Do you overreact when you damage a phone?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: December 10, 2012

While mobile manufacturers strive to make phones as durable as possible without sacrificing a gorgeous design or functionality, accidents still happen. Phones still get dropped, dunked in water, scraped and scuffed. As with anything in this world, phones are not forever.

No less, we try our very best to prolong our precious phones' lives and protect them from any potential dangers, such as water, a waist-high drop to the concrete below or even the quick hands of a thief. Tracking software, cases and protection plans help ensure that if anything were to happen, you can be quickly connected to the online world again and you will still have a phone after an accident.

But my experience with phones proves that even after making preparations and always expecting the worst doesn't always stop accidents from happening or prevent your phone from being damaged.

For example, unless the phone is no longer working, any aesthetic damage is just poor luck. You can't file an insurance claim over tiny nicks and scratches. But they're unsightly and hard to ignore. And, somehow, they always manage to appear over time, even through gentle care and protection.

I have carried my iPhone 5 in a case since day one, albeit not always the most protective case. But I have always handled it with care. I have yet to drop it and it is almost always protected in my pocket. It's had a gentle life so far.

However, this past weekend, it somehow managed to get a deep gash in the metal trim. I was using the phone when I sat down in my car and laid it in the passenger seat when leaving on an hour-long drive. At one point during the ride, the phone slipped off the seat and into the floorboard – a short, gentle fall to a soft, padded rubber floorboard. I picked the phone up and sat it in the cup holder.

When I arrived at my destination, I pulled my phone out to turn off the music and check for any messages. And there it was. Somehow, that short drop to the rubber floor mat was enough to put a rather deep gash in the upper right corner of the metal trim on the iPhone. There was even an unmistakable burr on the corner. And every time I ran my finger up the edge to the power button, the burr would catch my finger and stick me.

Eventually, I took the file from my keychain multi-tool and filed the burr off (at the expense of even more paint from the metal).

What's my point in all this?

Despite all that was going on (much important matters) at the time, the deep gash in the trim of my iPhone completely wrecked my world for a few minutes. My mind immediately started scheming – this happens every time I drop or damage a phone, often before I even see the damage. "I'll just buy a new frame," or, "Maybe I'll sell this iPhone and buy a new one." Either one of those options will cost me at least $200. I even considered polishing the bezel as a YouTube video I stumbled upon weeks ago demonstrates.

Alas, there is no logical way to approach the damage other than to deal with it forget its there altogether, to move on and quit being a crybaby over it. That said, it's a bright silver chunk on the top right corner of an otherwise pitch black phone. My index finger automatically gravitates to it, as do my eyes. It's an eyesore on a beautiful device, and I'm supposed to make the device even more pretty by slipping this on the back when it arrives. At this point, it's like painting a car that has just been wrecked without fixing the dents.

It's pretty sad that I'm so upset about a single ding in my phone, I admit. I probably wouldn't be upset if it was normal wear. There are paintless spots all around the edges of the bezel that have naturally occurred through sliding in and out of the leather pouch I use and some are from the factory. But that gash in the bezel is tearing me apart, mainly because I can't piece together how it actually happened. The only opportunity it had to happen was during a six-inch fall to a piece of soft rubber.

Chances are, I will probably end up selling this phone and buying another before long. I have some switching around I want to do, and I would prefer to have the iPhone on AT&T anyway. (I'm currently using a Verizon model.)

What I'm interested in, folks, is whether a tiny ding such as the one pictured above is enough to drive you nuts. Is it enough to make you trade phones? Or do you just live with the damage? The bigger factor for me right now is that I have a customized skin coming for my iPhone, yet it's banged-up now. That said, I still lose my ability to think rationally when my phone has a noticeable blemish. How about you, ladies and gents?

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