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  1.    #1  
    I had a chance to install both the BodyGuardz (BGZ) and the new Best Skins Ever (BSE) on two Centros a few days ago. Here is my review along with pictures.

    First, a little background. I had read the comments and opinions about the Invisable Shield and BGZ posted on TreoCentral. Given the similarities, but the lower cost per skin of the BGZ, I decided getting the BGZ. I then found out that Best Skins Ever finally came out with a skin for the Centro.

    I sent an email to BSE to see if they have a diagram of the BSE cutouts for the Centro. Michael Herring of BSE emailed a diagram back to me. Looking at the diagram, I decided to go with the BodyGuardz skin since I thought it would cover more of the Centro. Michael generously offered to send me some BSE skins to review if I posted my opinions on TreoCentral, even though he knew my bias was for the BGZ cutout pattern.

    Others have already commented on the application of these skins in addition to the manufacturer's instructions, so I will not go into details here, other than a mention or two of how I approached some application challenges that I encountered.

    I was originally predisposed to the BGZ skin because of the single front cutout. I thought that with the top, bottom and sides being covered by the same front cutout would provide a more secure edge coverage than the BSE's separate top, bottom, and side cutouts. The BSE, with more cutouts, was actually easier to apply since one can focus on a smaller piece at a time.

    I first applied the battery cover cutouts. On both skins, the key to a good fit is to first align the upper portion of the cutout so that the edges do not interfere with opening of the battery cover at the top near the camera or the sides. The tabs that cover the curved bottom corner of the cutout do not seem to fit at first. This is okay as it is important to focus on the alignment at the top and sides first. As the upper half begins to dry and as I push out the water from the center of this cutout, the corner tabs start to adhere a bit. By slowly sliding my finger from the flat portion of the battery cover to the curved corners, the skin begins to take on the rounded shape of the corner.

    The BSE battery cover with view near the charging port. Notice how the BSE and BGZ differ in their approach to forming the rounded corner near the bottom:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...backbottom.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...bottomedge.jpg


    Now, the BGZ battery cover with the same view:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...backbottom.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...bottomedge.jpg


    I then applied the upper pieces of the back (camera cutout, stylus area cutout and upper right corner).

    The BSE camera cutout. Notice the slight gap of the skin coverage between the silver and the top of the battery cover. Also, the cutout for the speaker does not cover a small area between the speaker and the camera:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...backcamera.jpg


    The BSE stylus cutout. This cutout is quite precise, and fits very nicely around the curved corner near the stylus:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...acktopedge.jpg


    The BGZ camera cutout covers more of the silver background than the BSE cutout. However, the top of the battery cover shows a more than necessary gap near the curve of the silver area (near the Sprint logo), even though the top edges of the battery cover on either side of the notch for the silver area are flush with the cover edges:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...backcamera.jpg


    The BGZ stylus cutout:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...acktopedge.jpg


    The BSE face cutout near the top shows a non-exacting cutout for the LED and ear piece. In my opinion, it would have had a cleaner look if there were a round hole for the LED and an oval hole for the ear piece, similar to the BGZ shown further below:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...SEfronttop.jpg


    The same area for the BGZ top front:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...GZfronttop.jpg


    The BSE from the front bottom view:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...rontbottom.jpg

    As recently posted on the comparision of the InvisableShield and the BGZ, the BGZ front cutout was hard to apply since positioning need to be quite precise given the LED and ear piece holes in the skin. I used the positioning of these holes as an anchor point in applying the face cutout. The thin strips of skin that goes below the keyboard area had to dry a little before trying to fit this part of the front skin. Otherwise, pulling on the strips to get them around the bottom edge pulled the top away from the LED and ear piece. When this happened, I peeled off the front piece, re-wet and started again, waiting for the top area to dry before attempting the keyboard area or the sides. Meanwhile to keep these unattached areas from drying, I wet my fingers with solution and rubbed the lower half of the front skins to keep it from drying too fast. This requires patience! After I started applying these strips, I noticed that the flap that folds over to cover around the microphone was too long. I had to use scissors to trim a thin 2mm piece in order to fit near the synch and charging ports. This was the most difficult part of the BGZ application and I clearly did not get perfect results.

    The BGZ view front bottom:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...rontbottom.jpg

    Here is a view of the BGZ around the ringer/silence switch. Notice the corner where the right side tab and the top ringer switch tab meet. Although not shown, the other top corner has similar tabs meeting at the corner:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...onttopedge.jpg


    To finish off the application, here are the sides.

    The BSE right side is partially covered by the top strip that begins at the edge of the microSD cover (but not covering it), across the infrared port, around the front portion of the ringer switch and down the left side towards the volume up and down buttons. The other right side piece runs from the close to the microSD cover and all the way around the lanyard hole and ends at the microphone hole:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Erightside.jpg


    The BGZ right side is actually a tab from the front piece that folds over to cover the sides. The infrared port and the microSD cover are not covered. The other end of this flap ends around the lanyard:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Zrightside.jpg


    The BSE left side starts below the single side button and curves all the way around the bottom and ends near the microphone hole:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...SEleftside.jpg


    The BGZ left side is a fold down flap from the front piece that ends at the top corner and the bottom corner, not covering the side buttons:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...GZleftside.jpg


    My overall impresions:

    The BSE cutouts are very precise and leave a minimum of exposed edges. The camera and speaker piece is an area that could have easily been cut out more precisely. Also, the holes for the LED and ear piece on the front piece could have been made with cleaner cutouts. The BSE skin is much easier to apply than the BGZ skin.

    The BGZ, at first, looked like it would hold up longer given the top, bottom, left and right sides were fold down flaps from the front piece. However, the thin strips below the keyboard creates more exposed edges and makes the application more difficult.

    Conclusions:

    On an absolute basis I would give the BSE the nod over the BGZ skins. Considering the cost per skin is even lower for the BSE, it is a clear choice for me if I had to only choose one. It would be a runaway winner if the camera/speaker cutout and LED and ear piece holes were better designed.

    I hope this review was helpful. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by NewYorker545; 07/06/2008 at 08:32 PM.
  2. #2  
    excellent review.

    The BGZ skin looks thicker than the BSE one. is that true?
  3.    #3  
    I have no way of measuring, but by feel they seem the same thickness. The way the different pieces handle or "flop around" seem to be the same thickness as well.
  4. #4  
    my BSE skin is now turning a year old on my treo 680.

    after so much use, there are no scratchs on the skin besides one done on purpose to test the skin. Sometimes i even carry the phone with my keys in the same pocket and everything is fine.

    recently i had to trim the tips from the side cut out, since it was hanging and collecting dirt.

    actually the dirt deposits between cut outs is the biggest problem so far. i have to periodically clean it (with a fingernail) because, on a copper 680, dirt will be very noticeable.

    anyway, it is product i would recommend.
  5. #5  
    I bought a Bodyguardz skin for my Centro when I got it about 7 months ago, and I just replaced it with a BSE Centro skin. I was not happy with the Bodyguardz because they were absolutely miserable to apply -- in my opinion, the single piece design (where the entire front and all sides of the device are covered by ONE piece of skin) is horrible, making application really, really stressful. I also was not happy with how long they lasted -- they were peeling pretty badly after about 6 months. I used BSE skins on my and my wife's 700p units and they lasted much longer. The BSE Centro skin was easier than the Bodyguardz skin to apply (but ask support for a diagram so you're sure you know where each piece goes). We'll see how long it lasts.

    Marc
  6.    #6  
  7. agn727's Avatar
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    #7  
    I've used the Best Skins Ever skins on all of my Treos over the years. I just recently got the new Centro skins applied.

    Before and during the skinning process, I was disappointed. It was hard to visualize where each piece fit staring at the page of skins. Even halfway through the skinning I thought I'd have a leftover piece or two.

    Also, they were harder to apply than I remember with my previous Treos. But I came to realize that was more due to the Centro's design than anything else.

    Now, after having the skin on for at least a week, I'm very satisfied. It looks great and I feel protected. They really are a great value, and I was shocked that they arrived in only 2 or 3 days after I ordered.

    A word of warning, though: Don't undertake installing these 20 minutes before you need to run out the door. My application process takes a couple hours. I apply one piece at a time - waiting for each piece to dry and stick (about 15 minutes) before moving on to the next piece and waiting again.
  8. Scott_L's Avatar
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    #8  
    I really wish I had seen a review like this before buying an Invisible Shield (Zagg) for my Sansa e280 for $24.95 vs a BSE for $5.99! Boy did I ever get shafted if these are as rugged. I'm completely happy with the skin, but to think I could have had something as good for 1/5 the costs sure hurts! I even considered the Macbook cover for $55, but the price kept me away (phew!) - $26.99 at BSE. I think I'm going to grab one for my 755p. Thanks again for the great review and followup posts from everyone.
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by agn727 View Post
    I've used the Best Skins Ever skins on all of my Treos over the years. I just recently got the new Centro skins applied.

    Before and during the skinning process, I was disappointed. It was hard to visualize where each piece fit staring at the page of skins. Even halfway through the skinning I thought I'd have a leftover piece or two.

    Also, they were harder to apply than I remember with my previous Treos. But I came to realize that was more due to the Centro's design than anything else.

    Now, after having the skin on for at least a week, I'm very satisfied. It looks great and I feel protected. They really are a great value, and I was shocked that they arrived in only 2 or 3 days after I ordered.

    A word of warning, though: Don't undertake installing these 20 minutes before you need to run out the door. My application process takes a couple hours. I apply one piece at a time - waiting for each piece to dry and stick (about 15 minutes) before moving on to the next piece and waiting again.
    The BSE pieces took some time to figure out. In applying any skin, each piece needs to be studied and areas to be covered identified before attempting to apply. Patience is definitely required to have a successful application!
  10. #10  
    Just got the BSE for my Centro. Good so far, though frustrating to get the seal on the curved edges.

    My question is this: are we supposed to wet the screen cover piece? I would think that would be risky in terms of moisture getting through the edges INTO the unit...
  11. agn727's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by headgamer View Post
    Just got the BSE for my Centro. Good so far, though frustrating to get the seal on the curved edges.

    My question is this: are we supposed to wet the screen cover piece? I would think that would be risky in terms of moisture getting through the edges INTO the unit...
    With other screen protectors, I never did before. But since I wanted to be sure I got mine placed perfectly, I did wet the screen cover of the BSE. I didn't have it soaking wet. Just wet enough that it would slide around. Certainly not dripping wet.

    It took a day or two before I could write on the screen. Before that time went by, it felt like driving a car with the emergency brake on. It just takes a while for the cover to settle-in.
  12. #12  
    So did you just dip the screen part and shake it off or lightly spray some solution on it?

    Another question is, after these pieces have "cured" for a few days and really molded in with the case, what happens if they get wet again?

    I am not really a fan of the tacky feel of the skin. When I use screen covers I have always rubbed a bit of spray silicon on it, making it feel like glass. I would like to do the same for this screen cover, as well as at least the backside of the Centro so it felt more smooth when holding it. However, I worry that doing so would only loosen up the skin again. Maybe if I just used a TINY bit and didn't get it close to the edges and run the risk of the moisture getting under the edges that would work...
  13.    #13  
    It may be too late, but to get the curved pieces to fit, I used a squeegee type of motion with my fingers and gently kept repeating. This may sound weird, but descriptive: the motion is like a petting motion. By gently rubbing the curved areas, it takes a little moisture away from the edges each time and the heat of my fingers moulds the skin around the curved areas. Eventually, the skin gets tacky enough to hold its position. I occassionally repeating the "petting" even after the pieces were dried, just to make sure the edges would stay firmly attached.
  14. #14  
    Yeah that's exactly what I did. A pain, and a lot of patience. But the skin is done (except for the screen... haven't gotten to it yet).

    My only gripe is the unavoidable air bubbles you get where two pieces of plastic on the casing meet and are not QUITE flush with on another. Thet teeny gap is enough to create a perpetual air bubble you can't get rid of. Other than that I like so far.
  15. PiggyGirl's Avatar
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    #15  
    WOW! Great review, great pics. Too late for me, though, with my ole beat up pink Centro. :-( It's not that bad, but I definitely see the error in my ways. These in no way detract from the beauty, and I probably wouldn't have my little dings in the corners if I'd used these from day one.
  16. #16  
    Any updates on how the skin is holding up? Is it getting scratched up?

    From testing some cheapo screen protectors, I can see how easily the cheap ones are scratched within about 2 weeks, but the built in screen protector held up about 10 months for me with only one scratch, include it being in my pocket with keys all the time.
  17.    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by profroopchan View Post
    Any updates on how the skin is holding up? Is it getting scratched up?

    From testing some cheapo screen protectors, I can see how easily the cheap ones are scratched within about 2 weeks, but the built in screen protector held up about 10 months for me with only one scratch, include it being in my pocket with keys all the time.
    I have the BodyGuardz skin on my Centro. No scratches whatsoever, but then I generally keep it in my suit jacket pocket or in my pants pocket without anything else (no keys, coins, etc.).

    The screen protector I had was from Seidio (hard film) and also was not scratched. I am a moderate touchscreen user, prefering to use the 5-way buttons most of the time.

    Since this one became a brick due to some overheating/battery/charger problem, I now have a replacement Centro. I could not remove the Seidio screen protector from the old Centro screen. If anyone thinks the Seidio protector is removeable, is definitely is not without possible damage to the screen. I will soon install the BSE skins on the replacement.

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