Accessories: Decorating your handhelds with Gelaskins

Console and handheld skins... what a neat way to change the look of your system. But to be honest, I look at them in stores and they just seem like pieces of colorful plastic that don't really appeal to me. I mean, a faceplate for the Xbox 360 is one thing, but a skin? Sticky plastic on my systems? I don't know...

Recently, someone from Gelaskins sent me a message about their products, and to my surprise, just a few minutes after browsing the site, I was drooling over some few of the designs available for Nintendo DS and PSP.

When the time came to actually take Gelaskins for a "test drive", I admit I was still very apprehensive. I thought they wouldn't fit right, they would leave sticky residue, they would look awful... but none of that applied when I was done. After cleaning both my DS and PSP thoroughly with alcohol, I was ready to being the makeover.

I skinned my DS first with Valley of the Tinbots by Brandt Peters, starting with the outside templates, which were extremely easy to apply and fit just perfectly. The inside covers were a little trickier. The skin for the top screen peeled off the template in its entirety, so I had to manually pick the little holes for the speakers with tweazers (very slowly and very carefuly). Even though all the pieces are pre-cut, these tiny circles insisted on staying on. But they fit like a glove on the top portion of the DS, wrapping around the screen and speakers just right.

The touch screen portion was actually the one that gave me the most trouble, and it shows, since there are a few flaws. I think this is mostly because of the raised ledge around the touch screen. I ended up peeling off and sticking it back on a few times, which resulted in the skin warping in one of the thinner parts, which caused a little fold below the touch screen.

Other than that, I love how it looks, since this particular color scheme blends in perfectly with my Coral Pink DS. And I found it interesting that there is no cutout to show the DS logo on the top of the system, which doesn't break the flow of the artwork, unlike other skins.

Growth by Lawrence Yang was my choice for the PSP. The design is like a mix of Nightmare before Christmas and Death Jr., and I love the purple tones. The skin was actually easier to fit than the DS one, and it looks great. Although I do think that the front seems to fit a lot better than the back. The back skin shows more black and doesn't cover the surface as well as the front template.

Still, I think it looks fantastic, and I even downloaded the artwork used in the skin to make a background for my PSP (all artwork has a matching wallpaper). Plus, the PSP skins also come with a very handy screen protector. And none of those nasty fingerprints on it anymore - what is it with the PSP, every time I touch it, there's a fingerprint on the surface. Well, no more of that now!

For gamers, so far DS and PSP/PSP Slim are the only system skins available. But Gelaskins has a great variety of iPod, iPhone, cell phone, laptop and MacBook skin designs to choose from. And although they are designed for a single use, you can remove them carefully and store them back on the template sheets, without the fear of leaving sticky residue on your systems.

Stylish scratch protection and an easy way to give your system a cool, semi-glossy makeover, these are much more than just a colorful plastic film on my DS and PSP.