Extend battery life, improve wireless charging, and more
In the early days of cellphones, no one needed a case—the phones themselves could withstand nearly anything short of a stick of dynamite. But with new phones and more sensitive technology inside, cases are necessary not only for protection, but for accessorizing.
iPhone cases do more than look great. Cases can add extra features like extended battery life, improve wireless charging, and more. The only downside is the number of cases on the market—it can be hard to choose which case is the right one for you.
We’ve rounded up our picks for the best iPhone XS, XS Max and XR cases and listed them out here.
1. Otterbox Traction (Otterbox)
The Otterbox Traction is a fantastic case for two reasons. The first is the reputation and durability of Otterbox cases. No matter how rough you are with your phone, this case will protect it (unless you are really determined to break the phone.)
The second is the clear, translucent back. While the Otterbox Traction doesn’t add any additional features to the phone, it does allow you to show off the color of the phone.
So many cases cover the back of the phone that your color choice doesn’t seem to matter, but everyone knows that Space Grey is the best color. Why not show it off a bit? The Otterbox Traction starts at around $40.
2. Apple iPhone XS Smart Battery Case (Apple)
The one thing to keep in mind about Apple’s Smart Battery Case is that it contains a battery—which means aesthetics go right out the window. This is my no means an attractive case, and with only three color options, you have to ask: what was Apple thinking? Why not just give customers the option to buy the same color options they buy phones in?
Despite the rather bulky look of the case, you can’t deny the utility. The iPhone XS Smart Battery Case extends the default battery life from just under ten hours to up to 37 hours of talk time and 20 hours of internet use and video playback. Just make sure to charge both the case and the phone for maximum results. The Smart Battery Case starts at $129.
3. Silk Wallet Slayer (Amazon)
There are a host of leather wallet-style iPhone cases, but they tend to be outside of any reasonable price point for average consumers. Some of the higher-end leather cases cost one-third the price of an iPhone XR. That’s too much, even if you have the money to spend on it.
The Silk Wallet Slayer is a much more affordable and reasonable option. Starting around $23, the Silk fits three credit cards and cash while remaining wireless charging compatible. It’s the perfect way to ditch your old, bulky wallet and keep only the essentials on you—and since your cards and cash will be packed into your phone case, you aren’t likely to forget them.
4. Lifeproof Fre (Amazon)
Some phone cases offer protection on par with football gear, while others offer the protection of an Abrams tank. The Lifeproof Fre is the latter. If you work outdoors and find your phone in the way of harm, this is the case for you. The Lifeproof Fre is drop, dirt, and snow-proof, according to the company.
The case wraps around the back and side of your phone and has a built-in screen cover. Once you’ve secured your phone inside, the Lifeproof Fre claims it can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water for an hour without worry—on top of surviving a 6-foot drop.
It’s a tough-built case for people that are tough on their phones. The only downside is the price. The Lifeproof Fre is $61 on Amazon at the time of writing.
5. UAG Monarch (Amazon)
Sturdy phone cases are worth their weigh in gold, but they often add a lot of extra bulk to the phone. On the other hand, thin cases barely offer any protection against drops or dirt.
The UAG Monarch series strikes a balance between both by offering reliable protection without adding a lot of bulk to the phone. The honeycombed case lends extra grip to your device, while a mixture of leather and metal protect it from harm.
The UAG Monarch is said to meet military drop-test standards and comes in six different color choices. One thing no one can dispute are the looks—this is an attractive, striking case. It’s also more affordable than most, starting at $50.
Deciding on the Right Case
There are five great choices on this list, but there are dozens more that didn’t make the cut. That said, a lack of mention here doesn’t mean the cases aren’t worthwhile. Take a look at what’s out there and decide what sort of case best suits you.
If you do a lot of gaming or watch a lot of videos and find yourself charging far too often, pick up a battery case. On the other hand, if you’re an outdoorsman with a tendency to drop your phone, a Lifeproof or Otterbox case might be a good choice.