When it comes to smartphone cameras these days, with DSLR-quality lenses and growing camera bumps, you'll want to keep your front and rear glass as protected as possible. Even a hairline fracture can completely ruin your ability to capture clear images or enjoy Facetiming. The tricky thing is it's not usually something we worry about — until a lens finally scratches or cracks and it's too late. What would have been a small price to pay for added protection, is now a big investment to repair.
While tempered glass lens protectors are available, they are really your last line of defense. The best way to safeguard your phone cameras in almost all situations is with a protective case. It doesn't have to be a rugged or bulky case, but it does have to be a case with certain protective qualities in the design, features, and materials. Here are must-have features and qualities that you need in a case to protect those precious high megapixel cameras.
High Quality Materials
To keep your phone and camera lenses safe, you need a case that has the right materials. Some manufacturers use silicone to absorb impact, but silicone also turns yellow over time. That's why we use thermoplastic polyurethane, commonly abbreviated as TPU. Thermoplastic polyurethane is a rubber-like material that's very smooth, yet as flexible as it is durable. When a case made of TPU is dropped, it bounces like a tire, which is actually its way of absorbing the impact. This also prevents your phone and lenses from absorbing the shock and splintering.
Another important component is a plastic known as polycarbonate (or PC). The PC used in our cases makes them scratch-resistant, but more importantly it gives the TPU a rigid structure that won't bend or break. (This is partly the reason why we can run over our cases with cars and nothing happens.) Look for cases that use a perfect blend of these materials to divert as much shock as possible away from your lenses. Full-body cases made of these materials are the best way to guard your cameras from drops, scrapes, and other stress.
Is it a bevel or a bezel? And what is a bevel/bezel anyway? Well, it's actually a bezel (a bevel is like a sloped edge, while a bezel is basically a rim) and it's a much needed buffer between your lenses and damaging surfaces. Without this buffer, everytime you place your phone down on a rough or uneven surface like wood or concrete, whether faceup or facedown you risk scratching your cameras. Our cases feature deeply raised bezels, which is how we're able to run them over with a car without damaging the cameras or phone.
Of course, like a car you can have all the best parts in the world, but it doesn't mean you'll win the race. The best phone cases to protect your cameras from scratches and damage not only have to have the right materials and raised bezels, but years of proven engineering and design. Our covers, for example, use a unique honeycomb pattern inside the case to help distribute shock. SUPCASE is also known for full-body covers with front and back casing, essentially creating a reinforced exoskeleton that takes the brunt of any force.
The best full-body case to protect your cameras is the Unicorn Beetle PRO, which won CNET's first annual drop test in 2018 with the highest total feet. If you're serious about your cameras, the UB Pro is your best bet to protecting your investment. Most models include a built-in screen protector which also protects your selfie cam, and the UB Pro has the deepest bezels of any of our cases. The UB Pro is also made of polycarbonate and densely packed TPU that adds very little bulk considering the premium level of protection, all for a price of $19.99 on Amazon.
How else can you protect your camera from scratches and damage? Aside from a reliable case, as we mentioned there are increasingly more lens protectors like the ones we offer for iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. These are a great last line of defense, especially if you prefer thinner cases like the UB Style, to absorb any last shock before your lenses do. Belt holsters, which come free with every UB Pro, are also a great way to keep your phone off damaging surfaces, and out of pockets full of keys and other sharp objects.
After that, it's really up to chance so do everything you can to help your chances: if you have to put your phone on a surface, try putting it facedown with your rear lens up; never drive with your phone in your lap or loose in a car; keep sharp objects in a different pocket than your phone; and avoid slamming your phone, by all means! This is one of the most common causes as we tend to mindlessly move or toss one of our most frequently used tools around.
So take precaution, get the right protective case for you, and enjoy taking family photos and selfies without worry now that you know how to protect your camera from scratches and damage.