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Best Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra cases of 2023

Best Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra cases of 2023

Best Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra cases of 2023

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The Galaxy S22 is perhaps the most advanced model in Samsung’s flagship lineup – with the S23 coming soon – but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your Galaxy S21. In fact, now more than ever, you’ll want to protect with a good case. Because the The Galaxy S21 is available in three sizes, you’ll need to make sure you get a case designed for your specific model. The S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch screen and the heaviest build – cases with built-in kickstands are a good option for this big boy. The S21Plus is slightly smaller at 6.7 inches, while the S21 is even smaller at 6.2 inches. But no matter which model you have, we’ve rounded up all the best S21, S21, and S21 Ultra case options available.

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Note that some of the recommendations for these Galaxy S21 series cases are based on my experience of using nearly identical models with previous Galaxy smartphones, as well as iPhone. When several products are displayed, the price indicated is the starting price of the range. Be sure to purchase the case and tempered glass that matches the specific model of your S21 – Ultra, Plus, or Standard.

Grain

Leading case maker Speck offers a selection of protective case options for the Galaxy S21, including (left to right in image above) Presidio Perfect-Clear, Presidio Perfect-Mist, the Presidio Perfect-Clear Ombre and the Presidio2 Grip. They also have cases for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Fold, and Galaxy S7, S8, S9, and S10 models.

All of the new models have very good drop protection (13 to 16 feet, depending on the model) as well as Speck’s Microban antimicrobial coating. Cases start at around $40 in different color options and can sometimes be found on sale for a lower price.

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If you’re looking for a cheap transparent case for your new Galaxy S21, Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid is a good value. I like the Ultra Hybrid S (left in photo), which has a built-in kickstand.

No drop ratings are listed for this Samsung phone case, but it looks like Spigen’s clear cases offer reasonable protection. If you want a rugged case with decent protection, Spigen’s Tough Armor case (pictured right) is an option and also has a built-in kickstand. Note that many of these cheaper clear cases have a habit of yellowing and degrading over time, making them less translucent. But they’re cheap enough that you probably don’t mind shelling out for a replacement if and when it happens. This Samsung Galaxy S21 case is made of a TPU bumper and offers maximum protection with a precise cutout for the camera. The case material is polycarbonate and thermoplastic polyurethane.

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Samsung

Available in brown or black, Samsung’s leather case provides a toughened layer of protection around the cameras while providing a nice leather feel all around. The leather doesn’t affect wireless charging or anything, so you can slip it on your phone and have it feel great without sacrificing anything. The soft leather case does not add bulk to the phone and has good shock absorption.

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Samsung

Samsung’s Clear Standing Cover isn’t anything fancy, but it’s a transparent protective case with a built-in kickstand. You can prop your phone horizontally or vertically using the kickstand, which seems sturdy (it’s bigger than Spigen’s built-in kickstand). I regularly use this box.

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Click on

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

The cases aren’t sturdy 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 into place, you can use your device hands-free in portrait or landscape mode. Note that you can charge your phone wirelessly with this case, although you’ll need to be more careful to place it in the right place on a wireless charger for it to work. The new models have antimicrobial protection.

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The company’s Defender Series super protective case is available for all Galaxy S21 models, but most people want something less bulky. I love the Symmetry Series cases – they’re slim with beveled edges, making them a good mix of sleekness and protection. That said, I like the more protective Commuter series better, thanks to the grips it has on the back and sides, as well as the raised edges on the front that should help protect your screen. The raised bezel acts as a screen protector to protect your screen from scratches and the camera module gets the same treatment.

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ArmadilloTek

Sometimes you need more than an average case, and while there are many who claim “toughness”, there are only a few who are willing to back up that claim. ArmadilloTek’s Vanguard series is MIL STD 810G rated, which means it can survive drops of up to 20 feet with its multi-layered design and provides excellent camera lens protection. Even with those layers between the phone and the charger, one of which includes a sliding stand, this case still supports wireless charging.

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Gear4

UK case maker Gear4, now owned by Zagg, makes cases that are 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. Here, from left to right, the Havana (10ft drop protection), Denali (16ft drop protection), Crystal Palace (13ft drop protection) and Copenhagen (13ft drop protection) feet). All use recycled plastic in their construction, but the Copenhagen, made from 52% plant-based materials, is the most eco-friendly.

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

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Especially with the two larger models of the Galaxy S21, I find having a built-in kickstand a nice feature, and the ESR Kickstand Case is about as affordable as it gets.

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David Carnoy/CNET

Cyrill is a sub-brand of Spigen, and like Spigen, its cases typically sell for less than $20. Cyrill doesn’t have quite the same selection for the Galaxy S21 as it does for the iPhone 12, but it does have clear protective cases with floral designs (pictured right), as well as the Brick Matte Finish Bumper case, which has a soft touch finish (pictured left). It has a raised frame on the back which provides extra protection for camera lenses. The corners of the case also have a raised lip.

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Some people like full-screen protection, so they opt for a folio case that covers the screen. The Strada Via is a new folio case from Otterbox that has a soft-touch finish and stays closed with a set of magnets. It also has a slot to store a credit card or two. The only thing I didn’t like was that it doesn’t convert to a kickstand for video watching.

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For the Galaxy S21, UK-based Mous makes its clear Clarity Lite case with anti-yellowing technology as well as its Limitless 3.0 case, which comes in several eye-catching styles (aramid fiber is shown on the left). They’re all lined with the AiroShock material which the company says offers great protection in a slim design. They seem durable and all include a lifetime warranty.

Mous’ Limitless 3.0 cases are compatible with the company’s Limitless 3.0 accessories. This 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 inside the smartphone case for international travelers who are used to trading SIM cards.

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David Carnoy/CNET

Lifeproof’s Wake case is made from recycled ocean plastic. It’s nicely designed but I wouldn’t say it’s super tough – it’s not bottom locked and has 6ft drop protection. (Note that some cases on this list have higher drop protection ratings.)

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