Choosing the right phone case

Picture of electronic devices
By Alex Burden, Student Blog

1 July 2016

Your device case could be the difference between peace of mind and paying out hundreds of pounds (or thousands) with loss of all data.

If you’re not a frequent ‘backer-upper’, suffer from butter fingers or have experienced temporary loss of motor control when in the throw of joy or anger, then you need a device case, and you need a good one.

How to choose your case

If you feel happy with a stick-on scratch resistant protector (which, for some of us, always seem to collect tiny bits of fluff until falling off in an unhelpful manner), then this feature is not for you.

If you want to be able to drop your phone from the top floor of the Shard and see it effortlessly float to the ground, then this feature is still not for you (come back in ten or 20 years).

First, work out what you really need; there are currently six types of cases on the market for electronic devices.

Folio or wallet cases: Usually in more aesthetically pleasing materials such as wood or leather, these cases often come with an extra slot for credit or business cards and provide great protection for your screen. Usually not watertight or shock-resistant, however.

Flip cases: Includes the ability to stand your device for viewing by flipping over the cover. Some hi-tech versions include docking stations for your device, but most will provide scratch-resistance and options on how you view your media.

Decals or silicone cases: Abundant, cheap and somewhat shock-absorbent (silicone), but will not hold up to heavy drops. Bonus of huge range of designs and personalisation, but you must remove the device from the case before charging for some models; otherwise you will end up with a slightly discoloured, if not charred, aesthetic.

Rugged cases: Fantastic if you fancy making phone calls on a stormy ship – the rugged design allows for great grip and most come with some level of waterproofing. Might make buttons a little harder to reach however, and most are made of rubber: avoid if you have a latex allergy.

Couture cases: These aren’t really a separate kind of case, but they are not your regular kind of buy either – alligator, titanium, gold and diamonds are the build materials of choice for the rich and famous. $880,000 – that’s the cost of one of the most expensive iPhone cases in the world, which includes an 18-carat white gold 3D dragon with 32 carats of diamonds.

Tough Cases: It’s not quite Shard-height, but tough cases are getting there. You can enjoy a few hours of bouncing your phone or tablet off the pavement without screen cracks (inside electronics not guaranteed!) using a plastic or metal-reinforced tough case. Great for adventuring, extreme phone calls from the tops of mountains, and for those allergic to the rugged cases!

Most hardwearing

Best buy: The curiously-named Otterbox Defender. This is a tough case, rugged case and part-folio case in one. Also great at making sure dust and other particles don’t enter open ports through a properly-secured case.

Super-tough: The Optrix by Body Glove is a pricier model that only works with iPhones, but it’s probably the only case to come with different attachable lenses to transform your photography skills in the wilderness. We say wilderness as this case is suited to fishing, mountain-climbing or skydiving, for instance. Rugged, waterproof and tough, this is the adventurers’ case.

Most practical

We couldn’t decide between the Mophie or Ampware: phone cases and charging units in one. The Mophie is a great city-dweller addition as it allows for charging wherever a wireless charging piece of tech lies. The Ampware, however is more of a long-distance travel companion as it works from a built-in crank generator - wind up and charge on the move.

Most stylish

The one you pick of course! There are plenty of cases that can be adapted with your own photos and designs such as, or you can find most of all popular culture available somewhere on the net. These following cases do not come with the same guarantees for phone protection, but where else can you get a tactile cartoon depiction of raw egg lying on a bed of rice in your hands or a 3D bleach bottle for that matter?


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