This post is not sponsored, though the PR rep for UAG did offer me a couple cases to test out, my thoughts and feelings towards Urban Armor Gear are sincere. My relationship with UAG has evolved over the past 6+ years across a variety of different phones and I have always been very impressed. A few months ago when I decided to buy the most expensive phone that I have ever considered buying, I knew there was only one brand that I could choose to protect it.
Drops, cracked screens, and other damage are a fact of life when it comes to mobile devices. There is simply no going around that fact. You will drop your phone.
Over the past decade though, despite massive improvements with Gorilla Glass, phones are much less resilient to damage than they were before. For instance, my first Android phones were made of plastic and even a few years ago with my LG G4, it had a leather/rubber back that if I dropped it might get scuffed ... but certainly wouldn't crack. Today though, most phones feature glass front and back panels. If you drop them on anything but carpet ... they will break.
I decided to get a Galaxy S21 Ultra 512 meg a few months ago and at nearly $1,500 this phone is actually more expensive than my desktop PC or laptop. A case was the first thing on my mind and while I knew that I was going to go with Urban Armor Gear / UAG, I was quite impressed (and a bit confused) with how many options they have available now.
This is ultimately a good thing but with less expensive phones I was willing to go with a slightly less capable case. In those situations, aesthetics, bulkiness, and yes ... price, played a significant role. For instance, if it was a press phone provided to me for free I was honestly less concerned with making sure it survived for 3+ years because if it cracked or broke, it wasn't my daily driver, it also wasn't my money.
Over the past several years I've been a loyalist to the Plasma Series cases. I love them for how thin and lightweight they are while also being able to see the actual phone beneath the surface. The translucent honeycomb look of the UAG Plasma Series is hands down my favorite case out there. Despite it's thin and lightweight nature, it has saved my bacon on many occasions.
With my S21 Ultra though, I was less concerned with size since this phone is already a beast. My primary concern was getting the maximum protection while still looking great when I hold it in my hand. The secondary concern was having something that has enough "grip" that it won't slide out of my hand, even if I'm stretching my thumb to reach across it's massive screen.
The Monarch Series case was exactly the right solution for my needs. After a few months of traveling with it, I can confirm that while I have not abused my phone ... there has been more than one instance where I did a silent prayer before picking it up off the ground. What's remarkable is that neither the case, nor the phone has suffered any visible damage. Additionally, despite it being a bulkier option than the Plasma Series, it doesn't feel cumbersome as some other "rugged" cases that I've tried do.
There isn't really a good way for me to test one vs the other, so I can't provide testimony other than what I've shared above. Hopefully none of you have the chance to push it past the limit!
What is consistent between all of the probably 10 different UAG cases that I've had over the past several years is that they always have a perfect fit. I can't say that for every case that I've used but from volume bumps being positioned EXACTLY right, to headphone and speaker cutouts, UAG's products might as well be directly from the phone manufacturer itself.
This is a very important but sometimes overlooked aspect of case design and it is especially acute when it comes to the USB port at the bottom of the phone. Some other cases I've used in the past are simply not designed for anything more than the standard USB plug. When it comes to attaching a dongle, or addon such as connecting it to a gimble, other cases are simply not wide enough to allow the plug to connect fully. This has never been an issue with UAG.
Finally, I just want to give a shoutout to the team behind UAG as well. Many companies are just pulling containers of crap made in China across the ocean and competing on gimmicks like kickstands, cool designs, or licensed deals - and then pricing them at prices lower than UAG. While I'm sure there are some very nice people behind those importers, I've enjoyed the conversations I've had with UAG folks at tradeshows and other events. They are a real company and they have a premium product. When it comes to trusting the safety of the most important piece of gear in my arsenal, spending the money for a UAG phone or tablet case is something I would have gladly done this time as well, but I'm very thankful that they offered me one to try out instead :)
UAG Monarch Series case for the Galaxy S21 Ultra is priced at $59.95, while the Plasma Series case is priced at $39.95 on their website. Both can be purchased on Amazon.com as well as directly through the UAG website.