Let’s say you’re buying a new phone. If it’s an iPhone or a high-end Android phone, you’re probably spending easily more than a thousand dollars. You’re spending a lot of money on a very intricately designed piece of technology. And it’s fragile. Take care of it.
Thinking about it in context, smartphones are incredibly rugged. We really should be marveling over how well they’re built, not how fragile they are. But when you drop a phone without a case or a screen protector, chances are pretty good that you’re going to damage it, possibly irreparably, but at the very least you’re not going to be happy with what happens next.
With that in mind, whenever you buy a new phone, you owe it to yourself and your bank account to ask one simple question: is it cheaper for me to pay for repairs later, or to buy a screen protector and case now? Either option is cheaper than buying a brand new phone again, sure, but I know I’d prefer to replace a case than get a phone repaired and live with a refurbished handset.
Up until a couple of months ago, I hadn’t damaged a phone for a very long time, despite changing to a new device every month or so for years now. But after a spate of accidents — I think I cracked four phone screens in three weeks out of sheer dumb bad luck — I decided that it’s
probably definitely a smarter course of action to start using cases and screen protectors on everything. Buying the cheapest accessories isn’t a great idea, though.
Since the phone came out, I’ve been using a InvisibleShield Glass+ screen protector on my Google Pixel XL. And, from the small scuffs and scratches on the screen protector that I can see already, I know it’s done its job. These are scratches that would otherwise be on the $1079-plus phone’s 5.5-inch display, and I can just replace the screen protector — not the whole screen — to get rid of them.
There’s a reason to stump up for a decent screen protector, too, rather than the cheapest shittiest thing you can find at the shopping centre mobile phone kiosk. I like glass protectors mainly because they will crack and shatter sacrificially if you drop your phone onto them, distributing all the force that would otherwise be directed into the phone. InvisibleShield will even replace its glass screen protectors if you damage them. But they just feel better in the first place — it’s much nicer to tap your thumbs against a glass sheet than it is plastic.
At the same time, I ordered a couple of Live Cases for my Pixel. Live Cases are Google’s first-party covers for the Pixel and its larger Pixel XL variant, and you can customise your own — choose from a Google Maps image, or upload a photo of your own. They’re skinny cases, but they wrap around to cover the edges of the front of the phone — very important — and they can take a bit of punishment.
The evening that I put one of the Live Cases on my Pixel, I dropped it while I was getting out of my car. Now my case has a dent in the corner, and it’s only a few days old, and that’s frustrating — but that’s a dent that’s not in the phone, or a crack that’s not in the screen. It saves me a difficult chat with the guys at Google (who actually, y’know, own the phone), and that’s worth something.
Maybe I’m getting clumsy in my old age. But you’d have to pay me not to use a case and screen protector these days, when you’re talking about a $50 investment to save a $1000 device from damage.