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‘Carnage’ is dbrand’s latest jab at Sony

We're starting to think dbrand isn't a fan of the company behind the PS5

Always one step away from a potential lawsuit, dbrand’s latest skin collection takes another shot across the bow of the Japanese tech giant.

If you’re unfamiliar with the dbrand v. Sony lawsuit, it stems from the Toronto-based accessory maker’s journey to transform the kind of awful-looking Playstation 5.

“The more I look at the Sony design, the more I find it lazy in comparison.”

In 2020, dbrand confirmed that its skins suck on the all-white PS5 since you can see a bright border around the console, making the aesthetic look unprofessional. In a heartwarming move, the company refunded anyone who had bought a PS5 skin, and then a month later, it dropped the first generation Darkplates.

Darkplates are dbrands’ PS5 replacement shell, but they didn’t last very long as Sony sent a cease and desist letter because the design was very similar to the PS5’s shell. Looking back, Sony’s legal move wasn’t that surprising since the image tag on the main Darkplate Reddit post said, “Sue us, Sony,” but you can’t fault dbrand for trying.

The skin maker didn’t take the letter lying down and retaliated by remaking the Darkplates 2.0 with a rounded corner, a vent for improved airflow and legal protection from Sony’s army of copyright lawyers. The Darkplates 2.0 are still sold with the tagline “Checkmate lawyers,” and you can tell dbrand wasn’t even sour about the potential lawsuit by the way it printed the cease and desist letter in binary inside the new Darkplates.

Now that you’re all caught up on why dbrand hates Sony (just like how Eddie Brock hates Spider-Man), you can understand why the company also ripped off the limited edition Spider-Man-themed PS5. You could say that Sony didn’t make enough Spider-Man side panels, so dbrand filled the market demand, but I think the company is just living out its own Venom revenge plot.

To really rub salt in the wound, dbrand decided to take Sony’s basic design and actually make it good. The Sony-led design falls flat with no texture in the red or black sides of the theme. dbrand, on the other hand, takes things a step further and incorporates a web on the red half, which gives the theme more visual interest. The black side is still void of any texture at its core, but as it spreads over the surface, you can see it gripping and pulling against the webbing on the red half. It’s a neat effect that makes the skin more visually appealing next to Sony’s empty black and red option. The more I look at the Sony design, the more I find it lazy by comparison.

And if you like the design and don’t have a PS5, you can also get it for nearly any device, ranging from gaming devices, laptops, phones and dbrands’ Rubix cube. I’ve been testing out the iPhone option with dbrand’s grip case, which feels robust. The grip texture on the sides reminds me of the old OnePlus ‘Sandstone’ back that I used to love. Beyond that, the buttons are very clicky and it fits my phone well. On top of that, it also has a slightly raised edge on the rear, which helps hide the edges of the skin, making it feel more like part of the case than I expected.

The MacBook Air skin is larger, so it lets you take in the Carnage skin in all its glory, but it’s mostly as you’d expect. What surprised me was how well the trackpad still worked with the sticker on it. That being said, when applying larger dbrand skins, make sure you really work methodically from the centre of the skin to the edges to avoid trapping any air bubbles under the sticker. If you’re nervous, dbrand has several useful video guides that aim to teach you how to install each skin correctly.

dbrand’s iPhone 15 Pro case with the Carnage skin costs $54.90 USD (roughly $74.43 CAD) and the skin on its own costs $24.95 (about $33.84 CAD). The accessory maker’s MacBook Air’s M2 skin costs $31.95 USD (about $43.31 CAD).

– Bradley Bennett

Steam Deck Killswitch case, thumbstick covers and Carnage skin

I don’t have children. That’s because I know I would be a horrible parent. I’d be the dad who sends his kids out in bubble wrap because they might slip and fall. Like the helicopter parent I am, I treat my Steam Deck with love and too much care. I use a screen protector, I wipe it down after every use so that the oils from my hands don’t build up, and I always put it back in the Steam provided travel case.

So imagine my surprise when I put on dbrand’s Killswitch Case for the first time and found out that I couldn’t fit it in the travel case that Steam provided. How am I supposed to know my Deck is safe and sound when I can’t warmly wrap it up in its zipper?

Turns out, I didn’t need to worry. The Killswitch is the accessory equivalent of a Nokia brick phone. I haven’t dropped it, but I’m fairly certain the sidewalk would bend in its favour. That’s unlikely to happen because the case is so grippy that I have a better hold on it than the first time I shook my girlfriend’s father’s hand.

But in case that wasn’t enough, I applied dbrand’s Carnage skin. It keeps the plastic body free from scratches, and it made me feel like I was part of something bigger. We like this skin. We feel connected to this skin.

We also applied dbrand’s screen protector, replacing the cheap Amazon one that we had previously. We didn’t expect to notice much of a difference, but touchscreen inputs were a lot more responsive, meaning we could search more efficiently for Spider-Man’s identity.

And best of all, we applied thumbstick covers. No more slippery thumbsticks. The dbrand thumbstick covers have a pleasant texture to them, add extra height for better control, and still allow for motion controls to be activated through touch. We find this to be most pleasing.

We are Carnage. We are definitely not associated with Sony.

dbrand’s Steam Deck Killswitch Case with the Carnage skin costs $59.95 USD (roughly $81.28 CAD). The Carnage skin on its own is $49.95. There’s also a version of the case for the Steam Deck OLED.

  • – Chris Brown

AirPods Pro Grip Case with Carnage skin 

Let me start by saying that I don’t like anything Marvel-related (except for Deadpool) and I’ve never had an affinity for Spider-Man, so I’m surprised at how much dbrand’s AirPods Pro Grip Case with the Carnage skin has grown on me.

My initial “what the hell” reaction slowly turned into, “this is cool” the more I looked at its intricate web design that’s clearly and amusingly a cut well above Sony’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 PlayStation. It’s different from any case or skin I’ve seen before and you can tell dbrand put a lot of work into its design. In a crowded industry, that counts for something. Since the skin slots right onto the case, attaching it was easy and only took a few minutes.

The Grip Case is great and features a cool-looking textured matte finish that feels great in my hand. And as someone who hates how easily the AirPods Pro case gets scratched, it makes my lizard brain rest far easier. It’s a bit on the pricey side compared to other AirPods cases I’ve used over the years, but in a sense, you get what you pay for here.

This truly feels like a high-quality enclosure for your AirPods.

dbrand’s AirPods Pro Grip Case with Carnage skin costs $34.90 USD (roughly $47.33 CAD).

– Patrick O’Rourke

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