Do you really need a case for your phone or tablet?
Posted on June 14, 2014, Saturday
When we first buy our phone or tablet, the first thing we do is buy a case for it. Some people want cases for protection and some people just want their devices to look different from others. But is the extra layer of bulk on your phone necessary? Well, it depends on who you are – let’s find out if cases are needed. Let’s take a look at how to take care of our device too.
I need a case!
I am careless!
If you are a very clumsy person and you drop your device all the time, please get yourself a case because dropping and smashing an expensive thing is not a clever thing to do. But bear in mind that not all types of cases can protect your device from a fall. Typically thin and hard cases can prevent scratches but cannot protect your device from the impact of being dropped.
Only soft materials are able to absorb the impact energy. Cases that only cover the back will not do you any good either when your device falls with the screen facing down. So the bottom line here is that unless you are using the correct casing that can absorb shock and cover the front, the protection you gain is probably only against external scratches.
I hate scratches!
Who loves scratches? No one. Speaking of scratches, sometimes we put our devices together with other things in our pockets or bags, items with sharp edges like keys that can scratch the device body and screen. This is especially true for the body of the device as it is not scratch-proof. (We will come to the screen later.)
Unless you baby your phone – even with the case on – we will begin to see scratches on our devices after some time and use. It’s very common for people to change case and ironically sometimes its the case that can damage the device if the case is too tight.
Make sure you are gentle when you’re removing and replacing the case. Moving parts in the case might scratch your devices too. For example, my iPad was damaged by the Smart Cover. ( New smart covers, however, have the metal part covered so there might be no problem with them now.)
My Case is Nice!
Well, you probably won’t stand out in a crowd if you are using the same model as others. No worries, problem solved with cases as they can reflect your identity and taste. If your phone design is unspectacular, you might want to cover it with a case that has a more distinct design. But please do not use cases in the shape of a human ear like the one below or something else weird. Its just too awkward!
My Case is Smart!
Some cases can provide extra functionality for your device. Flipping over a Smart Cover will unlock the iPad automatically. Samsung S View Cover allows you to use your phone without unlocking it. The most useful case in my opinion is the Type Cover for Microsoft Surface tablet where its actually a keyboard. These cases will make your devices smarter and easier to use.
I Love Changing Devices!
If you upgrade your devices very often, you might resell your old device. An unscratched, well-maintained device will have a better resale value. If you plan to use your device for a long time, it’s most likely that by the time you want to sell it the price will be quite low. In that case, external scratches will not likely be a factor in the resale price. Imagine selling a 3-year old Samsung Galaxy SII; the price won’t be too sweet even it’s in perfect condition.
I Don’t Need a Case!
I Love the Design!
For devices like iPhone 5s and HTC One M8, the phones themselves are gorgeous and sexy. So why cover the beautifully crafted bodywork with a case? In the case of the HTC One M8, one of the main selling points is the premium full metal body and I see no reason to cover it with a case.
Even Samsung had put in effort in the material used. The touch of the faux leatherback on Note 3 is certainly better than typical casings. Designers spent hours and hours to decide the look, the material, the feel in hand and the manufacturing ways for the devices. The hard work behind each device is unimaginable. For me, its quite ironic to use a case so that you won’t damage the good-looking phone body and yet the design of the phone is covered by the case.
Who needs cases when you can replace the back? Some phones like my Lumia 620 has a replaceable back and I can easily change it if I want. This will omit the need of a back case as I can replace it if it’s scratched. However, I have no scratches on either my black or blue replaceable backs after using them for a year.
Cases are Bulky!
Who doesn’t like light devices? So why add the bulk on your device? Phones nowadays are getting larger; when you add in a case, the chance you may drop it will increase. The front cover of the case is irritating too when you want to hold the device up. When taking photos, the front cover will always present a problem, making the phone hard to hold up thereby making the photos shaky.
Cases are Expensive!
We know that usually cheap things aren’t good and good things aren’t cheap. This is true for cases. Most of the time the more you spend, the better protection you get. You can get cheap cases online (what I am doing now) but the quality can never match those cases in the stores with the high price tags. Cases can cost up to hundreds, which is insane to me. Its like almost 10% of the price of the devices! In the end you might spend more on cases than the cost of replacing the chassis of the phone.
Sometimes when we are using the devices, the CPU inside is doing a heavy job and it heats up our device. We know that heat is never good for our electronics’ lifespan. In a worst-case scenario, overheating the device can kill the whole thing.
Since most cases are not metal, they are usually heat insulators. A case will reduce the device’s ability to dissipate heat into surroundings and this will be no good for your device. If you have to use a case, make sure you remove it when you are playing games or charging the phone, as these activities will usually generate some heat.
My Device is Strong!
Over the years, the durability of devices have been improving as consumers are asking for it. For better devices, the screen is usually covered by Corning Gorilla Glass which can hardly be scratched even under torture – literally. Click here to know more about Gorilla Glass in my Know The Tech series.
For the back of the phone, LG G Flex has a self-healing back and it claims to have the ability to recover tiny scratches on its own. There is no word from LG on how they did it. Review shows that the back can really recover the scratches, provided the scratches are not too big and not too deep.
For me, I don’t really see the need for a case unless it can provide my device some extra functionality. I don’t upgrade my devices that often, so resale value is not really an issue for me. If the scratches accumulated over time is becoming an eye-sore, by that time I might consider a case to cover it up. For now, no case for me. What about you? Vote here to share your opinions on cases!
Yan Duan is the owner of OrGui Tech Blog, a young Malaysian who shares his thoughts on current trending technology. Hoping to provide a platform for people to learn about new technologies and make the most out of their gadgets. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kindly visit http://orgui.wordpress.com for more technology stories.