Last Updated: December 16th, 2012

Welcome to the Android Police Weekend Poll and News Roundup. We're introducing this as a combination of two previously separate features - the weekend poll and the week in review. Just think of it as the weekend poll with the added bonus of some stuff to read at the bottom. A Sunday super-post, if you will.

The Poll

Since the launch of the Nexus 4 and its glass back, there's been even more hullabaloo in the Android world about the need for a smartphone case, bumper, or skin. I've found this is actually a question people have some pretty strong feelings about. And the market for cases is as big as ever - if you head to Amazon, for example, you'll see there are already over 3000 dedicated listings for iPhone 5 cases.

Of course, the question of a case doesn't stop at a simple "yes" or "no" - there are a variety of ways to protect and personalize your smartphone. You can go all the way from the least invasive end of the spectrum - invisible stick-on skins - to battle-tank style barriers like the the Otterbox Defender. Having tried both extremes myself, my personal belief has always been that the best part about smartphone cases is removing them - the idea just never resonated with me.

Otterbox Defender Galaxy Note Black Show

The Otterbox Defender

For most people, though, the answer to the "case question" is not going be rooted only in aesthetic philosophy. If we all felt comfortable running around with our smartphones in the proverbial nude, Otterbox wouldn't be in business. So, with that in mind - how do you protect your device (if at all)?

And as always, feel free to explain your answer in the comments.

What kind of case do you use for your smartphone (if any)?

View Results

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • bL4Ck

    Usually an hard shell plastic case, but i grow tired quickly and go "commando".

  • Krisztián Kelemen

    just a neoprene pouch on my Galaxy Nexus, for the pocket travel :) nothing else :)

  • http://twitter.com/louiedog louiedog

    Silicone skin. I think it gives my phone a better feel and it keeps the screen from making contact with a surface when I put it face down.

  • Montygue

    I tried Zagg invisishield. Still sticky in my pocket and it would get lint under the corners. Plus your finger can't slide smoothly on the screen.
    I don't like cases because they are so bulky and when I pull my phone out, everything in my pocket falls out.
    So now I accept bumps and bruises on my phone and get to experience the beauty of my phones, instead of hiding it away then retiring a like-new phone to the junk drawer.

  • MyNameIsLOS

    I have an invisible shield on my phone and I also keep a gel case on me but I only I put it on when I'm at the gym or doing something that puts my phone at high risk. I take it off because I don't like the added girth but there are times when I need it.


      This is the same for me as well.

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    Do those cases, skins and whatnot help against severe damage?
    I have never seen a proper test where someone was dropping a phone five times from the same height without protection, with this case, with that case and so forth.
    And I'm not talking about people claiming that their case has saved their phone since I believe that their phone would have survived that given crash anyway.
    I can't imagine those tiny cases absorbing too much shock damage.

    • mesmorino

      Nothing will help against severe damage, and I don't think the cases are advertised as doing that anyway. They're there to protect against cosmetic damage, and otherwise accidental damage. Things like falling from knee height at an angle is liable to shatter a phone's screen (or the back), or give it a nasty dent. Cases are very good at absorbing those kinds of shocks

      • Jake L

        Aye. Seeing your glass-fronted 'droid dropping onto the edge of a surface is made a lot less damaging with a case that sticks out a bit on the front.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        Ok. If I was selling the famous Droid MagiCase XYZ 2020, I'd have them tested by reproducible standards and publish the results.

    • http://twitter.com/louiedog louiedog

      It's not just about the shock. I've pulled a pretty damp phone out of my pocket after getting caught in a rainstorm. Some cases keep moisture from getting in the ports in those situations. My silicone skin gives me a much better grip on my phone. It may or may not be better in a hard drop, but it definitely helps prevent that drop from happening.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        Well, looking at my Galaxy S3 I have to admit that grip is a valid point.
        Mine can be as slippery as a virgin after her first French kiss.

  • http://www.bradley.zxq.net/gallery Brad Biederman

    I've got no case for my Atrix, but that's the main reason why it's broken. It's slick enough that it has fallen out my pockets and hands more times than I can count. Took quite a few solid drops before it actually broke though, which is a credit to Motorola's build quality.

  • http://dispersedthoughts.wordpress.com/ Robert Knight

    Usually a sleeve for pocketing and nothing more.

  • Androidium
    • GraveUypo

      ha thanks for the laughs

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    I have a vinyl skin covered in a silicon skin further covered by a hard plastic shell.

  • http://twitter.com/branaja Branimir

    I went bare for whole year, but my sgs2 got some scratches and I bought a case. every thime I take it off mobile phone fells so thin! :D

  • https://twitter.com/#!/doomstang Doomstang

    I've gone with an Otterbox Commuter series case on 3 of the last 4 phones and just a gel case on the other.

  • http://twitter.com/arcarbonaro Anthony Carbonaro

    I have a hard case that I use when I'm at home. Everywhere else I'm pretty much good, but my house is a dangerous place for electronics.

  • scuttlefield

    The main reason that I've used any type of case is so I have more grip on my phone. Too many just slip out of my hand too easily. Once I have that "gripiness", I don't have a tendency to drop my phone. Right now I've got a Nexus 4. I've put eGrips on the back. That along with the slightly grippy edges of the phone, seem to do the job.

  • Simon Belmont

    I swear by TPU cases. They're easy to take off and they have protected my devices from many minor scratches, bumps, and bruises.

    My first Android phone, a Sprint HTC Hero, had a hard case on it, and I liked it a lot, but it was really tough to pry off. Then I discovered TPU cases and never looked back.

    • http://twitter.com/Chronophase N Jones

      Same here. Plus they aren't dust magnets like the silicone ones.

    • BKPhil

      One more vote for TPU here. Very protective, OK to look at, and very protective. And as N Jones mentions, not dust magnets.

  • Gav456

    Thanks to the rubberized aluminum unibody of my sensation and it's concave curved gorilla glass screen, it is slip-proof and drop/scratch resistant so I never bothered with a case. It does, however, have it's own pocket . My nexus 7 on the other hand, has that groovy faux-leather sleeve/case/stand thing that flaps around the screen and rotates on a press-stud. It's handy cuz I use it to stand it up while I play Shadowgun® THD with a 360 pad and OTG cable (which rocks)

    • mesmorino

      I like the way you say "drop resistant", like being jostled on a crowded pavement and dropping your phone can be designed against. No really, I do. I also like the way you say "slip proof"

      Tempting fate has never looked so good :p

  • http://twitter.com/jnfbatista João Batista

    I used a tpu case and a zagg screen protector, but it diminished the experience of using the Nexus S, so I ditched them and been very happy with that decision so far.

  • DennisHeffernan

    Otterbox Defender for me, though I don't have one yet for my new Note 2 (I don't think they're actually out yet). These gadgets are too expensive not to protect.

  • http://twitter.com/BexaRaven Rebecca Raven

    I like my Seidio. It is a nice, close fit so my phone is just slightly larger, it is smooth enough to slip in and out of a pocket, yet is have a nice "grippy" texture so feels secure in my hand. Love it.

  • QwietStorm

    Well I would have a bumper, but Google doesn't seem to want to keep them in stock, so I have a TPU case at the moment. I've never been big on cases and screen protectors.

  • Alex P.

    I think I cannot vote.
    I got a full-body film on my phone to use it with the aluminum bumper, sometimes I put a hard case on the phone instead.

  • skeeterfood

    I voted silicone, but I actually use a TPU case on my LG Optimus V. Gives it just enough grip to keep me from dropping it, but not so much it collects a ton of lint and is difficult to remove from my pocket. Also, it's easy to remove so I can pull the battery easily when needed, which is not nearly as often as it used to be, but still more than it should be.

  • James

    I've never used a case and have never cracked a screen. The worst damage done was to my HTC Desire HD when it had a little scuff on a corner. I guess I have grippy fingers.

    • Jáchym Metlička

      HTC Desire HD can take some beating. I have a pretty bad case of butter fingers but this phone survives so far.

  • Rence12

    I actually use a SGP Neo Hybrid case for my Galaxy Nexus, it's essentially both a soft case and a bumper. It's very nice, and looks awesome.

  • Bob Johnson

    OtterBox Defender or Commuter on every phone in this house, All 5 of them Oyyyyy....

  • wrapper

    Why is the poll missing sleeve?

  • CaibreGreyblade

    Otterbox. I really don't know how my phones survived before I discovered hard shells.

  • fixxmyhead

    Cases are fucking gay ,ugly,hardly protect and make the phone fat. Nothing on my nexus 4 it feels good the way it is.

    • andrew__des_moines

      Sounds like you need a rubberized skin to protect your case from getting dirt and the like from collecting in the back. If you just go with a straight phone, this would be less of a risk.

      • fixxmyhead

        nah i dont believe in these gimmicky cases or skins i like my phone just bare. im not like the rest of the people that feels they need to get a screen protector, case, gel case, charm, stylus, etc. just the phone alone will do

        • andrew__des_moines

          Perhaps my commentary was too subtle...

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

      Slip out of the skinny jeans kid.

      • fixxmyhead

        cases dont protect. waste of money. u wanna be a sucker and have piece of mind thinking they protect go ahead and buy them

  • popcicle

    otterbox defender on my s3. makes it huge but i like it.

  • jamaall

    I've dropped my RAZR M twice, and there is not one scratch, knick, or any flaw in the phone. But I have a feeling that I will somehow drop it in a way to crack my screen, so I'm getting a case soon!

  • andrew__des_moines

    For the first year of my contract, I have a screen protector after which I go bare. Removing it is like mid-life rejuvenation surgery.

    • Nicholas Loomans

      I used to have a protector on my phone until I realised I didn't need one. I've had it for over 2 years and the only damage is a bit of a scuff on the back. Dropped it a couple times (okay, maybe a couple times a month) but nothing so serious as from head to concrete or anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129440224 Christopher Ching

    When I had my Nexus One, I used the little sleeve it came with, which was great. I haven't used anything for my Galaxy Nexus; one of the ancillary advantages of being made of cheap plastic is that I don't really feel too bad when the edges get worn, so long as the screen stays fine.

    Might get something for the Nexus 4, once I get one.

  • mauric

    I just slide it in my pocket. People work for hours and hours to put all the work into an 8mm thick device and you just wrap some bad looking case around it. Cases ruin the design of the phone completely. Besides that, some phone become too large to handle. For example i have an galaxy s3, which fits perfectly in my pocket, no problems whatsoever. When you put a case around it, it becomes insanely big and hard to handle.

    I must confess i do have a case for my job (12 hours next to my study). Tends to get a little rough here and there.

    • Idle Time

      Depending on the phone, if you get a slim TPU case that matches the color of your phone, it's barely noticeable that you have a case on.

  • 27yearold

    nothing makes me happier than phones without a case breaking. those people deserve it and are likely the reason phones are getting thinner instead of getting better. aesthetics over function is the end of progress.

    • Nicholas Loomans

      imo it's up to the manufacturer to make the phone sufficiently protected by itself. No one deserves their phone broken, that's not cool.

      I believe specs and price sell more than the thinness or lightness of a phone. Most people I know wouldn't have a clue how their phones stacks up against others, it was just the best specced in their price range when they got it.

    • ltredbeard

      you must be a shallow person to have such ill wishes, but just so you know, a phone can break with a case on it.

      that's like saying you like you are happy when someone with a modern car (painted bumper blended in with the car) gets into an accident bc they should have bought an eighty's car with an old chrome and black bumper.

  • Barton82

    I never used cases, but since now I have a Galaxy S3 i9300 I had to start using them, cause on this phone the damn screen cracks if you look at it the wrong way. ;) I use Samsung's 'Protective Cover' TPU case.

  • fadilkarim

    I hate using cases because my note 2 feels so great without it but I need a case to do the things for me
    1.protect the camera when I leave my phone down on a table
    2. Protect the screen if I placed my phone face down
    3. Protect the bezel from bumps and scratches.
    That's why I use a bumper case

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      The glass on your screen is a lot harder than the average table surface is...

      • fadilkarim

        That's true but if I was to drop my phone, and the phone would land on the lip so the screen would never make contact with the floor :)

  • Peterson Silva

    Why isn't leather there? I bought a black leather case for my S3 so I can replace my wallet and simplify my life - besides, to protect it a bit better, of course :)

  • Ryan O’Neill

    I have a silicon case, but take it off whenever I'm home. Or if someone asks to borrow my phone and I want to show off its beauty.

  • PoisionIvy

    HTC One X - Sparking White - and I go Absolutely Bare !!!

  • squiddy20

    I didn't use a case or skin of any kind on my Samsung Moment, and it's pretty beat up looking. Of course, I dropped it dozens of times, mostly onto concrete/pavement. Now I've got an Otterbox Commuter on my Galaxy Nexus and oddly enough, I don't think I've dropped it once. Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.

  • Christopher Theofilaktos

    I can't not use a case. I'm a student and buying an s3 outright costs a lot of money, I don't want that to all be for nothing because of one fall. I'm not a clumsy person but it happens, I've dropped my s3 a few times, nothing horrendous, and the case has protected it wonderfully

  • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.labrier Taylor LaBrier

    Aren't the Otterbox Commuter and Defender series cases a mix of both silicone *and* hard plastic? lol

  • Sootie

    Glad to see there are so many more people going commando, only way to go. The biggest issue I have when I try to put my phone in a case it I cant get it out of my bloody pocket its just too damn grippy.
    My s2 has been caseless and screen protector less since I bought it 2 years or more ago and it has some battles scars from hitting concrete and other floors a few times (damn you beer/broken arm) but never broken a screen and none of the battle scars effect its everyday use.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leong.chee.3 Leong Seng Chee

    I use cases purely for aesthetic reasons rather than functionality (except maybe for the grippiness as my note 2 feels slippery in my hand). I have current a dozen cases for my phone which I swap around according to the event im going to whether formal, informal etc, and the customised theme my phone has on which I change quite often as well.. Every month when I see a new phone I get the upgrade urge. Instead I satiate myself by buying a new case to give ny phone a new look and then make a new theme to match. I try not to change device unless its truly something new instead of a small incremental change

  • MeCampbell30

    Commando, by the time my phone is really beat up I'm about ready to change phones - about 2 years or so.

  • GraveUypo

    Defy: no, there's no need.
    GS3: yes, thin silicon / hard plastic skin. for protection and for better grip.

    i don't really care much about the appearance of my phones, so the only reason i would use (or not) a case is for pratical reasons. the defy doesn't need it, the gs3 is better off with it.

  • Kenneth Porter

    Otterbox is unnessesary and expensive. A thin light durable cheap tpu case gets the job done just as good. Unless you routinely run over your phone with your car

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

    My Atrix is so slippery it would simply slide off my hands without a gel case. But not an Otterbox case those things are WAY too thick...

  • Petr Plachý

    Naked..that's why I don't want Nexus 4

  • scottmporter

    I always go with TPU that covers the back and side and wraps up over the screen. I also always use Skinomi on the screen. All together less than $25 from Amazon and has saved me from many a clumsy drop (landed several times from 4 feet climbing out of my 4X4 face down on asphalt and no problems). Because I have unlimited data on Verizon and must now buy at full retail, I need my phone to last.

  • Diego

    I use a sleeve and a screen protector...

  • Nathan J

    Otterbox Defender. My last phone was a piece of crap (first-generation Android, 160MB RAM, before Samsung was anywhere near the top) but a drop to asphalt shattered the screen. I slapped a screen protector on it and it still worked (sort of), but it was painful to look at. I like my phone as-is (Motorola Electrify) but I love the added bulk the Defender gives it. I even like how it feels in the belt clip, and kept it in that exclusively for a couple weeks. Guess I have big hands. I don't know what I'll do when I get a Note 2/3 (I want whatever comes after Note 2, but might just get a Note 2 since it'll be cheaper when I can upgrade). I will want protection for it, but the thing is already flipping huge.

    Side note: The Defender is a royal pain in the ... to remove until you know the "trick". I tore up the connectors on mine using the nail file in my clippers, keys, butter knives... still holds together perfectly, but now I just pop it with my nails, real easy to do. Maybe because I loosened it up. I can even do it in the dark, and had to this morning when I started to flash the wrong thing (oops). Can't pull battery with an Otterbox Defender on it. Plus, I clean it weekly. Those Bausch & Lomb Sight Savers they have at the office for safety glasses work great on my phone's screen, camera lens, Defender's screen protector (both sides of it), and camera lens protector. And it gives the screen protector a nice slick feel, no traction from oil (I have oily skin).

  • Doan

    I go raw-dog.

  • kellett23

    I don't use a case as I think it makes phones look bigger but I wish I did have one as i dropped my Galaxy Nexus last month and now the screen is all cracked, probably still won't get one either

  • Twigz2010

    I have a Galaxy S III, which is an absolutely beautiful phone, but after dropping it a couple times and scratching the edges, I realized I needed a case. I've got a Case-Mate Phantom case, which makes my phone huge and hard to handle, but it does protect the whole phone, including the screen. I have big hands though, so it's not too bad. The only real drawback is that I have to take the case off every night to put it on the Philips Fidelio dock that I've got.

  • musical

    I use silicone case whenever going outside, it's rainy season here, I don't want to make it wet & dirty :)
    At home I just use bare, unless when I take it to toilet for hours :D

  • DeadSOL

    My S3 really need to be protected but I hate adding bulk to my phone! I've got a lightweight and semi-transparent half plastic case that really makes the phone look sexy! :D

    It's from a Chinese company so it cost me less than $2! It's absolutely fantastic, though!

  • http://www.facebook.com/boe.dillard Boe Dillard

    Neked as the day it was born.

    I've managed to sell everyone of my phones in excellent condition because I make it a point to only put it in a pocket with nothing else in it.

  • Aku

    I always used to use a silicone case and my phone was really "new". But then since a year I decided to commando and it was not a good choice at all for someone as clumsy as me. After a year of randomly dropping my phone from different heights, it is still perfectly intact but has bad scratches and nicks in the body. I would not recommend going commando. Nexus S user.

    • http://twitter.com/Chronophase N Jones

      The Nexus S felt like a bar of soap. That phone was so slick. Doesn't help when you have sweaty palms. My GNex at least has some grip due to the battery cover.

  • leoingle

    Diztronic FTW

  • BKPhil

    Is it stupid to put a case on a product which everyone is dedicated to making as slim and light and pretty as possible?


    But... I still do. Butterfingers is one reason, and the other reason is a corollary of butterfingers - caseless phones feel too slick in my hands - not only do I feel like they're going to go flying off like a bar of soap in the shower, but even while using them I find there isn't enough grippiness for confident one-handed operation.

    If the smarphone manufacturers made the devices with a nice grippy texture - like my old Motorola V300 clamshell, I might ditch the case and fly without a net.

    Obviously, lots of you manage, so YMMV, maybe I'm an oaf. :)

  • IronBlood

    I own a Galaxy S III and preference is that the phone is great in the nude. Unfortunately i have to make this investment last and cant afford to fork over around 150 for a insurance payment. So I would much rather deal with the discomfort of a phone case for preserving the phone.

  • logicrulez

    always a case, 1. i'm clumsy sometimes 2. I trade my phones in for the latest and greatest so I like to keep them in as near perfect condition as possible.

  • teeth

    Is there a soft touch replaceable battery cover for the S3, not a case. Can't hold onto the thing. It's too small, need note 2.

  • Bill de Iturromdo

    I chose hard plastic as the closest; but, what I sent for is not exactly like that. This is what I'm waiting on for my Nexus 4...

  • http://youtube.com/user/CurelessSyn CurelessSynergy

    Leather flip case here. I think you missed that in your poll.

  • http://twitter.com/harshitpassi Harshit Passi

    You forgot about covers or sleeves. They're the best option for protecting your phone while you're not ruining the look of your phone in general. Though they do make you miss out on visible notifications, I find it to be a compromise I can make.

  • Quryous

    You left out a "folio", or book style, which is very popular on things like the Galaxy Note and Note 2. After trying one I won't have any of the other types you listed.

  • Idle Time

    The 1st year I owned my Evo I had a slim TPU case for it (I paid about $2 on ebay). It snapped on perfectly and didn't change the look of the phone. And that kept my phone from being worn out. I dropped the phone a few times (on concrete) and if it weren't for the case, the phone would have shattered. When I took it off after the first year, the phone still looked brand new. By that time, I didn't care if the phone gets worn out because it was closer to the end of its life. I recently sold the phone for nearly $100 on eBay and I attributed that to the TPU case I put on it for the 1st year.

    I now have the Galaxy Note 2 and I really didn't want to get a case b/c the phone is already so big. but the Note 2 is so slippery to the point of uncomfortable, so I got a case for it. With the Note 2, it's not a matter of protection, it's a necessity. It feels more comfortable now b/c it has a better grip. The case I got didn't change the look of the phone and I know 2 years from now, I will be able to sell it at a great price.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1049078174 Highway Snobbery

    Otterbox Commuter is both gel like skin with hard plastic over it.

  • Sumpter Carter

    I don't use a case. What's the point of having a sleek phone if you put a case on it? I like the look of some cases, but I've never cracked a screen before, so what's the need?

  • mgamerz

    I learned you never buy a white case.

  • http://twitter.com/shamus_carter james kendall

    my ruby pro dose not need a case it's rugged enough for my needs.