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The Definitive Phone Cases and Covers Buying Guide

phone cases buying guide

Current generation mobile phones are expensive and highly susceptible to mechanical damage to the screen and body. Such damages can cause huge losses, especially if they are irreparable. More importantly, the daily use can create marks on the phones and destroy their aesthetic value. To avoid such unpleasant events, users need phone cases to protect their devices. Doing so will not only offer protection against a mechanical impact, but it will also add a personalized and stylistic touch to the phone. Here is a complete mobile phone case guide on how to choose the right phone case.

The History of Phone Cases

The first mobile phone entered the market in the 1980s. Buying a phone at this time was an expensive thing that only the rich could afford to do. The cheapest phones could cost as high as $3,000 while the expensive ones could go for more than $10,000. Manufacturers wanted their customers to have a good experience by ensuring their phones would last as long as possible. This led to the discovery and development of phone cases.

The Rise of Phone Cases

The demand for phone cases rose to unprecedented levels when touchscreen phones came to the market in the late 2000s. The advent of the Apple iPhone in the year 2007 further fueled the demand. Those who bought the phone had to be more careful while handling lest they damage the highly fragile screen. Many users found themselves back at the Apple Store looking for replacements for their damaged phone screens. The use of covers and cases later spread to other major brands such as Samsung, Motorola and Blackberry.

How to Buy Phone Cases for your Mobile Device

There are over 4 billion mobile phone users worldwide, and each one of them requires a phone case for protection against damage. This has led to the proliferation of indistinguishable products in the market, with each product having unique qualities and prices. Some are unbranded while others bear the name of big brands such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, HTC, etc. This sheer variance leaves buyers with no choice but to consider several factors before they settle on a particular phone case.

mobile phone cases on display

Distinguishing Which Phone Cases are Right for You

Mobile cases and covers come in different shapes, sizes and functionalities. Some phone cases are designed for their aesthetic value, while others are engineered for maximum protection* against mechanical damage. Here are eight major categories of cases and covers, depending on functionality and design.

Shell Phone Cases

Shell cases provide protection to the sides and back of the phone and allow for easy access to the screen. The materials used for these cases are hard rigid plastic and provide good protection against minor mechanical impacts. It does not interfere with the original design of the phone or limit access to the phone’s buttons. However, shell-styled cases do not provide any protection to the phone’s screen. The screen is susceptible to damage if there is an accidental drop.

Bumper Phone Cases

Bumper cases* wrap around the outer edge of the phone and use thin strips of rubber that provide protection against bumps. They offer easy access to the phone and do not interfere with the phone’s original design or slim profile. Just like shells, they offer little protection to the screen in case of an accidental drop.

Skin Phone Cases

Skin-styled covers are made using silicone or vinyl rubber. They stretch around the outside of the phone but do not cover the screen. They are the most common types of cases. Their advantage is that they do not interfere with the design and profile of the phone. Skin phone cases* also increase the grip of the phone, since they are made using silicone rubber. A disadvantage is that they do not provide protection to the phone’s screen and cannot prevent damage from big drops.

Screen Protectors

Screen protectors are made of polyurethane films or tempered glass materials that are affixed on the phone’s screen. While they are not actual cases, screen protectors offer maximum protection to screens that are prone to scratches. They are also very cheap and easy to replace. However, they do not offer protection to the body of the phone. For maximum protection use a screen protector* and phone case together.

Protective Phone Cases

Protective cases combine a soft polyurethane interior skin and a tough polycarbonate exterior shell. This produces a tough phone case that can absorb considerable amounts of shock and maximum protection against drops, some from the height of 10-feet. Many protective cases feature built-in screen protectors that fully encase the phone. There are versions that are both water resistant and waterproof* to a depth of 6-feet or more. Protective phone cases are a great choice for those who lead an active outdoor lifestyle. The main drawback of these cases are the additional weight and bulk, making the phone more difficult to carry around.

Sports Armbands

Armbands allow users to strap phones on their arms while working-out or engaging in vigorous activities. The materials used for these armbands include silicone, rubber and fabric. They allow users to access their phones easily while engaging in vigorous activities. These cases are impractical to use outside a gym or sporting environment. For instance, they may look strange and inappropriate in a business meeting.

Phone Holsters, Pouches and Belt Clips

phone holster belt clipThese cases provide safe storage and accessibility while allowing for free movement. Holsters and Pouches attach to a belt using the built-in clip. They are available in a variety of materials such as tough plastic, nylon fabric, canvas and leather. Many larger phones do not fit comfortably into a pocket, which makes a phone holster or pouch a great choice!

Wallet Phone Cases

Wallet or flip-type cases cover both the back and front of the phone. The user can flip the front part open to access the phone’s screen. They offer a high degree of protection for both the phone’s body and screen. Some wallet cases include compartments to store cash or credit cards; others feature mirrors for applying makeup. Wallet cases add a considerable amount of weight and bulk to a phone and they also interfere with the phone’s sleek design.

Common Materials Used to Make Phone Cases

  • Hard Plastic – This material is very popular for making shell cases. It offers a high degree of protection to the body of the phone at an affordable price. It can be molded into any shape imaginable and is light-weight.
  • Metal – Metal alloys are extremely strong and provide maximum protection against minor and major drops. They are commonly found in flip-type cases and extreme protection cases. The downside is that metals cost a lot of money and add a considerable amount of weight.
  • Fabric -This material is mainly common in pouch and holster cases. It is washable, breathable and can be used to make cases of different sizes, shapes and designs.
  • Rubber – Phone cases made of rubber are extremely durable, flexible and cheap. They also offer good grip. Rubber is a common material used in bumpers, skins and sports-oriented cases.
  • Silicone – Silicone-based phone cases are known for their durability and cost-effectiveness. The material is mainly found in skin-type cases. This is the most popular material used to make cases and covers.
  • Leather – Cases made of genuine leather offer a high degree of protection and are aesthetically pleasing. However, they cost a lot of money.
  • (PU) Synthetic Leather – This is a cheaper and durable alternative to leather and among the most popular materials used in cases. However, it does not have the beautiful or professional appearance associated with real leather.
  • (PC) Polycarbonate – This material is known for its strength, toughness and optical transparency and can be molded into different shapes.
  • (TPU) Thermoplastic Polyurethane – This material is a hybrid mixture of soft silicone and hard plastic. It is an extremely durable material that is smooth to the touch, and has a nice grip while holding. Another added bonus is it easily slides in/out of the pocket and does not attract lint.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Phone Cases

Buyers should check their phone model to assure they’re buying the right case. They should choose a cover that provides the right level of protection. The cover should at least provide protection against mechanical impacts and unfavorable environmental conditions.

Buyers should also consider their work environment or lifestyle when choosing a case—someone who works at a construction site may need a different case from someone who works in an office setting.

In Closing

A mobile phone case is an important add-on that phone users should consider buying. Devices such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy have delicate touchscreens that require maximum protection. When choosing a case, buyers should consider the size and shape of their phones, features of the case and the type of material used to make the case. A good case should be durable, affordable and offer maximum protection.

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One thought on “The Definitive Phone Cases and Covers Buying Guide

  1. […] very first thing you need to know about mobile phone case before buying one for your phones is the type of cover. Screen guards, drop and shock protectors, […]

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