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Best Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra cases 2021 – CNET

best-samsung-galaxy-s21,-s21-plus-and-s21-ultra-cases-2021-–-cnet

The Galaxy S21 comes in three sizes and the case you pick may be partially determined by the S21 model you have. The flagship S21 Ultra, which has a 6.8-inch screen, is the heaviest of the bunch and isn’t a phone you necessarily want to hold in your hand all the time, which is why I like using a case with an integrated kickstand, so I can prop it up. The same might be said for the smaller S21 Plus (6.7-inch screen) and the standard S21 (6.2 inches), neither of which are compact. But everybody has their own opinions about phone cases and everyone has different needs, which is why my picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S21 series cases come in a variety of styles, from slimmer models to more rugged cases to folio wallet cases.

Note that some of the recommendations for these Galaxy S21 series cases are based on my experience using nearly identical models with preceding Galaxy smartphones, as well as iPhones. Where multiple products are shown, the price listed is the starting price for the line. Make sure that you’re buying the case that matches the specific model of your S21 (Ultra, Plus or standard).

I regularly update this roundup with new picks as more candidates arrive. 


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If you’re looking for a cheap clear case for your new Galaxy S21, Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid is a good value at around $12 to $15, depending on the version you get. I like the Ultra Hybrid S (on left in photo), which has an integrated kickstand.

No drop rating is listed for the case, but it feels like Spigen’s transparent cases offer reasonable protection. If you want a tough case with stronger protection, Spigen’s Tough Armor case (on right in photo) is an option for $18 to $19 and also has an integrated kickstand. Note that a lot of these cheaper clear cases have a habit of turning yellow and degrading over time, which makes them less translucent. But they’re cheap enough that you probably won’t mind shelling out for a replacement if and when that happens.

Clckr

I’ve become a recent fan of Clckr’s cases, which feature a built-in stand and grip strap that folds out and clicks into place on the back of your phone. Clckr sells just the stand-strap accessory to stick on the back of your phone or on a case, but the case with the integrated stand accessory is better. The selection for the S21 is currently pretty limited (there’s only a clear version S21 and S21 Plus, not the S21 Ultra), but perhaps the options will expand over time.

The cases aren’t rugged but they’re protective enough, with raised edges to protect the screen. The ones I’ve used with other phones have held up well over time. 

With the stand clicked in place, you can use your device hands-free in either portrait or landscape mode. Note that you can wirelessly charge your phone with this case on, though you have to be more careful about placing it in the right spot on a wireless charging pad for it to work. The new models have antimicrobial protection.

Gear4

British case-maker Gear4, now owned by Zagg, makes cases that are right there with OtterBox and Speck. They’re all lined with the company’s D3O shock-absorbing material and feature beveled edges to protect your phone. Shown here from left to right are the Havana (10-foot drop protection), Denali (16-foot drop protection), Crystal Palace (13-foot drop protection) and Copenhagen (13-foot drop protection). All use some recycled plastic in their construction, but the Copenhagen, made out of 52% plant-based material, is the most eco-friendly.

Prices range from $30 to $50 for the top-end Denali, which is the Gear4 case I probably like best.

David Carnoy/CNET

For the Galaxy S21, UK-based Mous makes its Clarity Lite ($55) clear case with anti-yellowing tech as well as its Limitless 3.0 case ($60), which comes in a few different eye-catching styles (Aramid Fiber is shown on left). They’re all lined with the AiroShock material that the company says delivers excellent protection in a slim design. They do seem durable and all include a lifetime warranty.

Mous’ Limitless 3.0 cases are compatible with the company’s Limitless 3.0 accessories. That includes a wallet that magnetically adheres to the back of the phone case and a few mounts, one of which is an air-vent mount for your car. 

It’s also worth noting that the Limitless 3.0 cases are the only ones I’ve seen that have a SIM-card storage slot on the inside of the smartphone case for international travelers in the habit of SIM-swapping.

Mous gives 10% off on first orders through its website. We expect we’ll see these cases on Amazon in the near future, perhaps with better pricing.

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