After years of using Gelaskins as my go-to iOS decals, I decided to give the dbrand iPhone skins a try. All of the dbrand skins are applied in the same way, but theyâ€™ve got a wide variety of colours and textures. You can get faux wood, faux carbon fibre, and plain colours as well.
I first ordered one in Matte White because I liked the idea of a super-clean iPhone 6S Plus with a matted grip, but when the skin arrived, it really wasnâ€™t what I had expected. The matte white wasnâ€™t very reflective, but the texture wasnâ€™t grippy at all. For whatever reason, it seems like a matte white just doesnâ€™t have the same texture as a matte black. I had first learned this when ordering a matte white case years ago, but remembered my lesson when the first dbrand skin arrived.
Luckily, dbrandâ€™s customer support was very accommodating and offered to send me a matte black skin, free of charge. A few days later, I received in the mail, pulled out a hair dryer, and started to install the skin.
Thatâ€™s right, the installation process actually requires liberal use of a hair dryer â€” or at least some sort of machine that can apply heat to a targeted area. Unlike Gelaskins which have a 3M dry adhesive, or InvisibleShield, which uses liquid and adhesive, the dbrand skins require heat to really stick to your device.
It took me about an hour to do things correctly because the corners felt like an adhesive nightmare, but when all was said and done, I never had to worry about them peeling up again. Whereas most skins really feel like stickers, applying a dbrand is more akin to baking a layer of protection onto your iPhone.
Texture and Grip
The reward for taking all that time to install is a gorgeous matte black finish. It feels really great in the hand, and it adds a lot of extra grip, even when your hands are bone dry in the winter months. As youâ€™d expect from a skin, the dbrand matte black added zero extra bulk.
My dbrand was relatively unscathed until the third month of use. I was in Tokyo and must have hit something as I put the skin back in my bag or pocket, and a portion of the side (around the SIM tray) had actually cracked off.
I was surprised by this, but I donâ€™t really take it as a strike against the product. Iâ€™ve had other skins start to peel in less time, and the dbrand skins are so affordabe at $20 that itâ€™s easy to try one again.
I also still have a pristine matte black matte cover I could install, and I might try that next. It should provide just enough grip for the sides and back, without all of the hassles of a corner install.
Overall, my experience with dbrand has been really positive, and Iâ€™m very happy with the customer service and the price. I still decided to go with a Gelaskin when it came time to protect my iPad Pro, but when it comes to iPhones, Iâ€™m definitely sticking with dbrand.