Nothing beats a hard case for phone protection, and a soft case is a close second. But let's face it: cases aren't for everyone. As for myself, I like to keep my Centro in my front pocket, without keys or coins; and while I don't worry about hits or scratches, dust and lint can be an issue. So I requested a review package of Case-Mate's Clear Armor for Palm Centro to see if it could mitigate my cavalier ways.
Perhaps due to my inexperience with skins, the package had more than I bargained for. In the box comes:
- 2 sets of Clear Armor
- A bottle of application solution
- A microfiber cleaning cloth
- An applicator card for smoothing out air pockets
- A card of application instructions
Despite the variety of stuff in the package, I was a little disappointed that $19.95 only buys two sets of Clear Armor, giving me one shot at redemption if I screwed up the first application. Was I being paranoid by anticipating failure?
Each set of Clear Armor has three components: one for the screen, one for the front face and one for the rear. While I didn't stress test it, the transparent film feels quite tough - it probably wouldn't cut easily if the phone was dropped.
Jumping the gun by skipping the instructions, I assumed the the bottle of solution was for cleaning the Centro, not for applying the skin. So I did wind up screwing up the first application after all, but I can't blame Case-Mate for that.
After cleaning your Centro, you spray the application solution on the film's adhesive side, giving you a short window of time to align the film to the device. Once you've positioned the film properly, you brush the applicator card across the surface to force out any air bubbles. The application solution dries in 10 minutes, so make sure you've got those air pockets dealt with, otherwise you're stuck with them. And be very, very sure that the Centro has no dust particles, since the applicator card won't help push those out.
I wish Case-Mate could somehow design the film to come off the backing more easily - by simply bending it - so that it wouldn't be necessary to touch the adhesive side. It's almost impossible not to get a fingerprint or a nail scratch on the adhesive before applying it to the phone. It's not much of an issue on the front and back films, but it's more noticeable on the screen film.
Look and feel
I was skeptical that any sheet pattern could fully contour to the Centro's rounded edges, but the Clear Armor came reasonably close. At a distance, the film was barely noticeable. A more experience skin user could have probably applied the Armor flawlessly.
If you find the Centro too slippery for your tastes, the traction the skin provides is reason enough to apply the Clear Armor. The phone becomes even more "grippy" than it would with soft-touch paint.
The Case-Mate Clear Armor pretty much does what it's supposed to do - keep your Centro free of dust and scratches. Putting on the skins isn't intuitive, but the included instructions are very detailed. Be sure to read them carefully beforehand.
Film feels very strong
Liquid solution helps applying the adhesive surface
Extra skin set provide second chance to apply it correctly
|Hard to keep fingerprints off the adhesive side
Hard to mount completely flush on the rounded edges of Centro
Thin edges of front film are delicate to handle when applying