I’ve agonised long and hard about what case to use for my phone, and I think I’ve managed to find the type I’m going to be sticking to for a while: soft TPU gel cases, which I’ve been using for the past couple of years. These phone cases are made of a flexible, slightly stretchy plastic. They come in tinted forms, and can come with designs printed on as well.
Before I used TPU cases, I used rigid snap-on plastic ones. But the problem was that they left the corners exposed, so my phones frequently had chipped corners from me being clumsy. TPU cases wrap all the way around the phone so this isn’t an issue. However, the screen is left bare, so you might still crack your screen if you drop it hard onto something raised (there’s a ridge around the edge of the front which protects it somewhat if you drop it onto a flat surface like the ground).
TPU cases only add about a millimetre to the edge of the phone, so it’s good if you like to keep your phone in your pocket. I pimped mine out with a rubberised card holder and a ring stand so I can keep my cards close and prop it up to watch videos. You can also get TPU cases with card wallets attached if you want more storage space (the most popular brand is Mercury).
The gripes I have with TPU cases are pretty minimal.
My current phone also has a red strip around the edge of the phone, and TPU cases tend to be clear around the side, so I’m limited to designs that don’t clash with red. Most phones won’t have this problem, and there are TPU cases that cover the sides as well.
The one issue that annoys me the most is that if your case is quite thick and your phone’s buttons are quite discrete, it can be difficult to press the buttons on the side of the phone. Some TPU cases have cutouts, and some are designed to be thinner near the buttons, but my case at the moment requires me to press buttons very firmly with a fingernail.
TPU cases also tend to go yellow over time (it’s faster if you handle it with oily hands or leave it in the sun), and the printed designs wear off as well. But since they’re quite cheap, I’m usually ready to change to a new case by the time this happens.
I’ve also had a couple of cases which smelt pretty unpleasantly plasticky when they first arrived. It doesn’t happen with all the cases I’ve used though, so your luck may vary.
- Many designs available
- Shock protection
- Protects corners
- Minimal screen protection (though the raised edge helps)
- Gradually turns yellow (especially if hands are oily)
- Design wears off over time
- Clear edge
- Can be difficult to press buttons
- Can smell funny at first
What’s your favourite type of phone case?
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