iPhone Bumper Cases: What is a Bumper Case & Are They Good?


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iPhone Bumper Cases: What are They?

In the modern world of smartphones, a single drop can put an end to your piece of expensive tech. Phones cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars these days, so there’s nothing quite like a smashed screen or dented sides to spoil your device party. That’s why most people choose to put a case on their smartphone, and the latest trend is the so-called bumper case.

While the bumper case is becoming more popular, they are still largely unproven as an effective way to protect your handset. Although, it is worth noting bumper cases fulfill an important part of smartphone ownership.

Before continuing, it’s time to put my cards on the table. I never use a case on my phones and never have. My attitude is a familiar one… why pay $1,000 for an iPhone if I am just going to cover it with a $40 case? File me under the shallow smartphone owner who places looks like one of the most important criteria when buying a new handset.

I want to be able to see the device I choose, and heck, I want other people to be able to see it too. Despite that, I understand why some people want and need a case. The absolute best cases will protect your smartphone if you drop it. Depending on your case, you can avoid cracked screens, smashed glass backs, and broken aluminum sides.

Considering my own uneasy relationship with cases, the new trend of bumper cases promises to provide the best of both worlds. So, what is a bumper case?

Well, it’s as the name suggests… it is a smartphone case that provides protection to the sides of the handset by featuring a raised rubber or soft plastic edge. On paper, this sounds amazing, a case that is essentially a border for your phone allowing you to still see the overall design of the hardware. For a case holdout like me, this is the holy grail, right?

Wrong. It’s clear to see a fundamental problem with bumper cases right from the start. You’ve got it, they do not properly protect the screen and back of the device. They are literally border cases that protect the sides. Sure, you’ll get some basic front and back protection if you drop your iPhone inside a bumper case thanks to the raised sides, but it won’t do much for a face on drop.

That’s problematic because if smartphone owners were to choose any part of the device they don’t want to get damaged it would be the screen, followed by the back. As trade-offs go, damaged sides are a compromise worth making. In other words, bumper cases arguably protect the wrong part of the phone!

Do they work? Honestly, yes they do. Bumper cases do protect parts of the iPhone they say they will. Certainly, a drop on the sides could lead to the handset coming apart like a tech explosion. Bumper cases absolutely do protect against this possibility, just forget about protecting the screen.

Rhino Crashguard

If you are interested in a bumper case for your iPhone 12, below are some I think are amongst the best choices:

RhinoShield Bumper Case

Who doesn’t like a case with a word like Rhino in the branding? It just spells out rugged! Luckily, the RhinoSheild bumper case lives up to its lofty name. It has been military-grade tested (whatever that means), which importantly means it will handle drops from as high as 11 feet (3.4m). For that kind of absorption, this bumper case is also surprisingly thin.

SupCase Unicorn Beetle Style Series Case

For a more affordable solution, the SupCase Unicorn Beetle Style bumper seems a good option. Made from TPU polycarbonate, the case has higher bezels than many competitors. This may seem a minor detail, but it could mean this bumper is better at handling drops where your iPhone lands face down.