Since I came to my readers looking for suggestions on a new phone, and I wrote about my overall happiness with the phone I bought (though I do still miss my blackberry keyboard), I figured I’d share an update with something of a problem I experienced yesterday with my new Samsung Galaxy S3.

I dropped it. Face down. On the sidewalk.

I never got a case to protect the phone, and apparently that was a mistake. The phone itself is sleek as it is, feels great in my hand, and I didn’t want to make it bulkier.

It’s bigger than something I want to put in my pocket, and actually thought I was protecting it by using a belt holster like I used to for my blackberry. Certainly more convenient than sticking the thing in my laptop bag or carrying it around all the time.

But that provides no protection of course when I am holding it. I don’t usually break, drop or damage things. But over the course of a few years with a phone I am going to drop it. And two months in I dropped it for the first time. And broken screens seem to be a problem with this phone. As I understand it they use thinner glass than they did for the Galaxy S2.

Phones are going to drop, I actually think of that as normal wear and tear, so I am frustrated not only with myself but also with Samsung over this. Or maybe I’m just externalizing.

Turns out I made a mistake when I bought the phone. For the life of me I couldn’t remember what credit card I used when making the purchase from my cellular provider AT&T. I assumed I used the Ink Bold card (for 5 points per dollar on the telecommunications purchase!). I had been wishing I used my Starwood American Express, because I figured I’d have a decent shot at purchase protection if I did. To show I’m not always perfect with these things, I am pretty sure I meant to use my Ink Bold card but somehow used my Sapphire Preferred instead.

At least that comes with purchase protection, I’ve never used it, and I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to get them to cover this. But I’m going to ring them up this morning to find out!

  1. matt said,

    My HTC amaze has survived more falls then I’d care to admit, and is thusfar unscathed. When I got it, it seemed like the most durably built option. Samsung is light but I think you pay a price for that.

  2. paul said,

    I thought this was an airline related blog? UNSUBSCRIBE

  3. Chris said,

    AMEX will happily cover something like this… or dropping it into a hot tub… Both of which i’d recklessly done. Oops.

  4. Gary said,

    @paul It’s my blog and this is my travel technology and it’s been a popular subject when i’ve occasionally raised it in the past. But thanks for reading up until now!

  5. Julian said,

    It’s a sign that you should just get the iPhone.

  6. JetAway said,

    I’ve dropped my iPhone several times–no damage.

  7. JimL said,

    Please continue to post on all topics Gary related. There are those of us who enjoy it.
    Another vote for the iphone for the apps, the plethora of covers and now a real reason. You get an extra 250 spg points for booking on your iphone spg app.

  8. Jordan said,

    Just tell everyone you got the “spider web app”

  9. Scottrick said,

    I’m not sure a different phone would have prevented this. I have an iPhone, and the one or two times I’ve dropped it it barely got scratched. However, I know other people who have seen the entire screen crack after a less severe fall.

    I keep it in my pocket (by itself) and with no case. Still looks pretty new. IMO wrapping it up in a case and those protective films just makes it look worse than a little standard wear and tear. But maybe that’s necessary for this model.

  10. infamousdx said,

    Relating to the phone, how have you been finding the battery life / coping with the lack of it? Any solutions?

  11. patrick said,

    I agree with Paul. I pay good money for a travel blog and not a phone blog. Oh wait. I don’t pay good money for this. It’s free. Never mind. ;-)

  12. Ced said,

    FWIW I dropped my iPhone a couple of days after buying it, and Amex paid me back the DAY after via statement credit. I had used the Amex Starwood card. Has to occur within 90 days of purchase.

    Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer some protection as well? I’m very interested in this. Amex has been the king of customer service for me, but I do like the Sapphire card!

  13. u600213 said,

    I have an older Samsung Infuse. When I first bought it, I intended to buy an Otter Box Defender case with holster but they were not available yet. Instead I got a cheap silicone skin like this:

    Which worked so well that I cancelled the otter box oder after 1 month of waiting for it. I keep the phone in my pants pocket, screen facing towards my leg, and have dropped it several times but the lip of the case has saved it. If I drop it on a rock or corner, it will be history but as long as it lands on a flat surface like sidewalk or floor, so far so good.

  14. Andrew said,

    As clumsy as I am, I am resigned to the fact that my phones will always have to have a protective case.

  15. Not Relevant said,

    Gr… Just wasted 10 mins. of my life reading this …

  16. ArizonaGuy said,

    I do not consider dropping a phone to be normal wear & tear. It’s a $500 to $800 piece of equipment. Just because it’s subsidized or smaller than a tablet and laptop doesn’t mean to me I should expect a manufacturer to plan for glass-concrete impact from 3-4 feet.

  17. Mikey said,

    ” For the life of me I couldn’t remember what credit card I used when making the purchase from my cellular provider AT&T”

    review your statements for the time period you got the phone.

  18. Gary said,

    @Not Relevant – did it really take you 10 minutes to read this post? I would expect most people to read much faster.

  19. mrredskin said,

    you need a case – not protective film. a company on amazon has slim cases for about $10 shipped. very good ratings. i have one on my bionic and it’s perfect. fiancee got one for her gs3 and it works perfect. crazy not to have a case on a phone, these days.

  20. JetAway said,

    @Not Relevant-I guess I’m lucky that my parents forced me to take an Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Course as I was able to get through all of this in less than a minute. You might want to check it out:

  21. MrShides said,

    Your phone is made of glass. When you drop glass, it will most likley break. The thickness of the glass is irrelevent. Its going to cost you about $300 to have the glass professionally replaced. You can replace the glass yourself for about 200:

    You should use a case and a premium screen protector, and since you do not have experience with putting them on, I suggest having best buy or a mall kiosk put one on for you. Here are some case/protector (should you put the protector on yourself) suggestions:

    It is important to note, I hate hard plastic, and “rubberized” plastic and prefer hybrid cases (two piece, 1 plastic, 1 rubber).

    This one looks like exactly what I would want in a case. I would buy this if I had an s3. Protection on the corners, but easy to press rubber buttons…

    Otterbox makes great cases. One is a hybrid, the other is “rubberized plastic”. I bring up otterbox because they supposedly are “the best” but I think they are a bit overrated…

    Do not buy a “5 for a dollar” scren protector or even a 3 for 5 bucks type of protector. These are just thin pieces of plastic, and although they do protect the glass from minor damage, they wont do much like, if you accidently put your phone into your pocket and have a screw in there as well…

    This is the screen protector I would buy

    I would also consider this screen protector. They are like invisisheild, cheaper, but I have had some issues with them on certain devices. The issues where not a deal breaker, and I’d try them if it was me…

    You have a nice looking phone, take care of it like you would any expensive peice of equipment.

    Good luck…

  22. swag said,

    What makes this relevant, for you sticklers, is the last two paragraphs. This blog (like others) has covered credit card usage extensively, and often discusses what spend goes on what card to maximize benefits.

    This post points out that card benefits go beyond points and miles. Inthis case, when purchasing something likely to be lost, stolen, broken, or damaged, consider using the card that offers the best insurance or warranty protection, even if it doesn’t earn the most miles.

  23. John said,

    Chase Ink Bold has Purchase Protection too…

    At the bottom of the Chase site, it talks about it under Protection & Security…bottom left corner…


  24. Cdiddy said,

    LOL at Gary’s response to Not Relevant. Funny stuff. it took me about 45 seconds to finish reading this post. I’m extremely interested in the outcome of this, actually. I’ve always been extremely pleased with Amex’s extended warranty and purchase protection. I’ve not had any experience with my Sapphire preferred yet. Will be good to know if they are as good on this front as they are with the rest of the customer service.

  25. John said,

    And, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also has Purchase Protection for 90 days… PURCHASE PROTECTION* Replaces, repairs or reimburses you for eligible items of personal property within ninety (90) days of the date of purchase.


  26. boberonicus said,

    Get a case that surrounds the bottom but just reaches above the edges. My iphone case is just 1/16″ beyond the glass and I’ve dropped it 5 or 10 times on concrete with no damage.

  27. jay said,

    i liked this post. though i also disagree that dropping a phone is considered normal “wear and tear”

    now if the FTG would have written it, i’m guessing he would have snuck in some affliate links on the CC mentions at the end of the article. Kudos for keeping them out when they aren’t relevant

  28. Austin said,

    I dropped my old iPhone 3G a few years back and thankfully it was less than 3 months old and I had used my SPG Amex. Amex refunded the amount via purchase protection with a simple picture of the damage. Very easy process.

  29. Janine said,

    Color me interested in what the cc company has to say, too. I have an S3 that I got about a week and a half ago, and I’ve dropped it twice. Once from counter height without a case, and once with the case and glass shield…

  30. Glenn said,

    Sorry about the breakage. But like others I just recommend you accept this and use a case. Want a slim case, get a slim case. Lots of cheap ones on Amazon that will do the job. Doesn’t matter whether its an iPhone or Android, they all break. Life. Sorry.

  31. reeder said,

    Check out TPU material cases. You can find them on eBay/Amazon and I think they’ve got better bounce protection than Silicone.

    They do seem to weigh a bit more than Silicone. I can also stick a few sims between the back of the phone and the case for convenient organization.

  32. MP_Seeker said,

    Gary, I have no issue with the post and actually enjoy the change up, but why are you so easily offended? You are a blogger, some people will like your posts, and some won’t. Who cares? Plus, I was hoping you would not attack another person’s intelligence/disability.

  33. thrashsoundly said,

    Not to amplify your pain in a broken phone, but this post was funny to me. This morning when I got to work I got a “message” from you about dropping your phone. Yesterday when I got to work I got a message from my wife that she dropped her phone in a bowl of milk which made me LOL until my belly hurt. Dropping phones is sadly a part of life. No one can escape it!

  34. Gary said,

    @MP_Seeker I didn’t really think I was offended, they seemed kinda offended and I was (I thought) good naturedly tweaking in response. I certainly didn’t mean to come across otherwise.

  35. Bob Law said,

    Reason why samsung phones are often touted and chosen over iphone: bigger screen.
    Reason why samsung phones are a pain to carry and don’t fit (at least comfortably) in pant pockets: bigger screen. I’ll never get a samsung phone because I don’t carry a murse around on the regular.

  36. Coby said,

    I’ve had a great experience recently with AmEx Purchase Protection refunding the purchase price (not the full price, mind you) of a phone that I did basically the same thing to. I’m curious as to how the Sapphire Purchase Protection compares.

  37. Rasputin said,

    Please keep us posted on the response from Sapphire.

    Has it been 90 days since you bought the phone?

  38. Bluto said,

    It’s just a scratch. Flesh wound, really.

  39. Arlington Traveler said,

    The Visa Signature purchase protection you got when charging the purchase on your Sapphire Preferred won’t cover your phone damage because you dropped the phone and that is not covered. I know because I did the same thing and charged it on my United Club card which as a Visa Signature product has the same purhcase protection.

    From what I read, American Express has the best purchase protection.

  40. Gus said,

    I dare say you’ll get a new phone under the replacement insurance. FWIW, I have a SG3 too and the off chance of a broken screen (which can happen to any dropped phone) more than makes up for the disadvantages of having to use the iPhollow4S instead. A truly superb piece of technology. Hope you get your new one soon.

  41. purplnurpl said,

    A belt holster? Oof. Why not put it in a fanny pack?

  42. Michael said,

    Gary – I did the exact same thing to my Motorola Atrix (purchased with Sapphire Preferred) only two weeks after having it. I bought it from AT&T and paid the subsidized price of $100, so that was the amount that I was able to get back using the credit card buyer protection. Additionally, I was able to sell the functional phone with cracked screen on ebay for a price very near to the going price of “like new” condition phones. So I actually came out a bit ahead on the deal.

  43. Gary said,

    I’ll do a longer followup later (presumably once the results are in!) but — I’ve already gotten the phone fixed (new screen) and already filed all the paperwork for purchase protection claim.

  44. andreww said,

    I am particularly interested in knowing from others experience whether spg business amex will cover broken glass due to dropping of an iphone or similar phone, ipad
    or other tablet, as well as a macbook or similar laptop.
    If so, for how long after the purchase date?
    Alternatively is there any other card (particularly interested in Chase Sapphire mastercard, Ink , spg american express personal, but would be willing to get a different card as I am clumsy. In all cases, if the drop occured while I was out of the country, would that be grounds for denial of the claim.

    Gary, 90% of what you write about interests me, if I wasn’t already married you would have a proposal coming. Thank You

  45. Allen said,

    Squaretrade provides reasonably priced insurance with accidental breakage coverage.

  46. LIH Prem said,

    Samsung is clearly the top choice for travel bloggers, since they are so good at copying each other’s posts. :D

    Better replace it while you can, Gary.


  47. tivoboy said,

    Honestly, I thought these were made of Gorilla glass. There was a video of a guy dragging it behind his car, with and iphone as well connected to the car. The S3 came out without a broken screen at all. Must have been a fake video?

  48. Chris M. said,

    The same thing happened to me. I had used my INK Bold MasterCard to buy the phone. I filed a Purchase Assurance claim, instead of a warranty claim, since it was just under 90 days from the time I bought the phone, until the time I dropped it. It was a little bit of a hassle. They kept requesting more documentation (pictures of the damage, receipt, credit card statement, copy of warranty, affadavits). Finally, they cut me a check after about two months. So, in the end, they paid, but American Express is muuuuuch better, when I have used them. In the future I will buy phones with my personal AmEx card. I’m not sure that my Business SPG will have the same coverage as my personal AmEx plat.

  49. Arcanum said,

    purplnurpl beat me to it. A belt holster? Really?

  50. Chris M. said,

    If there is also a gun in your belt holster, it’s ok.

  51. AlohaDaveKennedy said,

    I use a dumb Kyocera that cost me $9.99. My son uses a smart phone that runs a tad over $9.99. When our phones drop, get broken or end up in the washer, which phone will smart the owner the most. :)

  52. Bits ‘n Pieces for August 27, 2012 - View from the Wing said,

    […] Elliott says wireless phone protection plans are a bad deal and even though I cracked the screen on my new phone, I agree — you pay a monthly fee, there’s still a deductible of about $100, and you […]

  53. Credit Card Purchase Protection Pays to Fix My Samsung S3′s Cracked Screen - View from the Wing said,

    […] of you will remember that I cracked the screen of my new Samsung Galaxy S3 phone a month ago, when the phone was just two months […]

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