After being lucky enough to get my hands on a new iPad (aka the iPad 3) recently, I was equally as thrilled to get the chance to review one of the newly released limited edition Sonic the Hedgehog vinyl skins for the iPad 3, made by ZAGG.
Many people don’t ‘agree’ with using vinyls or any form of case on the back of the iPad. Even Apple themselves have said since the launch of the iPad 2 that only the front of the iPad needs to be covered/protected and that basically, the back of an iPad is too attractive to cover up. This is why Apple make their own ‘Smart Covers’ for the front of the iPad and for the front only. I have to concur that the iPad is a gadget of beauty however, I’m also of the mind that if something is to stay beautiful, something that costs quite a sum of cash to buy in the first place, it has to be protected in some way. Hence, as soon as I got the new iPad, I set off looking for a suitable case for it. There are a number of protective cases available to fit the back of the new iPad – hard cases, rubber cases, leather cases, portfolio cases and so on. Some are attractive and some just aren’t. Nothing really suited what I had in my mind. I wanted something protective but, not too bulky. Something that would cover the back of the iPad without actually feeling like it was covered. Something a bit like the screen protector that I’d already fitted. Then there was the ‘light-bulb moment’.
I’ve been covering my various consoles and gadgets with funky vinyl skins since the day I came across PlayStation 2 vinyls on eBay. How did it not occur to me that a vinyl skin could be absolutely what I needed for my new iPad? Usually I’ve fitted skins to simply change the appearance of a gadget, to funk it up a little but, of course good quality vinyls can be just as protective as they are attractive so off I went in search for one of these high quality vinyls that was made specifically for the iPad 3 and preferably something that also suited my ‘style’.
I searched for all of 20 minutes before I came across something rather special (to my geeky-gamer side) – iPad skins featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and other characters from the Sonic game series! Now, as an avid Sonic fan, this was like finding a pot of blue spiky gold at the end of a rainbow. My only problem now was that these skins were for the iPad 2. Unperturbed and determined to adorn my new iPad with Sonic, I contacted ZAGG International and found out that they would indeed be releasing the Sonic vinyl range for the iPad 3 and as soon as they had one made, I was getting one!
I chose the ‘Sonic Generations Running‘ skin. At first sight, I am extremely impressed with not only the vibrancy of the colours on the vinyl but, by the quality of the vinyl itself, it is clearly top grade vinyl. The ‘image’ itself is clear and as I said, vibrant – the colours are superb and the image is crisp. The packaging is pretty nice too for the record.
So after cleaning my iPad thoroughly to remove any greasy fingerprints and together with my ‘extensive experience’ of how not to stick the vinyl to my thumbs, hair, sofa or dog, I set about actually fitting the vinyl rather than just admiring it. By now, I should really be quite relaxed when it comes to fitting a vinyl to what is to all extents, a completely flat surface of an iPad 3. Of course, when it comes to vinyls or screen protectors, the second the ‘backing film’ starts to be peeled away, the alarm goes off for minor (or full scale in my case) panic and the potential for sticking the skin anywhere but in exactly the right place increases drastically!
The instructions on the packaging indicate that if you place the vinyl onto the device and it isn’t in the right place, you simply need to peel it off and try again. This should be reassuring but, I’ve used products in the past that have stated exactly the same thing only to find that on trying to remove the skin slightly, the vinyl either tears or stretches out of shape and is damaged before it is actually in place on the gadget.
After peeling the vinyl from the backing, I made my first attempt to position the skin on my iPad. This skin is well designed and is cut perfectly for the iPad 3 and so I found it relatively easy to place the skin onto the iPad in more or less the right position on my first attempt. However, being a little picky, I decided I had to try and reapply the vinyl anyway. Firstly because, I wanted it all of 2mm to the left and secondly, because I can’t very well review the skin unless I at least give the unpeel/reapply thing a go can I? Fortunately, my faith in ZAGG paid off and the skin came back off the iPad without tearing or stretching even slightly. Like I said, this is top grade vinyl and a high quality skin, this was more than apparent just from looking at it but, testing the vinyl confirmed this.
Then came the ‘bubble test’. I’d managed to get the skin in place but, I had a fair few large bubbles in the middle of the skin which initially worried me. However, a quick ‘wipe’ over with a piece of strong card (or a credit card although I tend to find plastic cards can scratch the vinyl, I tend to use card that is strong enough not to bend) to push out the bubbles and the vinyl was completely bubble free and the bubble test was passed first time!
The skin itself is ‘cut’ in four places close the the four corners of the iPad and this enables the vinyl to simply wrap around the curved edge on the rear of the ipad to fit easily and properly with no creasing. The vinyl is also thick enough to cover the Apple sticker on the back of the iPad. The contour apple is still visible but, not as prominently as it would be with a lesser quality vinyl and it is certainly acceptable.
Also, my iPad is the Wi-Fi only version as opposed to the 4G version which has an extra ‘cut out’ in the skin to accommodate its sim card slot however, ZAGG have made an allowance for this making the skin is compatible with both models of iPad 3.
As I sat back and admired my newly skinned iPad, I realised that not only was this the best design I’ve ever had on any vinyl but, that it was also the most pain-free (perhaps enjoyable) vinyl application I’ve ever done. Not only that but, I’m 100% confident that my iPad, complete with my previously fitted screen protector, is almost scratchproof and it looks superb to this Sonic the Hedgehog fan and is compatible with Apple’s Smart Covers. I know the design won’t suit everyone’s taste but, ZAGG offer a host of other designs in their iPad vinyl skins range which I would recommend wholeheartedly. In fact, no gadget is safe in my house now, I have the urge to ZAGG them all.