Form v. Function: The Mobile Device Case Dilemma

When it comes to cases for all portable devices whether it be mobile phones, tablets, pdas, etc... there are generally three camps that people subscribe to: the purists who despise them all thinking they detract from the original design, the customizers who like to put their own flare on the device, or the pragmatists who want their device well protected if it were to suffer a fall. We’ve been thinking about these recently, particularly with the introduction of the new iPad case which will protect it from an impact with a bowling ball dropped three feet from above. The functionality is undeniably nice and all, but do we really want to be toting around a device that looks like the abs of a cartoon superhero?
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When given the choice between something like the Ballistic HTC case (“designed to withstand life”, mind you) and the previously mentioned G-Form sleeve for iPad (as seen above) or a more nuanced version such as Incase’s Snap Case for the iPhone, we side with the latter. Perhaps we’re being too optimistic in our hopes that our iPhone will never suffer that crushing blow which shatters its glass to pieces but in our years of handling the device, we’ve never seemed to inflict enough harm to it to warrant the CIA-level security.
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Interestingly enough, Apple has notably taken the side of the ‘customizer’ for their recent case additions such as the iPhone 4 Bumper which is merely a thin rubber ring placed around the edge of the phone or their new Smart Cover which is an elegant flap which protects the iPad screen from scratches and not much else. There is nothing inherently wrong with either of these things — it all depends on what you’d like to do, really. For instance, we skeptically picked up the Smart Cover case for our iPad 2. When in use, the case is easily adjustable and lightweight so it is not obtrusive. But when the iPad is idle, we found that placing it face-down onto the surface is a kind of "full body protection" alternative as it protects the uncovered back from scratches since it is not in any direct contact.

Alternatively, however, our father works in a fairly active environment with heavy machinery and a far greater potential for disaster than our wimpy work desk. His situation certainly warrants the hefty case he currently uses. But when he gets home, he actually takes his phone out of the case and uses it bare — the ultimate in case dichotomy!

So what is your opinion on the case dilemma? Is it merely an accessory to gussy up your boring black phone? Is it the only way to insure your precious investment stays protected — size, weight, and style be damned? Or do you straddle both poles and use a monster case by day and let your phone shed the weight at night?

If you want to see some case options for your Apple devices, you're in luck. We have 10 cases for your iPhone 4, iPad, and 20 for the iPad 2!

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