With endless options, the iPhone case has become as much a fashion statement as it is a means to protect your expensive piece of high tech hardware. But why cover up all of Apple's hard work with chunky plastic?
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Go Naked: A case against iPhone cases

Despite the fact that it has been out for over half a year, I’m surprised at the number of people that still ask me “Is that an iPhone 5?” with a sense of amazement and wonder. The next question I usually get asked (especially from other iPhone owners): “You don’t have a case?”

No, I do not have a case, nor have I ever used a case to protect the numerous mobile phones I have owned over the past 10 years. To me, it’s a foregone conclusion. Hardware manufacturers spend months — even years — worth of development to craft a beautiful smartphone, focusing on making it the slimmest on the market or deploying inventive new construction materials and methods only to have users cover up all of their hard work with a chunky piece of plastic.

This is particularly troublesome for me with the iPhone. Apple is known not only for producing hardware that performs beyond expectations, but for doing it with style and class. The iPhone 5 is one of the most beautiful smartphones ever crafted, so why entomb it within the walls of your giant Otterbox case?

Look at its sleek lines, the glass and aluminum construction, the slim profile. Why do people want to turn this phone into a hideous monstrosity of black plastic? I get it. The iPhone is expensive. You cherish your iPhone. You don’t want to break your iPhone.

NEWS FLASH: The iPhone was made to be used, handled everyday, not placed inside a rubberized shrine to be adored from afar. Sure, you are going to pick up a few dings and scratches, but you want an ugly smartphone? Buy one for half the price.

Sorry you dropped your shiny new iPhone 5 and shattered the screen. Here’s a tip: DON’T DROP YOUR PHONE. But please, spare me the speech on how a case is an absolute necessity. This is why you can’t have nice things. Buy a ruggedized Android if you want a hideous piece of kit that won’t shatter when you drop it.

OH, so you’re case lets you express your originality? I don’t care if you have Hello Kitty plastered all over your smartphone. I don’t care if your case can open bottles or hold your credit cards. Just ditch the case, trust me. The world won’t end, and maybe — just maybe — you will gain an entire new appreciation for the phone you so easily take for granted.

So, I put the question to you. Case or no case? Sound off in the comments below!


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  • No case on my iPhone and I completely agree with this statement. The phone is too beautiful to have in a case and hide it. People who drop their phones put themselves in a bad situation. Walking down the street with your iPhone in one hand while walking on concrete is an accident waiting to happen.

    Just saying…

    • DB

      As much as I appreciate the design and aesthetics… C’mon. You say “Don’t drop your iPhone” like its simply a bad choice we make when we do it. Fact is… s#%t happens out there and, for me, a protected, working iPhone is far better than a pretty one at risk simply because, THEY DON’T DROP WELL when they do. How about instead of wearing a seat belt, just don’t have an accident.

      All that said… They sure do look better undressed 🙂

      • Renkman

        You’re right, they don’t drop well. I forgot mine in my lap one day and when I got out of my truck I was reminded where I left it as I saw it fly out into the street. Surprisingly, I only had a small dent on the corner, but point taken. I still didn’t put a case on it after that, and Gazelle still gave me $300 for it, scratches and all.

  • Agreed.

    However – I am all for adding a “skin” and screen protector. Obviously dropping your phone is never a good plan, but scratches on the screen and body can be easily avoided by spending a few bucks at bestskinsever.com or bodyguardz.com.

    I generally don’t use a case, but as soon as I buy a phone, I order a skin for it.

  • I dont like the idea of a massive case although I’m quite fond of the bumper case, even if it does slightly add to bulkiness of the iPhone, with saying that I think when you take the bumper case off you really do appreciate the phone for what it is and how beautiful it looks and feels. I think screen protectors are a necessity though (providing you get them on perfectly) because they can make the difference between a scratched and shattered phone, especially if the screen protector is of good quality.

    If I am to use a case it will be a bumper for going out where my phone could possibly be scratched etc. but if I’m just around the house or even if I’m going out sometimes I will just take the bumper off and enjoy the phone for what it is.

  • Yep – no case. Easy to get in and out of my pocket, and … I don’t drop it. I don’t want to bulk it up with a case or covering or bumper do-hickey, and since I use an Olloclip for pics and video, I’d have to take it out of the case a lot anyway. So no case for me!

  • Teh_Babyarm

    I’m case-less on my iPhone 5. Dropped it 3 times: first was a fall out of the pocket. The second and third were just carelessness since it was already a little boogered on a couple corners. It’s too nice in the hand to get a case. instead I spent that money on AppleCare.

  • disqus_QTGRIddi9I

    I like the case with a built in battery, for longer times between charges…

  • Renkman

    No cases, with one exception–at work in the field I have dropped mine in the water before. So “sometimes” while working I have a case…sometimes. My HTC One and every iPhone I had before that was made to be held and appreciated. What’s the use in keeping it perfect–re-sale value? So you can buy another one that you hide and never get to appreciate? Blah! Naked all the way!

  • Mark and Lori Rackers

    I don’t have a case, but I have my teenager’s iphones in a lifeproof case. I can’t count on my hands the number of kids that dropped their phone in pool or found it falling (or flying). There just no way of getting the kids to be careful. Of course I could buy them a crap phone, but I want them to have an iphone.

  • thomsonwhite

    I’ve never used a case on iPhone 3’s and 4’s but the iPhone 5 black bezel scratches and reveals the metal so easily from simple daily use, it looks cheap and nasty after a short time.
    Apple replaced my 5 with a refurb after the sleep button stopped working and I’ve wrapped the new one in a slim case.

    I’d much prefer to not wrap the iPhone 5 because it is the nicest iPhone yet, but looks nasty too easily.

  • Kevin- totally get the message of this article. I love my Iphone for it’s sexy glass looks. But I cover it up in a wallet case for my commute in NYC, and an Otterbox if I’m out playing in the snow or beach. Also- PLEASE do a follow up on your article when you have children. Because I’m PRETTY sure you’ll be singing a different tune. Also update it when your commute is by train or subway rather than car. 😉

    • James Rogers

      Amen on children changing your perspective on devices.

  • James Rogers

    I appreciate your perspective here, Kevin, and I’m totally with you on the Otterbox. I hate those things. I do force my kids to use them, thanks to replacing a couple of cracked iPod Touch screens a year ago.

    I’m ok with using a battery case, and the new Mophie Helium isn’t too objectionable. I’m also in total agreement with Brandon. For those who don’t care for a case, skins are still a great idea. They will really cut down on the dings in the anodized aluminium sides and back.

    For anyone out there looking for a thin case that doesn’t obscure the iPhone 5, but offers a little protection, check out the Vaja Nuova Pelle that I review a couple of weeks ago. It’s extremely thin and light, and doesn’t cover up every inch. It compliments the 5 very nicely. Pair this with skins, and you have enough protection, without masking the good looks of the phone. I’m still using mine, and I love it.