I'm a firm supporter of the opinion that most electronic devices are better naked than protected by a case. Yes, I've heard all the advice otherwise, and yes, I know that nothing is completely scratch proof. Heck, just last week I shattered my Thunderbolt when I absentmindedly perched it on my sink, turning it into a poster child for the dangers of case-less smartphones. That said, few things can change my mind. I'd rather commit to being more careful than hiding my expensive new device under a cheap looking cover.
BodyGuardz Armor is a custom-fit carbon fiber protective skin that adheres to your Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all the right places. A sheet of plastic covers the back, while thin strips are cut to fit the sides, top, and bottom of your tablet perfectly. BodyGuardz also throws in an “HD anti-glare” screen protector for good measure.
Applying the product is not nearly as taxing as you might expect. Gone are the days of those pesky sub-surface bubbles that have plagued screens forever. The carbon fiber design lends itself to easy smoothing: BodyGuardz claims that you can simply rub down the device to remove any bubbles that the application process left behind. I was a skeptic, but trust me, it works. The finished product was, in my experience, free of bubbles or wrinkles.
One snag, however: if you don't have the patience of a saint, you're inevitably going to misalign the skin, resulting in a bit of a skewed look. Sure, you can remove the skin and reapply until all your lines are parallel and clean, but keep in mind, the more you remove and reapply, the less adhesive the skin becomes. So while you BodyGuardz has escaped the bubble plague, it still requires a steady hand that is confident in its first-time performance.
The custom cut strips for camera area and the device's perimeter are fairly simple to apply, as you're working with a pretty small space.
The end result is a mixed bag. The product feels great in the hand and will most certainly protect your device from the errant scratch or scuff. And if you've taken your time in the application process, it looks and feels even better. But if you're not a surgeon, the final result might be less than stellar. As you can see, I couldn't get my back panel to align perfectly, which, to me, gave the armor a cheap, sloppy look. And the strips for the Galaxy Tab's perimeter are hard to defend. They look silly, almost like decals you would put on your notebook in first grade. They also have a tendency to bunch up on the corners where the fit doesn't seem quite right. In short, skip 'em.
And you can skip the screen protector, too. I'm not sure exactly what “HD” means in regards to a screen protector, but the branding didn't live up to the hype. If you've ever used a screen protector on your device, you've experienced the headaches that ensue. The edges never fail to curl, resulting in a dirty, messy, all around awful look. And even BodyGuardz couldn't promise a bubble-less experience: unlike the carbon fiber back panel, the plastic screen protector doesn't lend itself to “smoothing” out the bubbles. Bummer.
All that said, if you're looking for something to shield the big plastic back of your Galaxy Tab 10.1, you've found it. Take a deep breath and you'll be able to apply the carbon fiber skin without incident. And in black, red, and white options, the skin looks really, really nice.
The same can't be said for everything else in the box. Avoid the perimeter strips at all cost. They look downright silly. And the included screen protector is just that-- your average screen protector. I've never been a fan, and never will be.
BodyGuardz Armor won't protect your tablet from a drop, or from any heavy duty damage. For that kind of protection, you'll need a case. But if you're just looking for something to spare your tab's back from unnecessary dings, and you've got the patience to sit down and take your time applying the product, BodyGuardz Armor is worth a look.