Most lawyers understand the need to protect their smartphones and tablets from data breaches and losses caused by technical glitches and online attackers. Less well recognized is the importance of securing mobile devices from damage or theft.
Every year, attorneys lose untold amounts of time and money because their phone or tablet was smashed, bashed, crushed, drowned, lost or stolen. Many of these incidents could have been prevented if the device had been adequately protected from real-world dangers and online threats.
The mobile device aftermarket is packed with products that promise to protect costly and vulnerable smartphones and tablets from daily dangers. It pays to shop carefully, however, since the value of such offerings varies widely, ranging from highly useful to useless.
The following 10 products don’t come with guarantees to keep your smartphone or tablet safe from any physical threat, but they will help secure your smartphone or tablet from real-world knocks and moderate drops.
Placing a smartphone or tablet inside a solid, durable case greatly reduces the chances of a cracked case, smashed screen or internal damage. Purchasing a good case is a small investment that’s likely to lead to long-term peace of mind.
• Lifeproof nüüd
(MSRP: $90 to $130)
Designed to protect Samsung Galaxy, iPhone and iPad devices from shock and water damage, Lifeproof nüüd cases meet military drop standards and are individually tested for waterproofing and overall quality. A screen scratch protector is optional.
Pros: Good protection against both shock and moisture; easy to install and remove.
Cons: Available in any color, as long as it’s black.
• Otterbox Defender
(MSRP: $40 to $100)
Otterbox offers a variety of rugged smartphone and tablet cases, and the company’s Defender series is particularly strong and resilient. Defender cases use a three-layer protection system that’s designed to help mobile devices withstand drops, bumps and other types of shocks. A built-in screen protector helps prevent display scratches and tightly locking port covers are designed to keep out dust and debris.
Pros: Good shock protection; durable; wide range of colors and styles.
Con: Difficult to install or remove.
• G-Form Extreme
(MSRP: $40 to $90)
G-Form, a company that specializes in various types of athletic protective gear, also offers a line of G-Form Extreme cases for Samsung Galaxy and Apple smartphones and tablets. The company boasts its Reactive Protection Technology allows it to create a lightweight, flexible case that instantly stiffens upon impact and absorbs over 90 percent of a shock’s energy.
Pros: Excellent shock protection; easy installation and removal.
Con: Function-over-form styling means that the case doesn’t easily blend into a sophisticated wood-paneled office environment.
• Kensington EVAP
So you’ve dropped your phone or tablet into a puddle, bucket, bathtub, swimming pool, lake or some other inconvenient body of water? Kensington’s EVAP pouch is designed to wick water out of any smartphone with a unique moisture-removal agent, and will even tell its user when the device is dry (usually in about six to 24 hours).
Pro: Kensington claims EVAP is 700 percent more effective at removing moisture than rice.
Con: No current solutions are 100 percent effective at restoring a water-damaged phone to full operation.
Following in the footsteps of mousetrap manufacturers, smartphone and tablet accessories manufacturers are forever searching for the better antitheft product. There are many hits and misses in this field. Here are the top hits:
• STOP Security Plate (MSRP: $25)
Working on the premise that thieves are often reluctant to steal something they can’t later sell, the STOP Security Plate marks a smartphone or tablet with a highly visible stick-on security plate. Beneath the plate, there’s a tattoo chemically bonded to the device’s case, stating “Stolen Property,” that even a determined thief can’t remove and would find hard to explain to a potential (legitimate) buyer.
Pros: Easy to install; available in smartphone and tablet sizes.
Cons: Isn’t likely to stop thieves who plan to use the stolen device or trade it away to shadowy sources for cash or some type of illicit merchandise.
• Kensington Proximo Bluetooth Tracker and Alarm for iPhone, Keys and Bags (MSRP: $59.95)
Prozimo is an iPhone-based proximity monitoring system that lets users continuously track their smartphone, keys and other valuable items. The system includes two Bluetooth devices: a fob that can be attached to a key chain and a tag that can be attached to a briefcase or bag. Proximo alerts its user with a fob alarm the moment he or she moves a set distance away from their iPhone (or when the iPhone moves away from its owner). Proximo can also activate an iPhone alarm when a tablet located inside a tagged bag goes missing.
Pros: Simple set up; good battery life.
Con: Only works with iPhone 4s or later.
• Modern Office Laptop Locker (MSRP: $179)
Despite its name, Laptop Locker can also safeguard smartphones and tablets. The heavy-duty security locker can protect a smartphone or tablet inside an office or car. The unit can be mounted horizontally or vertically on a floor or wall.
Pros: Can be placed in a hidden location; can also secure discs, hard drives, and other small devices; available in several colors.
Cons: Difficult to install; not guaranteed to be fireproof.
• Travelon Anti-Theft Lock-Down Pouch (MSRP: $40 to $45)
Travelon offers antitheft lockdown bags and pouches in small and large sizes that accommodate most types of smartphones and tablets. The products allow users to secure their mobile devices inside an office, home or hotel room. The products feature a slash-proof, chain-link body construction and include a cable and combination lock that allow the bag or pouch to be secured to a stationary object.
Pros: Easy to use; near-universal compatibility.
Cons: Difficult to hide; no carrying handle; won’t deter a determined thief.
• Tryten iPad Lock & Stand (MSRP: $40)
Combining the convenience of a tablet stand with the flexible security of a cable lock, the Tryten iPad Lock and Stand provides a simple solution to iPad security in almost any location. The unit is compatible with iPad 2, 3, and 4 models.
Pros: Stand integrates with lock; easy to use.
Cons: Compatibility limited to only a few tablet models; finding sturdy objects to lock the iPad to; won’t stop a determined thief.
• Lock Alarm Mini (MSRP: $30)
The Lock Alarm Mini, weighing just 35 ounces, protects both smartphones and tablets. Users pull as much of the steel cable as required out of the lock, wrap the cable around the mobile device they wish to protect and an immovable object such as a post or railing. If an attempt is made to cut through the steel cable, a loud alarm will scream at an ear-piercing 100 decibels. A time delay permits the user to lock and unlock the device before the alarm activates. A three-digit programmable combination lock eliminates the need for a key.
Pros: Easy to use; convenient.
Cons: Finding a convenient post or railing; won’t stop a bold, speedy thief willing to bet nobody will respond to the alarm. •