New York State Administrative Law Judges Association

Lighten Up!

Technology FridayMy Apple iPhone 7 Plus weighs 188g. Add in a screen protector (a must), another 10g, for a total of 198g, or just shy of 7oz. Add in case that offers protection against serious drops, at least 50g, and a finger hold, like a Pop Socket, a ring holder, or a band of some sort, even more weight. As a practical matter, I’ve always favored cases that have a thin metal plate that work well with a magnetic car phone holder and magnetic finger grip. Even more weight. What I’ve been carrying around in my pocket weighs in excess of half a pound. Lugging around a very smart brick is too annoying a situation to allow to continue.

Time to rethink. Upgrading to a new phone with a smaller footprint, but about the same size screen as the iPhone 7 Plus, is not in my budget this year. So, with no immediate plan to replace it, I decided it’s time to see if I could put it on a diet.

First, a couple of threshold questions: 1) do I need a case that offers much in the way of real protection? and 2) are there acceptable alternatives to using magnetic accessories? Prevailing wisdom is that protective cases are de rigueur. But, are they really? If you’re a klutz, then, yes! Just be aware that everything comes at a price– in this case weight. 

Early on I did have the occasional oops! moment, but adding a finger hold to the back of my case has proven an effective antidote to my butterfinger syndrome. In looking for acceptable substitutes, I turned to accessories that attach using pressure sensitive adhesives. Unlike permanent adhesives, accessories with PSAs can be attached to a case, and then removed without leaving any residue and can be reapplied over and over again. Doing this allows for switching accessories so that the phone is kept as light as possible. There are different types of PSAs, but that’s for another post.

PSAs seem to work really well on case materials like polycarbonate and polypropylene. They don’t work on Aramid, polyurethane (PU), Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), polyethylene, or silicone. 

My New Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Backed Accessories

  • Ring holder (comes with car mount). 11g. $5.29 (Amazon.com
  • Credit card holder with finger grip (for when I want to put my wallet away and carry only my driver’s license and/or credit card). 8g. $6 (Amazon.com)

Cases Tested

  1. Totallee Thin Case. 2g, Made of polypropylene. – PSA stickability: 10/10. $29 from Totalleecase.com.
  2. Spigen AirSkin– 9g. Spigen has long been one of the premier smartphone case companies. Made of polypropylene. PSA stickability: 9/10. $20 from Spigen.com
  3. Pitaka Aramid Case– 12g. Made from Aramid (Kevlar). PSA stickability: 0/10. $50 where available. This case was recently phased out in favor of a case embedded with a metal plate that will work with its other magnet based products.
  4. iCOCEN– 18g. Made of a soft TPU Silicone. PSA stickability: 0/10. $10.
  5. Slim Case from AmazonBasics– 21g. The weight comes from a combination of hard polycarbonate on the inside with a rubbery-soft, secure-grip coating. PSA stickability: 0/10. $10.

The winner is Totallee’s Thin case. It’s almost weightless at 2 grams and my accessories stick well to it. The company is located in California, and the sales and support teams are first rate. With the exception of the Spigen case (less expensive, but heavier by 7 grams), I recommend against purchasing the other cases listed if you’re looking to follow my lead.


No consideration of any kind has been accepted for this review. The opinions expressed herein are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of NYSALJA.

Current Officers

Hon. Raymond Kramer
President

 

Hon. Neil Tolciss
President Elect

 

Hon. Emily Georgiades
Vice President

 

Hon. Anne W. Murphy
Treasurer

 

Hon. Sallie A. Farrow
Secretary

 

Hon. Edward R. Mevec
Immediate Past President

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