Meet iCarbons, a company that offers its customers with overlay “skins” for various gadgets, including tablets, game consoles, and more. You’ve probably heard of them before, but their skins come in a variety of different designs and textures, all at pretty decent prices. Today, I’ll be taking a look at their iPad 2/3-specific white carbon fiber skin (with the black Apple logo insert). For $19.95, you can just get the back skin, or both the front and the back for $29.95 (Amazon). For this review, I’ll primarily be talking about the back skin. I received both, but the front was a pain to install. More on that in a bit.
Skins can be a bit intimidating to people, especially if it’s their first try. Fortunately, installation of the skin was a breeze. iCarbons provides their own installation videos on YouTube, all of which are easy to follow. To start, simply peel the skin off of the 3M sticker paper. Apply a portion of the skin onto the back of your device. If it’s aligned properly, take a credit card (or something else) to flatten the rest of the skin and to work out any of the bubbles.
For the corners, it’s highly recommended to use a hair dryer. Doing so will heat up the corners to make it soft, which then allows it to perfectly lay flat onto the corners. I didn’t initially use a hair dryer, which caused some wrinkles to form on the corner. Fortunately, using a hair dryer can actually repair these problems and make things look just like they should’ve looked in the first place.
The entire installation process took me about 10 minutes, and the results turned out to be fantastic. This is one of those products that really take some time and patience to install; don’t rush the installation.
Lastly, I took one of the two included Apple logo inserts and stuck it into place. It fit flush into the little cutout. I opted to use the black one, as the included red sticker didn’t go well, in terms of look, with my green Apple Smart Cover. The texture of the insert fits in perfectly with the rest of the back skin.
Now, that was just for the back. For the front skin, it was a completely different story. Some of the problems were my fault, but anyway…
I already had an anti-glare screen protector installed onto my iPad – a fairly new one at that. The front skin is very flimsy, as it doesn’t cover as much of an area as the back skin (obviously). This makes the alignment and overall installation process a pain. If a little bit of the front skin touches the screen protector and it’s not properly aligned, you’ll most likely have huge bubbles form under your screen protector, which can then cause a lot of other problems. I ended up ripping it off and just sticking with the rear skin.
Hopefully, iCarbons can offer some front skins with integrated screen protectors, which will make the installation process and overall finish of the skin be absolutely perfect.
The skin itself is made from a high quality faux-carbon fiber material. It has a very nice feel to it, and it makes a pleasant noise with your nails. The cutouts are quite large and, if aligned properly, will really give a much better look and overall amount of satisfaction.
In terms of durability, it’ll still protect from light drops and, of course, scratches. Unfortunately, I had a minor mishap with my iPad 2, and a small circular portion of the skin was peeled off around the volume-rocker area (as shown in the video). The impact happened onto a corner of a piece of metal, which caused the small portion to be ripped off. The small layer of tape/glue/(whatever you want to call it) was still there, which will protect that small area from further problems.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with this particular skin. It installed well, looks good, works as expected, and is priced fairly (although I’d rather see all prices dropped by at least $5). If you’re in the market for a simple skin to protect your device and to add a bit of extra design elements to, then iCarbons is the way to go. Also, did I mention their excellent support?