Protect your phone—and your wallet—with this easy to follow guide to the best phone cases.
Few people encounter devastation as frequently as those in the phone repair business. Repair technicians truly see their customers at their most vulnerable — trashed hardware clutched desperately in hand painfully awaiting the verdict and associated cost.
The world is filled with perils for the modern smartphone. With so many potential hazards, it’s best to act pre-emptively and get your phone a good case as soon as you buy it.
The world is filled with potential tech treachery, so it’s best to act pre-emptively and wrap your phone in a protective case.
To get some insight, we spoke to head of product and former repair technician Jennifer “Just Jen” Thomson of CaseFace. During her tenure, she has seen it all. Phones crushed by cars, phones melted by hairdryers and the all too common phone in the toilet. Now, pre-emptively protecting phones with cases instead of repairing them, she’s here to give some insight into the most common phone repairs and how you can avoid them.
According to Jen, the most common problem that brings customers to phone repair shops is impact trauma, usually in the form of a shattered screen. Today’s modern smartphone typically contains an all-glass front screen which is particularly vulnerable to impact.
For basic protection, choose a case which is made (or partially composed) of a shock-absorbent material such as TPU, rubber of silicone. These types of cases usually offer protection to your phones corners as theses are one of the most vulnerable points.
Plastic cases do not offer the same level of protection as these materials and are likely to transfer the impact shock onto the device itself.
With that in mind, what you buy should really depend on you and how you use your phone. If you’re confident that you’re an attentive and alert individual who will only subject your phone to minor scratches and bumps, then you may only need an aesthetic slim cover which can really show off the design of the phone.
If (like me) you’re more prone to catastrophic accidents, then Cases with thick, bulky shells will add significantly greater protection and absorb greater shock — with the caveat of being bulkier. These types of cases are a must-have for younger uses and the perpetually clumsy (me again).
“The age we acquire smartphones is decreasing significantly” says Thomson, recounting horror stories of children and teenagers dropping, stepping on or otherwise damaging their expensive phones. For these demographics, a bulky case may not be pretty but it’s pretty much a necessity.
Among others, Thomson recommends Unicorn Beetle as a solid option for protecting your phone.
Unicorn beetle have a solid reputation for providing excellent quality, rugged cases. Their flagship case the eponymous “Unicorn Beetle” is a popular choice among many smartphone users. The UB series has a rigorous testing process for durability and is consistently ranked among the best protective cases on the market today. Not only does this model protect your screen, but your rear, ports and buttons are all comfortable encased and protected.
Consider Your Needs
Thomson says that water damage is far less common than screen damage, though aquatic accidents are still quite prevalent, especially during the summer periods when people tend to frequent swimming pools and beaches. More and more people now venture into the water with their phone in search of the elusive perfect snap and if you cannot resist the call of the sea, then you may want to invest in a waterproof case. There are many options available, but a brand specifically tailored to combat water damage is Pelican cases. Pelican have an excellent range of waterproof cases and are tried and tested.
For heavy users, battery life is likely an issue. Many case manufacturers now double up as power banks to provide that much needed juice. These cases were initially almost as fragile as the phone itself but as technology has advanced, they have become quite robust and offer a good level of protection. If you’re constantly stretching your battery life to the max, Mophie cases offer a fantastic range that strikes a balance between form, function and protection.
Should You Use a Screen Protector?
Most phone accessory retailers recommend pairing your case with a screen protector. These slim protectors are made from specialised plastic or laminated glass which adhere directly to the surface of the phone to add an extra layer of protection. But are they necessary?
Thomson recommends that you always purchase a screen protector, especially for clip on cases which cover the rear only. However, it’s worth noting that not all screen protectors are created equal, many cheaper options are made from inferior materials and offer little to no benefit at all. So, avoid the $1.99 screen protectors from AliExpress and stick to a trusted retailer. Most experts recommend tempered glass screen protectors as these offer the highest level of protection.
Screen protectors come with varying “hardness ratings”. Jen recommends you opt for a 9H hardness rating as it is the perfect thickness without compromising screen clarity.
While cases can be an incredibly effective tool in protecting our phones, its good to keep in mind, that no case is 100% effective and there is no substitute for conscientiously caring for your phone.