By BRIAN X. CHEN
Once you get a smartphone, what’s the first thing you might want to go along with the device? For many people, it’s probably a case.
That’s because carrying a smartphone without a case is like driving a car without bumpers — and no one wants a new gadget to shatter, crack or get dented. Spending on mobile phone accessories is expected to reach $107.3 billion by 2022, according to Allied Market Research, up from about $61 billion in 2014. Protective cases are the hottest sellers in the category.
Yet here’s the truth about those accessories: Some products that purport to protect your smartphones are useless. It’s unclear, for one, whether a screen protector — a thin plastic or glass film for your phone display — actually prevents glass from shattering upon impact. Sales clerks at cellphone stores also often pressure people into purchasing expensive extended warranty plans for their devices, many of which can be skipped.
So here’s a reality check on what does and doesn’t protect your phone. To reach our conclusions, we interviewed repair and warranty experts and teamed up with The Wirecutter, the product recommendations site owned by The New York Times, which tested screen protectors and cases.