A former tech columnist at Yahoo, Scientific American, and the New York Times, David Pogue will write occasionally for the Strategist about things he has bought for himself and loves.
If you’re one of the Pogue children, you know that getting a smartphone comes with a condition: It must wear a RhinoShield CrashGuard.
The CrashGuard is a bumper, meaning that it hugs only the edges of the phone. It looks like a rectangular plastic frame — but once it’s on your phone, you can drop it from 11 feet onto concrete, repeatedly, without risking any damage to the glass. My eighth grader has become a minor celebrity at school by deliberately whipping his phone down the hall, against walls, and off of cafeteria tables, just to get a reaction. His phone stays unharmed.
How? The first trick is a honeycomb structure on the inside, which diffuses shock. The second secret is the proprietary plastic, which was designed for strength and flexibility by the company’s CEO, a Cambridge materials-science Ph.D. In this bumper, your phone is practically indestructible. Just for fun, I once drop-tested a CrashGuarded iPhone onto a hard floor from progressively greater heights, eventually whipping the thing down as hard as I could from atop an 8-foot ladder.
After 53 vicious hurls at the ground, I managed to bend the phone a little. But the screen never cracked. It’s only 2.5 millimeters thick, but its slightly raised edges meet any obstacle before the glass can. To crack your screen, you’d somehow have to drop the phone face down onto a small, sharp point — possible, but unlikely.
The CrashGuard has come a long way since its 2015 debut. Today, if you buy one for your iPhone, you can mix and match colors for three elements: the inner and outer frames and a button cover. The plastic has been improved, too, both for better longevity and to eliminate toxicity. No more BPA, BPS, BPF, or phthalates. (Don’t you hate when your case has phthalates?) Of course, I’d much prefer my phone to be naked and beautiful. Trouble is, without the CrashGuard, it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
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