How to pick a case to protect that pricey phone

Bulky isn’t necessarily better

SAN ANTONIO – New, top-of-the-line smartphones often cost more than $1,000, so buying a phone case to protect it should be a no-brainer.

You can get a good case for less than $30, according to Consumer Reports. Just be sure to look for certain features to protect it in case you drop it.

“A raised edge around the front to protect the front screen. Around the camera housing on the back [look for] another raised lip. You want it to be tight-fitting with padding on the edges,” explained Melanie Pinola with Consumer Reports.

You want that tight fit to keep the case in place should you drop your phone. Since phone makers often change their designs ever so slightly with new models, you’ll likely need a new case every time you get a new phone.

Bulky isn’t necessarily better. Testers say a slim or sleek case that’s well-designed with the raised lips and padded edges can protect well.

It helps to choose a phone that’s durable in the first place. Look for one that scores a four or five in Consumer Reports’ intense durability tests, which include the drop test performed on phones without cases.

“We drop the phone 50 times,” Pinola said. “We check the phone for any scratches or damage, and then we drop it another 50 times.”

The best phones make it out of the tumbler with just a few scuffs or scratches. Apple iPhones proved tough as did many Samsungs.

Here are a few more tips for choosing a phone case:

  • Buyer beware: There are plenty of knock offs out there, so know who and where you’re buying a case from.
  • Be wary of online reviews. Many reviews don’t tell you how the case withstands the test of time.
  • Finally, look for a warranty. For instance, OtterBox and Speck both offer good options.

“You can’t deny that it’s an aesthetic purchase too. You might find a case that is really well designed and also sparks some joy in you every day, and that’s the kind of case that you should go for, I think,” Pinola said.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.