Hands-on with some of the best cases for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 [Video]

So the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is slowly creeping up on being available for 2 months and that means that we have seen a few price drops. It also means we’ve got a wider array of accessories to choose from. I’ve been using the device as my main phone since release day and even since then I’ve had a literal box of cases to test, which means I think I’m fairly well placed to give you my opinion on 10 of the best cases for the Note 9.

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It should come as no surprise that a flagship such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will have plenty of options in the case department. With the phone costing upwards of $900 for the base model and an all-glass build, hey, it would be silly not to keep it protected. That’s why I’ve compiled this list based upon the review cases I’ve been sent, full disclaimer, I have chosen these based upon my own preferences so you may wholeheartedly disagree with my selection.

Another point I need to make: I opted for brands that I have used or wanted to use in the past. That means no 99-cent eBay Chinese knock-offs — although they can be a great buy from time-to-time.

1. Spigen Tough Armor

Spigen make, at least in my opinion, the best range of cases for any smartphone. Everything feels cut to precision and the Spigen Tough Armor is no exception. It comes in a few colors but I was furious that I couldn’t get the Lilac Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on release — it was on back-order. So I bit the bullet and opted for the European black variant. That meant that when I saw the Tough Armor in — what they call — Lavender, I literally had to have it.

It’s a sturdy case that a silicon inner and plastic exoskeleton for added support, I also love the chamfered edges and raised lips at the top and bottom of the screen. It fills me with confidence when I put it on. There is a stand round back if you want to watch videos in a tilted-landscape position on a desk, but I can’t say I’ve used it all too often. The cutouts for the Spen, charge port and speaker are great too for what it’s worth.

2. Speck Presidio Grip

I rock this case when I go to the gym as I’ve been known to drop my phone with sweaty — yeah, gross — hands from time-to-time. My reasoning for that is the extra grippy sides of the Speck Presidio Grip case. The design is pretty funky — which I like — but the rubberized side ridges mean it sticks to your palm comfortably.

The whole case is a mixture of hard plastic and soft rubber, so it’s easy to fit but feels secure. The cutouts for all the ports and buttons are good, but not exceptional. But this feels way more sturdy than cheaper cases.

3. Lifeproof NEXT

I’ve never used a Lifeproof case before this one, and wow is it a beast — in a good sense. This thing feels almost bulletproof, I took it on a short weekend vacation as I knew that my phone would be safe whilst having it installed. It’s got a thick plastic backplate that has barely any flex but has soft grippy edges that would most definitely survive even a big fall.

I love the port covers, it means that your Spen is safe and you could easily take this case swimming — granted the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is waterproof — without any ports getting filled with water and having to wait for them to dry. To piece the case together you need to take the top frame off, place your phone inside and then seal with the frame — your Note 9 definitely won’t fall out of this. Don’t get me wrong, this adds some serious size to your phone, but if I go travelling, this will be the case I put on.

4. Otterbox Commuter

I tried a few Otterbox cases, and although they have a good reputation, wasn’t exactly sold on all of them apart from the Otterbox Commuter, which is a combo case with a silicon inner and plastic shell that gives it rigidity. It’s nice and chunky without being unwieldy — which is what I found with the Otterbox Defender — although that is for a completely different market.

There are two cutout covers for the charge port and headphone jack, but oddly the Spen is left uncovered. I really like the blue color but the black option is equally sleek. I know for a fact that my phone would survive a drop with this case on, the silicon case will help absorb any shock damage, whilst the frame keeps everything in place.

5. Olixar Ultra Thin

I think if you simply want protection for the back of your device, then the Olixar Ultra Thin soft gel case is probably the best option. Don’t expect tons of protection, this is paper thin. It adds almost nothing but grip and back glass protection to your Note 9. I think it would probably survive a drop onto the back, but definitely not the front, so I would pair this with a tempered glass screen protector too if you want ultra-slim case protection.

If I go out to dinner or to meet friends this is my go to, plus the gel cover absorbs scuffs, dings and scratches in your pocket much better than plastic.

6. Samsung Official Silicone Cover

This is my other go-to case apart from the Spigen Tough Armor. It looks superb — as you would expect an official case to — and fits the very best of any case on this list. I do dislike the lack of bottom edge protection, but I do love the soft interior protecting the glass back.

It’s the best official case in my opinion and comes in an array of colors, including black, white, blue and violet.

7. Olixar Tough Stand Case

I really like the Olixar Tough Stand Case as it has a really Iron Man-esque look when in red, but also is just a really well-made case. It’s a combination of plastic and soft rubber with a sturdy stand round back that works equally well in portrait and landscape — probably the best stand case for that reason alone. I really like the way the stand clips away securely — and the support feels really well made.

There’s a nice satin finish too and the blocky edges will no doubt take a few bumps and shocks with no problems. You can also get this case in a combo pack that includes a tempered glass screen protector.

8. Ringke Fusion

Probably one of the best value cases, the Ringke Fusion is great if you want slimline protection and to be able to see that beautiful glass back. It’s a TPU case so I’d have to say it feels slightly ‘sticky’ — so lots of extra grip. The side bars are nice and rigid so you are guaranteed good protection. Personally, the overall fit is what impressed me the most. Everything feels flush from such an affordable case, plus the clear plastic back portion means I can admire my Note 9 with a bit more protection than the Olixar Ultra Thin case for instance.

There are a few color options to choose from, and I imagine this Smoke Black wouldn’t look quite as good on the blue or lilac Note 9 models. If you’re a fan of a lanyard, Ringke include one with every case they sell, which might come as a nice surprise. I found it awkward and annoying to be completely honest.

9. Speck Presidio Stay Clear

The Speck Presidio Stay Clear is my favorite completely clear hard case, as unlike a few on this list, there is no color whatsoever. It’s also — like the Presidio Grip — reasonably solid and provides great protection from dings, scuffs, bumps and scrapes. It’s not as grippy, so for vanity reasons I would use this, rather than adding extra grip. That said, I wouldn’t call the case slippery, as the side ledges are nice and grippy.

10. Spigen Slim Armor CS

If you don’t want to carry a wallet then the Spigen Slim Armor CS can be a great option, as it has the ability to store two credit cards in a safe slot round the back. It helps that the case is good looking too. The mechanism for opening and closing the slot is smooth and secure, whilst the added bulk isn’t major at all. I’ve used this case a few times when going out for drinks with friends and family and didn’t want to take my wallet.

It comes in a few color options too including blue, black and lavender — all to suit your Note 9.

Final thoughts

I’ve tested a heck of a lot of cases even in the 60 days since owning the Galaxy Note 9. Some were terrible, some were just ok, but I think these 10 options offer a decent variety of affordability, quality and protection for your expensive purchase.

I’d love to know what your favorite case is, I’m definitely a fan of a good case over a skin, as a skin can end up with gunk and grime round the edges which doesn’t always look good.

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