Eighteen bucks for an iPhone decal?

Gelaskins offers pretty stickers for your iPhone (and other devices), but don't be confused--they're more for decoration than real protection.

My wife has been trying to convince me to get a protector for my iPhone ever since she bought hers, a silicone sleeve made by Belkin, at the Apple Store a few months ago. But I didn't like any of the designs they had at the Apple Store. I was looking for something more original, edgier.

Pretty is as pretty does.

I can't remember exactly what terms I entered into Google, but the Gelaskins Web site came up prominently in the search results. The designs were cool. The price seemed right at less than $15. The copy on the site emphasized both protection and customizability. So, I picked my design, paid my $18 ($15 plus $3 for standard shipping), and waited.

What I didn't do was read CNET's 2006 review. If I had seen the very apt phrase "artistic stickers that do double-duty as scratch protectors," I wouldn't have been so surprised that this thing is basically a decal. It's got a rubberized texture and special glue that makes it easy to peel off and on--it took me a couple tries to ensure that I didn't have any bubbles--but otherwise it's not much different from the free stickers you get at shows. I'm sure my three-year-old daughter would have been happy to decorate my phone with some of those.

I also made a mistake by ordering the iPhone version instead of the iPhone 3G version. As a result, I've got a quarter-inch of exposed space--the 3G versions wrap around the side on part of the phone, although they still leave the top bare. Even so, 18 bucks for a decal seems awfully steep. Lesson learned--even for impulse buys, read the review.

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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.


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