DecalGirl 3DS XL Solid State Black Matte review

Thank you DecalGirl for sending us this product for review!

When we upgraded our 3DSs to 3DS XLs during launch week, my wife was the lucky one and got to choose her color: she picked blue.  The store that I went to did not have any more blue ones, and since differentiating them would be more difficult anyway, I accepted the red model.  While it's certainly not ugly, seeing it next to the blue one made me very sad by my choice.  And since Nintendo doesn't allow you to transfer your 3DS system content more than once per week, and five times total, getting an exchange was pretty much out of the question, as I am a 3DS Ambassador, with all of the bonus content that contains.

While certainly not ugly, it's a little too bright for my preference.

I decided that since I was stuck with the red model like it or not, and 3rd party shell replacements tend to take a long time and be a bit cheap feeling anyway, I figured the best next step would be to see what options there are with skinning it.  I figured with a nice enough skin, I might be able to do even better than the colors that it comes with.

I had decided before I started that black would be the color I would choose.  I really liked my all black 3DS, so covering the red with black was a no-brainer for me.  Fortunately the inside was already in black, so that part was easy; it was what I wanted out of the factory.  I also knew I wanted a matte finish, since it is less likely to show off my awesome fingerprints, or that I touched it with food on my fingers weeks ago.

Inside all black: perfect.  I prefer the most contrast possible, and black does that perfectly.  And it's a matte finish.

As I looked around the Internet for 3rd party device skins, one name that kept on coming up was DecalGirl.  I looked on their website, and found exactly what I was looking for – and according to the picture, it covered up all of the color behind it:

I was pretty excited, and called their customer service, and the very nice person on the phone assured me it would cover up all of the red I am trying to cover up, based on the pictures.  After the ordering process, it arrived just a few short days later.  This is what was in the box:

Skin, instructions, and advertisements for other popular skin styles.

DecalGirl has not only solid colors like this one, but many patterns and various kinds of art, including the popular Thomas Kinkaid and others with Christian themes.  They serve a diverse audience, be aware they also have skins that I would not suggest any Christians put on their devices.

After I opened the bag that the skin itself was in, I noticed a few things.  First would be that they supply inside and outside skins.  In my specific application, I do not require the inside ones.  I am here for the outside skins.  I also notice that my bottom skin has some scuff marks on the bottom out of the box.  The top skin was flawless.  It's unfortunate, and I know that they have a guarantee, but I chose not to pursue that at this time.

Scuff marks on the bottom skin.

The skins are made (in America!) of a very nice vinyl that not only feels good, but goes on very easily.  You definitely want to make sure the device is clean first.  Another thing to watch out for is that the material can stretch.  While this isn't all bad, if you misapply it at first, it is likely you will have to peel it back a small amount to correct it and put it back on.  This works well, but it may stretch a bit, and you may be left with some ripples near the edges.  I ran into this, but I was able to get it back on and be mostly unnoticeable.

Out of the box it didn't cover nearly as much red as I would have hoped.  And it still doesn't.  Here is a shot of the top:

A little red left.

And the bottom:

There's quite a bit of red there, along with the scraps from the bottom piece.

After seeing this, I decided to try to use some of the scrap pieces to cover up a little bit more.  I noticed that the serial number cutout was approximately the same width as the SD card door.  Using some fine point scissors, I attached and then cut the small piece to the SD card door, covering up that large red spot.  I also took the dot cutouts and put them on top of the feet they were supposed to be popped out from.  This seemed to really help a lot, as a lot less red is there now:

Less red, but there is still some around the edges.

And this is where I left it.  While this has not been a perfect experience, and I was quite disappointed that the skin would not reach edge to edge, I feel that this 3DS XL as it is now is still a big improvement over how it looked when I first got it.  And it feels good, too.  The only small complaint I have, which is not a fault of DecalGirl, is that the edges of the skin can occasionally catch pocket lint.  This should get better as the adhesive dries, and if I clean that edge I expect it would stay clean.

Perhaps with some more creative scissor work I could cover up more of the red on the edges, but that is not likely to be perfect.

The edges are still red.

Hopefully DecalGirl will consider revising this skin to more closely match the pictures on their website.  In the meantime, I will enjoy my much better looking (to my eyes) 3DS XL.

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