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To Case or Not To Case… That is the Question

smartphone-case-feature

I have, right this very moment, a naked phone in my pocket. That’s right. My smartphone, the key to my digital communication on the go, has been running amok without a scrap of protection for almost two months. I’ve dropped it, I’ve dinged it, my cat has batted it around the floor, and I’ve smeared fingerprints all over my device. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier.

Now, I probably know what you’re thinking. What if something happens to the phone? What if I drop it? What if it gets wet? What if I knock it off of the table? What if a rabid bear steals it and then drops it off of a cliff? Well, maybe you weren’t worried about that last one, but let’s cover all our bases. Regardless as to what catastrophe you are concerned about, sometimes I think you just have to live on the wild side (pun intended). It seems like as a society, we’ve been trained to believe that phones are irreplaceable and therefore something that must be protected at all costs. But I would like to argue that this is backwards thinking. Just bear with me.

Phones are designed to be used without cases

Being a smartphone designer must be the most unappreciated job in the world. Think about it: somewhere, there is a team of people who spent months thinking about every detail of the appearance of your smartphone; only settling when they found something that was functional and looked good. Then, when you finally got you hands on that exquisite piece of technology, what did you do? You slapped a case on it, and probably never looked back. The smooth design, the careful curves, the optimum colors and bezels—all covered by a hunk of plastic or a flabby piece of silicone. Every time I see a $10 mall kiosk case on a $700 phone, I just want to cry. All of that hard work! For shame.

The one notable exception to this is probably the iPhone 4, which features glass pretty much everywhere—front AND back. While they’re pretty slick looking, I’m convinced those phones are not actually meant to be used, and probably would break if you sneezed on them. If you have an iPhone 4 then by all means, put a case on that sucker. But for everyone else, take it off right now! The case, that is.

Scratches show character

A common argument I hear, aside from the fear of phones breaking, is that cases protect devices from normal wear and tear. But, I’d like to argue that, really, why bother? Scratches and dents are kind of like scars: they show character, and provide good conversation starters. This dent was from when my cat knocked the phone off of the table. That scratch is from my drunk friend who somehow got ahold of my phone and nearly knocked himself out walking into a street sign while trying to text me on my own phone. Good times.

Scratches tell stories, and I say embrace it! Besides, with the exception of iPhones, most phones aren’t really worth all that much by the time you get an upgrade anyway, not to mention the fact that most prepaid carriers don’t offer much in the way of trade-ins. So, might as well go out with a bang, right?

If you can’t afford it, why do you have it?

Probably the No. 1 argument that I hear for phone cases is that if the phone breaks, you can’t afford to replace it. Which leads me to the question: if you can’t afford it, how did you get it in the first place? This argument probably isn’t as relevant for prepaid customers, as devices must be purchased outright instead of via subsidy. But, even if your phone is super expensive, keep in mind that repairing devices isn’t really all that expensive most of the time.

So go ahead! Take off that bulky case and let your smartphone roam free, clear, and as naked as the smartphone developers intended. If you must, put a screen protector on the front and back. Nobody likes gross screens. But otherwise, for the love of that sweet, sweet technological marvel in your pocket… leave the case behind.