7 Cases To Protect Your Brand New iPhone 7

October 6, 2016

6:00 pm

As smartphones get thinner, their Nokia level of self-preservation are no longer a basic feature. Much like the iPhones before it, the iPhone 7 is also prone to basic fall damage, especially the larger one that sports more surface glass. However, cases have always been abundantly available, but which ones will protect your new investment, and which ones just simply look good?

We dug into seven different cases for the iPhone 7 Plus and a couple for the regular iPhone 7. From rugged to sleek, each has their own set of highs and lows.

We tested each case using some rudimentary measures that replicate how you’d interact with them on a daily basis. For starters, we conducted several scratch tests (denim, car keys), light drop tests, phone removals, and measuring their specs. One of the reasons we added in a phone removal test is that some cases make it challenging to remove them, and in those situations it could damage the case itself. Unless stated, each of these were tested against the new iPhone 7.

Urban Armor Gear: Monarch

uag-monarch

Two parts rugged, one part fashionable, this sums up UAG’s Monarch cases. On the pricier side for protective cases, $60, the Monarch features five layers of protection, including an armor frame, top grain leather, a polycarbonate shear plate, alloy metal hardware (screws), and impact resistant rubber. The Monarch comes in both graphite and platinum (pictured). Overall, we can absolutely recommend UAG’s Monarch series due to both its design and functionality. This case will protect your iPhone beyond basic wear and tear, with exception being how it could fall on the screen.

Denim Scratch Test: Passed

Key Scratch Test: Passed

Light Drop Test: Passed

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: 6.4 tall x 3.3 wide x 0.5 thick and only weighs about 1.9 ounces. It only adds a bit of extra space to the bezel, and has minimal addition to the thickness.

Where to buy: Urban Armor Gear

Urban Armor Gear: Trooper

urban-armor-gear-trooper

Like the UAG Monarch, the Trooper series is drop-tested and sports a rugged look. The difference though is that this one can house up to four different cards on the back side of it, which in turn also makes the case quite a bit thicker. Rather than the standard .29 inches of the iPhone 7 Plus, Trooper extends it to 1.1 inches thick and an extra 2 inches long. Though it fit in my jean pockets, we suspect anything on the skinny jeans or thinner sizing will be a very snug fit. The back storage area itself is a bit difficult to open at first, but after breaking it in that that should be resolved. Overall we can recommend the UAG Trooper for those looking to travel without a wallet, while adding a rugged look and extra protection to your phone. This case will protect your iPhone beyond basic wear and tear. The Trooper is priced at $45.

Denim Scratch Test: Passed

Key Scratch Test: Minimal Impact (likely due to color)

Light Drop Test: Passed

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: 8.3 tall x 4.5 wide x 1.1 thick and adds 3.1 ounces.

Where to buy: Urban Armor Gear

Skinit: Pro Case

skinit-pro-case

If you’re looking for something a bit more custom to your style, Skinit’s Pro Case series comes in sports themes, floral, sorority and fraternity, to even superheros with a high gloss finish. Priced at $40, the Pro Case series features a hard shell exterior with a shock absorbent lining. There is also a slightly extended bezel to further protect the screen on flat drops. Although the prints are considered scratch resistant, we did find that the key test resulted in minor scratches but more or less disappeared after rubbing the area. Overall we can recommend the Skinit Pro Case to protect against normal wear and tear  and minor drops, while having it personalized to you.

Denim Scratch Test: Passed

Key Scratch Test: Minimal Impact (mostly buffs out)

Light Drop Test: Passed

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: The Skinit Pro Case weighs 1.7 ounces and ads less than an inch in length and thickness.

Where to buy: Skinit

Caseology: Parallax

caseology-parallax

Caseology’s Parallax case is both lightweight and dual layered. With a sleek design and multiple colors to choose from, your friends will never know you skipped out on the new jet black color. Coming in at a cheaper price point than most of our other cases in the review, $25, the case does feel slightly more flimsy. However, it has a three-dimensional molding and soft coatings, plus a polycarbonate bumper. Overall our experience with the Caseology Parallax case is a bit hit or miss. Although there was zero impact with the scratch test, rubbing denim against it created noticeable wear, which would likely grow over time. If you are looking for an extremely affordable, flexible case, this should do the trick for very basic protection.

Denim Scratch Test: Noticeable wear on rubbery material

Key Scratch Test: Passed

Light Drop Test: Passed

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: At one ounce (lighter for the regular iPhone 7), this is certainly a minimal case.

Where to buy: Caseology

Caseology: Vault

caseology-vault

At the cheapest price point, $22, Caseology’s Vault case is both minimalistic and incredibly lightweight. We tested the case on a regular iPhone 7 and found it to protect it from lightweight falls, but would be hesitant to test beyond that. With only a single layer, it’s likely to maintain it;s design slightly better than the Caseology Parallax, but probably offer less protective support. Overall this case will likely only protect your phone at minimal levels of wear and tear.

Denim Scratch Test: Passed

Key Scratch Test: Minimal wear

Light Drop Test: Passed, but with hesitations

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: Coming in at only .8 ounces, this is the lightest and most minimalistic case in this review.

Where to buy: Caseology

Pelican: Protector

pelican-protector

What it makes up for in having a generic design, the Pelican Protector case fills the gaps with durability and protection. With a dual layer and impact absorbing TPR rubber lining, the Protect case comes in two different colors and has a slightly rugged look. Overall it should be able to handle general wear and tear, if not a bit more than that. It’s priced at $40.

Denim Scratch Test: Passed

Key Scratch Test: Noticeable wear, but only cosmetic

Light Drop Test: Passed

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: At 1.7 ounces the Protector case is both minimal and protective. It’s 6.4 high x 3.3 wide x 0.5 inches thick.

Where to buy: Amazon

Pelican: Adventurer

pelican-adventurer

With four colors to choose from, the Pelican Adventure is a mid-priced, minimal case designed to show off all of your iPhone 7. With a clear back and colorized TPR rubber, the device can certainly handle light drops; however, when tested against denim there was noticeable wear and very noticeable wear when tested against keys. Overall the case can handle light falls, some wear and tear, but will show signs of use over a short period of time. The company does also offer a lifetime warranty on the case. The Pelican Adventure is priced at $40.

Denim Scratch Test: Noticeable wear, will increase over time

Key Scratch Test: Failed due to very noticeable wear

Light Drop Test: Passed

Phone Removal: Passed

Specs: At  1.1 ounces, the Adventurer bridges between minimal and protective. It’s 6.4 tall x 3.2 wide x 0.5 inches thick.

Where to buy: Amazon

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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