dbrand skin.

Glass-backed devices like the Nexus 4 look great. But a glass back, like any design decision, is a compromise. Glass -- even reinforced glass like Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 -- is less durable than metal or plastics. And besides, not everyone is fond of the look and feel of a glass-backed smartphone. Hence the arrival of protective skins like Dbrand’s that not only cover up the vulnerable glass, but come in a variety of colors and textures.

Made from 3M vinyl, Dbrand’s Nexus 4 skins are precision-cut to match the back of the device, including the stylized “Nexus” lettering under the camera assembly. Dbrand provided us with a selection of skins for review, and each one of them was an exact match for the back of the Nexus 4 -- no rough edges, no overlap -- pretty impressive for a mass-produced skin.

dbrand skin. dbrand skin.

The attachment process can be tricky at first, and Dbrand provides newbies with a link to their official application guide. This suggests lining up the camera lens and flash first, then aligning the left edge so the skin is flush with the edge of the glass. If you screw up on your first try, it’s easy enough to remove and readjust. After a few attempts, though, we were able to get things matching up correctly in just a couple of minutes.

Dbrand’s range of textures includes titanium, carbon and leather, and the latter comes in a wide range of colors. We tried out all three textures and settled on carbon as a favorite, closely followed by leather. The black color fits in nicely with the Nexus’s existing look, while white makes for a striking contrast to the phone’s dark exterior.

dbrand skin. dbrand skin.

On the whole, we couldn’t argue with the quality of the product. The skins grip the back of the Nexus 4 firmly, so there’s be no risk of slippage. All of Dbrand’s skins are grippier than the glass they cover -- particularly the carbon texture -- making the Nexus 4 easier to hold. And equally importantly, they look great and don’t upset the phone’s design -- these could easily be an official Nexus accessory.

A word of warning, though...

Nexus 4 damageOnce a Dbrand skin is attached it can be tricky to remove, especially if you’ve followed the instructions correctly and not left yourself any loose edges. This was the case with one of mine, and so after a little searching I decided to pick at the inner edge near the speaker. Only, turns out it wasn’t just the vinyl skin I was picking away at it, but the glass itself. The result was a small chip in the weakest area of the glass, between the speaker and the right edge, that splintered outwards, cracking the entire back panel.

Now, this probably wasn’t the skin’s fault -- there’s no telling what underlying weaknesses there might’ve been in the glass itself -- but it’s something to be aware of in the removal process. Glass is glass, and if you pry at the weakest part of it, it’s going to end badly.

My newly-shattered Nexus 4 did give me an opportunity to use one of the remaining skins to cover up, though. And after scraping away some of the loose glass, those skins let me hide this shameful, jagged mess. So if you’ve got a cracked Nexus 4, a skin like this might be something to consider.

Despite our glass-related mishap, we'd still recommend Dbrand's Nexus 4 vinyl skins for those who want to protect the back of the device, or simply personalize the the phone. At $9 each they're not especially cheap, but the price is justified by the quality of materials and the closeness of the fit.

Dbrand's skins for Nexus 4 (and other devices) are available directly from the manufacturer's website.

 
There are 43 comments

lightyear420 says:

Great review!!! I've been watching the thread on XDA regarding these, and I was really impressed by the feedback from end-users.

One thing you forgot to mention, though, is they do offer custom designs!! They cost $18 because they use two skins to make the custom skin, but they can make any design you send them...and I've seen some pretty cool ones!!

Alex, sorry to hear about your glass back. I think I'd cry if it were mine lol

taz88ny says:

Looked all over the site and I can't find where to order a custom design. Is it in the checkout process? Please advise.

I couldn't find it either. Maybe they were referencing how some devices could have different side vinyls as a mix and match? (i.e. iPhone was one that it allowed)

There's no explicit link that I found on the website, but if you e-mail 'info@dbrand.com' then you'll be exposed to some of the best customer service I've ever seen.

These guys and gals work around the clock every day of the week. I sent them a template for a custom design and they were able to execute flawlessly.

I can't recommend these guys enough - plus you can feel good about supporting a small, independent, Canadian start-up.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/118359576863867090192/posts/Gvem959VLEC

m1stergadget says:

hey guys,

it's your friendly neighbourhood r0bot from dbrand. In regards to custom orders: no they're not listed on the site. If you would like a quote on one for your device, please email:

vector or .pdf of image
device
and color, as well as skin style to

info@dbrand.com

We will respond on first come-first served basis as always!

Thanks for the love and support,

d brand inc

i made purchase on 8th feb and then i got email that shipping delayed. and then after some days got email tat shipped. again after some day when i query for order these people replied shipment lost and will reship soon. i waited more 10-15 days. then i asked again then i got the reply oh sorry it return to us we will again reship this.

now dbrand is not ready neither to refund or to provide some satisfactory rpely when i asked for refund they replied in very rude way and said i should never buy from them and ask me to apologizing. them. is there any way i can get my money back or product from this scam. is my credit card details entered there safe?

below my order details

Order Confirmation from dbrand inc.

vikas gupta

The following are the details of your order.
------------------------------------------------------
Order Number: 16416
Date Ordered: Friday 08 February, 2013

Products
------------------------------------------------------
1 x Galaxy SIII = $16.00
front skin leather_white
back skin leather_white
------------------------------------------------------
Sub-Total: $16.00
Standard Shipping $3.00
Total: $19.00

MasterCard XXXXXXXX4963

lol you post details of your credit card information online and wonder if your credit card details are safe? get outta here dude dbrand has some of the best customer service on the planet.

mattjensen25 says:

I bought mine almost a month ago. Still no sign of it. They sent me another one but have not seen that one either. They told me it can take 25 days to ship from Canada to the US. So if you are in a hurry and you are not in Canada you may want to pass.

kennnnnny says:

fellow XDA member here! love these skins. if you're interested in their recently released black titanium, check out the gallery here (they dont have pics on their website yet): http://imgur.com/a/Zw8iL

ChromeJob says:

OUCH. I feel your pain, amigo. After corrupting the corners of a few screen protectors, I've found that a inverted finger-roll of transparent tape (3M Scotch Magic Tape, if a brand name must be dropped), sticky side facing out, should pick up a corner of a screen protector just fine. I wonder if this cover's adhesive is too strong for that, or....

I'd just test on the upper left (near camera lens) of it. Just touch the tape to the corner, press a little, then sloooowwwllly lift off, rolling slightly away from the corner.

Success? Please update us. No one wants something like this to be permanent, particlarly if it gets scratched and gouged up through daily use. It sure would be nice to spend < $20 to prevent the slippy slidey wet soap bar called a nude Nexus 4 from falling off desks and counters. I personally like the feel of the N4 without a bumper or cover. But a back shell cover (Poetic Palette in my case, currently) is a must for carrying.

BTW, I can't be the only one to notice that this cover hides the LG logo and fine print at the bottom, in addition to the Hanna Montana glitter effect. ;)

NCBimmer says:

I like the look of the glass back on the Nexus - is there a clear alternative a' la screen protector for the back? I haven't seen one in searches....thanks.

Biglou508 says:

If you go to earth they have a Fusion Hybrid case which has a clear plexi glass on the back hope this helps you.

RonD says:

Xtremeguard has screen protectors for the front and back.

Biglou508 says:

I meant rearth

scaots says:

How much more grip is the carbon over the black leather? On xda they said black leather is worst and other leather colors (non white) have best grip. I really prefer the black leather but would also like as much grip as possible.

Here's the xda thread since I had to check it out...
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=37525688&highlight=grip...

Are this available for note 2? Link please

Are you really this lazy? No, not from Dbrand. Lazy ass.

nickacs says:

HAHAHAHA...what a dbag!

Mobius360 says:

I think this will be perfect for my needs. Can the bumper still be used with one of these if I wanted to use it?

cpolism says:

I believe so. When I looked for images with this skin, I came across a few pics of them installed with bumpers. Looked awesome. I pulled the trigger just because of that.

sunyata says:

Wireless charging works with this thing applied, right?

Yes

Jonas Alves says:

Does it work with the N4's wireless charger?

Of course. Many thick cases work with the wireless charger, so surely a thin vinyl layer that is a fraction of the thickness will work as long as it doesn't contain any metals which this does not.

mightylos8 says:

I purchased the "leather" one, and it works great with the Nexus wireless charger.

sgill74 says:

after cracking the rear of my beloved nexus4, and hours searching the web for non existing replacements, I settled these.
excellent fit and great value for money.
highly recommended

sgill74 says:

after cracking the rear of my beloved nexus4, and hours searching the web for non existing replacements, I settled these.
excellent fit and great value for money.
highly recommended

Mobius360 says:

To add, a quick search found me a coupon code of 10%. USE CODE: XDA

Sorry if there's also an Android Central code, I didn't see anything in the article about it.

kpjimmy says:

Love my leather dbrand! I intend get a custom ordered as well! Can't wait until the robots will have time to take care of my request because of the influx of orders when the titanium black was released. Go dbrand! They are beyond awesome, even for being Canadian :P (just kidding). They go above and beyond expectations on the product side and customer service. They just "get" the community.

Blittzo says:

The white carbon one looks the best in my opinion. I would defiantly buy one of those if I had a Nexus 4.

d3Xt3r says:

I think the grey titanium one looks the best - very professional and OEM looking, IMO. The carbon fiber and leather ones are nice, but they are a clear giveaway that you're using a skin.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=37605568&postcount=316

bassdelux15 says:

omg been looking for this for forever! Instantly bought the black carbon one XD

keilflex says:

For people like me that have to have as natural as possible and still be protected. A poetic bumper of your color choice and the sgp dual screen protectors. There's no looking back from ultracrystal dual and the bumper. Maybe even that new sleeve for when it's getting carried. But the flawless screen protectors from steinheil and the bumper. I'm loving the new batch of poetic bumpers cause you can pick a color. The back is protected and still shines

XKMNH says:

Nice review, but back of the nexus isn't gorilla glass!

ok

hodan says:

Alex, I love this site, but if you didn't contact the manufacturer for comment AFTER their product cracked the back of your phone during removal...then you're just shilling for the product.

If breakage during removal during is a normal possibility then they need to provide a video on how to remove it safely.

I may be alone in this but when your phone break during normal use of a product and you still say this, "... the price is justified by the quality of materials and the closeness of the fit." You've lost credibility with me.

Mackster248 says:

This is in no way the company's fault... This guy picked at the skin in the weirdest spot (speaker) and cracked it. That's his fault and he acknowledged that.

I don't think a video is needed... All I used was a fine small blade to lift the skin up a bit then peel the rest off. Very easy and painless to remove these things.

Dr0me says:

i ordered the black leather one and the titanium one. I don't like the look of the TI one but am rocking the black leather and loving it. I am using it in conjunction with the official bumper and my phone feels invincible. Had to switch to the official bumper as the poetic one doesn't work with the charging orb.

Jason-Droid says:

So you have no problem with the charging orb? I was thinking about the black carbon skin.

I'm still happy with my dbrand leather skin. I'd rather have the nice glass back visible all the time but I didn't want to scratch it either. At least the skin matches my leather case for the phone.

Jason-Droid says:

I wonder if these would be a problem for the wireless charger. I assume not, but you never know.

I love my black carbon back. I have lifted the edge with a safety pin to move the skin just slightly to the left and was a able to carefully place it back on the sticker backing before doing so. I am confident that I will be able to swap it out with the new BLACK titanium I just ordered. Dbrands response to my questions has been amazing. Their service is to be commended. The price is very good for quality of the product. It does not effect wireless charging on the official charger other than it slightly loses its lock.

Just recieved my carbon skin this morning..
Delivered within 6 days to the uk...
Looks good, fits perfectly ... I'm very impressed .