I end up reading a lot of reviews for new smartphones because I am a geek and that is the sort of thing that interests me despite the fact that I am not really in the market for a new one.
The constant emphasis in the smartphone world is on the thickness or slenderness of the device. Almost uniformly, slender is considered better. Which is great, up to a point. I have to confess that when I hold some of my earlier smartphones, I am taken aback by how thick they are. I wonder how it didn’t bother me.
Here is the problem: The increased thinness has come at the expense of sturdiness. Which is a tradeoff without normative value. Except when it reaches the point where the phones are so fragile that you have to put them in a case. At that point, it really sort of defeats the purpose of it being thin to begin with, doesn’t it?
I remember a review of phones that on the one hand talk about how nice and slim the phones are. They also talk about how nice or not-nice the exterior of the device is. And yet then also talks about how “of course you will want a case”… presumably to protect the phone which is to slim to reliably survive being dropped. And certainly covering the exterior they were complementing.
I cannot tell you how many times I dropped my Samsung Stratosphere and the HTC Touch Pro 2 I had before it and the HTC Fuze I had before that and the HTC TyTn I had before that. None of them broke after repeated drops. They got chipped around the edges, and the battery and/or stylus would eject, and sometimes the latter would get lost, but that would be about the extent of it.
I dropped my Samsung Galaxy S3 once and only once without its protective coating, and it has a crack all along its front. For a while I had it in a protective case, which made it sturdier but defeated the purpose of the phone being so thin. I am willing to bet that if the S3 had a keyboard, the screen wouldn’t have cracked just as the screen from the Strat never cracked. Or even without a keyboard, a little more thickness in the device might obviate the need for an even thicker case.
I suppose this will cease to be an issue once we have the sapphire or Gorilla-Glass screens, or something similar, which will make the devices more droppable. It’s still an odd disconnect, though, in my view.