The crux of it is if you have a device worth protecting - protect it, with a case.
Yes your shiny new iphone might not look as cool - but its a hell of a lot more functional after it slips out of your hand on the bus and shatters it screen. Same with your new iPad/DSLR/kindle.
For $10-15 including postage, why wouldn't you?
The cheaper eBay variety, might not last for ever, and might not be the best look and feel, but it can really only take a layer of case to mean the difference between kissing your $1,000 device goodbye Vs keeping it good working order.
What I use
I use a cheap ($5) plastic case for my iPhone, $10 stand case for my iPad, $15 retro case for my DSLR and $30 authentic case for my kindle (purchased direct from Amazon). Really $60 on cases is nothing when you are protecting what would be close to $3,000 of gear (at new $ value).
Things to think about
Everyone is different in their preference on this.
For me, basic protection came first (but not over the top protection, although I can see case for higher priority here), then price, then look and functionality.
iPhone: one little thing I had to have was a raised rim on the face side of the phone. Lots of iPhone cases don't provide this, but I think it is critical to helping prevent the main danger of ending up with a cracked front screen. It is also important to me to have an iPhone case that isn't too bulky and more slimline.
iPad: Originally this cheapo case was bought as a fill gap when I first bought my iPad Mini and didn't want the screen getting scratch prior to ordering a Dodo case. Well I liked it enough, that I didn't get around to ordering the Dodo. The bit I really like about it is the circle hole in the back that I can put my hand through and hold it at different reading angles. Think its just a copy of a better version out there, but think I'll go the same style when I upgrade to better quality.
Kindle: Love that I did spend the extra dough and get the original Amazon version. Mostly because it is proper leather (nice feel and slim fit) and the the front cover is solid and allows you to hold it as a book. Main thing I wish I had gone for is a built in fold out light, as it is pre-paperwhite backlight screen, so still requires a light to read.
As for the camera - I might save this for tomorrow's follow on post, and include some extra camera protection tips!
Whats your gear protection tips? Let me know in the comments
Written by Peter Cain
Peter Cain is the Founder and CEO of dataGO.co, a company committed to making it easier and cheaper to stay connected whilst travelling. You can find him on Twitter and Google+. You can also find dataGO on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ for all the latest info on local and roaming SIMs and data hotspots.