Where We Are Today
As the top of the line smartphones get more complex, they typically get more expensive and fragile. The average touchscreen size of smartphones is consistently rising, and with that you have more glass. And as the pressure to enlarge screens mounts, the pressure of a smaller device also mounts leading phone designers to eliminate as much bezel and phone housing as they can. As phones become more thin, the structural integrity of the housing is reduced and lower profile bezels are leading to less buffer area between the glass screen and the polycarbonate or aluminum protection that the housing offers.
The screen on modern smartphones is definitely the most delicate component and most likely to break, and that’s even considering the advances in glass technology from the likes of Gorilla Glass. While the material remains scratch-resistant and shatter-resistant, they can still be scratched and damaged. When the screen breaks on your device, these companies do not want shards of glass flying everywhere so they remain adhered to the device. This happens during drops and with great external pressure like being sat on. You can also scratch the screen on most of these smartphones with fine sand.
While the advances in screen technology has been nice, a lot of smartphones still utilize polycarbonate for the phone’s housing. It’s very light and strong for its weight, and it’s also radio transparent so that radio signals aren’t degraded. Phones like the iPhone 5s use aluminum for most of the phone housing but there are special considerations made for antenna placement which not a lot of other companies have been dying to replicate except for HTC and their One series. But, the iPhone 5s does utilize a back that is extremely prone to scratching, something that most of their mobile devices except for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s have been notorious for. Those two devices did have glass backs though.
The Galaxy S5 has been announced, and while it looks largely similar to the Galaxy S4 before it, a new back/battery door has been introduced with a textured back as opposed to the glossy polycarbonate back used in models prior. While the new rear offers a great, tactile feel, acquiring a case for the Galaxy S5 will still be necessary to maintain the resale value of your device and to protect the massive 5.1″ touchscreen. The Galaxy S5 is also being advertised as water-resistant, which doesn’t necessarily mean submersible, so don’t think you can throw your shiny new Galaxy S5 into the pool and it come out unscathed, as this is not the case!
So with all of that being said, let’s take a look at some options available for when you go to choose your Galaxy S5 case.
Types of Galaxy S5 Cases
There are several types of cases available to order for the Galaxy S5, and they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some basic features and descriptions of essentially every type of case.
- Low price
- Very thin and light
- The most different colors and designs available
- Not very protective
- Can be hard to remove
- Cheaper cases can break easily
- Low price
- Easy to take off and put on
- Cheaper cases can end up “floppy”
- Look stylish
- Available in several materials including TPU, Polycarbonate, and Aluminum
- Can have multiple layers of protection
- The most protective
- Usually come with features like holster and stand
- Better case longevity
- Adds bulk and weight
- Wireless chargers typically do not work
- More costly
- Adds much-needed battery life
- Typically not as protective
- Keeps screen clean
- Typically adds features like Auto Wake/Sleep and S-View
- Not very protective
- Cheaper versions fall apart easy
- Cheaper versions flop open
- Very protective
- Adds several pockets
- Adds stand functionality
- Cheaper versions don’t use real leather
Important Things to Look Out For
When selecting a case for your Galaxy S5, keep in mind that what you want your case to do. If you’re not clumsy with your phone or work in harsh environments, a rugged case would probably be overkill. If you keep your phone in your pocket, a rugged case will not be a good idea. If you get a Qi wireless charging add-on for your Galaxy S5, you must also keep in mind that a rugged case will not work properly with it.
The best size:protection ratio for cases that we have found are ones that utilize a very thin TPU skin and thin polycarbonate shell, which we tag as Hybrid cases.
In terms of protection, TPU and silicone are used for shock absorption during drops. This is basically a rubber-like material that has a bounce to it that will protect such impacts from cracking your screen, but it can’t hold up well to pressure like being sat on or crushed. That’s where polycarbonate comes into play. By itself, such as with Hard Cases, polycarbonate is not too great at protecting against drops and falls because the impact from those events typically transfers right through that type of case and into your phone, potentially leading to some sort of damage.
When looking at leather cases, there are some that are made with synthetic leather, or PU leather, which stands for polyurethane. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that material, but if you’re a purist and want to spend a little more on a case, there are genuine leather cases available from several companies like Noreve, PDair, and Vaja Cases. The price will be significantly more, but the craftsmanship and quality cannot be matched. It’s also nice smelling that genuine leather smell when you first take it out of the package.
Last Updated: July 4th, 2014