Review : Laptop GelaSkins

Protect your laptop with unique visual eye candy.

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Product Manufacturer: GelaSkins Inc.

Price: $32.95 US

The Good

  • Amazing artwork shown off in a unique way. Easy to apply, forgiving if you make a small mistake. Protects laptops from scratches and spills.

The Bad

  • Shy folks beware. Expensive. No side or bottom protection.
When I last saw GelaSkins, it was at Macworld Expo in January. I've used their iPod cover for months, but when I saw one of their laptops decked out with similar material, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I'm delighted to say that many people at the show had the same response, because GelaSkins put the laptop covers into production. These skins are just wicked ways to customize the look of your PowerBook, iBook, MacBook or MacBook Pro. They make one for every size of Apple laptop back to the 12-inch iBook and PowerBook G4.

Paper-thin, yet strong

GelaSkins take a unique approach to protecting iPods and laptops. Instead of providing a complete case that totally covers the device, they provide paper-thin (< 2mm) textured vinyl appliqu?s you stick on to the device. The 3M vinyl is coated with a special adhesive that doesn't leave any marks but stays on nice and tight, which protects the case from scratches and dings. It is also coated with a clear gloss finish to highlight the artwork in the best light.

GelaSkins are imprinted with a huge array of wild designs culled from pop and classic artists. Some of the designs come from the public domain, such as classic works of art like Van Gogh and Edvard Munch, to pop artists like Ralph Steadman, whose Hunter S. Thompson-inspired "Dr. Gonzo" and "Lizard Lounge" works are represented. There is also a delightful and nearly mind-boggling array of art inspired by anime and manga, street art, and graffiti, fine art and much more.

Conversation Starters

My GelaSkins decorated iPod, features Alex Noriega's "Toxicity" design, which is a conversation starter every time I pull it out. The brightly colored vinyl is eye-catching and interesting, and people want to touch it and feel it, turning it over and over.

If you want a real conversation starter, whip out a 17-inch MacBook Pro equipped with Van Gogh's Starry Night. Almost everyone who sees it stops me to ask questions and, wants to touch it. Some think I've painted on myself until I explain to them the process.

Prepare to be an extrovert

This brings me to my only complaint about the GelaSkins covers. If you're a wallflower, or if the idea of total strangers walking up to your Mac and eyeballing it, and perhaps occasionally stroking it, fills you with a sense of dread or disgust, GelaSkins are probably not right for you. These covers are made for people who don't mind striking up conversations with strangers. Having said that, they're awesome ice-breakers. I've met so many people who just want to ask me about the GelaSkins covers.

How's it cover?

The big question is, how well does it work? The GelaSkins laptop cover is made of the same material as its iPod counterpart, and because you have more surface area to work with, it's actually a bit easier to put on. You simply peel the back from the cover, lightly set it onto the closed laptop cover, and slide it around a bit until it is centered. With a firm, consistent motion, you push outward to get it to stick, and you can pick up the corners and reapply them if you find bubbles trapped underneath, so it is forgiving.

The net result is a form-fitting vinyl cover that adheres quite tightly to the lid of your laptop. Be warned though, the designs are opaque, so they cover the glowing Apple in the center of your laptop lid. In addition, GelaSkins offer no protection for the sides or bottom of your laptop, so if you're looking for full-on body armor for your MacBook, you might want to check elsewhere.

As far as protection is concerned, the vinyl material is quite tough and resists scratching, and, more importantly in the case of a laptop, the occasional spill as well. When stored properly on the film with which it ships, GelaSkins can be reused.

At $32.95 each, the Laptop GelaSkin is an expensive, but unique way to customize your Apple laptop that really makes it stand out from the crowd. It's a bit more than some might want to spend, but if you can bear the cost, the biggest trouble you'll have is figuring out which design you want to show off. Fortunately, GelaSkins offers a buy-three-get-one-free deal, so you can spread the love around a little bit too.

Related Product Reviews:

Gelaskins iPod Covers

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor