Fifteen Dollar Phone Case vs Thirty Dollar Phone Case

So I went to Meijer to purchase some items after getting back in town from vacation. Among the items purchased was a phone case. The protective covering was added to the list the moment I got out of the car in the Meijer parking lot – I dropped my new phone on hard ground for the first time. The bottom right corner of the front glass covering bore the brunt and the damage showed (in totality not much).

Eventually I made my way to the electronics section of the store and then to the phone case aisle. The were many brands, form factors, and price points to choose from. Without much comparison and base almost solely on its slim form factor alone, I picked the $15 dollar Incipio phone case in the matte black. I was satisfied at the time and thankful that something would help lower the possibility having a damaged phone if it were dropped again.

The next day I used the phone several times, the new phone case enveloping it the whole time. But something about the phone case did not feel like quality. I noticed that I had to press the volume and power buttons with extra effort because of the case. By the end of the work day I made up my mind to take the case back to Meijer and get another one.

Once back at Meijer and the refund cash from the former phone case in hand, I went back to the electronics section. This time, I did a more detailed comparison of the many phone cases I chose. I removed many from their boxes, inserted my phone, pressed the buttons on the case, and made judgements on the look and feel. I examined Spigen’s $30 phone case but I did not like how the case covered the phone speakers in such a way that holes had to be drilled into the case perpendicular to the direction of the phone speaker holes. Also, the kickstand had an awkward placement that only worked if the phone had landscape orientation. It came down to Incipio’s $30 phone case vs their $15 phone case, the one I previously received a refund for. But a few things kept gnawing at me:

  • What were the differences between Incipio’s $15 phone case versus the $30 phone case in terms of the button feel?
  • Why was the button feel of the $30 phone case better?

The differences in the button feel became apparent when having both phone cases out of their boxes and closely examining the inside of the cases where the buttons line up. The “nubs” that matched up with the buttons on the outer walls of the $15 phone case were very shallow. Those same nubs in the $30 phone case were much more defined, and I doubt anyone would – based on inspection alone – say that the tactile/click feel of the $30 phone case was not better than the $15 one. The dual-layer materials of the $30 phone case was also very good to match the better button click feel.

I purchased the $30 phone case – the Incipio DualPro. I think the price was worth considering its functionality, look and feel. However, I dislike the two-piece setup only in that the two pieces could become separated and thus render the phone case¬†visually unappealing and/or compromise the functionality of the case.¬†There many more expensive cases like Apple’s $50 phone case or the assortment of $40 phone cases by OtterBox, but I was unwilling to fork over more than $30.