Picking a phone case that fits your lifestyle, your usage habits, is just as important as selecting the phone itself. Because we all utilize these pocket-size, super-fragile, thousand-dollar investments different ways. And with phone prices on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect your device without feeling it’s trapped in the wrong case.
Some of us excel at taking great care of our phones, never dropping them, never texting when we’re walking, rarely pulling it out of a bag, purse, pocket just because it beeped. We commend you!
Some of us hate cases. This group of people – you know, digital minimalists – resent any case that adds 0.00001 lbs. of weight. They object to any mass added to their phone, no matter how well bumpers keep their devices safe. But they realize it only takes one unlucky drop to ruin that Samsung S20, iPhone SE, Galaxy Pixel 4 or other smartphones on the market.
The rest of us (myself included)? We multitask life. As a former journalist now in marketing, I use my phone to take photos everywhere, record videos everywhere, check my bank accounts on the go, post to numerous social media accounts for business and personal use, check in early to flights, organize this week’s grocery list (don’t forget the unsweetened almond milk and avocado), debate with siblings about nothing particular in a group text, operate the bedroom television, listen to music at the gym, check endless email, find cheat day recipes, take selfies while indoor rock climbing… there’s more, but I’ll stop here.
You live this life? You need some level of drop protection. To get started, here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of phone cases on the market:
Clear, Rugged, Athletic, Holster, Sleek (Slim), Water Resistant/Waterproof, Armband, Cases with Sleeves (aka Pock-Its)
CLEAR CASES (Also known as Slim cases)
WHO SHOULD BUY CLEAR CASES? – You take great care of your phone, so you don’t need max protection. You need just enough to survive occasional drops. You love the angles of your phone, so you want a phone case that doesn’t compete with the device for your attention. In other words, a case that lets the phone shine.
WHO SHOULD BUY ATHLETIC CASES? – Your sporting adventures take you from the basketball court to the tennis court; paintball adventures to yoga and pilates classes.
This case is moisture resistant, which is perfect in humid environments.
RUGGED CASES (Also known as Tough or Full-Body cases)
WHO SHOULD BUY RUGGED CASES – You’re one of three people. One is a self-proclaimed klutz. You’d drop your head if it wasn’t attached. Meanwhile, you drop your phone every third time you take it out of your pocket. At home, you toss it in the air as you think… You’re a creative. Your phone is more than a device to take and receive calls. It’s your livelihood. Your videos, photos and social media posts from various locations equate to high usage and high probability of drops… You’re a fan of the outdoors – from working hours to after hours. At work, it’s not you, but it is the environment you work in. Your job demands that you utilize the phone with wet/moist/sweaty hands; a construction site or residential gig (attic, floor space, etc.). Off the clock, your idea of relaxation is casting a pole out in salt water, waiting for a catfish to make your day.
WATER RESISTANT/WATERPROOF CASES
WHO SHOULD BUY WATER RESISTANT/WATERPROOF CASES? – You work around watery situations – plumbers, engineers, marine biologists, etc…In a few weeks, you’re flying to a tropical destination...Or launching your fishing poles in a lake. Better yet, one of your favorite weekday activities is lounging in the sauna, steam room and swimming pool at the gym.
WHO SHOULD BUY SLEEK CASES? – You desire the perfect balance between protection and pretty. Slim and Strong. Multi-layered designs and magnificent looks.
- Armband with Screen Protector
WHO SHOULD BUY ARMBAND CASES? – Your workouts are too intense to reach in your pocket every few minutes to retrieve your phone. Or, your favorite workout leggings and yoga pants don’t have pockets.
Battery Cases – Invested in the mid-2000s and popularized in the early 2010s, these cases played an important role in early smartphone use. Today’s phones, though, enjoy extended battery life, and can even charge other devices, leaving little need for battery cases.
There was a time – ancient time, like seven years ago – when phone enthusiasts had to choose between protection, usability, and style. Consumers suffered, forced to buy protective cases that barely (or didn’t) fit in yoga pants pockets… or stylish cases that lacked the strength to protect against cracked screens. #fail
Luckily, those days are gone. You can now purchase a phone case that defends against accidental bumps and falls; is lightweight; works with wireless charging; has precise cutouts, allowing for easy access to all ports, buttons and functions. And just as important, today’s stylish cases match your sneakers or Friday night outfit (This low-priced phone survived a 20-feet fall at CNET’s CES 2019 in Las Vegas).
Every case is not built the same. Example: At CES 2018 in Las Vegas, The Unicorn Beetle Pro dominated the drop test competition held between global phone case manufacturers.
While the UB Pro is available for under $25 on Amazon, its competition is twice, sometimes three times the price.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Estwick writes about phones cases and other digital devices that keep the world running smooth – or doing too much, depending on your perspective. His bylines have appeared in the Miami Herald, New Orleans Advocate, Austin American-Statesman, New York Daily News, Men’s Fitness, and other publications. He’s the paintball-champion-in-residence at our international headquarters in Atlanta; which really means he’s always keeping score. He’s also a fan of hot chicken, cool jazz, the New Orleans Saints and whiteboard scribbles that only he can sometimes understand.