I don't know about you, but I don't love dropping my phone. It's about as enjoyable as burning your tongue on hot coffee or stubbing your toe on the edge of a table. Not only can the phone crack or stop working completely, but the fear of dropping it can mar the experience of using it in the first place.
After spending almost two months using the Pixel 2, a relatively small phone with flat edges and a textured metal back, it was disconcerting to switch cold turkey to the slippery, curved Galaxy S9+. It was like handling a fish. The phone is big and smooth and begs to be dropped, and in the brisk wintry days of Canadian March, is an accident waiting to happen.
In my first days with the GS9+, I held it gingerly, relearning how to drive after years of riding the subway. Familiarly came quickly, but comfort never arrived; it never quite felt like my phone — and given that I pick it up dozens, if not hundreds, of times a day, it needs to feel like it's mine.
The commodification of phones has privileged us into being picky about our phone choices. If you're not into this one, get that one; not into this size, get that one. But Samsung operates on a different plane to the rest of the companies developing Android phones, and the fact that all of its flagships now share the same coldly beautiful aesthetic opens it up to the kind of scrutiny reserved for royalty.
When I set the Galaxy S9+ down on a table, it looks more object than tool, and unlike the aforementioned Pixel 2, it does not invite me to use it but merely to stare. My experience with the phone remained this way for half a week — though, mercifully, I didn't drop nor scrape it — until my first case shipment came in. And then everything changed.
It's barely important which case I used, though I'll say I've been enjoying RhinoShield's SolidSuit series.
Last year, we forgave the Galaxy S8's usability problems because its design was so striking.
It merely matters that all notions of precariousness disappeared when I installed it. I found my sea legs, confident in my ability to remove it from my pocket, place it in my hand, use it, and replace it once again without fumbling. Such a small thing, but so important: it opened up the phone to me. (And it's a great phone — more on that in another article.)
This isn't a new problem, but I think last year I was, as were many of my peers, so taken with Samsung's industrial achievements, I forgot to critique how the phone actually, you know, felt. I also spent most of my time with the smaller Galaxy S8, which despite being made of the same stuff, could be wholly gripped in one hand and therefore never felt quite as insecure. With the Galaxy S9+ truly differentiating itself from its smaller counterpart this year, it's become the de facto flagship, which has forced me to reckon with its ungainly size.
A case also alleviates my other major problem with the Galaxy S9+: the fact that the curved glass is more trouble than it's worth. So many apps still rely on a left slide-in menu, but without the benefit of a lip, it's almost impossible for most apps to register that horizontal gesture — it's ignored because Samsung actively tries to prevent false touches.
The stunning symmetry of the Galaxy S9's curved glass in no way improves my experience, and I've never found features like edge lighting and edge display useful enough to justify the trouble.
Almost every Huawei or Honor phone you buy today comes with a case in the box. Given that the Galaxy S9+ costs $840, it should probably come with one, too. Until then, we have a list of great options for you, so do yourself a favor.
Or you can toss care into the wind and get naked — it's your phone.
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