10320501I love a smartphone case that’s made for those with a passion for fashion. But most days, I need something with a little more heft–something that’ll put up with me dropping it on the curb side, spilling a glass of water on it, or accidentally pushing it off a bookcase (sadly, all things that have happened to my iPhone over the past two weeks.)

Luckily for us klutzes and explorer-types, Best Buy has more than enough options to cover all of your smartphone protection bases.

Smartphone cases as insurance 

My first iPhone case was a $19.99 hardshell case, and it shattered in under 30 days. It saved my phone (and I am beyond glad that I had it), but I’m glad I upgraded to something that put function ahead of form.

The first thing that most shoppers will notice about smartphone cases that are designed for protection above style is that they can be a little more expensive than a simple smartphone sleeve or hardshell case. They’re not all more expensive (some are actually very affordable!), but even when they are, the cost is worth it.

10398564When you buy a smartphone case for peace of mind, it’s an investment in your phone. It’s kind of like opting to pay for insurance rather than paying for a polka-dot paint job: sure, it might not come in a galaxy print (or maybe it will), but it’ll help minimize your chances of having to spend hundreds of dollars to replace your phone after it meets its untimely end. And, if you’re replacing your phone case every year to update its style rather than every month because you keep shattering them, it’ll end in a savings in your tech accessories budget, too!

Protection against the bumps and falls of life

If you’re looking to protect your phone from simple, city drops and falls, then the OtterBox line is a great place to start. Designs like their Symmetry case are slim and minimalistic, with a one-piece design that’s easy to put on and fits into your pocket. If you’ve ever owned a smartphone case with a bumper before, this is a lot like a big version of that: it’s two (joined) layers of shock absorption that wraps around the entire rim and back of your phone.

For smartphone protection from OtterBox that takes things a step up, the Commuter Hard Shell Case is the next level of protection. It comes with a screen protector and port covers, so not only will it absorb impact the way that the Symmetry will, but it’ll also keep your ports and jacks from getting dusty and protect your screen from getting scratched. The silhouette of the Commuter is different, too; it’s more of a classic OtterBox design, with grip curves around the sides for a secure hold.

10407202I dropped my phone onto my face while lying down today, and can I just say: I’d recommend grip curves 100%. My current Morphe case is extremely slippery, and while it’s invaluable in getting me through the day — man, it hurts when the corner of something that heavy hits you right in the eye!

Finally, for an OtterBox with some serious style, there’s the OtterBox Leather Folio Case in Brown. It’s similar to the Rebecca Minkoff cases featured in the first part of this series; the cover keeps your screen safe while the “folio” part of its design holds your cash and cards. It’s the perfect replacement for your wallet, and makes for an ideal location in which to hold your business cards!

Kitchen-tested levels of mobile security 

I put my phone through a lot, but I’l be honest with you: the conditions in which I drop my phone are pretty tame. I’m not losing it in perilous places or carrying it with me as I trudge through the rainforest (although I do take it on a lot of long walks in the dog park. Does that count?)

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My partner, though, uses the heck out of his phone case. He works as a chef, and as I’m sure anyone here who has ever worked in a kitchen will know, things can get pretty questionable back there.

On a good day, he and his phone stay out of harm’s way from brunch to dinner. But on a bad one, either one of them can end up getting splashed with boiling oil, nicked with a super-sharp knife, or slammed in between a door or drawer. He swears up and down by his Lifeproof case, and his ringing endorsement of their cases is more than enough to have me convinced!

He has a Lifeproof Fre (sic), available in Grey or Blue, which is an airtight case that’s waterproof and drop-proof (both up to 6.6 ft). It’s technically a hard shell case with a screen protector, but it has a soft, extremely shock-absorbent, grippy finish, and the scratch protector is built in as part of the airtight case. The ports and jacks of the Fre are also airtight, and simply need to be opened up in order to access your phone’s nooks and crannies.

As much as I’m impressed by Lifeproof cases, one thing that I do want to mention is that they’re a little thick, so you have to tug on your lighting cable instead of the plug-in if you’re charging your iPhone. It results in a lot of wear and tear on one of the industry’s most fragile cords, and I’d recommend buying a sturdy replacement cord to keep as a backup as well!

For a serious case of slippery fingers

10386557Finally, if what you need is a trendy, wilderness explorer-approved smartphone case, you’re going to want to check out the cases available from Speck. The Speck CandyShell Cases are a great fusion of fashion and function, and they’re designed with rubberized reinforced corners to add extra protection for your phone at its weakest points.

While not waterproof, the Speck is less cumbersome than a Lifeproof case, and has been tested extensively to meet military drop test standards as well as endure extreme temperatures–something that is sure to come in handy for us Canadians!

For those of you on the market for a new smartphone protector, these cases are all you’ll need to keep your phone safe and sound… leaving you free to focus solely on the important stuff.

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