Are cheap phone cases worth it?

The day I got my nice, expensive case for my Nexus 5 I dropped it onto a radiator and took a chunk out of it (the case, that is). It wasn’t designed to be brilliantly protective but it’s thin so adds little to the sveltness of the phone. Never-the-less, it protected my phone from what could have been a rather nasty disaster.

Recently, though, I’ve been getting tired of the “black slab” look and thought a red case would look nice – a nice rich, medium red. Sadly the manufacturers of my case didn’t sell them in that colour and I ended up looking at eBay and, in particular, the cheap ones. Was I being ripped off by fancy packaging? Would a budget case be just as good?

I decided to try one and bought one from eBay for £2.49 (inc. delivery). This was about a third of the price I’d spent on my original case. The eBay image showed it in the red that I wanted and it even had the Nexus 5 lightly showing on the back – a definite plus point. The image from eBay is shown to the right.

Arriving in nothing more than a small jiffy bag, it also came with a screen protector and screen wipe. Sadly, the case was massively disappointing.

The hard plastic is very thin but also offers no protection at all – it’s incredible cheap plastic too, with a slight roughness, but also shows minor scratches very easily. It fits okay but has sharp edges. Worst of all was that it was a neon pink colour. However, when placed on the phone is turns a more red colour – not the same as in the picture, though, and this will only work if you place it on the black phone. White Nexus 5 users should expect pink!

Also, the logo was not there. You may have to turn your brightness up to see it on the image there, but it’s definitely faintly showing and more so on some of the other colours the seller has. I decided to try and use this as an excuse to return it for a refund – as far as I was concerned this was not the product advertised. However, the seller remained adamant that this was simply the logo on the phone showing through. Quite how, I don’t know, when it’s black etched writing on a black background and absolutely is not visible for me. He was happy to refund me but only if I send the product back – at £2.49 it wasn’t worth it.

And that’s the problem with eBay – you can see feedback on the seller but not the product. It was cheap enough to “take a punt on” but has now put me off trying again. You get what you pay for me and, at least if you stick with a site such as Amazon, you can see what others think too.

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