Do I really need a protective case for my Iphone 5?

Every since I got my first mobile phone, I have always immediately acquired a protective case for my phone as soon as I purchased it. I drop things all the time, and I routinely drop my phone, probably on the order of several times a week.

When I got my first smart phone, I also started getting those film screen protectors, to protect against scratches and smudges and such.

However, when I took my Iphone 5 to the Apple Store to get a screen protector, they advised me that there was no need for one, that the screen technology prevents scratches and smudges can be easily cleaned.

I still keep my phone in a protective case, which goes around the edges and back. But is it necessary? If I ditched the cover, would the phone withstand my frequent dropping of it?

It’s not like I own one, but as a fellow dropper of things, I say, the second you get rid of the case you will drop it on a hard concrete floor. Even if you have never been on a concrete floor in your life. The phone will find one.

Oh, I will definitely drop it on a concrete floor. Or tile. Or asphalt. One or all of those things will definitely happen. That’s the assumption behind my question.

The glass is at least as scratch resistant as any shitty clear cover you can put on it. The problem with glass is that it breaks. Get the case.

I dropped my (older Android) phone last week and shattered the screen.

Resist the urge to use your phone while walking and the need for a case drops way down.

You can totally scratch the glass. I had mine a week and scratched it.

I also drop my phone all the time. My iPhone 4S survived a bazillion drops… until the one bad one.

I know how I am with nice things. I got an Otter-box for my iPhone4 the first week I had it. At one point it came out of my sweater pocket on the bike path doing about 30 mph (downhill with a tailwind).

I felt it go, and it was still bouncing along when I got stopped and started to turn around. There were a few divots in the Otter-box, but the phone inside was pristine and fully functional. I consider the Ob a good investment.

As for the screen, supposedly they are saphire rather than glass, and quite scratch resistant. I keep my phone in my pocket, sometimes with keys, etc. The Ob screen gets scratched up after a while, not sure how the iPhone would do naked, not interested in finding out.

Even a slimline case will protect a phone from a lot of abuse. I really like the ones from aCase - their Superleggera line is a thin rubber wrap with a snap-over hard shell. It’s far less bulky than most “armor” cases like the Otter, and provides - for me - the exact balance between grip and slip, protection and lack of bulk. On my Samsung, it even makes the buttons easier to use, and the raised front ridge makes it safe to set down on its face.

Since iPhones use Gorilla Glass, I wouldn’t bother with a screen protector. But I would put at least a minimum bump-and-drop skin on it.

This falls into the “hold the phone right and you won’t interfere with the antenna” class of logic. If you can’t use a phone in all the ways you want/need to use it, there’s something wrong.

I’ve dropped my phones 9 times out of 10 putting them in or out of a pocket, clip or holster, which (unless you’re going to glue the phone to your off hand, like some people appear to do) affects nearly all uses of it, day in and day out.

Unless you expect to give your phone good hard rides, like the above drop from a bike, even the slimmest wrap will protect it from nearly all normal hip- and desk-height drops.

IMHO, a case does make sense if you “plan” to drop your phone on a regular basis. A screen protector only makes your phone ugly and is not going to keep the glass from shattering. You don’t want to put a cheap piece of plastic on your beautiful screen. Something to consider: I keep my phone in my jeans pocket in a soft sliding case and take it out when I need it - protects against damage but doesn’t make the phone look big the whole time.

I dropped mine on the moving walkway at Detroit airport, about 3 days after getting it, with no protective case. Its fine.

Thread moved from General Questions to IMHO.

I’d get the case. It’s not just about the padding. Without the case, any time the phone is face-down, the screen is touching the surface it’s resting on. With the case, even if there’s nothing over the screen, the edges are raised so the screen is slightly above the surface. Less chance of a scratch.

All fine advice if you think you’ll never, ever drop your phone and are more concerned about how it looks. :slight_smile:

There are some butt-ugly cases out there, not necessarily the best protecting or cheapest ones, either. But there are many that look as good as the phone itself - especially the iPhone, which increasingly looks like a brick to me in a world of much sleeker phones.

Screen protectors are somewhere between useless and unnecessary if you have one of the better phones using Gorilla Glass (or - are there any alteratives?) Any phone with a softer glass screen would probably benefit from a skin.

No matter how it looks. But then, I don’t keep plastic on the furniture until the Senator stops by, either.

I second this. What you want to protect are the corners - if it gets dropped, a corner will always hit first, and it often shatters the glass screen when it does.

No case, no problem. When I see people’s iPhones severely jacked up, I always wonder what the hell they did to it. I’ve done all the usual things with my current and previous iPhones – in/out of pocket constantly, in/out of bag occasionally, skiing with it, running with it. I’ve dropped it from sitting, dropped it from standing (and I’m quite tall), dropped it while walking, on hardwood or sidewalk or road or hiking trail… The end result? No damage at all in probably 6 years of use and abuse.

I really don’t want to change the size, weight, or “friction” of the device (e.g., a rubber case would be a nightmare for getting the phone easily out of a pocket, nevermind getting it out with the “wrong” hand when you’re carrying something…)

If I do end up breaking my phone, it won’t bankrupt me to replace it. Thus, the relevant calculation is as follows:

Risk=(estimated probability of breaking phone in lifetime of phone) * (cost to replace)

I figure Risk=$30 or less, especially since the replacement cost drops considerably after a two-year contract is up. Anyway, this means you’ve got a $30 full-replacement insurance policy already in effect. Would you rather:

(a) buy a shiny new iPhone and put a nasty case around it, or
(b) buy a shiny new iPhone and pay $30 to get a no-questions-asked replacement insurance policy for the lifetime of the phone?

Option (b) is equivalent to the “no case” option, with payment deferred until the time of breakage and scaled up by 1/(probability of breakage). (So, again, this calculation only works if you won’t be sent into financial ruin by a sudden need to replace your phone, which I understand isn’t necessarily the case.)

Where do you get full-replacement coverage for $1.25 a month? It’s typically $4-5 for smartphones. That’s $50-60 or so just for the first year, over $100 for the life of the contract.

A $12 case looks pretty good from that perspective.

That’s my point. You get it by the very fact that it’s unlikely that you’ll break the phone. The value of insurance for “small”-value items is just (probability of replacement)*(cost to replace), which I estimate to be around $30 for the life of the phone. Since insurance vendors charge more than this (as you point out), those aren’t good deals.

Or in other words, you already have replacement insurance since if you need to replace your phone, you go buy a new one. So, this replacement insurance costs you nothing if you never need it and it costs you the price of the phone if you do, and that works out to about $30 over the life of the phone, given my own WAG on “probability of breaking phone”. Since this is a complicated way of looking at it, it can be re-cast into the (a) vs. (b) scenarios.

I actually would recommend it. I tend not to drop my phone much or anything like that, but my iPhone 5 had little notches in the aluminum by the end of the first month. No idea where they came from. Then I visited my mom and must have laid it down on a coarse surface because the the actual lens of the camera got scratched. It looked like the ones reported here - just a purple squiggle in the middle of all my photos.

I ended up taking it to the Apple store and they switched the phone out on the spot and sent me home with a new one. Since then I’ve had it in a case.

eBay is full of “cracked screen still works” phones. I’d definitely get a case because sooner or later you will drop your phone.

Small-value items? When phones cost $100-200 unlocked most people might have considered that small, and I “self insured” all my phones up through maybe my Evo 4G, which never had a case.

iPhones and the upper end Droids, HTCs and Samsungs are all in the $500-700 replacement range. I am hardly a starving college student, but that’s way past the price point where I’ll just casually plan to pick up a replacement if I’m clumsy, not when what I consider a fairly sleek and attractive bump-case - that enhances grip and control for me - is only $14.