Smartphones, Premium Materials,… and Cases?

Since the first smartphones with premium materials were released in the market with Glass, Metal, Leather, Wood, … I realized that something was changing, making these devices more personal, more human, and less commodity parts.

But since then, many smartphones models and manufacturers have joined the party, but most of them still have the same problem.

We still need to use (or are adviced to do it) a case or protector in case we can keep our daily devices as new as first day:

Samsung_S6_case

This is something that I really don’t understand and don’t like at all; which is the purpose of adding strengthen Glass front or back panels, Metal frames of even full metal unibody housings if at the end the feeling that I will have in my hands will be the touch of a soft, and common plastic?

Well, the good thing, is that I am not the only one realizing this situation, and some market players, as Apple and Jony Ive team, already began to solve it. But how, simply using more robust materials in their creations, as the latest iPhone 6s, which uses the strongest 7000 Series aluminum alloy for metal body and the strongest cover glass used on any smartphone in the world; using a special dual ion‑exchange process, which makes it stronger at a molecular level and the most durable in the smartphone industry.

iPhone6s

Of course, the research is still not over. I believe that current metal alloy is strong enough to avoid scratches and floor impacts, and even the screen is already strengthen to don’t worry anymore about having your keyrings and iPhone’s in the same pocket. Anyhow, even if I am not fully convinced about the total reliability of the front cover glass against floor fallings, I believe that Cupertino guys are going in the right direction and next iPhone generations (as the next iPhone 7 – 2016) and next ones, will be even more roboust enough to avoid using no more cases neither screen protectors at all in normal user cases.

But, of course, not only Apple is working in that direction, also Moto by Lenovo did it with their first Moto X Force with Shattershield display:

moto_x_force_0

And Motorola is so proud and convinced about it that the company will offer 4 years warranty on the screen of the device, and claimed they have spent 3 years developing this shatterproof screen; which has five layers to ensure its durability and are designed to absorb shock and protect the display from breaking:

moto_x_force_1

Basically, the first layer is an exterior protective glass which Moto says comes with a proprietary hard coat designed to guard against dents and abrasion, followed by an interior glass in the second layer to provide a clear protective shield. Then, there is a dual touch layer, which ensures that in case of an impact where the primary touch sensitive layer is damaged, the second one takes over to maintain touchscreen performance. The fourth layer is the AMOLED display, which Moto says can absorb shocks. And finally the fifth layer is the aluminum chassis, which provides structural integrity and durability.

Best iPhone6/6Plus case without sacrificing usability

This is my own user experience story which I want to share with you, and also I think I’ll not be the only one iPhone6 user who made him/herself the same question after acquiring his/her new iPhone6 shiny device.

I liked so much the new mechanical design approach that Apple presented in last 2014 year iPhone6 devices, based on glass and rounded aluminum body, but the new protruding back camera disappointed me quite a lot (it was totally unexpected coming from iPhone5 design trend), and as you can see in next picture, also Apple tried to hide it in some of their product side views.

full_view_2

Curiously, it is not even mentioned in the official physical dimensions of the device, and they only mention the thickness of the device without the protruding back camera took into account:

dimensions

Anyhow, they didn’t completely hide it, so in some pictures you will notice it, even if its exact thickness is not mentioned anywhere:

cross_view

Or more closely here:

side_view2

So, coming back to the topic of the post, I had to find and choose a good and reliable case for at least three main topics that I wanted to cover:

1) Protect the device against possible drops and scratches in the soft aluminum metal.

2) Protect the screen against scratches if I place it with the screen side against a surface.

3) And the most important, to keep it fully flat once it lies in my table and I want use it without swings.

I wanted a case that covers all my three own requests and same time would not oversize so much the device losing usability.

After many research (there were not many options available at end 2014), and taking into account that the protruding back camera measures exactly 0.76mm (or 0.030 inch), I decided to choose one of the original Apple cases, the Black Leather model in particular:

MGQF2_AV1_SPACE_GRAY

I know it is expensive, but is incredible well in-house designed, fits incredibly well on it without any tolerance left in any side, it has a very nice feeling in the hand and I read very well reviews from previous iPhone generations based on the same Apple original model.

Here you can see the Black Leather and Green Lemon silicone cases side by side:

Side_view

Then, after some use of it I could say:

1) It is strong enough to protect the corners (against small drops) and back side of the telephone to avoid possible scratches.

2) It adds around 1mm higher height in the screen side to avoid scratches in the screen if you leave it in a surface upside down.

3) The iPhone is perfectly flat when you leave it in a table, perfectly to write without unwanted swings, and only makes the phone 1.5mm thicker, which honestly has not any impact in usability.

4) It adds an extra grip, because the phone without any case can be quite slippery some times, more over in the case of the bigger iPhone 6Plus on regular hands size.

5) The Power/Volume buttons are properly covered and protected, and the Mute button is easily accessible.

6) The WiFi/BT/3G_LTE RF antenna’s performance is not degraded at all due the fact of being a leather case (without any metal parts, neither thick isolation dielectrics), but I assume that for the silicon case will be the same.

7) And finally, iPhone 6/6Plus fit so tight and well on it, the leather model does not attract so much dirtiness as the silicon model; and for more trendy users, it keeps a premium view on it.

It is true that there are many other types and model cases available in the market (and everyone will have his/her own taste), but I was looking for a case comfortable (thin enough but not as ultra-thin cases of 0.3mm which have also the swings issue, and even add not any kind of shock protection against drops), usable, which doesn’t add much more total volume to it (as Booklet model does) so I can still carry it in my jeans pocket without issues, also a case which allows me to access the screen quickly without having to remove it (full or partially) first; as Zip Wallets and Sleeve/Pouch case models limit, and good finishing with quality materials (for long term life time).