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Spigen cases: A buyer's guide
Smartphone cases are a must in today’s age of glass sandwich flagships, but thankfully there are great options. Spigen cases are among the best in offering complete protection at a price that just about anyone can afford. Here’s what you need to know about Spigen and the best cases the company offers for each use case.
Why choose Spigen?
Spigen made its start in 2004 in South Korea, under the name SGP Korea. In 2008, it launched its United States division, with the name Spigen. The name comes from combining two German words: “spiegel,” which means “mirror,” and “gen,” which means “gene.” Make of that what you will.
Since its US launch, Spigen has become one of the most popular smartphone case-makers globally. It also makes wired and wireless phone chargers, phone stands, bike mounts, and even a wireless speaker. However, the company’s phone cases are its most popular product, thanks to their attractive designs and exceptional affordability.
Spigen also supports an impressive number of smartphones. Every major phone release sees anywhere from two to ten cases. The company also releases cases for regional favorites like the OnePlus Nord and foldable devices like the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4. You’ll also find Spigen cases for quite a few mid-rangers and entry-level devices, even if the variety of case types is limited.
As mentioned above, Spigen cases are also among the more affordable options, with most of them in the $10 to $20 range. The only real downside is a lack of color options. Most cases are limited to black and gray, with flashier colors left off the table.
What kind of Spigen case do I need?
The nice thing about Spigen is that it sells phone cases for every category. You can get thin cases, clear cases, hybrid cases that offer protection without the bulk, or total rugged cases for when you need that extra security. Here’s what you should consider while shopping for a Spigen case:
- What kind of protection do you need? As we mentioned, Spigen cases offer a wide range of protection. You can go from thin, clear phone cases all the way to fully rugged ones. Spigen’s hybrid cases provide a great middle-ground between the two, which is why we recommend them for most users.
- Do you need any add-ons? Depending on the device, Spigen offers cases that pack in useful extra features as well. Some Spigen cases are also designed with a built-in kickstand, allowing the phone to stay upright on a flat surface for media viewing. Others have a built-in slider pocket in the back where you can put money or credit/debit cards. There are also cases with a rear designed to attach to MagSafe accessories, a bike mount, or car phone holder, but those aren’t an essential buy for every shopper.
- Designs and colorways: While some Spigen case models have color options, most are limited to darker color choices. Designs include good-looking patterns and grippy textures, and of course, you have your pick of exactly how thick or bulky the case should be.
The best Spigen case overall: Rugged Armor
The Spigen Rugged Armor case design offers a perfect balance between thin and light design and solid protection. It uses air cushion technology and a spider web pattern on the inside to keep the phone from being damaged after falls of a few feet. The case also covers the phone’s buttons with protective outer buttons, and it uses a raised lip around the display to keep it from getting scratched.
For most people, the Rugged Armor is a safe choice that won’t disappoint. It’s not the flashiest or the most protective, but you won’t find a better value. Plus, the Rugged Armor case is offered for most major smartphones. Check the list below for the most popular models.
Get the Spigen Rugged Armor for:
Best thin case: Spigen Thin Fit
The Spigen Thin Fit case has, as the name suggests, a thin design, which keeps your smartphone slim too. The top and bottom ports of the phone are open, and the buttons are uncovered. It’s not the most protective case Spigen has to offer, so it isn’t a great choice for anyone particularly clumsy.
However, you get some corner protection with air cushion technology to keep the phone safe from tiny drops. The real advantage of this phone is the added grip, which is a very welcome addition to modern glass or ceramic-backed smartphones which are quite slippery.
Get the Spigen Thin Fit for:
Honorable mention: Spigen Liquid Air Armor
The Spigen Liquid Air Armor also has a thin and light design, but a geometric pattern on the back is designed to give users a better grip. It also offers better protection than the Thin Fit with covered buttons and sides. Essentially, it’s the midway point between the two options listed above.
Get the Spigen Liquid Air Armor for:
There’s also a version of the case called the Liquid Air P. These are made specifically for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It includes a space on the side that’s designed to hold an optional S-Pen stylus. Obviously this is specific to the S21 Ultra, since the Galaxy S22 Ultra houses the S-Pen inside the phone chassis.
Best clear case: Spigen Ultra Hybrid
The Spigen Ultra Hybrid clear case is made for showing off your smartphone. The back is completely transparent and lets your phone’s design take center stage. It also offers solid protection thanks to its TPU bumper and rigid polycarbonate back.
The case covers the smartphone’s buttons for added protection too. It even includes raised bezels for the rear cameras and the display to keep them safe from scratches. The bumper is available in several colors, so shoppers have a variety of choices. We recommend this model for most people looking for a clear case due to its excellent build quality and low price point.
Get the Spigen Ultra Hybrid for:
Honorable mention: Spigen Liquid Crystal
This clear case has a more flexible TPU design. It’s thinner, lighter, and easier to install than the Ultra Hybrid but doesn’t offer much protection. There’s also a glitter version that adds more bling to your phone if that’s what you’re into.
Get the Spigen Liquid Crystal for:
Best hybrid case: Spigen Neo Hybrid
The Spigen Neo Hybrid case is a two-layer case that combines a TPU case with a textured back and a polycarbonate shell. The result offers a solid amount of protection, even though the case is relatively thin and light. The PC bumper and textured back make for a good-looking design, making this one of the more stylish Spigen cases you can get.
The Neo Hybrid isn’t available for as many devices as the Rugged Armor, especially for newer releases, and is a touch more expensive than the latter. However, if you’re looking for a fashionable case with excellent protection, this is the case for you.
Get the Spigen Neo Hybrid for:
Best wallet case: Spigen Slim Armor CS
If you want utility from your phone case, the Spigen Slim Armor CS case includes a sliding card slot on the back of the phone. It’s designed to hold up to two credit or debit cards and/or a small amount of cash when closed. Aside from that feature, the case also has a dual-layer design, with a flexible shock-absorbing TPU interior and a hard polycarbonate exterior.
Even with this design, it’s a relatively slim case which means not a lot of bulk for your pockets. A cardholder case like the Slim Armor CS is a great alternative for anyone that doesn’t want a traditional bulky folio wallet case. Unfortunately, this Spigen case is not available for a lot of smartphones, so if you don’t have one of the latest flagships, you might be out of luck.
Get the Spigen Slim Armor CS for:
Best rugged case: Spigen Tough Armor
The Spigen Tough Armor case is the most resistant case the company offers, and it’s made to take a beating. Not only is it made of two layers (a flexible TPU interior and a hard PC outer shell), but it also includes extra foam inserts. These are placed inside the TPU interior for an additional degree of shock absorption when the phone falls on the ground.
The result is that the case meets the high MIL-STD 810G-516.6 certification for fall protection. On top of that, the back includes a built-in kickstand so you can set your phone on a flat surface and watch media without having to hold it. It isn’t the best kickstand we’ve used, but it works. There are also more protective cases from specialized case brands like Otterbox, but they typically cost twice as much.
Get the Spigen Tough Armor for:
Apart from the Tough Armor, Spigen also offers a case called the Core Armor, which isn’t quite as resistant but features a nice textured back. It’s also frequently only sold through the official Spigen website, which means it doesn’t see as many discounts as other Spigen cases.
Other Spigen cases
Apart from the cases listed above, Spigen offers some specialty cases that are every bit as good as its standard lineup. Most often these are slight variations on other cases, such as the MagSafe-compatible versions of its most popular cases like the rugged Tough Armor Mag, clear Ultra Hybrid Mag, and thin Mag Armor offered for the iPhone lineup.
The company also offers variants of many of its cases with an added kickstand. These feature an “S” in the branding, such as the Ultra Hybrid S or Slim Armor Essential S. That said, the kickstand isn’t the best quality, so there are better options if you really need a kickstand.
Apart from that, the company also offers cases for its proprietary Gearlock bike lock system. Combined with a bike mount accessory, this secures your phone to your bike’s handlebars for navigation while you ride. It’s one of the cheapest systems of the sort, but it only supports flagships from Samsung, Google, and Apple.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Spigen is also the parent brand for several other case manufacturers with many more interesting offerings. These include Cyrill and Caseology, both of which offer truly stylish cases with a completely different aesthetic to Spigen’s traditional offerings.
Frequently asked questions
Spigen cases are designed to fit your phone precisely, and some of them have a raised lip surrounding the phone’s display. It’s possible this feature may not work with specific screen protectors. You will have to make sure that both accessories are compatible before making a purchase. Spigen also sells its own screen protectors for most phone models.
Over time, clear cases like the Spigen Ultra Hybrid or the Liquid Crystal sometimes get a bit of a yellow tint to them. You can clean this up with a mixture of warm water and a drop or two of dish soap. Use a toothbrush to scrub the solution over the case. Be sure to let it air dry for a few hours before putting it back on. Keep in mind that the process might not make much difference if the case is very worn.
Spigen offers a two-year warranty for its cases.
You can place orders on Spigen’s website all over the world. Spigen cases are also likely available on your local Amazon marketplace.