Weekend Open Forum: Do you use a case with your smartphone?

By on July 26, 2013, 7:00 PM
smartphone, case, cell phone

Back when I got my first cell phone (Nokia 5110), the idea of protecting it with a case wasn’t exactly mainstream. I recall there being a few leather “sleeves” that you could slide your phone into but these really did little to protect a handset at times when gravity took over. Granted, phones of yesteryear were also much more durable and had tiny screens that weren’t prone to cracking, but I digress.

The market has changed drastically since that time. Virtually everyone has a smartphone of some sort and with the average cost of a high-end smartphone sitting somewhere around the $600 mark and our increased dependence on these devices, the desire to protect the investment is greater than ever.

With this week’s open forum, we are curious to know whether or not you have a case on your smartphone. It’s almost criminal to cover up a sleek and sexy gadget with a bulky case but if you’re the clumsy type or you simply want it to last, it’s the price you have to pay.

Sound off in the comments below!

User Comments: 44

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1 person liked this | soulsassassin said:

I never used a cover on my phones I think they make the phone very ugly and big

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Nope, and I haven't regretted it yet.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I have an otterbox defender on my phone, it's saved it a few times.

TrueBooleanFals TrueBooleanFals said:

I had a slim case on my original MotoDroid, fell face first on rocks and broke the screen. I took it apart and put a new digitizer and screen in it... breaking the power button.

I had a Blackberry Curve 8520 with no case. Turned out fine.

Got a Droid Incredible, had a Trident Kraken protector on it, amazing case, loved it better than my sisters OtterBox. I dropped it on asphalt, from a roof top, in decent sized puddles of water, manure, loved the case. The belt clip broke a year after I got it and I wanted another, but Trident no longer sold anything for the Incredible. They sent me out an Iphone belt clip, in which I called back and said it did not fit. They sent me out three more clips, each for different types of phone and one worked fine, I called back to see where to ship the other three back so I didn't get charged for them, the rep told me I did not have to send them back, that they were just happy I found what I needed.

I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 now for a year with no case, but it does have a screen protector. I have dropped it about five feet in the air a few times, hit it with the cherry of my cigarette a bit, had it rained on while in my pocket, slammed drills on it as well as other tools. It is fine without a case. I do admit though, the keys in my pocket have scratched the battery cover up, but hey, whatever.

At work, we have the Galaxy Note 1, and it uses the OtterBox. I tell you, I hate using the thing because the case makes it so much larger, it holds rain water in to the phone, doesn't seem to protect the screen, scratches real easily, and customers have difficulty signing their contracts with the screen protector on.

Mind you, the majority of the damage on my own personal phones is while on military duty, excluding my S3 as I am no longer serving. The work phone is with Dish Network, so I guess they take quite a bit of abuse on average.

Lwerewolf said:

Sony Xperia S, with the s-line case and a matte screen protector.

IMO, looks superb: [link]

Those grips on the sides do work considerably well too.

As for what it has survived thus far - several falls on concrete, road surface, mountain bike drops and I don't mean cross-country

Win7Dev said:

I have a defender series otterbox on my Droid Bionic. It feels like a brick but protects the phone. The phone itself looks brand new if I take it out of the case.

JC713 JC713 said:

I use the Spigen SlimArmor on my iPhone 5. Great case...

Guest said:

I like to find a balance between protection and looks.

Right now on my S4, I have a BoxWave Blackout case, which is very slim but offers a bit of protection. I actually like the smooth dull black look on the back more than I like the silly pattern on the S4 cover, and it raises the screen off the ground to keep from scratching the phone sceen-down on rough surface. I feel like it makes the phone look nice and finished off, and it feels more solid.

Luurch said:

I have always seemed to have a case for my phone, from my Rugged patent pending case with heavy duty metal clip on the i530 and then into a i560 I think it was with another rugged yet cheaper case.

Once I moved into the smartphone world, which I am still behind in simply because I cannot afford it otherwise, My LG Vu (cu920) crappy phone had a generic leather pouch for it, at upgrade time I got myself a Galaxy 1 Captivate, and got a Otterbox impact for that for a great deal from someone who doesn't know how to read packaging labels at Wal-Mart.

Most recent upgrade has been to the galaxy S3 and being the nicest phone I have had, it recieved an otterbox defender, clip has broke, and the edges of the rubber part of the case are way loose but it still stays on the phone, I can't really say that the case has saved it or not, but I am intending on getting one of those 7000mAH batteries for it, would like to see a couple days use out of it for a change, about sick of these small batteries in these phones so you are forced to wear out the aging micro usb port and have to replace it with a new phone...

1 person liked this | hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I've used a case on 1 out of the 8 phones I've had. It was a Galaxy S with the rubber skin that came with it. I had to use it because the buttons were too easy to press without it, and it made it more comfortable to hold in landscape mode.

With my current phone, no. I think it looks too good to put a case or a skin on it.

-LG P930

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

What smart phone?

misor misor said:

No phone cases here for my feature phones in the past or current smartphone.

nokia 5110 (sold)

nokia 3210 (sold)

nokia 3315 (traded)

nokia 6110 (dead)

nokia 7210 (plastic screen has 'flakes', working, stored)

nokia 70 (dead)

nokia 5320 (plastic screen has 'flakes', working, stored)

bb 8890 (currently used)

Samsung galaxy y (currently used)

drjekel_mrhyde drjekel_mrhyde said:

Not on my Lumia 900 or 920

1 person liked this | Nathan550 Nathan550 said:

I've never used a case in my life, I've gone through my smart phones without additional protection.

My Samsung S3 screen cracked when I dropped it and got an iPhone 4S, my iPhone is scuffed and dented but still alive. I've recently got a S4 but the screen just shattered last week. Currently using a Sony Xperia Z, dropped it on the pavement but no damage so far:)

I'm terrible at caring for my phones and usually drop them but so far so good, bad experience with my samsungs so I'm very disappointed with their build quality...

But to cover up my $500-600 devices with an ugly case, NEVER!!!

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:


Guest said:

I've never used a case in my life, I've gone through my smart phones without additional protection.

My Samsung S3 screen cracked when I dropped it and got an iPhone 4S, my iPhone is scuffed and dented but still alive. I've recently got a S4 but the screen just shattered last week. Currently using a Sony Xperia Z, dropped it on the pavement but no damage so far [image link]

1 person liked this | LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

Having a case is much more stylish than having a cracked phone IMO

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Yes. I use a slim protective case for my iPhone 4. Thus far it has been a very good investment, as I've dropped the phone from considerable height onto concrete & hardwood 5-6 times now and have yet to damage anything.

Nobina Nobina said:

I had a case for my previous phone and every time it dropped, I didn't have the mask on

gcarter gcarter said:

I prefer one of those slips with a tab you can pull, to remove the phone / tablet etc

Best of both worlds in my mind... its protected whilst transporting, and when you are using the phone / tablet, it is displayed in all of its naked awesomeness!

Granted if you drop the device whilst in use, your screw*d but hey :-)

Guest said:

It's funny this got posted this week. I just got my first smart phone galaxy s2 (on a budget). It looks too sexy to put a case on it. Also, doesn't gorilla glass protect against scratches?

hitech0101 said:

Covers ruin the design of the phone. Used a screen protector its ok. I do have a cover for my tab but never used it just have one in case I have to carry the tab in a bag.

Railman said:

I use a case and as I have dropped my phone a few times it seems a wise precaution. It also helps keep it clean as I put my phone in my pocket.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have never got a case for any of my phones, all my past feature phones (mostly nokia's and samsungs) were just invincible, my iPhones (3GS, 4s, currently using 5) have never had cases.

My 3GS is battered on the corners but the screen is fine and it still works absolutely fine, 4s was very resilient against bumps until I was cycling one day down a hill, hit a log that fell out of a tree in front of me and landed, hip first, onto the phone at a good 30mph, the screen was on but the underside was smashed to hell, so it was still perfectly usable, you just got a cut hand from doing so!

My iPhone 5 is only a month or two old and still all ok, I personally don't understand putting cases on my phones (especially my iPhones) since they are made of all these fine materials and built in such a way they feel nice to hold, why ruin that with a cheap £10 case?

t3chn0vamp said:

I use a Capdase back cover for my Nexus 4 just to protect it in case of accidental drops.

treetops treetops said:

I have a HTC One V with no case, Iv dropped it on concrete at least 20 times. It still works fine, what eventually cracked it was a bar wench sitting on my lap. It still works though.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I'm paranoid about damaging my phone so I keep it locked up safely in a safety deposit box in the bank. It shouldn't get damaged there :-D. Honest answer... No the thing is insured & I don't have a money wasting range topping device so I'm not terribly concerned about it.

UO1988 said:

I have had otterbox commuter cases for my Galaxy S, S3 and now for my S4. My original Galaxy S, dropped from about 5 feet onto hard concrete shelf and cracked the screen. Eventually the case completely broke apart from removing to change batteries often. My S3, never cracked. The case did get a little worn, inside rubber torn at the headphone and charger covers but phone still works perfectly. When I got my S4, I didn't get an otterbox right away as I wanted to get it a little cheaper. Dropped my S4 twice on hard concrete. Screen was fine, but the plastic on the outside was chipped on every side. Since getting the otterbox, I have dropped it a few times and no damage what so ever. I will always buy a case until my phone is virtually unbreakable.

Guest said:

I do on my Lumia 920, but only at work (I'm a painter). I take it off once out of work. It's a rubber cover, so I get more grip, not so I care about scratches or dust or anything of that sort. Recently I was drunk on a company's trip and was dancing on golf court while the sprinklers were on, but that didn't damage the phone on anything. Of course speakers didn't work for a day, but it's OK :-)

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Smartphone? We don't need no steenking smartphones....!

KidChaos said:

Otterbox commuter on my last couple of phones has been great balance of protection without getting too bulky. Currently on Samsung Galaxy S3. During the old days of my Palm phones I cracked one too many and started getting cases and swear by them now. Usually order them before or same time as I buy a phone.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

..my smartphone is smart enough to protect itself *LoL

Timonius Timonius said:

My smartphone is still on the shelf at <insert overpriced provider>. I'd put a case on it if it provides basic protection and still allows me to fit it in most pockets. I'm pretty careful with my devices. So no problem here.

Guest said:

I don't use cases or screen protectors, and I don't buy insurance.

Cases make the phone too bulky.

Screen Protectors make the screen look like S**t.

The money I've saved by not paying monthly insurance over the years, I could buy a new flagship phone and still have money left over.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Can't find a case for my LG Optimus 4G LTE.. everywhere is swimming with pos iphone products..

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm INCREDIBLY brutal with my phones. My last flip phone was a stand in hammer a number of times and an emergency table foot almost just as often. Still have it and still works actually. Now I can't do that with a smart phone for sure without breaking it, but I'm still very cruel to my phones. so having at least SOMETHING to help keep them together is unfortunately necessary for me.

My old HTC Evo 4G survived probably over 4 dozen table height or higher drops, being completely submerged in a flowing creek (and having to run after it), and at this point that phone is effectively two haves as all but one screw for the casing have failed. But it still works (though retired) and I use a thin case to keep it together.

Now I have an HTC One (M7) with a thin case to protect the aluminum casing in the back, as well as provide a lip to raise the screen from whatever surface it is sitting on/being dropped to. I'll try to be more careful... HONEST... *klang klang klang*

nismo91 said:

Nope. not even a screen protector. the poor gorilla glass got scratches everywhere after I brought it to a beach. phone is almost two years old now. still the same old LG E900 Windows Phone 7.8. Might be putting case on my future phone if it's a high end one.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

After buying a new phone, Galaxy S3 Mini, I ran without a case for a few week but wasn't comfortable. Only takes a loss of concentration and it could easily break.

I decided to buy a small modest gel and silicone surround for it with a screen protector...and coming back off holiday I'm now glad I did. It's amazing how many nicks and scratches you pick up from lots of 'normal' day to day usage. The screen protector was worth it's weight in gold for me.

Guest said:

I now have a Galaxy S4 that I got from Best Buy and opted for the protection plan. So no I don't have a case on it.

Best Buy is the only protection plan I know of that covers against water damage (I don't think any of the big 3 carriers cover water damage if purchased direct from the carrier) and they also have no deductible (most of the carriers have a $100 deductible) granted this adds another $179 to the cost of the GS4 (if purchased up front) or $10 month for 2yrs.

But I also agree that these new smart phones are too sexy to have a case on them and with all the advances in tech ie: Gorilla Glass 3 (on the GS4) I'm not worried about it getting scratched up in my pocket.

gobbybobby said:

Never used a case, and Ive had the same HTC Touch 2 smartphone for Almost 4 years now. I will admit its rather slow at web browsing now, and the battery is not as good as it used to be and must be charged every day, but can still watch Youtube video on it, make calls and texts, why upgrade, also shows phones last a long time without protection, Ive dropped the thing 1000s of times, and it still looks in good shape and functions as day 1. (apart from the battery life of course)

I don't understand why people buy a new phone every year, seems a waste!

windmill007 said:

Elango case for iPhone. Awesomely slim and creates grip. Hate those big cases they look stupid.

SgtUSMC SgtUSMC said:

Used case and screen protector on Thunderbolt for the longest time. Living near the coast, sand tended to find a way in to my cars, my clothes, and yes, it worked its way into the spaces between my phone and my case. Then, *grind,grind,grind* and voila, my phone is all scratched up. So I did the only logical thing, which was throw the case in the trash. Dropped phone at least once since, on a hard floor -- undamaged. Figure I won't go back to cases.

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

I have an incredible case on my S4. I am a very klutzy person so I will get protective cases for my cellphone since I believe it's worth the investment. I have dropped my phone twice now. I have a soft case and a hard shell combination case and its thin enough that it is practically the size of the phone, but when I dropped it, no harm was done to the phone, just a little done to the case. Its a great investment if you wish you phones to last! (except the only thing that it doesn't protect from is dropping your phone in the toilet...I've learned my lesson, no electronics in the bathroom lol.)

1 person liked this | TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have a Otter Box Defender case for my Droid RAZR Max HD and I love the case and the warranty on it. Broke the belt clip after only having it for a month and the mailed me a new case no questions asked.

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