Everyday nearly every device I see has a case or some sort of cover on it. I’ve never hopped on the “case” bandwagon for my devices and have typically carried them “bare” with either a minimal case or no case at all. In the spring of 2019, after receiving my brand new Samsung Galaxy S10 with pre installed screen protector, my outlook on “casing” your device has changed. The first thought that popped into my head was, “why would I WANT to put a case on my device?”, while I understand why a lot of people choose cases and skins to reflect their personality or brand support I see no need in putting a protective case like a LifeProof, OtterBox or any type of bulky case on the device unless your lifestyle or job requires it. In the past I have put a slim case that offers some protection and a larger case when needed, however most of the time if I was at the beach or hiking somewhere the device stayed in a hard case or a padded backpack.
The fundamental purpose of a case is to protect your device from any type of damage outside the manufactures envelope. This “envelope” is what is typically quoted during a product announcement, product promotions and technical specifications. The strength of the frame and or glass of the device may be quoted at being able to tolerate certain levels of damage may be mentioned, but it’s no guarentte that the device will survive without any damage. You see, these protective features” are really just for peace of mind, while I’m not saying they don’t work as advertised, its still no excuse for not being careless with your device. In order to protect your device with peace of mind you just typically purchase a case and or screen protector and put it pin the drive right? While this significantly protects your device more than being a “bare naked” device, you might not be getting the protection you need or even hindering your use of the device. For years OtterBox and Lifeproof cases dominated this market, at least that what it seemed like for me since just about everybody I knew, including my family put one of these 2 branded cases on their device(s). I never jumped on that bandwagon, and yet here I am currently with a Samsung Galaxy S10 with no case and the preinstalled screen protecter, a year and half into owning and carring the device daily with only minor scuffs that are only visible with a magnifying glass. For me I trust the device ratings for damage and am careful enough that my routine does not allow me to handle my device in a way that could cause “catastrophic” damage to it, that’s not to say I’ve never had any close calls though. At least twice my phone has gone flying across the counter to the floor after being caught on a stack of papers or a hand towel. While the impact sounded deafening, the reality was just a hard impact, flat on its back to the floor, what will destroy your device is an impact to the corner or side or a direct blunt impact to the front screen or rear of the device. The functionality of a case for a mobile device should first prioritize functionality and usability, what use is a case that needs to be removed to use any adapters or other derives that need to be interfaced with, such as barcode scanners or some other type of adapter. It’s important to first figure out what environment your device will operate in, then determine if anything needs to be connected to it through a wire, next the time it will be used needs to be taken into effect, for tablets will a case with a handhold or strap be more comfortable or one with a soft case come in handy. For phones there really is no reason to put a bulky case on the drive unless you are going rugged such as on a hike or job site or are prone to dropping your device. For daily use a good screen protector, maybe glass if you like the glass feel, (these can be tricky to apply and replace and may cause damage to the underlying screen if abused) and a comfortable case that protects at least 3 sides of the device and has a raised lip around the front screen should get the job done. It’s always a good idea to have a backup case on hand and maybe 2 different types, a “daily driver” of sorts and a rugged case for other adventures you may take. Another option is to buy a case, such as the Pelican 1020 Micro Case to deposit your phone in while spending a day hiking or at the beach. Most case and screen protector options come in around $30 on average with some case and screen protector manufactures taking on liability for your device up to a certain amount if damage occurs while protected by their product (check product liability details for coverage).
Some case are purely for joy but do offer protection, such as the below “piggy” case. For kids cases like these are a must, comfortable to use, offers protection and are easy to replace and maintain.
“…remember some protection is better than no protection when it comes to your device.”
When it comes down to it, a screen protector should always be applied, their are many options weather it be plastic, glass or a hybrid combination a screen protector will do wonders for your devices screen saving it from any grit that rub against it in your pocket to its from your skin. Most devices ship with an oleophobic coating on the screen glass to protect it from degradation from certain oils and substances, however this wears off over time, a screen protector preserves this, but may not offer the same protection on the protector. My personal favorite screen protector is an Invisible Shield, they’re reasonably price (~$20) and offer free, yes free replacement (shipping cost not included, ~$4) to replace if it wears out or you are just not happy with you install (done that a few times) or the protector gets damaged protecting your device. The latest Samsung Galaxy series phones have been shipping with a “pre installed” screen protector to facilitate optimal use of the under screen fingerprint reader, I have left mine on for the last year and half and have had absolutely zero issues with it, I call that a win-win.
To close, cases may not be for everybody (me!), however it’s important to feel comfortable with your device and have a piece of mind that it can survive some mild damage and wear and tear. Getting a good case for your device that will enable you to get the most out of your device without getting in the way and ideally disappearing entirely when using. Not all cases are made equal and just because everybody else is using a certain type of case does not mean that it’s for you, remember some protection is better than no protection when it comes to your device.