Silicone Smartphone Cases: Flexible and Durable Protection

Published On May 17, 2013 | Mobile

A silicone cell phone case offers durable, flexible protection for your smartphone. Whether you have butter fingers and drop your phone a lot or you just want to keep it safe from those inevitable dings and scratches while it’s tucked away in your purse or backpack, a silicone case can give you an essential layer of cushy protection to help protect your smartphone from damage.

But how do silicone smartphone cases stack up against the best smartphone cases? Here are some comparisons:

Silicone Smartphone Cases vs. Polycarbonate

Silicone cases are made of a gel-like skin that stretches over the phone’s structure, but polycarbonate is molded to fit the shape of the phone. Polycarbonate’s hard, durable material can help shield the phone from major damage in a drop or impact; however, a well-made, thick silicone case can protect just as well in low-impact drops, since the gel-like surface texture can help to cushion and absorb the impact.

In terms of appearance, the silicone case may not offer the sleek design options that a thin polycarbonate case would. Generally, silicone cases come in a single color, either black or clear, and there aren’t a ton of options out there for custom designs and graphics. Silicone cases can also be more difficult to slip in and out of your pocket due to the soft, rubbery texture.

What’s Best: Silicone or Metal?

A metal smartphone case has a lot of the same properties as polycarbonate. It’s harder, more durable and can protect your phone from drops and dings. In terms of design, metal cases look slick and futuristic without the bulk of the silicone case. A metal case will also provide a smooth covering that will slide in and out of your purse or pocket easily.

Metal cases do have one major drawback compared to the silicone case: they can inhibit your cell phone’s radio signal resulting in lower signal reception. The conductivity of silicone is minimal, so you likely won’t experience any major signal interruption with a silicone case.

Silicone Compared to Leather Smartphone Cases

A leather case is a distinctive look for any smartphone. From a design perspective, it gives your phone a high-end, chic appearance. Because leather is a softer material than molded plastic, metal or polycarbonate, there is some cushion if you drop your phone, but leather cases aren’t intrinsically designed with protection in mind.

Many leather cases also come with a front cover that closes over the touchscreen like a book, offering protection from scratches on the touch screen glass, but these leather cases can be bigger and bulkier than a silicone skin.

Silicone Compared to Plastic

A hard plastic case offers some protection from impact when you drop your smartphone, but often the level of protection depends on the quality of the case. A thicker plastic case with edges that wrap all the way around the front of your touchscreen will probably offer the most protection. Unlike silicone, plastic smartphone cases also come in a variety of designs, with colors and graphic options to customize your own look.

The silicone case provides an important layer of protection for your smartphone that can help cushion it from impact. Compared with polycarbonate, metal, leather and plastic, a silicone case can hold its own, and its rubbery texture may save your phone from damage someday.

— By Adrienne Ziegler

Known to her friends and colleagues as “Dree,” Adrienne Ziegler is a self-proclaimed nerd who wants to try everything once. She works for a technology company in Ann Arbor, Michigan and enjoys hiking, running, kayaking, throwing music events and artsy-crafty stuff. 

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