In an ideal world, an iPhone wouldn't need a case.
The thin metal design of the iPhone 5 is fantastic, making it a better phone than its rivals. When an iPhone is put in a case it becomes a thicker, plastic phone.
Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. In this world, the iPhone is easily broken, especially if you're clumsy.
Rather than worrying about dropping a phone and breaking it, the easiest solution is to just slap a case on it.
But which case is best?
We've been doing extensive testing of iPhone 5 cases for the past month. We each have our own favorite case for our own reasons, which are at the bottom of the post. Before we get to that, we should give an overview on the market for cases.
Basically, cases come down to four styles.
The Snap-On Case
This case snaps on to your phone, only adding a little bit of extra bulk to the phone. It also generally offers unfettered access to the buttons of the iPhone. However, there's a slight annoyance with the snap cases. The thick plastic makes it hard to press the iPhone's buttons. If you want to hit the power button, you're almost blocked by the hard plastic on the top of the case. You have to angle your finger to press the button.
The Slide-On Case
You slide your phone into this case and it envelops the entire thing. It's very protective, and it's probably the most popular type of iPhone case. The downside to this case is that it makes the phone bulky.
The Mega-Protective Case
This would be the Otter-Box, which takes an iPhone and makes it three times as thick as it is naked. It also adds a plastic screen protector by default. If you love your iPhone so much you want it to die, then this is the case for you. You're killing the iPhone by burying it in this case, but you're going to keep it in pristine condition.
This is the exact opposite of a mega-protective case. It's just a thin piece of plastic and rubber wrapped around the edge of the phone. Surprisingly, it can protect your phone if you drop it. The upside to the bumper is that you still get to hold your phone and feel its metal back. It also keeps the phone's profile relatively thin.
Which Case Is The Best For Me?
You have to ask yourself what you're looking for. Do you want to keep the phone thin? Do you want to have the phone protected at all costs? Are you looking for a funky design? Are you looking for a good feeling when you're holding the phone?
Which Is The Best In Our Opinion?
Jay: I recently dropped my iPhone riding my bike. After that, I decided it was time to start using a case. I've run through a bunch of options and I like the bumper the best. I know it's very thin on protection, but it's the lightest, most comfortable to use.
Kevin: I rarely drop my phone, but because it's always in my pocket I don't want the screen or back getting scratched. I use a anti-glare screen protector and the Cygnett Carbon Fiber Urban Shield. This is the best solution for me in terms of style and protection.
While the Urban Shield is my primary, I don't always use the same case. When it's raining or I'm worried about my phone going into the elements I use the LifeProof. It offers the most protection (from water, dust, snow, and shock) while adding the least bulk.
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