A compelling case for using a case

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Date: Monday, February 10th, 2014, 08:03
Category: AppleCare, Cases, Consumer Electronics, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhone, Mobile Phone

shattered-ipadIf you stacked one of every different mobile device case end to end, I bet it would reach Mars. Ok, maybe not, but there are an overwhelming number of choices for protecting your device. Even with all the options, ranging in price from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, many people choose not to get a case of any kind. With the first couple of iPhones, especially the original, even I was reluctant to cover up Apple’s designs with some ugly chunk of plastic. Once Apple started covering it all in glass, starting with the iPhone 4, I had to rethink this policy and have had some kind of case ever since. It doesn’t hurt that if you choose to sell your device later, a case can keep it looking almost new and fetch a higher resale price.

If you are one of those folks that is anti-case, or just keep putting it off, there’s a recent study that might prompt you to run to your nearest Apple Store. As the site phone review in the UK reports, a study was conducted by insurance firm SquareTrade Europe, who tested device durability using several factors such as design, weight, construction, water resistance and ‘grip-ability.’ Each device was also given a “break ability score”, which involved dropping the devices from a set height onto concrete (that image just makes me cringe). After completing their tests, they rated the iPad mini as the most fragile of several of the top mobile devices they tested, with the Samsung Galaxy S4 grabbing the second position and the iPad Air coming third. Here are the rankings for the ‘top’ ten most breakable devices according to SquareTrade;

  1. iPad mini
  2. Samsung Galaxy S4
  3. iPad Air
  4. Samsung Galaxy S3
  5. iPhone 5C
  6. Nexus 7 (2012)
  7. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
  8. iPhone 5S
  9. Nexus 7 (2013)
  10. Motorola Moto X

Yowza! Apple has 4 items, pretty much their entire mobile lineup except for the iPad 2 and 4S, in the top 10. I’m not terribly surprised, but I would’ve thought the 5C, and possibly the iPad mini, would’ve faired better, especially the 5C with its plastic body. The company hopes that by replicating various life situations with this sort of testing could help consumers make the best choices, although the “choices” they refer to is up for interpretation. I don’t find that durability is a huge factor when making buying decisions. If you want something small and like Apple products, your only choice is the iPad mini. Buying a phone usually boils down to features and cost. I’m not saying it’s not useful information, but at best, it may influence consumers’ decision to use a case or buy some kind of insurance, like AppleCare. It should be noted that SquareTrade sells extended warranty plans for most consumer electronics. So, bonus for SquareTrade if users want to cover their devices against accidental damage based on these findings.

Personally, I am fastidiously careful with all my devices, so I’m not always compelled to get something like AppleCare. However, there was that time I was walking while browsing Yelp on my iPhone and stepped into a hole causing me to drop it (ok, I ‘might’ have been using Yelp to find the next bar to go to). The result was a small crack in the front glass which drove me crazy for weeks. Had I gotten it replaced by Apple, it would have cost me around $150 to replace the screen. At the time, with AppleCare, it would have been $50 if I remember correctly (these rates have risen since then). Fortunately, being a tech, I was able to get an inexpensive replacement part online and do the repair myself. I’m not sure I’d do it again though, considering how many almost microscopically small screws were involved. It is a miracle I was able to get them all back in the right places. Anyway, since then I’ve been getting AppleCare in the event of another cracked screen, and considering the iPhone takes the most abuse of all my Apple gadgets. I also have it for my laptop because it has really come in handy in the past. So, if you’re toting around any naked mobile devices, you may want to picture what it’ll look like when you drop it while fumbling for bus fare. A case seems like a good investment now, doesn’t it?

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