Give Your MacBook a Thick Skin: Seven Laptop Skin Companies Worth Your Money

40 Comments

The latest unibody aluminum MacBooks are fantastic, and I truly love mine, but I found out quickly that the aluminum surface doesn’t take kindly to scratching. Within the first week of owning it, I had an inch long nick in the top cover…it mocks me daily. So finding some adhesive skin options to protect my precious has become a major todo list item.

Below is a listing of seven different lines of laptop skins that are sure to keep your precious MacBook safe from scratches.

GelaSkins & Infectious

The usual suspects seem to be GelaSkins and Infectious (see disclosure at bottom). Both have some incredible artists delivering stunning designs, and both offer skins for a number of different devices (iPod, iPhone, MacBooks, Wallpaper graphics, etc) to suit nearly anyone’s needs. The 13″ MacBook skins run $30 at both sites. (Though iPhone skins are $10 instead of $15 at Infectious.)

iamhuman

iamhuman has a relatively limited number of designs, but they are very clean. The stylization of the iamhuman skins is top notch — these are definitely a bit more my style. They sport some lovely wood-grain designs if you’re into that kind of thing. A stand-out feature is the cutout so you can still proudly display the Apple logo. Prices range from $30-$45 and they work for Apple and PC notebooks alike.

Macvatar

Similar to iamhuman skins, Macvatar also has the Apple logo cutout in their skins. Unfortunately their designs are extremely limited at only 6 options. These skins price at $25, making them the cheapest options yet for protecting the outer shell of your MacBook.

Skinizi

Skinizi designs are slightly edgier, though I really like their comic-looking cityscapes. They offer skins for laptops, iPod/iPhone, and Nintendo DS. Prices are 25 Euro, which is around US$31 currently.

iStyles

Going the distance it seems, is iStyles, which sells its protective skin designs for $25, and you not only get the top cover, but also a wrist rest skin too. Pretty decent deal! The designs are all over the board, so you can probably find something you’ll like. iStyles also offers skins for several different electronics if you’re in the market.

SkinStyler

Probably least to the point of what I was looking for — yet pretty cool — are the offerings at SkinStyler. They only make wrist rest and trackpad skins. As for me, I’m not sure I’d love the trackpad skin. The organic style of the wrist rest skins however are pretty cool — especially on the black MacBooks.

If you’ve got first hand experience with any of these products, or know of some other options that people should check out, share the wealth below in the comments.

Disclosure: Infectious is backed by True Ventures, which is also an investor in Giga Omni Media, the parent company of this network. Giga Omni Media founder Om Malik is a venture partner with True Ventures.

40 Comments

dude

I have to agree with the author that Infectious and Gelaskins have the best designs. I’ve tried both and the quality is top notch. Plus Infectious has some cool options with the Apple logo cut out.

Jill

iamhuman ripped me off… my Visa was charged and I have the statement to prove it, but I never received the skin. No communication from them on backorders, delays – nothing. I’ve left three voicemails for the phone number on my PayPal receipt and my e-mails keep getting bounced back. Sad for a company that has been getting so much blog buzz. Maybe they were caught off-guard with orders but they need to communicate.

Jan

Jill,
any answer from Iamhumans?
I was planning on ordering, so would appreciate the feedback.
thx

Becky

Take care with iStyles too. If you so much as try it on and aren’t satisfied, tough luck. They regard that as use and so no refunds or exchanges are permitted.

iStyles

Becky, as we have explained to you in our e-mail correspondences, you purchased a Skin for the wrong Macbook model and that was why it did not fit your Macbook. Due to the nature of the product, a Skin cannot be restored to its original form upon usage and as you have already used the product, we cannot accept it for a return. We would like to help but the circumstance of your case prevents us from doing so because you purchased an incorrect product, used it and cannot return it in a form that can be resold to another customer. If you have not used the product, we will gladly accept it for a return but we are not able to do so as you have already used it and it cannot be resold. We try to do what we can by giving you the maximum discount of 30% but beyond covering the cost of the product as we did in the discount, it is unfair to expect us to cover the full cost.

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Randall

If your friend has a favorite photo that he took, one of the custom ones might be good. Otherwise, a stock one that is something he likes (e.g., surfing if he is a surfer) might be fun.

I have both iStyles and Skinnit. Skinnit offers custom skins (your own photo or design) and has a cut-out for the Apple logo but leaves a 1/4″ gap all around. iStyles is a bit larger, covering the full lid area of the MBP, no logo cut-out and has a wrist rest strip.

http://www.skinit.com
http://www.istyles.com

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M

Does anyone know where to find wood grain iphone skins, and skins that will cover the entire laptop??

julius

https://www.miniot.com/miniot/index.htm

They have really nice wood cases. They are made from real wood and not very cheap, but they do look really nice. I had one for an iPod nano and put varnish on it, that it way it even looked nice and shiny. Too bad it became obsolete with the next iPod…

Jay

http://www.itoppers.com has the Apple logo cut out… and face it, you’ve gotta show off that cool glowing Apple logo. They have a really nice selection and some of the lowest prices. Or, you can create your own custom MacBook skins from artwork or photos.

Jake Mize

http://shop.boomskins.com has a small but good selection of design skins for iPhones, iPods and Apple Laptops. Their quality is comparable to GelaSkins & Infectous. I have owned a BoomSkins and a GelaSkin and their is minimal difference. Also, BoomSkins prices are almost half of most skin providers.

j

One thing that I wonder about is the insulation value of a skin. Heat dissipation through an aluminum case is significant and is probably part of the design,knowing Apple. How much heat does a skin retain?

MarkGary

iStyles includes a strip that covers the lower portion under the lid, that is, surrounding the track padDecalSkin features ultra-high resolution, brilliant full-color design that are processed with UV resistant inks on self-adhesive cast vinyl. It is coated with an extra layer of glossy protective film for the ultimate durability. Once applied, DecalSkin covers up old ugly scratches, and like a thin membrane, it protects and buffers the device surface from occasional nicks and scratches. DecalSkin is not a paper sticker, it leaves no harmful residue when removed and does not void your device warranty. For more details visit us at http://www.decalskin.com/.

Randall

iStyles includes a strip that covers the lower portion under the lid, that is, surrounding the track pad (below the keyboard). Skinit does not (I ended up using the Skinit on the outside, and the iStyles on the inside).

George

Does anyone know which of these include the undercover? I see the tops, but nothing else

Randall

After exhaustive research, I purchased both an iStyles and a Skinnit for my new 15″ MacBook Pro. The Skinnit is very cool in that they offer custom choice. You can upload your own photo or image, as well as add graphics and lettering. I decided on a photo of mine (with nothing added) which looks very cool (although it came out a bit darker than I expected). One very pleasant surprise is that the Skinit product has a cut-out for the Apple logo.

Comparing the Skinit and iStyles, side by side, the Skinit is thicker and says “3M” on the backing. However, the iStyles is a bit larger, covering the full lid area of the MBP, while the Skinit leaves a 1/4″ gap all around.

Also, the iStyles has a wrist rest strip, while the Skinit doesn’t. In the end I applied the custom Skinit to the lid, along with tthe wrist rest from the iStyles.

Becky

An associate needed a skin for her laptop. Went with iStyles because the reports that it was larger. I tried the skin on her device – too small. I had gotten the wrong size. Alas, simply trying it on counts as use and so can’t be refunded or exchanged. So I’m just out the 30 bucks (plus shipping). Had it to do it over again, I wouldn’t choose iStyles. They are lacking in the customer service department. I’d see about a thicker product with custom sizing. Measure and/or cut it yourself. Live and learn.

iStyles

Becky, due to the nature of the product, a Skin cannot be restored to its original form upon usage and as you have already used the product, we cannot accept it for a return. We would like to help but the circumstance of your case prevents us from doing so because you purchased an incorrect product, used it and cannot return it in a form that can be resold to another customer. We tried to do what we can by giving you the maximum discount of 30% but beyond covering the cost of the product as we did in the discount, it is unfair to expect us to cover the full cost.

Jay

iToppers.com also makes skins for MacBooks and they are priced really well. They were one of the first on the market and they have some fun and unique designs — I like the tie-dye frog. You can have custom skins made from your own artwork and you get two copies for the same price others charge for one (in case you mess up installation or it gets scratched in time).

Robert Oleysyck

I really like the style of the designs at iamhuman, but they don’t make any of them for the 17″ MacBook Pro. Boooooo!

Scott Rafferty

I recommend MacStyles. All of the designs are cut out of solid colors. The designs are mostly simplistic but still make a bold statement. They also have MacPad, which are skins for around the keyboard.

Jesus Franco

@ Zoolander, yea there are a few actually.

I recomend skinit.com,
my previous employer (Mohegun Sun) slaps it’s logo on every employee laptop and to be honest it might be the highest quality skin I’ve ever seen in person. Their prices are not that far off from buying a skin that isn’t customized. Skinit’s print quality has to be almost as good as car decals and stuff, it’s insane. And a lot more affordable then getting a paint job.

zoolander

Any good resources for doing a custom design of your own onto a cover? I would love to do my own logo or something like that. Could be cool, but I don’t want to commit to having 15 or more skins made.

DeanDMX

While practical the problem with these “skins” is that they are mostly naff. The same applies with the iPhone and iPod. I get torn between wanting to keep my expensive equipment looking fresh and being able to admire Apple’s industrial design.

I have yet to see a design or silicone skin that looks any good. For example the ones featured in the screen shot are shockingly bad. And if you are a Mac user chances are you care a modicum about aesthetics.

iarwen

I had a bright pink Gelaskin cover on my white plastic Macbook (late 2007 version) and I loved it. It always caught atterntion and it was a good protection tool against little scratches. My new MacBook Pro is still boring grey and naked. But I’ll try to personalize it some time soon. You can take a look at this happy couple together. Pink Macbook really stands out.

http://iarwen.ru/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/apple-zoo.jpg

Recently I wrote a post in my blog about different covers you can buy to give your mac some colour and prepare it for spring. It’s all in Russian though. But if you are interested you can take a look at the pictures and click the links.

http://iarwen.ru/2009/03/new-spring-ideas-for-mac/

I really liked cute textile cases I found on flickr. I would love to make something like that to my MBP. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fernfiddlehead/sets/72157601025741549/

Ocell

I’ve got a full body skin from http://www.bestskinsever.com on my 15″ Unibody, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s clear, so it gives the body a clear-coat like glossy finish. The kit comes with pieces to cover almost all of the exposed aluminum on the machine. It fully covers the bottom of the laptop, which is much more important than the lid to me, since dirty table tops are the most likely places to pick up scratches. It’s a great option if you don’t want to put graphics on your machine, but you still want the protect the case.

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