Pre-orders have finally started for Apple’s latest new smartphone, the iPhone XR. If you’re getting one, once it arrives take a few minutes to enjoy the bright color (I’ve heard Yellow has been disappearing quickly), then slide it into a protective case. With an all-glass front, all-glass back and IP67 water resistance rating — which makes it a bit more susceptible to water damage than the XS series — this isn’t a device to take chances with.
I went with an iPhone XS Max this time around instead of the XR, so I don’t have hands-on reviews of any iPhone XR cases. However, I’ve tested 40+ cases for the XS series so far, and virtually every one of those is also available for the iPhone XR. Based on my experience over the past month here are 11 case choices (fitting, since Apple waited until October to release it) for the iPhone XR.
Nodus Shell Case II
I had an original Nodus Shell Case for an iPhone 6 and it proved an impressive way to add some warmth, a premium look and protection from minor drops. The Shell case also incorporated a clever magnetic mount to an included, adhesive-backed dock (I used it for hands-free mounting on my truck’s dashboard).
The handcrafted Shell Case 2 for iPhone XR (about $65) features the same full grain, vegetable tanned Italian leather applied to a polycarbonate shell, with microfiber lining. And it also incorporates the MagSure mount — with magnetic shielding and an included Micro Dock III — and supports wireless charging. Shell Case 2 is available in Chestnut Brown, Ebony Black, Dark Teal and Taupe Gray.
Otterbox makes a huge range of protective cases for the iPhone XR, including clear options, heavy duty protection, patterned cases and even the ability to customize color combinations.
While it may seem like a crime to cover up the iPhone XR’s bright colors with a plastic case, when you’re talking $749 and up, practicality has to enter into the equation. Fortunately Otterbox offers some choice that let you have the best of both worlds. The Symmetry Series ($49.95) is a slim combination of polycarbonate and synthetic rubber that offers drop protection with some nice colors to choose from. The Aspen Gleam I was sent for the iPhone XS Max really pops…
Nomad Rugged Case
I really liked the Nomad Rugged case for the iPhone XS Max (you can read a full review here). If you appreciate the look of leather, this is a minimalist case that combines Horween leather with 6-foot drop protection.
I’ve reviewed a number of products from Nomad that feature Horween leather, and the great thing about them is the patina the leather develops with time. Unlike many cases that start to look a little worse for wear, the Horween leather Nomad cases take on a unique, rustic appearance that makes them even better than when new. The Nomad Rugged Case for iPhone XR goes for $44.95 and is available in Rustic Brown or Black.
My wife’s biggest knock against many of the iPhone cases I’ve been evaluating is that they are too bulky, too plain or just too masculine — she wants something that’s slim, yet protective, that brings a little bling to the table.
So she was a big fan of the samples from Casetify. With a slogan like “Real Cute, Real Tough” they had her number. The company offers a seemingly endless selection of cases for the iPhone XR, including clear versions, leather, glitter, patterns, paintings and customized options. Casetify’s $45 Impact cases —featuring two-layer construction and the company’s qitech material — are billed as the world’s slimmest protective cases, tested to two times Military drop standards.
Case-Mate is another company offering fashionable cases for the iPhone XR, including clear, leather, wallet-style and glitter styles. Prices start at $35, and a free screen protector is included with any iPhone case purchase.
Moshi offers a wide range of stylish cases for the iPhone XR, that take a different approach. There are some nice hardshell and clear cases, but the company also offers cases in fabrics and finishes that are both unique and practical.
For example, I liked the company’s Altra cases for the iPhone XS Max, and this series is available for the iPhone XR as well. The $39.95 Moshi Altra slim hardshell case features a textured pattern that adds visual interest while improving grip, and includes a detachable hand strap — which is very useful with a large phone like the iPhone XR. If you still manage to drop your phone, the case offers protection up to four feet. It’s also compatible with Moshi’s SnapTo hands-free mounting system.
Silk is a great choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive case with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. Among this company’s iPhone XR case choices are the Wallet Slayer, Kung Fu Grip, Guardzilla and Keeper of the Things.
I tried out the Kung Fu Grip case for the iPhone XS Max. For $11.99 you get a thin, light and flexible case that goes on and comes off easily, while protecting the sides and that expansive glass back from scratches and bumps, with a raised edge to keep the screen safe when placed on a table. The textured sides provide extra grip for “fewer toilet drops,” something I think we can all agree is best to avoid.
Earlier this year I reviewed one of Gear4’s cases, which feature protection via use of D30 — a material with impressive impact absorption characteristics.
The British company has several cases for the iPhone XR, including the slim, $24.99 Wembley (with 8-foot drop protection) and the $59.99 Platoon — which offers drop protection to an astounding 20 feet.
Bodygaurdz low profile protective cases have clear and tinted hard backs (perfect for showing off those iPhone XR colors), and use of Unequal Kevlar gel material for shock absorption. Soft bumpers add grip, with raised edges to protect the display. To add a little flash, button covers are metallic and there are metallic mesh covers over the speakers.
Bodyguardz iPhone XR cases range in price from the $34.95 Shock (which features full-body TPU construction for a more traditional look) to $49.95 for the Trainer Pro (with an included quick-release arm band).
If you’re going to cover up the iPhone XR’s flashy colors with leather, ideally you’d do it with high quality leather and a sharp design that adds to the appeal of the phone. Mujjo is a Dutch company that offers some very appealing choices.
I reviewed Mujjo’s Full Leather Wallet Case for the iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus earlier this year and found it protected an iPhone with a near-perfect combination of premium materials, functionality and sleek design. That wallet case featured full-grain vegetable tanned leather and a microfiber interior with an integrated pocket that holds several credit cards. The Tan leather was a standout, but I think I like the Olive even more — you simply don’t see this color in mainstream leather cases. Mujjo’s Full Leather Wallet Case for the iPhone XR goes for about $48.
Finally, a company whose cases offer big time protection — and look the part. Urban Armor Gear (or UAG) offers multiple choices for the iPhone XR, but its flagship is the UAG Monarch.
This $59.95 case looks like it wraps your iPhone XR in tactical armor. And it may as well, meeting two times U.S military MIL STD 810G 516.6 drop and shock test standards, and carrying a 10 year limited warranty. It features five layers of protection and construction that includes top grain leather and metal alloy, plus a honeycomb grip side. Despite the impressive specs, the Monarch cases I have for both the iPhone XS Max and iPhone 7 Plus are light and very easy to quickly install or remove.