I'm getting a Samsung Fascinate, and I'm not sure if these are scams, or things really worth investing in. I would like to avoid a case if possible, just because of the size increase, but I will get one if it is really necessary. As for screen protectors, I'm worried that they'll make the display less clear and responsive. Is this the case? And if I don't use one, how likely is it that the screen will become damaged?
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It might not be of dire importance, but I feel better having a screen protector on my Fascinate. I've watched minor scratches vanish within a day or two. Because I carry my phone in my front pocket with keys and everything else, a case is a must.
I'd buy another Zagg Invisible Shield in a heartbeat. It doesn't degrade the screen, the colors or the touch sensitivity. Minor scratches really do seem to smooth out and "heal," and I've never had any major scratches. Just take your time with the application and when it dries, you can barely tell it's there.
About the only thing is the screen doesn't have that immaculate, showroom-floor sheen anymore. In sleep mode with the display off, if you focus on them, you can see slight, uniform pores in the surface. With the display on, they vanish.
My girlfriend and I got the buy-one-get-one deal the day the Fascinates were released back in September. I put them on that week and neither one has peeled since.
There weren't many custom cases available at the time we bought ours. I went with a generic Verizon fastening case that has served me well despite its bulk. Easy enough to slip in and out when I need to tinker with my gadget.
Speaking as a Galaxy S owner, you don't need a case. The top layer of the screen is Gorilla Glass (read about its awesomeness at PCMag). I've had my phone 6 months and, despite my lack of any carefulness, there are no scratches at all.
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Personally, the only case I use for my Droid1 is a belt clip case to carry my phone with me. I don't use any case that wraps around the phone itself, nor do I use a screen protector.
The only thing a screen protector is going to protect you from is scratches. You can easily prevent this yourself if you don't put your phone in the same pocket as your keys. :) IF you drop your phone on a hard surface (pavement), I doubt a screen protector is going to help much as it the fall will most likely crack the glass of the phone. Additionally, a case that wraps around the phone isn't going to help a lot with dropping a phone pavement either, especially if it lands on the screen.
If you think you can handle your phone with great care, then I wouldn't bother with a case. But accidents are bound to happen, so it might be a smarter move to have some sort of accidental insurance on your phone instead.
The answers you are going to receive are going to be subjective, so I'm sure some others will highly recommend a case. :)
For me, a screen protector doesn’t degrade the screen clarity or make it less responsive. I doubt that the screen protector would provide much protection against dropping the phone, but it does provide the reassurance that the screen will not attract any small scratches.
I’m not sure whether you are making a distinction between a cover and a case. A cover wraps around the phone and adds very little to the size of the phone. For me, a cover provides some reassurance that the phone is protected against minor damage, but it is unlikely to help if the phone is dropped onto a hard surface. The other benefit of a cover (or a range of covers) is that you can change the colour of the phone according to your mood, by changing covers.
Since your question is so open-ended I'm just going to throw my 2 cents in..
In my cell-phone user life, I have never used a screen protector or a case for any considerable length of time. I've owned many cell phones from the old days of the bricks to the nexus one today with many more in-between and never have I found the case really useful. I also found screen protectors to be more or less annoying (depending on brand and quality). The reality is that this is mostly a preference and if you enjoy the "peace of mind" and the looks of a particular case then sure.. go ahead, there's nothing wrong with that. But if like me, you enjoy having a phone that looks and feels like an original product and a screen that looks its' best then go naked.. ;)
I should also mention that I'm not a neat freak and I don't go out of my way to ensure I don't scratch or drop my phones but without being completely careless and irresponsible.. After all, high-end cell phones are expensive products.
In the end, trust your instinct!