• Design
  • Quality
  • Price

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A little while ago, I experienced the main problem with the Nexus 4′s glass back firsthand. After a small drop that resulted in just a minor nick on the corner of my Nexus 4, the glass back developed two small, yet still noticeable cracks. Though purely cosmetic, I contemplated my options: I could (1) replace just the back glass for $15 or so but risk adhesive problems, (2) replace the entire back and side casing for $60, or (3) even sell the device and get a new one without the flaw.

However, the cheapest and easiest option was clear: Get some sort of skin to cover the back of the Nexus 4. There are several companies that make skins for the Nexus 4, but dbrand seemed to get the most praise from the user community. I decided to give the product a try and risk $9, picked a style, and placed my order.

Of course, you don’t have to have a broken Nexus 4 to use a dbrand skin, so read on for the complete review of the dbrand Nexus 4 skin in black titanium, complete with plenty of pictures.

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Since the lead images already shows what the skin looks like from afar on the Nexus 4, I decided to start here in order to show a closeup of this particular style’s texture. You can purchase skins in carbon fiber or leather styles, but the titanium is in my opinion the best looking.

As you can see, the skin is in fact very finely textured, and has a slightly rough finish. It is a bit hard to describe, but the finish feels both smooth and slightly grippy, and also very solid. It doesn’t feel like a skin at all; it almost feels like the Nexus 4 actually came with the texture to begin with. The skin is also made of 3M vinyl, and feels quite substantial and sturdy on its own, not at all like a thinner paper-like skin which would easily tear.

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Despite feeling quite strong, the skin actually isn’t very thick in terms of measurement, and is probably thinner than many wet application “tacky” screen protectors like those from Zagg. The thinness helps to keep the vinyl from being too obvious and helps the edges blend in almost seamlessly with the body of the phone.

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The skin is also about as close as you can get to the actual size of the Nexus 4′s glass within millimeters, and leaves only the very thinnest area  of glass between the skin and the body of the phone. Since I didn’t apply the skin exactly as described in dbrand’s own guide, it is actually a little uneven and showing more of the glass than usual on this side. Even so, the difference is barely noticeable, and the skin transitions almost perfectly to the rest of the device.

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Here you can see the precise detail with which the skin is manufactured, as the skin is precision cut to match the Nexus lettering on the back of the device exactly. My application isn’t quite perfect, but with an exact application the letters should line up perfectly. The cutouts for the camera and speaker are similarly exact, and speak to the high quality of the skin compared to other options.

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One nice thing that I noticed about the skin is that it pairs perfectly with a bumper, in this case the Poetic Slimline. Because the bumper hides just the edges of the skin, it makes it appear even more original, so much so that anyone who didn’t know that the Nexus 4 has a glass back would probably be fooled. Also, unlike other screen protectors that I have tried, the dbrand skin does not get pushed up around the edges by the bumper, and is thin enough to stay in place. So, while the dbrand skin has an adhesive not meant to be removed and reapplied, it should stay put in all but the most extreme situations.

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In case it isn’t already abundantly clear, I think that dbrand’s vinyl skin for the Nexus 4 is the absolute best skin that I have ever seen, and perfect for the Nexus 4. It is built and designed incredibly well, it looks great, and it can protect the flimsy glass back cover from scratches or cover up one that is already broken. Though $9 may seem like a slightly high price for a single skin, this is the best product that you can buy if you need a skin for your Nexus 4.

You can get the dbrand Nexus 4 skin from the official dbrand website for $9 plus shipping.