So, I got my new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G (SM-N9860, Dual-SIM) on the 18th of November. I got it off eBay cos I needed dual-SIM and I wanted the Snapdragon 865+ version. I can go into why that was a mistake, but I'll save that for another day.
The mistake I wanted to go into was that I already have three cases for this device! Like, why do I need three cases for a single phone?
Not pictured above are the numerous cases I've gone through for previous phones. I tend to discard them if I discard my phone (whether they be sold, given away, or whatever). But let's for fun go over the last few phones I've had and how many cases:
- iPhone 11 Pro (used 2019-2020): UAG Monarch (Crimson), MIMEI Clear Magnetic Case, ORNARTO Liquid Silicone Case
- OnePlus 6T (used 2019): The Karbon Cover bumper case that came with the phone
- iPhone X (used 2018-2020): UAG Monarch (Crimson), Apple Silicone bumper case
- Moto X (used 2014-2019): OK I don't remember; I gave this phone away and can't find record of what cases I bought for it
- iPhone 8plus (used 2017-2018): Jack Spade case with a racing stripe, Spigen Ultra Hybrid case
- iPhone 7 (2016 - 2017): Jack Space racing case, UAG Monarch (Grey)
ok maybe I don't get that many cases. But it just seemed like a lot. Maybe it just seems that way because I'd been buying phones every year for the past eight or more years. Yes, I even bought the iPhone SE. Yes, I loved it.
Well anyway, here's what I have so far for my new phone.
Spigen Liquid Crystal
This is the first case I got. I chose this one because I had a Christmas gift in mind to ask for but I always get a case for my phone right away, especially if it costs like a thousand bucks. I want some amount of protection for it. So I picked this case because it was cheap. $12.99 if you wanna snag it on Amazon.
The thing I like about the case is that it really gives the phone some super bling. Not that, since the phone is all white, it's necessary. The entire case is glitter, after all, and it really makes the white shine like the morning after a snowfall. For someone who doesn't show off anymore (give me a t-shirt and some comfy jeans and I'm actually ready to take on the day) it's a little extravagant. But I slapped this case on and I immediately fell in love.
It's all one piece of flexible TPU. The buttons work just fine, and it's so thin it doesn't need a huge cutout for access to the S-Pen. This thing functions well and looks great. But it does come with its problems.
The clear TPU is nice, and super flexible, but it — I dunno — it tends to get scuffy and dirty very easily. Like, I have to wipe my phone down daily just to keep it feeling smooth and fresh. That might be a judgment on me rather than the case, but different strokes for different walks of life, I suppose. And while the case does give a lip across the top and bottom, the sides are fully exposed to access the edge-to-edge sides of the phone. I always found myself accidentally going back somehow, or tapping on something I didn't want to, with my fat palms.
Spigen Tough Armor
I couldn't wait for Christmas so I grabbed this case in the interim. The Spigen Tough Armor is a TPU/polycarbonate case with a padded interior to protect against drops and it's got a kickstand! I knew I was getting a case without a kickstand and after watching a series of case reviews (all in a single YouTube video!) I started wanting a phone with a kickstand, so I ended up choosing this one.
The button design along the right-hand side is nothing short of sleek. The power button is sunk in and serrated to differentiate with the volume up and down buttons. The cutout for the S-Pen is barely noticeable but still big enough to provide easy access to the stylus for quick note taking (at least if you're left-handed; I couldn't imagine whipping the pen out at lighting speed only to have to juggle everything around so you can write right-handed). The case itself has a hard feel to it, and while I know it's plastic, it doesn't feel like plastic. And the case provides coverage all around the phone, covering more of the sides than the Liquid Crystal case and therefore preventing me from accidentally tapping on something I didn't want to. But I find it hard to swipe up to get to the Home screen, and likewise the control panel is hard to reach. This problem is especially prevalent in landscape mode.
The kickstand does its job. It's a tiny thing supporting this massive phone but not once (at least on flat surfaces) has it failed me. Its design leaves me only able to set the phone in landscape mode, though. Sometimes a guy just wants to use a phone in portrait mode, ya know? And this doesn't cut it. I end up having to prop up the device on like my monitor or whatever's handy. Coffee mug. Beer can. Another phone.
But of course, in case you couldn't guess, the phone case that I received for Christmas—and my favorite phone case Make and Model ever—is the
Urban Armor Gear (UAG) Monarch
I mean, look at this thing! The beautiful, top-grain leather; the striking crimson red strike plate; the rubberized corners to protect the phone—you can't blame me for wanting this thing on my beautiful thousand-dollar device*. It's simply perfect!
Well, it's not actually perfect. Like, now that I'd gotten used to having a kickstand, I find myself having to switch back and forth between this and the Tough Armor whenever I want to specifically prop my phone up somewhere in landscape mode to watch YouTube videos while I work. And the button design of that case is phenomenal, and now I just sort of miss it.
Luckily, perfection rears its ugly head again because this phone's raised front design has a small cutout at the top so I can better fit my finger across the status bar enough to pull the panel down and access all my notification and quick settings. In landscape mode, both home and notification edges are easily accessible. And while the red parts of the case are still plastic, they feel like a quality plastic. And it doesn't matter so much to be because—in case you haven't read real reviews by actual reviewers, let me tell you my favorite part about this case besides its rugged good looks. This phone case is a 5-layer case, providing the ultimate protection for whatever you put into it. You have the frame and shock-absorbent core, top-grain leather, the polycarbonate shear plate, metal hardware, and impact-resistant rubber. It feels like my Note 20 Ultra can withstand anything the Nokia 5510 could withstand. And maybe I am getting UAG fatigue, or maybe it's just the crimson plate and I wanna switch it up to the equally protective all-black case with carbon fiber back. But this case remains my favorite and currently my most-bought for my phones. But only because Jack Spade stopped making that really cool case with the racing stripe across the middle.
In case you're interested, here are all three cases: