Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

Summary: I decided to carry my white iPhone 4 without a case for a week and this is what happened.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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As many of you know I tend to keep my gadgets in cases almost exclusively, especially my iPhone 4. While it's a sin to cover up Apple's beautifully-designed hardware, I fall squarely in the better-to-protect-it camp.

My iPhone is a tool more than a showpiece, and a very important tool at that. It's an integral part of how I communicate and acts as my primary computer more than 50 percent of the time. Plus I'm rough on my gadgets and known to fumble them on occasion.

For some unknown reason, I decided to carry my white iPhone without a case for the past week. I guess that I just wanted to try using it "commando" to see if it was worth the risk. While it's definitely smaller, sleeker and emminently more pocketable, I had two close calls almost immediately after removing the case.

Luckily my iPhone survived two drops without damage. Once onto the tile floor in my kitchen, the other onto on concrete sidewalk. The third time wasn't a charm:

I was getting out of my car and fumbled the transition from hands to pocket and my iPhone fell onto an asphalt parking lot. The back glass shattered. I'm pretty much convinced that the back glass would have shattered more if it weren't for the iWrap skin on the back, but who knows. Woe is me.

iFixIt's Kyle Wiens told me that it only takes about two minutes to replace the rear glass on an iPhone 4, but it wasn't much of a consolation and I haven't taken the time to swap it back with the original black glass. In fact, now that most of the initial pain has subsided, the shattered glass actually looks kind of cool as a battle scar. At least it wasn't the front glass.

Gun shy after the incident I swore that I'd never bring my iPhone outdoors without a case. I opted for a case that offers more protection that Apple's ridiculously overpriced bumpers, the Reflex Series by Otterbox ($45).

The Reflex Series isn't as bulky or heavy as some of Otterbox's other cases but offers a high level of protection. It's built of a combination of hard plastic and a softer, rubber-like material that allows it to move and flex on impact. Kind of like the "crumple zones" that protect the cockpit into most modern cars. This thing is solid and looks like it would withstand a pretty good drop. But I'm not going to test it out, not until the next time I get out of my car, that is...

Do you use an iPhone 4 sans case? Every dropped it? I'd love to hear your story in the TalkBack.

Topic: Hardware

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47 comments
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  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    iPhone 3GS goes commando all the time...whereas the primary contact point - via Samsung Galaxy S is always wrapped in silk...

    Screen protector on the iPhone scratched and shabby
    Screen on unprotected Galaxy clean as white vinegar
    CallieO
    • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

      @CallieO <br><br>Google spyware on the iPhone needs to be added.<br>Google spyware on the Galaxy, fully integrated.

      Back to the point. Yes, you should always you a case with your iPhone. And with your spyPhone.
      jorjitop
    • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

      @CallieO

      The S stands for sh1t.
      fibreoptik
  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    Don't want to jinx it but I am VERY CAREFUL with my phone. I have a thin plastic (<1mm) case made by Caze that covers the back and sides. I've been lucky so far with my 3G and iPhone 4 with no damage. My wife has the Otterbox "Impact" case and it has worked perfectly for her! My original 3G model was in "perfect" condition when I sold it after acquiring the 4...nice for resale. Even the buyer commented that it "looked like new"! Good luck with the install of the original backing...
    blangton
  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    So you're saying you replaced the black back of the iPhone with a "factory reject" White Back and it broke when dropped on the pavement, hmm!
    Sarcasm over, I was always throwing my Gen 1 iPhone on the floor to demonstrate it's durability (converted many a customer with that demo). Not so with my iPhone 4 with glass to the edge front and rear I have it in one of those over priced (FREE) Apple Bumpers. That's the only case that still let's me use my Leather DLO hip case to carry my phone.
    kennmsr
  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    I keep my iPhone 4 and my Blackberry Curve in Otterbox Defender cases... so far they are both still pristine.
    athynz
  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    I never had a case on my iPhone 3G, it seemed easier to grasp and a little less slippery. I wish they had thought to integrate a thin rubber strip on the side band like a promotional black Treo I saw once. The iPhone 4 somehow was made extra slick by the use of glass maybe. I used to be able to set my 3G on the arm of the same chair the iPhone 4 just skates right off. I was walking in a parking lot with the iPhone 4 and set it on a box I was carrying and it slid right off onto the pavement. It was my lucky day I guess just a small scratch but the Apple bumper solved the antenna problems and slippery surfaces all at once...
    nokryptonite4me@...
  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    I always have my phone in a case. My biggest pet peeve is a scratched phone, and I drop my phones... a lot.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Betcha......

    that that "ridiculously overpriced bumper" would have prevented your phone from shattering.
    Userama
    • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

      @Userama
      Touch?. The bumper case (of which I have several) would have most likely prevented the damage. But like I said, I had a momentary lapse of judgement and was flying blind. Lesson learned :-(

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
  • Shocked, Absolutely Shocked

    that the superior design, innovation, manufacturing of this premier premium product by Apple is so easy to break.

    Apple taken down a notch.
    mstrsfty
    • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

      @mstrsfty Do me a favor.... Go drop your mobile phone of choice from roughly the same height as Jason did, without a case, and report your findings.
      Geuseppi
      • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

        @Geuseppi I'll accept that challenge. Here's my phone: http://cnet.co/9MPtvx
        Real World
    • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

      @mstrsfty The part that shattered is NOT an Apple part. Reading carefully, I found the author said that the APPLE produced part is in his possession and he has yet to restore that part onto his phone where it belongs.

      Smug much? Lol!
      lelandhendrix@...
  • Re: Shattered:

    Turn the car around.
    Playdrv4me
  • That's common sense for any phone - smartphone or otherwise

    Doesn't matter if the phone is made out of "Gorilla Glass" - nothing is indestructible.
    HypnoToad72
  • Commondo? Yep

    <I>Do you use an iPhone 4 sans case? Every dropped it? I?d love to hear your story in the TalkBack.</I>

    Although I've never used an iPhone myself. I use to use the old Visor PDAs. If I hadn't dropped all 3 I once had, I'd still be using them. But even with a case, I managed to drop and shatter the front of them.

    After that, I stopped buying them. $300 or 400 wasn't easy to come by.
    kcredden2
  • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

    Maybe pay more attention to what you are doing or buy a Droid.
    katsalano
    • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

      @katsalano

      Don't feel bad Jason. We've all dropped phones and broken them. And yes, even the almighty DROID will break, given the right amount of force. GASP! The DROID might break!? To think of the horror that someone would create something that might break. And it doesn't have Steve's signature on it!!! OH MY! Fool.
      heymatthew
      • RE: Shattered: Why you should always use a case on your iPhone

        @heymatthew I broke my Eris and replaced my screen myself. The one thing I will note here is that the iPhone has 2 glass surfaces, whereas droids only have one... If a droid lands on its back no biggie. If an iPhone does, it may break. If an iPhone lands on its face it may break. There is a higher probability of it landing on a glass surface and thus breaking.
        snoop0x7b