Reviews: Moshi Clearguard, Gelaskins, Beyza Leather Case

Moshi Clearguard
now that i am a Mac convert (damn! the iPhone really converted me!), it is only naturally that i start seeking out for accessories to protect my very pricey ‘investment’ (if you can that investment). hitting the local forums, i chanced upon a thread about the Moshi ClearGuard Keyboard Protector (US$20). the specs and the pics appears to be pretty decent, so i thought i would give it a shot. though, not just yet cos’ it was a ‘coming soon’ product and i waited patiently, like a hungry lion waiting to pound on its prey. anyway, i jumped at it once it was available last month. i made order via AEVOE UNIVERSE, which carries Moshi products. it took a while for it reach Singapore and it sure did today – i was thrilled. let the truth be told, i was pretty thrilled to be what this elite of keyboard protector has to offer.

Moshi Clearguard - The Packaging

the package arrived neatly and extremely safely packed. the product packaging is a standard flair from Moshi and detail to the inner packaging is excellent – if anyone cares to know (i am totally neutral about this, btw). i shall cut to the chase, because i can’t wait to talk about this wonderful new product.

Moshi Clearguard - The Packaging (Closeup)
Moshi Clearguard - The Packaging (Inside)

the ClearGuard make is really nice and has a good feel to it. the ClearGuard is made of durable, non-toxic engineering-grade thermoplastic urethane of only 0.1mm in thickness. when fitted to the macbook, i could barely feel it is there. while that’s a good thing, the ClearGuard doesn’t quite ‘stick’ or ‘stay down’ onto the keyboard like most heavier competitions do and therefore, some user may accidentally “pull it off” while typing furiously. i know it cos’ i happen to be one of the ‘furious’ typer.

i am quite an outdoor person, therefore i often use the MacBook outdoor and i find that i couldn’t leave it fitted with the ClearGuard on without watching over it cos’ strong wind would threaten to sweep it away from the MacBook. i would imagine the same would happen under artificial wind from fans and air-conditioning units. one of the ‘key feature’ of this product is the transparency of the material. if you have a backlit keyboard, the clarity of the ClearGuard allows the backlit to show-off its full glory, which you won’t get see with the typical silicon keyboard protector which are mostly just translucent at best.

Moshi Clearguard - on Unibody MacBook
Moshi Clearguard - on Unibody MacBook

typing with the ClearGuard is without any hindrance, i am more ‘in touch’ with my keys now as compared to my former silicon item. being new, i do noticed a faint odor from ClearGuard, a kind of ‘plasticky smell’. i wonder if it is normal? could it be due to the reaction to the heat generated from the MacBook? or is it because its new? that brings me to another concern: will this thin film able to withstand the heat generated by the MacBook after prolong use? keeping in mind that part of the heat generated from the macbook ‘escapes’ via the gaps under these keys.

as for durability, we would have to wait and see how it stands up to my constant abuses. we shall let the time and usage be the judge. my former silicon-type was a pure dust magnet, and becomes really sucky just after a couple of months of use. i certainly hope this ClearGuard will perform better (for starter, it ain’t a dust magnet *phew*). overall, the finishes and quality of the Moshi ClearGuard is befitting for the cool MacBook.

Gelaskins – Skins For iPod classic
i came across this item in April 08 issue of STUFF magazine and wasted no time in getting one from Gelaskins online store (www.gelaskins.com/). the item was shipped from Canada within a few days after my order confirmation and it took mere 5 days to reach singapore – in standard airmail, which is about the only option for international shipping. five days is a record, if you’d ask me.

Gelaskins - Airmail Packing

the skins came in a hard envelope with ‘do not bend’ clearly marked on the package, which hopefully, the postal folks will take heed and not deliberately bend the package. luckily, mine arrived unscathed. the skins is packaged in a clear plastic sleeves, which on the surface looks rather harmless but it is not. the clear sleeves has an adhesive opening on its lip and thus pose quite a problem for me when i was retrieving the skins out of it. the adhesive tends to stick to the skin if you’re not too careful and may result in some ‘sticky stain’ on the beautiful skins. luckily, the stain is removable after some patience cleaning with soft tissue paper.

Gelaskins - The Packaging
Gelaskins - Before & After Application

i am pretty impressed by the quality of the skins. the material used feels a little rubber-like and of reasonable thickness. i wasted no time and applied the skin on my iPod classic right away. needless to say, the first step is to clean the iPod with a soft cloth. i use a brand new LCD screen cloth to do the job. i proceed with the application of the back skin first. it took a while for me to finally got the skin to sit perfectly – well almost. the Gelaskins can be reposition until you are satisfied so there’s no worry that you will not get it right. there’s always a second chance, or the third, or the fourth… well, you get the idea.

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the application was pretty painless – well, at least for the back skin, but honestly, i can’t say the same for the front. due to the precise cutouts for the screen and the click wheel, application of the front calls for extreme patience. it took me more than 10 mins to get it ‘just right’. needless to say, it was a pain to align the screen while desperately trying keep the application as perfect as possible.

Gelaskins - Front
Gelaskins - Back

when i finally done with the application, i notice that the front skin is not as perfect in terms of fitting. as you can see from the photos, the silver finish of the iPod is still quite visible along the edge of the screen. i guess it might be less obvious if the iPod is black instead of silver. the skin does not sacrifice the click wheel sensitiveness. in fact, i thought it felt better as compared to my former skin jacket. i also tested the iPod’s fit on the JBL radial with the skin applied just to make sure that the little extra thickness won’t affect the docking. i guess for approximately US$15 plus shipping, it is not exactly cheap to accessorize your iPod, but i like the fact that it let’s you ‘personalized’ your iPods.

Gelaskins - JBL Radial

Beyza Slimline Leather Case
first impression: classy look and high-quality feel. a piece of feel-good small leather goods for your precious samsung SCH-i780 or blackjack II.

just got the Beyza Slimline Leather Case last saturday from our local retailer. i must say it is a purchase that i feel particularly good about. this Beyza product is made of full grain cowhide with coloring introduced through a drum-dyed process. i won’t regurgitate what Beyza has claimed about their products, which you can read here.

Beyza Slimline Leather Case

the interior of the leather case is made with suede materials which gives the phone some protection against scratches. As with all leather product, the case feels a little ‘stiff’ and hard to insert the phone in. gosh, i thought i bought the wrong case! but after a few days of usage, the phone fit snugly, easily insert and retrieve. one worthy note is the case doesn’t really cover phone entirely (as you can see from the photo – the phone protrudes about an millimeter out. Due to the snug fit and internal suede material, it gives the phone a wiping effect i.e. its cleans the phone! no 100% but it does make the phone look cleaner whenever i take out the phone from the case.

i ain’t no leather goods expert or specialist, but as far as i am concerned, the craftsmanship – in terms of cuts and stitching are reasonably good. definitely not those hand-stitch quality though.
overall, this is a neat, quality leather case for the i780. however, price-wise, this case is on a the high-side. the Beyza Slimline Leather Case cost SGD59.95 but then again, you certainly get what you pay for.