Rubberized Cases Vs. Hard Cell Phone Cases

By Brad Harris

When making a decision as to which type of cell phone case to buy, the large number of different cases on the market can be intimidating for some consumers. This is especially true when it comes to deciding between a rubberized case or a hard shell plastic case, as some users do not understand the differences between the two. Throw in factors like available colors, textures, shock absorption, transparency, thickness and overall feel and the decision becomes even more complex. Knowing the various advantages and disadvantages of rubberized vs. hard cases could aid in quickly making a confident decision.

Rubber Benefits

Cell phone cases coated in rubber often offer increased protection from drops and spills. When a phone encased in rubber accidentally takes a fall, much of the shock is absorbed by the material rather than the phone itself. This can minimize or entirely prevent screen cracks, internal circuit board damage and scratches on the exterior of the device. As some rubber cases come with plugs that seal power and connector ports, some degree of protection from spilled beverages and puddle landings is offered as well. Indirect protection is also present in the enhanced grip that rubber provides over a smoothly surfaced device or a hard plastic case. By making the phone easier to hold, accidental drops are often much less frequent.

Drawbacks to Rubber Cases

While rubber cases do offer vital protective qualities, devices like the Fender MyTouch 3G and the R2-D2 version of the Droid 2 have stylized exteriors that some owners may wish to show off. Some rubberized cases come in transparent varieties to accommodate this, but the transparency is not complete. While these cases often diminish the view of the devices they house, sacrificing a bit of style for extra protection may be worthwhile to some consumers. Another downside to rubber cases is how much they increase the overall bulk of devices. While these cases are designed to be thick on purpose, some users find that their phones become too bulky and uncomfortable in their pockets due to the extra girth.

Hard Plastic Advantages

Plastic cases come in many different colors and designs, offering consumers a lot of choice when it comes to personalizing their device's look. These cases adequately protect devices from the normal scratches, dents and dings that occur from everyday use. As plastic shells are mainly meant to protect phones from surface damage rather than preventing damage from falls, they are often thin and do not overly bulk up the device housed inside. Openings for power ports and USB connectors are provided for easy access when needed. As plastic can be much more transparent than rubber, completely clear cases are also available for users who wish to show off their phone's design.

Plastic Problems

Hard plastic can become very marred with scratches, scrapes and cracks over time. While these cases protect cell phones from that damage, users who want to keep their cases looking nice may need to buy replacements frequently. Some users also complain that plastic hard shells sometimes feel flimsy and cheap, as opposed to the solid feel of a rubber case. Because plastic cases do not seal power ports and connectors, devices are also less protected from liquid spills and the gradual buildup of dirt and debris under the case.