This is Why You Should Carry Your Smartphone in a Case

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iPhone cracked screen

Should you put your phone in a case? There’s really no decision to be made. Sooner or later, gravity is coming for your phone. And I’ll give you a single guess as to which is going to win.

Let me back up. As an iPhone owner, I’ve always been fairly anti-case. I’ve used one, grudgingly, but largely because I wanted a kickstand that could prop up the screen for hands-free book reading, movie watching, video calling, and the like.

I always opted for the thinnest, most unobtrusive case I could find; in part to keep pocket bulk to a minimum, and in part to retain at least some of the iPhone’s aesthetic value.

I mean, seriously, most smartphones are downright gorgeous. I find the iPhone 5S especially pretty, but the same can be said of the HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z, to name but a few. It seems criminal to sequester such beautiful design inside a clunky, bulky, ugly shell.

Indeed, whenever I see a phone wrapped in one of those hideous tank-proof OtterBox cases, I shed a silent tear. Way to ugly-up a work of art!

Flash forward to last week. My iPhone 5s was residing in a lovely wood-paneled case, but a thin one with almost no lip protecting the screen. So when the dog yanked on his leash and the 5s went flying out of my hand, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised as I lifted it off the driveway. The screen was cracked from top to bottom — a spider web of broken glass.

The price of gravity’s vicious attack: $149 at my nearest Apple Store. Local shops can replace an iPhone 5s screen for closer to $100, but I didn’t want to muck with my warranty (the phone was barely six weeks old), and I wanted absolute assurance the repair would be done properly.

Spigen Tough Armor iPhone 5SI’m now rethinking my stance on cases. I’m still not willing to OtterBox my newly repaired iPhone, but I’m definitely going to wrap it in something more durable. I’m also going to add a layer of protective glass to the screen. Together, these should protect my phone (or at least better protect it) in the event gravity strikes again.

After some research, I decided on a Spigen Tough Armor Case. Its features include a foam-padded interior, a deep (1.5mm) lip to help protect the screen and a choice of colors — including a champagne-gold version that closely resembles my iPhone’s natural color. It cost me about $20 online, and received positively glowing user reviews.

I also picked up a Tech Armor Ballistic Glass Screen Protector ($9.99 at Amazon), another well-reviewed product. I’ve never had an easier time installing a screen protector. Although Tech Armor doesn’t promise it’ll save an iPhone’s actual glass from shattering, it’s definitely a solid line of defense. (My daughter’s iPhone had a similar protector installed. When it hit the pavement one time, it was the protector that cracked, not the screen.)

In an ideal world, smartphones would be indestructible. In this world, there’s cement everywhere. It’s worth spending a few extra dollars to protect a device that probably cost you hundreds — and would cost a pretty penny to fix — even if it means sacrificing aesthetics.

After all, it’s what on the screen that really matters, right? And you can’t see that if it’s cracked.

Photo credit: Rick Broida, Spigen

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