How to choose a Tough case for your mo­bile tech­nol­ogy

Outer Edge - - Contents -

For so many of us, pack­ing some tech­nol­ogy when we are head­ing out is just par for the course. Mo­bile phones, ta­bles, cam­eras – th­ese are more than just gad­gets to us, they are con­nec­tion with the rest of the world but also the best way for us to cap­ture both the big mo­ments and also the tiny de­tails of our ad­ven­tures.

From re­liv­ing the rush of adren­a­line of the fast then slow de­cent of a sky-dive, recorded on a cam­era strapped to your chest, to the im­promptu pho­tos that even­tu­ally form our mem­o­ries later, of mates en­joy­ing each other and the great out­doors. Be­ing able to call Mum from the sum­mit and show her the view. Mo­bile tech­nol­ogy helps us cap­ture the ‘ahhh’ and share the thrill.

So its pretty im­por­tant to keep it go­ing and ‘earn­ing’ its space in the back­pack, rather than be­ing a dead­weight. Tough pro­tec­tive cases are avail­able in dif­fer­ent de­grees of gr­rrr to keep your mo­bile best buddy ready for the ride.

There are a range of choices in tough gear, so the ques­tion is: how do you choose the right tough case for your de­vice?

It starts off with the de­vice. While we all like to be in­di­vid­ual, the fact is that the more pop­u­lar a de­vice, the bet­ter choice you will have in pro­tec­tive and mount­ing equip­ment for it. iphone and Sam­sung phones, for ex­am­ple, have a sig­nif­i­cantly longer list of op­tions when it comes to drop­proof and wa­ter­proof cases, than say a Lu­mia phone.

Next is the brand. No one likes to be a slave to brands for the sake of it, how­ever in terms of pro­tec­tive equip­ment, the best, most re­li­able pro­tec­tion will come from a brand with ex­pe­ri­ence and a deep com­mit­ment to ex­cel­lence. There are brands for pro­tec­tive equip­ment that have been started by peo­ple who love the same life­style and were sad at all their lost phones and cam­eras, so did some­thing about it: built a busi­ness to make the kind of gear that they dreamed of. Their so­lu­tions of­fer real pro­tec­tion from the kinds of risks that are go­ing to chal­lenge your de­vice to sur­vive. The key dif­fer­ences be­tween qual­ity brands such and the flimsy sil­i­cone bandaids of­fered at the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket are clear once you look closely.

Ma­te­ri­als mat­ter. When your phone or tablet is at risk of tum­bling down a steep in­cline, you want it wrapped in tough ma­te­rial. Qual­ity tough cases use pro­tec­tive ma­te­ri­als such as ABS tough­ened plas­tic and dense sil­i­cone to give moun­tain-climb­ing-de­gree pro­tec­tion. Think of it as a hel­met for your por­ta­ble brain, and then you see why the ma­te­ri­als mat­ter.

En­gi­neered pro­tec­tion. Not only are the ma­te­ri­als spe­cially cho­sen, but they are de­signed to with­stand the kind of pain that a fall from a high place will give. They of­ten use lay­ers, us­ing a mul­ti­ply­ing ef­fect of pro­tec­tion from for ex­am­ple a rugged skeleton of ABS with the shock ab­sorp­tion of rub­ber or sil­i­cone outer lay­ers. They build in spe­cific fea­tures such as cor­ner pro­tec­tion through in­built air cham­bers strength­ened by in­ter­nal brac­ing.

Port cov­ers. Keep­ing the muck out of your ports is cru­cial. The tough­est case in the world won’t help you if sand, wa­ter or mashed ba­nana gets into your power port. Se­cure port cov­ers are im­por­tant.

Guard your screen Grit scraped across your de­vice glass can scratch your view­ing sur­face so pro­tect­ing it with a screen guard helps keep your view clear to­day and into the fu­ture. Many cases have in­built screen pro­tec­tion how­ever tough­ened glass screen guards can also be added to your de­vice, giv­ing your screen shock and scratch pro­tec­tion.

Wa­ter­proof. Sev­eral brands of­fer wa­ter­proof pro­tec­tion, so choos­ing a prod­uct that you can trust to do its job be­fore your phone falls into the drink is im­per­a­tive. Wa­ter is clever and can sneak into any gap, so a qual­ity brand for wa­ter­proof equip­ment will have en­gi­neered a so­lu­tion. Life­proof Nuud cases, for ex­am­ple, use an O-ring se­cured hard to the glass sur­face of your de­vice screen, of­fer­ing a nude ex­pe­ri­ence for your screen with wa­ter tight pro­tec­tion for the rest of the de­vice.

Com­pat­i­bil­ity Hav­ing the abil­ity to put your de­vice just where you want it can make the world of dif­fer­ence for your day, whether its for work or play. Con­sider where and how you want to use a de­vice and choose a pro­tec­tive case that is com­pat­i­ble with its own op­tional ac­ces­sories for mount­ing the de­vice, or can be used with univer­sal mounts. A suc­tion mount for use on a kayak or car wind­screen, or a belt clip which al­lows you to click on and off your de­vice as you need makes life eas­ier.

Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions can help you de­cide Choos­ing a case with in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion for its abil­ity to pro­tect your gear can help en­sure your de­vice gets the pro­tec­tion it needs. The key qual­i­fiers of tough are US Mil­i­tary Stan­dards and IP68.

• MIL-STD-810G: Mil­i­tary Stan­dard 810G is a United States Mil­i­tary Stan­dard that es­tab­lishes test­ing meth­ods repli­cat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects to de­ter­mine re­sis­tance to en­vi­ron­men­tal stress se­quences and the life cy­cle of the equip­ment. This cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quires that your case can phys­i­cally with­stand the drops, fum­bles, vi­bra­tions and bumps you en­counter day to day, and more of­ten when you are out­doors do­ing fun stuff.

• IP68: Ingress Pro­tec­tion (IP) Rat­ings are pub­lished by the In­ter­na­tional Elec­trotech­ni­cal Com­mis­sion (IEC). Th­ese rat­ings cat­e­gorise the de­gree of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion a case pro­vides against the in­va­sion of solid foreign ob­jects and wa­ter. 6 and 8 are the high­est rat­ings for solids and liq­uids, so a pro­tec­tive case with an IP-68 rating can with­stand cir­cu­lat­ing talc for 8 hours and wa­ter im­mer­sion to 6.6 feet or 2 me­tres for 1 hour.

What to look for in a tough case To be sure you can re­ally rely upon a tough case, buy a gen­uine brand case. The cheap copies just don’t have the same engi­neer­ing and qual­ity. The cost of a fake case is a bro­ken de­vice – and that is just not worth it.

Key things to look for in a tough case for your mo­bile phone or tablet

• Does it have a screen pro­tec­tor?

• What is its rating for drop pro­tec­tion?

• What is its rating for dust pro­tec­tion?

• What is its rating for wa­ter pro­tec­tion?

• What/who rated it?

• Where am I buy­ing it from? Are they a rep­utable re­tailer, with qual­ity prod­ucts? Do they know about the prod­ucts they are sell­ing? Can they help me choose the right one?

• Is there a war­ranty with your pur­chase?

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