There's no shortage of protective, stick-on skins for the iPod available on the market, but GelaSkin has taken that existing idea and put a fresh twist on it. The thick, textured stickers are decked out in cool art by well-knowns (such as Van Gogh) as well as up-and-comers (such as Aaron Kraten). You can choose from more than 50 designs, depending on the iPod you have. (GelaSkins makes the stickers for the 4G, 5G, Mini, Classic, Touch, and all of the Nano generations.) I had no trouble finding multiple designs to suit my taste--particularly the colorful and fanciful doodles of Alex Noriega. If you have trouble deciding yourself, If you're having trouble deciding, I fully advocate buying more than one--why not change it up every few months? Keep an eye out for the promotions GelaSkins run from time to time, and you might even get a deal.
As far as protection goes, it's about what you'd expect from a product with the tag line: "Protection with Style. Not Bulk." In other words, it offers protection from scratches, and that's it. And be forewarned that GelaSkins do not wrap around the edges of the iPod, so you can still collect nicks, dings, and scratches there. A clear screen protector is included in the package as well, but make sure you follow the instructions and dust the screen thoroughly before sticking it on; otherwise, you'll get some unsightly splotches that are particularly noticeable with the backlight on (oops!).
The remainder of the GelaSkins package is made up of the patterned stickers. All models come with a complete back sticker, which goes on easily--and, as advertised, without any air bubbles --and doesn't seem fazed by dust. It also peels away effortlessly without leaving any residue on your player, and I was able to peel it off and stick it on again without losing any stickiness. The Clickwheel iPod versions come with three more stickers: one for the main body with the screen and control section cut out, one for the outer ring of the clickwheel, and one little round one for the center select button. These can be a bit of a challenge to get lined up correctly, but this will be a problem only for the OCD-prone among us. For Touch users, GelaSkins offers a corresponding wallpaper that you can download from its site--nice!
So that brings us to the question of price. At $14.95 a pop, these are not cheap stickers. Considering GelaSkins won't protect your iPod from even a minor fall, this may seem way too much to shell out. But I think that it's a small price to pay to have your iPod stand out from the hordes of others out there. And you have to admit, there are hordes of them.