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  •  » Ghost Armor vs Best Skins Ever vs BodyGuardz G1 Shootout
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#1 3/22/09 7:35 PM

Daniel Levy's Avatar
Daniel Levy United States
Staff
Gender: male
From: Sacramento / Santa Barbara, CA
Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 6919
Karma: 77
Note: UTF Spokesman
Reputation :   151 

Website

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/intro.jpg
With the inception of the HTC Dream / G1, we have also welcomed the scratches, scuffs, and daily fear of our precious devices losing their luster. We project a sort of "amychophobia" onto our shiny gadgets. Fortunately the magical "urethane film" that is so proudly slapped onto vehicles and helicopter blades has been adopted for G1 usage. Today, we are going to take a look at three different companies featuring three completely different G1 shields and find out which one is best for you.

Stock Device:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/g1ofS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/g1obS.jpg
(Click images to increase size)

The G1 features a grippy, matte textured body. The front side is rather slick feeling and prone to dust, finger prints, smudges, and scuffing. The backside is much more resistant to damage and has a lighter, grippier texture. The backside also features a camera lens protector and a small mirror which, unfortunately, is prone to scratching. The screen itself is constructed out of fairly resilient glass, and without the included "static-cling" screen protector is very smooth and slick.

Ghost Armor:

Cost: $14.99 for Full Body with Lifetime Warranty
Included: Squeegee, Solution Spray Bottle

Packaging / Contents:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/gapfS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/gapoS.jpg
(Click images to increase size)

The Ghost Armor ships with the skin rolled up in a tube, an ACTUAL squeegee (not just a little card), and the application solution ready to go in a spray bottle (with more than enough included). It made me a little wary to see the skin rolled up tightly in a tube, but it had no affect what so ever on installation / performance.

Installation / Design:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/gaifS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/gaibS.jpg
(Click images to increase size)

Ghost Armor's design is the second most simple and consists of nine total pieces. It seems to be a compromise between Best Skins Ever and Body Guardz in that it offers protection of the camera lens cover, but as a separate piece. The back piece offers the least corner protection out of all of the skins, but has the grippiest feel (true to the original backing). Unlike any of the other skins, this skin features a USB cover - which is very handy, considering how constantly you'll have to pick it open. This design seems to offer the least air bubbles during installation (but the corners can be tricky to keep down), and the best cut pieces (besides the lack of corner protection). Installation took roughly fifty minutes, and no manual was included in either the packaging or on the website. I recommend installing in a dust free area and in addition to soaking the film in solution, you should also coat your finger tips as the camera lens piece can be easily ruined by your fingers. The side top bezel is the best and easiest to install out of all of the skins as it consists of one piece that doesn't need to be precisely fitted. The cure time was also the best out of all three devices, taking only overnight. Unfortunately out of all the devices, the Ghost Armor seemed to collect the most lint and dust at the corners.

Testing / Removal:

After trying to scuff up the skin with a key, the only marks that resulted were small indentations in the film (which disappear after a few hours) that resulted in no actual damage to the G1. While their claim of no orange peel is false, the orange peeling that is visible is very minimal. Removal is easy, especially with the included squeegee. But, I advise getting the film a bit wet at the corners to help it slide off. However, after removal, this freaked me out a bit:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/gar.jpg

The back skin seemed to collect some sort of black imprint along the lines of the back cover. The other skins also slightly had some discoloring / creasing at the corners, but none as severe as with the Ghost Armor's. However, I noticed nothing at all different with my G1's coloration.

Verdict:

The Ghost Armor offers the best included accessories out of the packaging - the squeegee is absolutely necessary. They also offer free replacements; you only have to pay shipping costs. This skin offers the best compromise between BSE's total protection / tackiness and Body Guardz feel (USB, lens), but I would like to see the back edges better designed and lint issues resolved. It would also be nice for some sort of instructions to be included. Overall, though, If you're looking for the most friendly install, then Ghost Armor is your best bet.

Positives:
Least air bubbles
Lifetime warranty
Shortest curing time
10% off next purchase coupon!
Absolute best included accessories

Neutral Ground:
Middle pricing
Slight orange peel
No instructional information
Corners have issues staying down
Camera cover should be integrated into skin

Negatives:
Lint trap
Bad corner design
Lens cover could use reworking
Heavy black residue upon removal
Indents from heavy scratches remain

Best Skins Ever:

Cost: $7.99 for Full Body
Included: Nothing

Packaging / Contents:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bsepfS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bsepoS.jpg

Best Skins Ever (as reflected by their price) decided to use the most minimal ("green") packaging possible. And, unlike Ghost Armor, they still include a link to a full featured instructions manual with everything you need to know. Essentially, grab yourself a credit card, spray bottle, distilled water, and a little bit of baby soap and you're ready to install.

Installation / Design:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bseifS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bseibS.jpg
(Click images to increase size)

Out of all of the skins, BSE offers the absolute best cover protection (the entire piece also covers the camera area). It also has the best front bezel protection, as it consists of one entire piece. It is the thickest skin, adding to it's strength. However, this means it has the most friction (resulting in a slightly less responsive touch screen) and the most orange peel out of the group. The skin also takes the longest time to cure (around two days). But, (even with the odd side bezel pieces) captures the second least lint. The install took a little under 40 minutes - this is reasonable knowing that BSE's design uses the least pieces, seven to be exact.

Testing / Removal:

The BSE-e's have the most orange peel (not visible in pictures) out of the group, but have the absolute best total protection. After doing the key test, only a few small marks (which quickly disappeared) showed. Removal was the trickiest of the group, as the skin was very clingy. However, there was hardly any discoloration on the back cover's skin.

Verdict:

While the envelope is a little barren, the BSE makes up for it by including concise instructions and being the strongest of the three skins. I would however like to see the inclusion of a lifetime warranty or two included skins for the entry fee. However, If you're looking for the best protection for the lowest cost, then BSE is the ticket.

Positives:
Very cheap
No noticeable lint issues
Proper camera protection
Absolute best overall protection

Neutral Ground:
Least total pieces
USB cover would have been nice
Orange peel is a bit on the "high" side
Corners can be a little bit tricky to position

Negatives:
No lifetime warranty
Button cutouts could use improvement
Screen is a little bit too "tacky" feeling for my tastes

BodyGuardz:

Cost: $24.95 for 2 Full Body Sets ($12.47 per) with Lifetime Warranty
Included: Full Retail Box, Manual, Spray Solution, Squeegee card

Packaging / Contents:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bgpfS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bgpoS.jpg
(Click images to increase size)

BodyGuardz hands down has, out of the group, the most professional and complete packaging. The front and back of the package have descriptions and information about the product. Included is a spray bottle (enough for two applications, but a bit gravity challenged), card (about the same feel as a credit card), and a well written primer on skin installation. They (thankfully) tell the user to install in a warm, dust free environment and to wet your fingers - advice I cannot stress enough.

Installation / Design:

http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bgifS.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/Ghost%20Armor%20vs%20Best%20Skins%20Ever%20vs%20Body%20Guardz%20G1%20Shootout/bgibS.jpg
(Click images to increase size)

The skin consists of the largest number of pieces (10). However, installation is still relatively quick at 45 minutes. The skin offers the second best corner protection (first being BSE), and the second in the orange peel category (the most being BSE). I was disappointed to see that the camera cover is left exposed unlike with the other two skins. But, BodyGuardz makes up for it by having the absolute best feel out of all of the skins. The cover feels nice and smooth, not overly tacky like the other two are. The side pieces should have been setup in a one-piece design as Ghost Armor did, but it was still easier to position than BSE's side pieces were. The curing process took one day, less than BSE's and more than Ghost Armor's. The corner pieces on the back cover may take a few times to properly set, I advise working from the USB port up.

Testing / Removal:

The key test left a couple of tiny marks which seemed to disappear after a couple of days. However, the screen protector was the absolute best out of the group - being extremely slick and responsive. Removal was very simply and straight forward, no clinging at all.

Verdict:

BodyGuardz offers the most respectable packaging while still being relatively inexpensive, considering the inclusion of two skins and a lifetime warranty. A camera cover and easier to set sides would have been a fantastic addition. The BodyGuardz is however, the absolute best feeling out of all of the skins - so if you're all about control, this would be your skin.

Positives:
Best feel
Good value
Lifetime warranty
Fantastic packaging

Neutral Ground:
One piece option would be a nice compromise
Lint issues are in between GA and BSE
Air bubbles (so take your time)

Negatives:
No camera cover
Hard to set bottom cover sides

Final Verdict:

While all good choices, they're clearly better for different users: BG for control, BSE for protection, and GA for ease of install. However, my dream (take notes manufacturers) G1 skin would consist of this:

• Ghost Armor Side Piece
• Ghost Armor Accessories
• Ghost Armor's Squeegee (life saver)
• Best Skins Ever Battery Cover Piece (best corners around)
• Best Skins Ever Strength (with slightly less orange peel)
• BodyGuardz Screen Piece
• BodyGuardz Packaging
• BodyGuardz One Piece (for $13 - it would sell quickly)

However, in the meanwhile, consumers should be happy to know that all of the offered products are fantastic without any deficiencies.

 
 
 

3/22/09 7:35 PM

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#2 3/23/09 5:53 PM

Daniel Levy's Avatar
Daniel Levy United States
Staff
Gender: male
From: Sacramento / Santa Barbara, CA
Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 6919
Karma: 77
Note: UTF Spokesman
Reputation :   151 

Website

Update - Ghost Armor now has instructions at (http://www.ghost-armor.com/install-inst … fo_12.html), they also now email these upon purchase.

 
 
 
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