why aren't iPhone cases that fully cover screen (like wallet cases) more popular?

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by beethovengirl, May 24, 2014.

  1. beethovengirl macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2004

    I'm a Luddite who still owns a dumbphone, but my husband has decided to upgrade to an iPhone 5c, so I'm currently researching cases to buy, and I'm confused why cases that fully cover and protect the screen (like wallet cases) aren't more popular. It appears that most people use plastic/rubber cases (like Otterbox) that provide superb protection for the back of the iPhone, but it seems to me that the most delicate part of the iPhone is the screen, which doesn't seem well-protected by such cases. I understand that due to the fact that such cases have a raised edge, the screen is not totally exposed if the phone is dropped, but I guess I'm still skeptical how well the screen is protected. In addition, if one is carrying the iPhone in one's pocket or purse with one's keys, wouldn't the screen get scratched with such cases?

    Are Otterbox-type cases more popular b/c the iPhone is simply more convenient to use in such a case than in a wallet case? Or am I exaggerating the need to protect the screen?

    Also, if anyone has any recs for a case for the iPhone 5c, I'm all ears. I'm currently looking at this one:
    My husband doesn't plan to use the case as an actual wallet, so we don't care about pockets for cards/cash, just protection for the iPhone, build quality, and ease of use.

    I'm heavily relying on Amazon reviews, which may not be the best course of action. There are a zillion wallet-style cases here but not much in the way of reviews:

    thanks for any advice you may have :)
  2. Retired Cat macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013

    The glass used in iPhone displays is actually harder than most materials. As far as I can tell, neither keys nor coins will scratch the glass.

    I'd say the only materials that could scratch the glass would be those of same or equal hardness, like sand or diamond. Many people use open-faced cases but also apply a plastic screen protector to absorb damage from this stuff. If a plastic screen protector gets scuffed up somehow, it's easy to toss it and install another one.

    The screen needs the most protection from shattering, which I think most often occurs when a phone is dropped onto a hard surface like pavement. Glass doesn't generally cope well with sudden concentrated force. That's why many cases are made to absorb and distribute impacts from drops.
  3. Jr. Pac macrumors member

    May 23, 2014
    I must disagree, at least within the case (no pun intended) of the iPhone 5c. Simply sliding in and out of my pocket had my 5c screen visible scratches within a week. Regardless, add a screen protector as soon as you get it.

    There are generally five types of protection generally what I have seen of protection.
    1. The full protection Otterbox Defender style for those who drop their phones excessively and want to keep the actual phone in the best possible condition. I personally shy away from these as you don't really enjoy the actual design of the iPhone.

    2. The TPU type. Like an inbetween plastic and rubber, these are usually transparent and still allow for you to see the phone but providing medium protection. I personally really like these as they show off the phone.

    3. The plastic snap-on cases. These are really generally for show and have a lot of variety.

    2. The type who only use a ClearCoat or Skinomi type skin. This protects your phone from scratches and makes it look like stock.

    1. Then the people who just don't care and use no case.
  4. g35, May 25, 2014
    Last edited: May 25, 2014

    g35 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2007
    The most vulnerable part of the phone is not the screen, it's the edge. Your phone will almost always land on the edge first. If you protect the edges, you protect the screen and back too.

    I think you may be underestimating how unwieldy a wallet case will be. When you use your phone a lot, there is a good chance you'll be cursing that unnecessary flap of leather. It also makes the phone much thicker.

    If you can keep your phone in its own pocket (no keys or anything else) your screen will remain in very very good condition. Keys and almost anything else will scratch your phone. I keep mine in its own pocket and it still has one small, minor scratch, so it's not scratchproof.

    Since starting with iPhones in 2008, my favourite case is definitely a TPU case that covers the sides and back of the phone. It has protected mine against countless drops to the floor and impacts into tables and door jambs. In my opinion, these cases offer the best balance of ease-of-use, pocketability, looks and protection. Don't buy silicone, which attract a lot of dust.

    If you keep it in a purse, I would get a leather sleeve. But, the catch is that it's unprotected if you're using it and drop it. Mine survived a few spills in this manner but I didn't like to risk it.

    An important thing to note is that some cases, weirdly, make your hands feel sticky. These ones don't. That's important to me.

    Here are links to my favourite iPhone cases I've had, these ones always supplant the others in my daily use. There are more expensive leather versions but the cost:quality ratio for the ones I've linked can't be beat. I don't know if there are compatible iPhone 5C versions

    Generic TPU case for iPhone 5
    Apple leather version

    Generic polyurethane sleeve for iPhone 5
    Sena leather version
  5. philippe7 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2014
  6. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    There are so many options available. Those that use Otterbox most likely purchased them when they got their phones. The major stores carry atleast 4-5 brands and Otterbox is one of them. If you search the web you will find more choices. My two favorite (outside of the major stores) are Spigen and Xtrememac.

    My current set up is a good screen protector (iLoome) and Spigen Ultra Hybrid/Slim Armor S. I'm not hard on my gadgets, but I have dropped my phone once onto the pavement. No damage to case or phone.

    If you are looking for a book type case, check out Poetic Slimbook. I have one for my iPhone that I use occasionally.

    Poetic Slimbook

    Spigen Tough Armor

    Spigen Ultra Hybrid crystal clear.
  7. rambo47 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2010
    Denville, NJ
    As for popularity of this style case, I think it's because Apple places such a strong emphasis on design that folks don't want to cover it up. One of the iPhone's trademarks has been the slim/narrow form factor for easy one-handed use. A slim case that covers as little of the phone as possible seems most popular. That's just my guess.
  8. magilla macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2013
    I agree with almost everything you say, especially the scratching of the glass screen. Contrary to popular belief, Gorilla Glass ISN'T specified as the screen cover material in the 5c/s series (see Corning's own Gorilla Glass website for actual products it's used in) - Apple uses a very similar material but, as you've found out, keys and coins CAN (and will) scratch the surface.

    It's funny, the 5s was designed to be comfortably carried, uncased, in a shirt pocket and hence it's designed size is just a bit too small for a lot of people's hands. Males with larger hands tend to find the Fone a bit small-ish to handle and cases like the Otterbox Defender, with it's incorporated screen protector, give it a little bulkier feel.

    The plastic "snap on" cases I agree, are merely cosmetic and do little to offer any protection for the edges of the Fone, nor do they offer any protection to the screen. Kinda like the Kardashians - pretty to look at but not much use otherwise.

    I graduated from an old LG clamshell "dumb phone" to my 5s and found that, within the first week, I'd dropped the silly thing three times (all on carpeted floors) with no damage and thus began my search for a case i could live with. The OB Defender series i liked because it "bulked up" the Fone a bit to make it easier to hold and had an incorporated screen protector that worked well enough (for me.) Some like them, some don't.

    BTW ... that "sticky" feel you get from the leather cases is from the residual tanning/finishing oils used in leather production. A good coat of neutral shoe polish buffed with a soft rag will get rid of that.
  9. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    My dad bought me a flap case for my Pocket PC back in the day. Like someone else said, if you're going to use the device all the time, it is more troublesome than it's worth. Sadly, at the time, these were mainly devices used by business people, so that was the trend.

    Someone posted these in the wallet case thread over here:


    You might have a look at the Duo. There is a wider version you can get that lets you use it with an additional case. This might be the best option so your husband can slip the iPhone out and not have the additional wallet bulk.

    SwitchEasy and Incipio make some nice slim cases you could combine with that setup.
  10. beethovengirl thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2004
    thanks everyone for your helpful replies :)

    After reading Jr. Pac's reply, I decided on a set up almost identical to yours:
    Spigen Tough Armor + a tempered glass screen protector. I was looking at the Tech Armor Ballistic Glass screen protector (nice price!), but the ZAGG Glass screen protector is currently 50% off, so I might jump on that.

    One of my concerns is regarding how the Glass will change the touch sensitivity. This is less a concern for my husband, the primary user, but rather for me. I intend to occasionally use his iPhone, and I will do so wearing conductive gloves or using a stylus (while wearing gloves), so I'm greatly concerned about any reduction in touch sensitivity. Do you have any thoughts?

    magilla - I still have my LG clamshell dumb-phone :)
  11. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Wallet cases aren't popular with the iPhone because Samsung advertises them for the Galaxy phones ;)

    I have no idea if that's actually the case (hah). I started with an Otterbox Defender and then moved to a Belkin TPU case. It gives me peace of mind with my iPhone 5.

    The 5c is a little more durable as far as I understand, so your husband can pretty much have his pick of cases. I know my dad has a black Otterbox Commuter for his 4S. Sounds like a simple folio case would be to your liking.
  12. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    I can't comment on the gloves part because I don't wear them. I went with the iLoome Flex. For the most part I'm good with taking care of my gadgets. I saw the Zagg and didn't buy it because it didn't cover the entire screen. So I went with iLoome Flex because it has more protection over the screen but still thin enough.

    But I did unfortunately dropped mine. The case was more protective than the screen shield. I say that because the iPhone didn't land on the screen whew.

    I got my parents the Spigen cases for the 5c because the iPhone 5c feels slippery in the hands.

  13. beethovengirl thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2004
    I'm confused...can you please clarify how you concluded that the Spigen Slim Armor is more protective than the iLoome Flex? thanks :)
  14. bigjim83 macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    I'm not a fan of wallet cases because I look at my phone too much. I don't want to open it every time I need to check my phone. Also when taking pictures it's awkward to hold the flap away from the camera.
  15. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009

    Spigen Slim Armor S = the case
    iLoome Flex = screen protector

    I use a screen protector and a case. I didn't want to have a bulky case like the Otterbox. I wanted something different that was also slim but protective. Since the case doesn't protect the front, I got the iLoome Flex. The iLoome Flex comment was towards your comment about the Zagg screen protector. Check around youtube for reviews on these. I wouldn't necessarily buy something just solely because of the price. Make sure it functions the way that you want it to. Since the iLoome is thin, I was guessing that it could work with your glove, but I can't confirm that it does because I don't wear any gloves.

    As for the Spigen case, it has a nice fit. Better than most cases. And the fit allows you to have decent protection. The added bonus is the price. I have 3 cases which cheaper than one Otterbox. But again that wasn't the deciding factor.
  16. tkwolf macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    I just want a phone without all the hassle. Having to open the flap repeatedly, etc etc. This is why.
  17. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    That's how scratching works. A material has to be harder than the material it is scratching. If it isn't, no scratch.

    It wasn't the fabric. It would have to be grit of some material harder than the screen.
  18. Mercury7 macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2007
    not going to restate ideas here but feel there is a lack of inventiveness by the various folio designers.... perhaps because of cost etc but it would be very possible to make very thin hinged cases that flip completely flush in a secure manner to give fully functionality when in use and also give the protection and storage only a folio can provide.

    I find it almost shocking that at least the high end case makers like vaja have not explored this... there are not even prototypes available to view on the web


    p.s. I have plans to modify a KAVAJ case I ordered. if successful Ill try to provide pictures etc

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