PHOENIX - Every day people across the Valley are buying new smartphones. iPhones, Androids and everything in between. There are a few things you should be thinking about on day 1 before it's too late.
To protect the screen or not to protect, that is the question
A screen protector is a thin piece of plastic that adheres to the screen of your smartphone to protect it from scratches. They usually cost about $10-$30 and can last the life of your phone. They will change the feel of the screen but will prove a lifesaver if you're prone to throwing your phone in the same pocket as your keys. If you can't promise to treat your phone like "my precious" (said in the Lord of the Rings voice) then get one. Personally, I think going to a kiosk in the mall and having the professionals do it is the best. It'll cost a bit more but will look better, stay on your phone longer and often comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Should I use a case?
Cases are popular but not for everyone. On top of that, there are a gazillion different options. Personally, I don't use a case on my smartphone. They add bulk and take away from the slick design of the phone. It's a risk I take. I am SUPER careful with my smartphone and understand that everyone isn't like that.
Shop around! Go to the cell phone store or electronics store and look at the options. Touch them, feel them! Don't buy the first one you see. Remember, this will be the new look and feel for your phone. It's almost like buying a whole new phone!
Extreme cases require extreme cases
If you hike, bike or spend time on a boat, don't be stupid! There are cases designed just for you that could save you hundreds of dollars. Pelican is a company that makes hard cases for many professional uses (we use them in the TV industry) and they also sell an extreme case for your smartphone. The i1015 doesn't look pretty, won't fit in your pocket and makes the touchscreen useless. That's the point. It's water resistant, dust proof and crush proof. The best part is, even with all this protection you can still use your headphones to listen to music or talk on the phone. The Pelican i1015 isn't for everyone but if you want to take your smartphone with you EVERYWHERE, it may be the most reliable protection you can find. The included carabiner clip is perfect to latching it onto your backpack. This model is designed for the iPhone but will work with many smartphones and is available in other sizes. It sells for about $15 on Amazon.
The big Insurance question
All of the major cell phone companies offer some sort of insurance on smartphones (often the iPhone is excluded). Should you get it? That's a tough one to answer. I don't feel safe without it, so I pay the $8/month for the insurance on Sprint. If your phone breaks because of normal wear and tear, Sprint replaces with a refurbished unit. If you lose it or drop it, it's replaced by the insurance company after you pay a $100 deductible. I've had to use both options more than once. So, for me, it's worth it. Do the math. Figure out how much it'll cost you over the course of a 2-year contract and if you'd be better off pocketing that money. You may also want to consider a third party option like Squaretrade.com . These guys have been around for a long time and offer a great insurance option for a lump sum. They also sell insurance for iPhones when the cell phone carriers don't.
As the "tech guy" I get asked these questions a lot by friends who just picked up a new smartphone. Hopefully this blog helps you navigate the fun new world of owning a brand new shiny smartphone.
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