While I’m a huge fan of the NUC, I’ve never made a secret of not liking the lid. Not the design of the lid, but the finish. The aluminum case is pretty well scratch-resistant, but the glossy plastic lid is so prone to scratching it may as well be made of soft clay. For most it might not be a huge deal, but for someone like me, who is constantly messing around with the internals of the NUC, it means the lids take a beating.
A while back I got a little creative and Plasti-Dipped a NUC lid. The Plasti-Dip coating gave the lid a matte, rubbery finish and pretty well made the lid scratch proof. I loved the result, but it took a while to get it right. Getting the finish to NOT look like I’d spray painted the lid wasn’t easy and since it requires multiple coats, it took some time.
Enter GoRite. I’m a huge fan of their replacement and functional lids, and in my Plasti-Dip post I hinted that they might do well to come up with a scratch-resistant replacement lid. In particular, I thought it would be a good idea for their Qi charging lid, since it would have a phone rubbing on it all the time. But even a flat replacement lid with a scratch-proof coating would be a great idea, I thought.
GoRite decided to try a UV, scratch-resistant coating on a replacement lid, and they sent me a sample to beat up on!
At first glance, the lid looks identical to the factory NUC lid. It’s got a glossy finish, which I wasn’t expecting. I’d anticipated a matte finish, closer to the case on the Thin Canyon NUC. But this lid was full-on glossy. That worried me a bit, because it seemed it would be less durable. But who am I to judge? I have to admit, I’ve always liked the look of the glossy lids, just not the easy scratch-ability.
Abusing Some Perfectly Good Lids
The main point of the test was to see what, if any, difference there was in durability between the factory lid and the GoRite lid. The first thing I had to figure out was how to test the durability of the new lid quickly and fairly. I decided the best way to do a side by side comparison was to simulate a lot of normal activity in a short amount of time. That involved a box and a whole lot of bolts, screws, nuts, and washers.
Both the factory lid and the GoRite lid were brand new when I started. Both still had their protective plastic on them too, so they were pristine to start with.
I decided to try the same test on the lid I’d previously scratch-proofed on my own. Have a look at the video to see some lid abuse in action.
Comparing the Results
After subjecting all three lids to a decent amount of abuse, I lined them up to check the damage. I think the results speak for themselves, but you know me…I gotta say something.
First, let’s take a look at the factory lid:
As you can see, it’s badly scratched. There are dings, swirl marks, and straight scratches. No longer shiny and pretty. About what I expected.
Now, the GoRite Lid:
Apologies for the blur. I took about twenty shots and this was the best I could do. While there are a few small nicks on the lid, there are no swirl marks, no chips, and no large scratches. The glossy finish is, overall, intact. It’s no longer pristine, but it still looks nice and would pass a casual inspection.
Here’s a side-by-side shot for comparison, with the factory lid on the left:
That’s quite a difference…night and day. So while I can’t call the GoRite UV coated lid scratch-proof, I can comfortably call it scratch-resistant. It would obviously hold up much, much better than the factory lid under normal use.
Now, just for giggles, here’s my Plasti-Dipped lid after the test:
Not a mark on it (the two imperfections near the LED opening were the result of my original spraying, not the test). Turns out coating your lid in a thick layer of rubber makes it about as durable as possible. The down side is that it’s a lot more work. It requires some trial and error, and costs you a can of Plasti-Dip. But if you’re using your NUC in a rougher environment, or if you’re like me and you have it upside-down on the workbench a lot, you might think about it. It’s not going to look nearly as good as the GoRite or factory lids, but it will hold up to plenty of abuse.
For the average user, though, that would be overkill. The UV lid from GoRite is cheap, snaps on in seconds, and does the job well enough for most uses.
The UV-coated replacement lid from GoRite easily lives up to its scratch-resistant claim. It will keep your NUC looking newer, longer. It currently lists for $8.75 USD. That’s $1 more than their standard replacement lid. I would absolutely recommend if you’re getting a replacement lid to pay the extra dollar if scratches are even a mild concern for you. At just $1 more than the standard lid, the anti-scratch coating is well worth it.
I’m impressed! GoRite has made a lid that seamlessly replaces the factory lid, and adds some much needed toughness. I can highly recommend this lid. Low cost, easy installation, and high durability are a winning combination in my book!