3PM | The Incident

Picture this: you’re giving a speech in front of your peers, and your hands are shaking from adrenaline. You have a sound effect to play on your phone for your speech. As the sound plays, your unsteady hands let go of your phone. Before your eyes, your precious phone goes plummeting. You hear the slamming sound as it impacts face down on the ground. Filled with nervousness, you pick up your phone. As you look at your “baby”, find that it is perfectly functional. No damage to the case, no cracks to the screen protector, and no cracks to the glass of the phone. Phew! But the horror story has just begun.

4PM | Discovery

After the class where I gave my speech, I pulled out my phone to check some notifications, then I saw it. A purple discoloration on the right edge of my screen. Sure, that sucks, but the phone is still usable, right? Nope. After restarting my phone, I had to enter my password (as per the Android 6.0.1 protocol). Sadly, I couldn’t use my fingerprint. That’s when I discovered that the right edge of the internal display had shattered, and the digitizer wouldn’t respond. I couldn’t use the enter or backspace key on my keyboard, so I had myself a problem.

5PM | Hope

As soon as I got home, I got my Micro USB to USB adapter, and plugged in my external keyboard. I was able to unlock my phone! I still couldn’t use the right edge, but it was better than nothing. I had hope that I might find a way to “scale down” Android to work around the broken part of the screen.

6PM | Bad Becomes Worse

Just when I thought things might be getting better, I noticed that the purple discoloration was beginning to spread left. To make matters worse, where the purple originally was, the pixels were now dead. That’s when I realized: this is a slow painful, infectious death. My screen will slowly die off until it’s gone. I stopped using my phone for the day, thinking if I turned it, additional pixels would not die.

The damage of my screen.
The damage of my screen.

9AM | Fading Fast

It’s 9AM the next day, as I power up my phone, I discover that half of the display is dead. What?! Even with the phone powered off, the spreading disease was unavoidable.

2PM | The Last Straw

By 2PM, two-thirds of the display was dead, and the rest was heavily discolored. That was it, by this point, my phone was officially unusable.

8AM | Death

It’s 8AM the next day, and as I firmly held my phone to comfort it, it took its final breath. As the last pixel turned off for good, tears flooded by face. I killed my $500 smartphone, and I had 48 hours to watch it die. Why is this a horror story? Here’s the scary part.

I Had a Case and a Screen Protector

On my phone, at the time of the drop, I had my trusty UAG case on, paired with a tempered glass screen protector from Skinomi. The screen protector didn’t have a scratch, and the glass on the phone didn’t either.. Yet the glass under the glass under the glass was cracked. What are the odds? This was definitely a significant drop, but it wasn’t the most extreme thing ever. Somehow, the outer glass was well protected, but the internal glass couldn’t take it. This poses the question: was my protection insufficient, or would this damage occur no matter what case I was using? Needless to say, I will be doing an “OtterBox” challenge, using only an OtterBox defender for a week (expect an article about my experience).

fartedphoneNo matter what the cause, one thing is certain: a case does not always protect your phone from everything. I used to be of the mentality “if I have a case, normal drops will never damage my phone.” After this experience, I will never think this again. I’m not careless with my phone in any way, and still take measures to not drop my phone, even if I have a case. Sadly for me, my measures were not enough. In the end, this story is to make a point – your precious device is never bulletproof, so don’t treat it like it is. It was definitely a learning experience for me, and hopefully you can learn from it. Accidents happen, but just try to treat your phone like the $600 fragile box it is.

Kevin Nether