Phone fashion: Students choose function over style

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BYU students said they value phone cases that provide protection more than those with fun designs or accessories.

BYU student Marinne Rhodes uses a simple phone case that protects her device, something she said is more important to her than a cute design. (Marinne Rhodes)

BYU nursing student Carly Richards said the wallet-style case she has on her phone is the best and most practical choice for her.

“I like (the phone case) not so much for fashion, but I always have my phone with me, so I always also have my most important cards with me,” Richards said. “I think that if I didn’t have this, I would very easily forget my license, or stuff like that. It saves me a lot.”

Phone cases that extend the battery life of the device can also be helpful for students who are on campus all day, said BYU mechanical engineering student Ken Flinders. He said he finds these cases makes sense for smartphone users and are a handy accessory to have.

“Battery packs are pretty cool,” Flinders said. “A lot of my friends are on Snapchat like 100 percent of the time, and I have a good friend who has a phone that dies every day by noon. So he got one of those (battery packs) and now it lasts him the whole day.”

Flinders said he hasn’t seen any interesting phone accessories that he wouldn’t try. But BYU graphic design student Mayra Payne said she’s seen cases in the shape of animals that have a light to help take selfies, both of which are things she said are “a little bit extra” for her.

Payne said she believes the more practical cases tend to be marketed toward an older generation that sees their phone more as a tool than a toy. She said she thinks the quirky and trendy cases are geared toward a younger generation. Flinders said he agreed and thinks having a phone as a teenager is more about how cool it is, and it becomes more of a useful tool with age.

“I think as you get older, you don’t care,” Flinders said. “Your phone is just a tool you use to do business and communicate, so it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. Obviously you want to have a good phone, but the cases and accessories aren’t as important. You’re not trying to show off as much. When you’re younger it’s like, ‘look at this cool phone I have and all these cool things I have with it.'”

BYU advertising student Marinne Rhodes said protecting her phone from drops or scratches is the most important thing to her. When looking for a case, she said finding one that has a lip around the edge to protect the glass was more important to her than a cute design.

Phone cases that are functional and protective of the device seem to be the most popular choice for BYU students. Many students, including Richards, said this is because the phone is no longer a toy, but a tool that is expensive to replace.

“I think once you’re older, you are just more concerned about protecting your phone and making sure it has a durable case rather than making it look cute,” Richards said.

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