Features to Look for When Shopping for a New Phone Case
Smartphone repair technicians know more than most people about the stupid things people do. Shakespeare is great at making sharp observations about people, but the people who fix our phones see us at our most vulnerable, with broken hardware in our hands and usually some embarrassing mistake to confess.
Some companies have seen everything. A client dropped his phone in the snow and found it in a puddle of melted snow two months later. A customer brought in a phone that had been run over by a truck. The screen had tire chain marks on it.
Their experience shows that even if you promise to be careful, the world is full of tech dangers, so it’s best to be proactive and put a case on your phone.
Keep your phone safe from drops.
Customers most often go to repair shops because their glass screens are broken. Screens are more likely to break if they are hit in a corner, where the force on the glass is more concentrated.
Choose a case made of a shock-absorbing material (like silicone or rubber) that protects your phone’s corners as a minimum level of protection. Some experts tell people who own smartphones not to use plastic cases because they don’t absorb shock well and are likely to cause the device to break if it gets hit.
After that, the phone you buy will depend on how and where you use it. If you’re sure you’ll only bump and drop your phone a few times a day, a thin case might be fine. Cases with thick, bulky shells weigh more and can take more of a beating.
Think about what you need
Screen damage is much more common than water damage, but it happens when people accidentally take their phones swimming on long weekends or in the summer. If you can’t resist the call of the sea, find a case that is waterproof and has been tested for drops so that it can handle being dunked by accident.
Since water resistance became a standard feature in the best phones, water damage is less of a problem, but keep in mind that this protection doesn’t work in the ocean. Saltwater can damage your phone, so a waterproof case might be a good idea if there’s any chance it will get wet.
If you’re always maximizing battery use, some cases can also be used to charge it. Wallet cases (sometimes called folio) can hold your phone and other important things, like your drivers license or discount card you often forget to bring to the pizza joint. As a plus, these can protect your phone surprisingly well, since many of them cover the edges completely and have a metal clasp that holds the phone in place.
Should You Protect Your Screen?
Phone accessory stores often sell screen protectors that stick right to the touchscreen surface of the phone. Our experts say that you should buy tempered glass screen protectors instead of plastic ones because they are better at preventing scratches.
A screen protector can only protect against some kinds of damage. Sticky screen protectors do a good job of protecting phones from direct force on the touchscreen, but they don’t work as well when the phone is hit from the side or corner. A case should be used with a screen protector made of tempered glass.
How to Find Your Best Fit
You should choose a color and design that fit your style, but there are a few other things to think about. Think about how the case will feel when you hold it. Many cases have ridges on the sides or a different finish to make them easier to hold. After all, the best way to protect your phone from drops is to never drop it. Do you want a kickstand so you can watch movies on your phone in landscape mode?
Watch out for stiff button covers or cutouts that don’t fit well. Ports and camera lenses should have big enough holes so that they don’t get in the way of using your phone. Sometimes, thicker, more rugged cases can get in the way of wireless charging. If you can’t try out a case before buying it, read some reviews online or contact the maker.
Most phone cases are made of plastic, usually a mix of polycarbonate, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), or both. But what will happen when you get a new phone in a few years? That case will probably end up in the growing pile of plastic trash and could easily last longer than you. We’re starting to see biodegradable phone cases made of plastic, but if you’re worried about how plastic affects the environment, you might want to choose another material, like wood that doesn’t harm the environment.