decal Girl, another skin company that has good reviews of its products, sells iPad skins for $19.99. I personally think that GelaSkins has better designs, but I don't appreciate the price premium. Maybe I'll change my mind if I ever buy a Decal Girl skin, but right now I remain miffed.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oberon Design iPad Case Review

For the first item, on the agenda, you should know that I am in the possession of an iPad. Also, you should know that I LOVE said iPad. Naturally, I was in want of a case. I tried a couple a cheap, crappy ones, and when I eventually saved enough money, I bought the beautiful case featured in this review. Please note that these photos are mostly true to color, though a little bright due to flash.

First impressions- so preeeeeeettyyyyyy. Oberon Design offers 15 different designs for iPad covers (with three different color options that vary from one design to another) and I chose the one called "Tree of Life" in the color "Saddle".

Beautiful, right? And it smells fantastic (though of course it does, it is leather, after all). The cover is tooled masterfully, creating a surface that’s both hard and soft; hard in the places with hills and leaves, and soft along the spine where the tree trunk’s smooth. The leather is stiff, which is a good thing. I dare not drop my iPad, but I have the feeling that if I did, my baby would emerge from the incident relatively unscathed. The bungee and pewter button closure system is solid, keeping the cover tightly closed.

The iPad is secured inside with four corners straps, three of leather and one a military-grade elastic bungee, and it is very tight.

I did the shake test over my couch, and no matter how hard I tried, my iPad wouldn’t budge. I actually like this corner system a lot more in person than I thought I would. To those concerned, none of the straps cover up any of the buttons/ports/speakers. Perhaps a third of one of the end speaker holes is obscured, but it doesn’t affect the sound in any way. There's also a piece of wool sewn into the inside cover opposite the iPad for extra screen protection. There are pockets on the inside covers as well that hold removable plastic inserts for extra stability and protection. It definitely adds some weight to the iPad, but not too much for the way I use the device, either on a table or in my lap. It makes it feel like a solid, old book.

As for the various positions the stand offers, I’ll start with the typing position. I love the typing angle on this case. Much better than any of the other cases I’ve tried, and it works beautifully on both tables and on my lap.

The Oberon iPad case also offers landscape and portrait standing positions. There’s a string mechanism that hooks around the back to hold the case in the proper position:

It’s pretty solid, both in landscape:

And in portrait:

This case was $130, and honestly, the cost is the only negative I have for it. I feel like $100 would be a better price, but other than that, I’m pleased as punch. I suppose since this is a handmade, genuine leather case, the price isn't too bad...

Anyway, apparently Oberon sends a complementary charm with each of its products, and most owners of their Kindle covers attach them to the bungee that holds the cover closed to make it easier to open. I opted instead to attach it to the standing position string. I really like it that way because it makes it look like a bookmark, though if you don’t like the string, it can be pushed inside one of the side pockets that hold the plastic inserts. Oberon also sends two extra bungees in case something should happen to the one that holds the case closed or the one that serves as the fourth corner (there's a video on the company's website that explains how to replace them).


I am FemmeNerd, hear me geek-out.

I am a girl. I am also a nerd. I seem to be a rare species, if commenters on tech blogs are of any indication. Every now and then, I have a WTF moment when a commentariat full of men totally miss something that's obvious or important to my girl brain. Don't get me wrong- I love blogs like Gizmodo and Engadget and Wired- it's just that all too often, they're all too male.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

This is a blog about technology, science-fiction (and occasionally actual science), history (I should probably mention that I'm a history major), and general nerdy things, ranging from Star Wars to Joss Whedon. It's all fair game. Look out, Internet, the FemmeNerd's on the loose.