With any new Apple gadget you buy, protection comes first. Those huge glass screens won’t keep themselves safe in a fall. Unless you have AppleCare or any other kind of insurance, you’re out of luck if you damage your iDevice. So, what do you do if you want to protect your iDevice without taking away from its beautiful form factor? Most cases are out of the question. Keeping your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad completely naked is just risky. Now what?

You can try a protective skin like those offered from iCarbons. There are several different options available, but I am now using my second skin from iCarbons (this one being my first) and am still pleased with the quality of their product. Each skin can cover the entire iPhone: the front, back, sides, and home button. The Apple logo can remain uncovered if you’d like, but I covered mine for complete protection. The skins are printed on 3M adhesive vinyl paper, meaning they’ll be pretty tough to remove. Despite which look you want to go for (carbon fiber, wood, or metal), the protection offered is the same. So, how does an iCarbons skin compare to a case?

The Good

The installation is ridiculously easy. I’d say it’s even easier to install than a screen protector since there aren’t any bubbles to push out. Speaking of screen protectors, you can install these skins on top of your screen protector, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you need to readjust the skin once it’s touched the screen protector, there’s no way of separating the two without taking the screen protector from your phone.

Nope, the iPhone back is still glass.

As far as protection goes, nothing will scratch your phone through the iCarbons skin. I’ve had it in my bag and pocket with keys and coins, and the skin is free of scratches.¬†Function aside, the iCarbons skin looks great. It isn’t just a graphic of brushed metal (or carbon fiber, or wood), but the skin is actually textured, which is nice. It doesn’t just feel like a cheap sticker.

The Bad

The only problem I had was with the side skin, which is one long strip. If you don’t pull it taut or leave enough slack in just the right areas, lining it up with the buttons and other ports will be difficult.

Verdict

The offerings from iCarbons are a perfect choice if you don’t want to put a case on your iDevice. However, if you wanted, a case would fit fine in addition to the skin. It’s a win-win. If you’re looking for a way to protect your iDevice while letting it retain its looks, iCarbons’ protective skins are a great choice.

A full iPhone 4/4S skin will set you back $24.95. For more color options, visit iCarbons. They even provide skins for iPads, iPods, MacBooks, and even iMacs.

How do you protect your iDevice? A skin? A case? A skin and a case? Or, do you live on the wild side with a naked iDevice?