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Protective Skin or Film: What’s the Difference?

touching tablet screen

If you love your mobile devices, you've probably thought about buying a protective cover at some point.

It makes sense that you would want to protect your investment: in addition to being expensive, smartphones and tablets go almost everywhere we go, so many people like to know that they can keep their devices looking fresh and new as long as possible.

However, with so many different options out there for protecting your devices, it can be hard to know which is the right option for you: should you buy a protective skin? Or maybe a protective film would be better instead?

Taking a little bit of time to learn the terminology used by different manufacturers can help you gain a better understanding of how you can protect your device better.

What is a protective skin?

First of all, let's start by defining what a skin is not: it is not a hard protective case that can keep your device working after repeated drops. A skin is often considered more decorative than protective, although in reality a skin can serve both purposes. Depending on the design and the composition of a particular skin, it may also provide protection against scratches, smudges, and oils on the fingertips.

protective skin around total body of deviceWhy might a skin be right for me?

While skins can be used to personalize a mobile device or laptop with different designs or colors, other skins are completely clear, using either a matte or gloss finish. These skins can be a good choice for people who really like the original look of their devices, and just want to keep that look rather than cover it up.

Skins typically include a covering for both the back and sides of a device, rather than just the touch screen itself. When properly installed, a quality clear skin can create a user experience that is similar to using the device directly out of the box, while also providing an extra layer of protection against damage.

Since a skin also provides protection for the back and sides of a device, they can be a good choice for people who care about the way their devices look, rather than just the way they work. If you're concerned about the resale value of your device, a scratch on the back of the device can be just as costly as a scratch on the touch screen. A good skin can help remove this risk.

What is a film?

This is one of those cases where the language used by technology manufacturers can get a bit confusing. A "film" usually refers to a flexible covering that is applied to a device using an adhesive substance. The confusion arises because this definition is very similar to the one commonly used for the word "skin." In reality, film is a separate protector that only covers the screen of the device.

Why might a film be right for me?

Films that only cover the screen of a device, but not the back or sides, may be slightly cheaper than skins that completely cover the device. Some people may also prefer something that only protects the screen of their device because they aren't as concerned about the way the rest of the device looks, and would just as soon not bother with protecting anything other than the screen.

Regardless of whether you choose something that protects just the screen or the whole device, you'll get the best results if you use a high-quality protector from a manufacturer that doesn't charge extra to cover the cost of their own marketing hype.

Check out our skins to learn more about what makes them special.