Choosing the right phone case

Picture of different phones to talk about the best choice of case

Protect your smartphone—and your sanity—with this helpful guidance.

Experience shows that even if you’ve vowed to be careful, the world is filled with potential tech treachery, so it’s best to act pre-emptively and wrap your phone in a protective case.

Protect Your Phone From Impact

The most common problem brings customers to repair shops is shattered glass screens. Screens are particularly vulnerable to shattering if the point of impact is at a corner of the phone, where the force exerted on the glass is more concentrated.

For a baseline level of protection, choose a case made of a shock-absorbent material (like silicone or rubber) that covers your phone’s vulnerable corners. I advises smartphone owners against plastic cases, which do not effectively absorb shock and are likelier to translate any impact to the device itself.

Beyond that, what you buy depends on how and where you use your phone. A slim case may be fine if you’re confident you’ll only subject your phone to everyday bumps and minor drops. Try a translucent slim case like Totallee or Peel’s cases for iPhones, Google Pixel handsets, and Samsung Galaxy devices to show off your phone’s design.

Cases with thick, bulky shells add more weight and absorb greater shock. I recommends these cases for younger phone users.

“Teenagers are very much prone to breaking their phones,” noting stories of younger customers dropping or stepping on their phones. For teens (or let’s face it, grown adults) who prefer heavy-duty protection, I recommends Otter Box brand cases. Otter Box offers cases for iPhone and a wide variety of Android phones. The hallmark of the Otter Box brand is the Defender series cases, which undergo rigorous tests for durability. The Defender Series Case for the iPhone 13, for example, offers a durable polycarbonate shell, flaps that shield charging ports, and a holster. (Yes, a holster.) It gives your phone the hardy air of a miniature Transformer.

Consider Your Needs

Water damage is less common than screen damage, notes that aquatic accidents tend to occur during long weekends and summers when swimmers mistakenly take their phones along for a dip. If you can’t resist the call of the sea, Pelican’s Marine cases for iPhone offer waterproof, drop-tested protection to withstand surprise dunks. 

Water damage is less of an issue since water resistance became standard in the top phones, but bear in mind that this type of protection doesn’t extend to the ocean. Saltwater is corrosive, so a waterproof case could be a good idea if there’s any risk your phone is going to come into contact with it. 

If you’re constantly stretching the limits of your phone’s battery, Morphia offers cases that double as chargers. Folio or wallet cases, like these Pad & Quill ones for iPhone, can tote your phone, along with other necessities, like your ID and that stamp card you always seem to forget to bring to the frozen yogurt place. As a plus, notes that these can provide a surprisingly good level of protection, as many offer full coverage around the edges and a metal clasp that keeps the phone in place.

For non-iPhone users, specialized phone cases can be more difficult to find. An Android user, observes that many phone case companies design products solely for iPhones. You can usually find tons of options if you use a Samsung phone, a Google Pixel, or even a OnePlus phone, but your choices get slimmer from there. I recommends consulting with a local phone repair shop to have a customized case built.

Should You Use a Screen Protector?

Phone accessory retailers often carry screen protectors, which adhere directly to the phone’s touchscreen surface. Experts recommend investing in tempered glass screen protectors, which deflect scratches more effectively than plastic screen protectors.

I recommends that you look for screen protectors with a 9H hardness rating. “It’s the perfect thickness, and you still get that high-definition clarity in the screen,”.

But I warn that a screen protector’s level of defence again damaging impacts is limited. While adhesive screen protectors effectively shield phones from direct force on the touchscreen, they don’t hold up as well when the phone is impacted from the sides or corners. A tempered glass screen protector should be used in conjunction with a case.

Finding Your Ideal Case

You will want to pick a colour and design that suits your style, but there are a few other things worth thinking about. Consider how the case will feel in hand. Many cases have ridged sides or special finishes to enhance grip. After all, the best drop protection is not dropping your phone in the first place. Do you want a kickstand to prop the phone up in landscape mode while you watch movies?

Beware stiff button covers or ill-fitting cut outs. Openings for ports and camera lenses should be generous enough to not cause issues while using your phone. Thicker, rugged cases can sometimes interfere with wireless charging. If you can’t try a case out before buying, read some online reviews or ask the manufacturer.

Plastic is the most common material used for phone cases, usually polycarbonate, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), or a mixture of the two. But what happens when you upgrade your phone in a couple of years? That case will likely join the growing tide of plastic waste and could easily outlive you. We are starting to see biodegradable plastic phone cases, but if you’re concerned about the impact of plastic on the environment, it might be better to go with another material, like sustainable wood.