I’m a big audiophile.
Some guys love high-definition TV’s but I couldn’t care less about the latest 4K craze to come out of Samsung. My gadget love is purely aural and therefore I have a huge crush on high-fidelity music, headphones and digital audio codecs.
The crisper the snare, the cleaner the bass, the more mellifluous the cello the happier I am.
That’s why I love my iRiver digital audio codec. My wife brought me this $700 “Porsche” about a year ago and it completely changed the way I appreciate music. Suddenly subtle sounds from previous songs were liberated from the periphery and placed center stage for my ears to marvel.
The sound-stage of songs that I previously listened to was dramatically widened and I was in bliss.
Some might say my audio player was prohibitively expensive especially since it can’t record videos, make phone calls or connect to the internet. But I actually view the dearth of options as an advantage because it means the smart guys at iRiver honed their attention on one thing: constructing device that accurately reproduces the original recording – it’s the closest thing to being there in the studio with the artist.
Now here’s the thing:
My digital audio codec doesn’t have a protective case. In fact I’ve never had one for it because:
- I love how the brushed titanium feels in my hand
- A case subtracts from the beauty of the device
- It’s hard to slip the audio player in my pocket with a case
- The cases seemed unnecessarily expensive and gimmicky
- None of the cases seemed to offer adequate protection
So I’ve been “naked” for the past year and guess what? I’m naked and unafraid.
I’ve never dropped my audio codec even though I use it daily and I am continuously slipping in and out of my pocket. I take my audio player everywhere but not once has it hit the concrete or asphalt.
Now why is that?
I’ll tell you why:
It’s because I value my music player. It’s right up there with my wallet and keys. And since I value it I’m very careful not to drop it.
My problem with cell phone cases
I remember the first time my wife purchased an iPhone.
The alpine white fascia was so pristine, so clean that it probably resembled the nacreous gates of heaven.
The surface was so reflective that it doubled as a mirror and the smooth finish and svelte curves mesmerized me for a few minutes. It was an amazing thing to behold.
Naturally she wanted to keep her phone looking new so we trekked to the mall and started looking at cases. I remember being slack-jawed as I strolled aisle after aisle of protective covers in more colors than a bag of skittles!
Some had maudlin Hello Kitty icons on the front, others were scintillating in faux crystals and had more bling than Jay Z’s necklace.
And then there was the price.
My wife reached for the shimmering crystal case, snapped it on her phone and a smile stretched across her face.
Yes, I admit the sparkles were dazzling and it certainly exuded elegance. But it was over $40 bucks! Not only that, the case only protected the back of the phone leaving the most sensitive part (the glossy glass) completed vulnerable to smudges, scratches and cracks.
Let’s just say I was less than enthused with the purchase because I felt like it offered zero utilitarian value. It’s value was pure ostentation.
Furthermore, since our rapacious culture craves the latest “thing” it’s very likely that last years phone won’t fit tomorrow’s case. This further pegs the cost of ownership and really get’s on my nerves.
It’s like the phone manufacturers are complicit with the case designers! The phone guys keep making minor tweaks which effectively nullifies the value of your existing case. So you end up buying a new case and so the cycle repeats.
Mindfulness is a good case
According to a December 2012 survey from cellphone protection plan company SquareTrade, people who have sex more frequently, own motorcycles or have a tattoo are more likely to damage their iPhones.
Okay, so maybe I haven’t dropped my digital music player because I’m not getting enough nookie, don’t own a motorcycle and have zero tattoos.
Who knows, but one thing is for sure: this little music player is valuable to me; therefore, I protect it with the best protective case of all:
It’s called mindfulness and it’s 100% free.
I think we just need to pay more attention to what we’re doing these days.
Back in the day of beepers and pagers people had belt holsters that allowed them to “clip in” which probably averted many disasters. But the modern man doesn’t want to holster his phone as he would rather have it in hand so he can show it off to his colleagues.
I honestly think cases cause more harm then good.
Consider the following facts with me:
- Most cases won’t let you charge or dock the phone; thus, requiring that you remove the phone from the case and risk damaging it.
- Most cases just look bad (or at least worse than the phone it allegedly protects)
- Some cases can cause your phone to overheat
- Cases are hard to clean – who cares if your phone is immaculate if the case looks like its been through the food right?
Instead of augmenting our phones with cases, phone manufactures should make beefier phones with more durable glass. Perhaps better craftsmanship would obviate the need for cases all together. I know the Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof and anti-everything resistant (and this is a good start) but phone manufacturers still have a long way to go.
On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find rugged phones such as the Casio G’zOne Commando 4G LTe. Phones like this get you braun in exchange for beauty.
You get the beef without the plating.
Unless you’re in the military or a 10 year old boy obsessed with Rambo, you’re not going to walk around with little “hand grenade” that can make calls.
So where’s the trade off?
I think it starts with us.
We just need to be more careful.
On the other side of the argument, sometimes cases are good.
I’ve dropped my phone a few times and because I didn’t have a case, I irrevocably chipped the bezel.
Initially my wife brought me a Spigen SGP for my Galaxy S4 and I couldn’t stop rhapsodizing about it because:
- It was super cheap: only $10.00 on Amazon.
- It was ultra slim so it didn’t get in the way
- It had a smooth, rubbery texture which made me want to continuously hold my phone
- Although it didn’t protect the glassy front the raise edges provided a barrier from the floor.
I actually loved it this little case. And after I went through my first Spigen, my wife brought me another one.
It lasted for a long time – the only complaint I had was that there was a thin-strip of the case that ran parallel to the volume control button. After a while it thinned and eventually fell off but honestly – that’s just a peccadillo because even without that strip of rubber my phone was still adequately protected.
So cases have their place but ultimately I think they are an insult to the phone manufacturer.
Stop for a moment and think of your favorite restaurant.
Imagine yourself sitting with your best friend eating your favorite dish. Recall the ambiance, the lighting, the soft conversation in the background. Now take in the delectable smell of your dinner.
- The neat arrangement of the utensils.
- The color and texture of the tablecloth.
- The music playing in the dining room.
Watch as the waiter approaches and pours a glass of wine. Observe how the wine flows into the glass and swirls around like a ruby sea of bliss.
This is your day – and it’s all good.
Suddenly the executive chef leaves the kitchen and enters the dining room to greet the guests. He eventually makes his way over to your table and with an amiable smile inquires about your dish.
You smile and say,
Oh, it’s great!
He tilts his head to the side and with a warm smile nods in appreciation.
But there’s this one little thing…
His eyebrows raise in shock as he awaits your complaint
At this point you’re pretty nervous so you unconsciously fiddle with your fork and then point to your Prime Rib cut:
Well, um – can you pour some Tabasco sauce on this?
Now guess what just happened – you just insulted the chef.
If he intended Tabasco sauce to be on the steak he would have incorporated that into the meal! Will he take umbrage with your comment?
Is his response to your effrontery justified?
In the same way, by putting the “Tabasco sauce” of a case on your phone you are effectively hurling spit balls on the design teams who sedulously labored to craft your beautiful phone.
You’re spitting in the faces of dozens of meeting attendees, hours of planning and dozens of dedicated people with exacting personalities who wanted to make sure your phone looked just right.
Don’t do that. Instead, liberate your phone and go naked.
If you treat it well it’ll do the same for you.
The reason my $700 digital audio codec looks almost new isn’t because I purchased a $100 leather case for it. On the contrary, I’m simply thoughtful whenever I’m holding it. Every time I pick it up I’m conscious of the very act of picking it up. And every time I put it down, I’m equally cognizant.
A little thoughtfulness goes a long way – it’ll not only protect your phone but also make you a more responsible, admirable person.
What do you think of cases?
So you know how I feel about cell phone cases – but I’m curious what you’re feeling right now. What do you think about cell phone cases?
Please share your opinion in the comments below!