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- Cases Basics
- About Cases
The question of how to protect your phone can be a complicated one. Depending on which make and model you call your own, a huge number of styles and variations may be available. But don't fret: even if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the options, rest assured that the perfect case is well within reach. Here, we'll try and take the mystery out of selecting your perfect fit, and make the case for easy, affordable phone protection:
Hard Shell Cases were some of the first to be popularized, and represent some of the most basic, intuitive solutions to phone protection. As the name suggests, hard shells cases are typically made from hard plastic or polycarbonate, form-fitted to the phone's shape and designed to snap on and off easily. They're great at preventing scratches, dents, and other wear and tear, but less effective in the case of big, sudden impacts.
Gel skin Cases provide a thin, flexible layer of protection for those hoping to minimize bulk but still wanting a soft, comfortable exterior. Gel skins are offered in a wide range of colors and are, generally speaking, a highly affordable and easy way of distinguishing your phone from others, while keeping out dirt and dust and minimizing superficial wear and tear.
Multi-Layer Cases are constructed from two or more materials applied atop one another. Most often, multi-layer cases combine hard and soft shell (or "skin") materials, in order to achieve the combined protective benefits of both styles. For this reason, multi-layer cases tend to offer the most complete form of protection.
The question of how to protect your phone can be a complicated one: depending on which model you call your own, a huge number of styles and variations may be available. You may even have reservations about covering up your phone at all, and worry that a case might add to its bulk or limit access to its features.
Fear no more: protecting your phone has, in many respects, never been easier. And though it's true that the options can seem daunting, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In addition to providing much-needed safety from drops, falls, and general wear and tear, the right case can provide a welcome aesthetic statement and add new levels of comfort and convenience to your phone. Below, we'll outline the various different types of cases, along with they're respective strengths and weaknesses, and try and take the mystery out of choosing the case that's right for you:
Hard Shell Cases:
Hard shell cases were some of the earliest to be popularized, and represent some of the most basic, intuitive solutions to phone protection. As the name suggests, hard shells cases are typically made from hard plastic or polycarbonate, form-fitted to the phone's shape and designed to snap on and off easily. Most often, and particularly in the case of smart phones, hard cases are constructed as a single piece, designed specifically to shield the back of the phone. While hard cases provide effective protection from scratches and dents, they are less effective at preventing over-all shock-resistance in substantial falls or other impacts.
Gel Skin Cases:
Gel skin cases provide a thin, flexible layer of protection for those that hope to minimize bulk but still want a soft, comfortable exterior. Gel skins are offered in a wide range of colors and are, generally speaking, a highly affordable and easy way of distinguishing your phone from others, while keeping out dirt and dust and minimizing superficial wear.
Many of the most popular cases for today's phones are multi-layer cases--meaning, simply, that they're constructed from two or more materials applied atop one another. Most often, multi-layer cases combine hard and soft shell (or "skin") materials, in order to achieve the combined protective benefits of both styles. For this reason, multi-layer cases tend to offer the most complete form of protection, both against surface level damage like scratches, nicks, and cracks, and against harder impacts sustained from drops and falls.
Popular cases for smart phones often apply an impact-absorbing layer of silicone (or other flexible, rubber-like compound) atop a hard, polycarbonate interior. In certain instances, the layers are reversed; a hard shell on the exterior allows for easy removal from a pocket or bag; a soft exterior provides a more comfortable grip. Among the most durable offerings from major brands like Otterbox and Case-Mate are triple-layer cases, which, in certain cases, apply technology borrowed from the automobile industry, like the "crunch zone"--a protective interior air pocket, offering unparalleled impact absorption.
Bumper shells are simple, low profile cases designed to fit around a phone's outer edge. As their name suggests, they function primarily to reduce impact (as might be sustained in fall), but also provide some degree of scratch and chip protection. Though they're most often constructed from a soft, rubber-like material, bumper shells are available in variety of materials and colors.
Slider cases are generally subtle, low-profile cases made of hard, often transparent plastic, designed to slide easily in and out of pockets, holsters and the like. A number of models from brands like Skully Candy and Incase feature an interior layer of silicone or rubber to provide additional impact protection.
If the idea of altering the look and feeling of your phone itself is unappealing, a pouch might be an ideal way to keep it safe without making any direct cosmetic changes. Pouches come in a variety of materials (various fabrics, leather, and plastics) and span the full spectrum from subtle and discreet to loud and stylish. Of course, you'll have to remove your phone from the pouch to interact with it directly, but, for the many who now employ hands-free devices for tasks like talking and listening to music, that may not be much of a concern.
Holsters: Cases with holsters can add another dimension of convenience to your cell phone use, particularly if you aren't fond of carrying your phone around in your pocket or in a bag. Many popular case designs from brands like Otterbox, Case-Mate, and Body Glove are offered with holstered variations.
Many cases, particularly those designed for smart phones, don't feature included screen protectors. And indeed many smart phone users opt to go without them, so as not to put anything between them and their touch screens. But doing so poses the obvious danger of exposing the screen to scratches and cracking--damages that can significantly degrade both the appearance and functionality of your phone. For complete protection, cases complete with screen protectors offer the easiest and simplest solution. However, screen protectors are also widely available as individual items. You can learn more about them here (link).
Among the most intense forms of phone protection are water-proof cases. Offerings from top-of-the-line brands like Otterbox utilize the strongest and most durable materials available, and typically enclose the phone fully in high-density polycarbonate. Cases like these are often designed to float, and include room for money, car keys, and other small items.