These leather 'skins' for iPhones add a splash of personal style and luxury to your phone if you don't like using cases
You can dress your iPhone in premium leather without using a bulky case by applying a leather "skin" to the back.
Being a case-hater myself, I decided to try out Nomad's Leather Skin for the first time to give the iPhone 13 Pro Max that I'm using a little boost in natural luxury while keeping it naked.
How does Nomad's Leather Skin look and feel in person?
The leather is very uniform and has a very fine and tight grain, and any blemish you see in my photos was made by me from normal use. The texture of the skin is ultra-smooth, thanks to that fine, tight grain. There's no padding, so the skin feels solid, but not as solid or hard as the iPhone's back glass.
The iPhone doesn't feel thicker or heavier when I hold it, and the skin adds a pleasant, luxurious feel to the back of the phone. It also offers a bit of extra grip than what you get with the iPhone's glass, unless your fingers are completely and utterly dry.
The skin also imparts a softer "thud" than the naked glass back when you place your phone on a surface. You still hear the sharper impact of glass since the iPhone's camera isn't covered by the skin.
I tried out the "Rustic Brown" version of Nomad's Leather Skin, which is on the darker side. It's a beautiful, classic, natural-looking color that contrasts amazingly well against the iPhone 13 Pro Max's Sierra Blue color option. Since the skin is made of real leather, it'll develop a patina that will darken the skin over time.
There's also a black version of the skin, and it will also get a little darker over time, but it doesn't look like it'll be as noticeable as the brown version.
Plus, an additional bonus is a fragrant leather smell coming from the skin on the phone. Very few scents are as pleasing as leather.
Nomad's Leather Skin still works with Apple's MagSafe, but the magnetic connection is a little weaker.
Nomad says its Leather Skin is compatible with Apple's MagSafe charging and accessories, and that's true. I had no issues charging the iPhone with a MagSafe charger.
And it also works with MagSafe accessories like wallets or batteries. However, the skin doesn't have a MagSafe magnet, and the magnetic connection feels somewhat less secure with a MagSafe PopSockets PopWallet Plus. It still feels secure enough that I'm not too worried about the wallet coming off, but the magnetic connection is slightly stronger with Apple's MagSafe cases that have a magnet built into them.
Applying Nomad's Leather Skin perfectly is difficult.
Keep in mind that this was my first experience applying a skin to a phone, so your mileage may vary depending on your experience with skins.
I watched Nomad's simple instructional video on how to apply the skin, and I still found it extremely difficult to align it perfectly to the back of our iPhone 13 Pro Max review unit.
Only after the fourth try was I able to get a good-enough fit, especially around the iPhone's cameras. My feedback to Nomad would be to make the skin's camera cut out a little larger, as it leaves no room for error and demands perfect alignment.
There was a faint air bubble after applying the skin, but it was easily smoothed out over the edges.
Does Nomad's Leather Skin offer any protection?
The Leather Skin won't offer much at all in the way of drop protection, seeing as it has no padding and doesn't cover the edges of the phone. It would protect the iPhone's back glass from scratches, however.
If you're looking for some more drop protection, your best bet is still to use a case. Nomad offers a leather case in rustic brown, black, and a natural option that isn't available for the skins. Nomad's leather case is also compatible with Apple's MagSafe charging and accessories.
And while the skin doesn't affect the iPhone's water resistance, I've been trying to avoid water more than I usually do to prevent water stains on the leather.
The bottom line
Nomad's Leather Skin products for iPhone could bring an impressive feeling, stylish looks, and even a fragrance to your phone, especially if you already aren't into cases. If you know that you do not have a steady enough hand to apply the skin, however, I suggest finding someone who does.$24.95 from Nomad GoodsAntonio Villas-BoasSenior Tech ReporterAntonio is a senior tech reporter for Insider's Reviews team, where he helps lead coverage, reviews, and guides of smartphones, tablets, accessories, wearables, smart home products, as well as audio devices from Apple, Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and other major tech companies. Before joining Business Insider, Antonio was a consumer-electronics analyst at PCMag. He graduated from Colgate University in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in history. You can contact Antonio with tips and cool tech via email at: email@example.com Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.