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Long before I bought an iPhone, I bought my daughter a 1st-gen iPod touch, for her high school graduation prezzy. I bought it at the physical store, and I asked the sales guy about cases. He pulled an iPod touch out of his jeans pocket and said, "This is my own iPod. I've been carrying it in my pocket with my car keys for a couple of months. Take a look."

The glass was totally pristine, and when I squinted hard I could just see tiny traces of scuffing on the stainless back. I didn't get her a case. Since then I've never put a case or protective films on my iPhone, which I carry in a belt holster or in a pocket, slide around on my desktop, etc.

I've dropped every iPhone I've owned. On the floor, on the street, you name it (but not in the toilet). The drop record was my 3GS which I dropped while standing on the wing of an airplane. The wing was maybe five feet off the ground, and I dropped the phone from hip height, so let's say a 7 or 8-foot drop to the asphalt runway. That made a barely visible ding on the corner of the phone, and no other damage.

Plastic, aluminum, or glass, these gadgets are pretty rugged.
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