"But then it is made from materials like machined monoblock plastic that doesn't tend to show wear and marks as well as being radio transparent, along with thick Gorilla glass that is borderline unbreakable. Screen shield, horrible, ugly."
Depends on the shield. A good shield tends to look natural on the phone and provides an extra line of defense, and yes I have seen even Gorilla Glass scratched, etched, and even cracked, so I take any claims of "uncrackable, unscratchable" glass with a dash of salt and get the shield anyway as a precaution. It's a lot easier to replace a scratched shield than a scratched screen; that's my justification. Same with the cases. Since I've seen metal phones all dented and banged up, and since even my careful handling occasionally results in a dropped phone, I won't place all my trust in the bare phone. Again, easier to replace a case than a phone component. Plus the case is better-made to take some abuse.
"Every time I see someone walking and talking (or driving) with a giant phone against their head plus dangly case flapping about all over the place I just wonder why they bother paying for the thinner, sexier phone with the less-good battery life in the first place."
I'm not a fan of the "thin and sexy" type. But since that's the trend with phones these days, I'm kind of stuck with it. Function over form is my motto, so if I have to carry a giant phone to get good battery life, so be it. I once had an oversized battery and back but switched back when the usual beef about aftermarket batteries reared its ugly head (heat and bulging). So I'm back to stock mostly out of necessity.