When Apple released the iPhone 7 Plus, I upgraded. I was happy with the performance of my iPhone 6, but the dual camera on the 7 Plus won me over (you can read my take on that here). A new iPhone means new cases, and I’ve been test-driving four of them recently.
This case has a tactical vibe to it—it looks something like the case Batman would carry his iPhone in, especially the Graphite version I have (it’s also available in Platinum).
The UAG Monarch features five layers of protection, including top grain leather, metal alloy, and grippy rubber. It exceeds Military drop certifications and is backed by a 10-year limited warranty. Your iPhone should be pretty safe in it.
The UAG Monarch currently goes for $55.95 on Amazon.
Dog & Bone Wetsuit
The Dog & Bone Wetsuit for the iPhone 6 was a key part of my tech camping gear roundup this summer, but why would you need a waterproof case for the iPhone 7 Plus?
The answer is that Apple’s IP67 certification only covers you for three feet of depth for half an hour. With the Dog & Bone Wetsuit, you get a boost to IP68 protection, which means 6.6-feet of water for an hour.
In other words, rather than being simply waterproof from the point of view of using it in the rain and being able to survive a quick dunk in the sink, with the Wetsuit you can use the iPhone to shoot photos underwater in a pool. And it does so without obstructing the screen with a film.
It also adds Military-grade drop protection from 6.6 feet.
The Dog & Bone Wetsuit case is currently priced at $94.95 on Amazon.
Nomad Leather Case
Basic impact protection wrapped in high-quality Horween leather (from Chicago). This is a nice looking case that only gets better and more unique-looking as it develops a patina and acquires a few scuffs with use. Available in brown or gray.
The Nomad Leather case is offered by marketplace sellers on Amazon, but your best bet is buying it direct. At $39.95 from Nomad, it’s much cheaper and a steal considering the high-quality leather used.
Distil Union Wally Case
This is a basic shock-absorbent case with a twist. The back is covered with leather and incorporates a pocket with a Pull Tab that lets you stash and easily access up to three credit cards.
So no wallet required, just bring your iPhone. I found the gray on gray a little dull, but the brown leather on gray frame looks pretty cool and there are also black and red leather options.
The Wally Case is $49.99 on Amazon.
Which One Sees the Most Use?
I haven’t really had any occasion to use the Wetsuit (sadly there are few underwater photography opportunities in Canada in December). The Nomad version I have is an early production unit that fits a little too tightly for my liking. That’s a pill when frequently removing the iPhone for testing scenarios, as I do. However, I haven’t heard of any issues with retail versions and my experience with Nomad gear has always been excellent, so I suspect mine is a probably a one-off. The Wally Case is useful when I’m going shopping, but I find the Pull-Tab a little annoying during everyday use.
That leaves the UAG Monarch Case. This is the one my iPhone is in 75 percent of the time. It’s grippy, offers decent drop protection (without being bulky), keeps all the ports clear, and I like the look. It’s also easy to pop on and off.
Disclosure: UAG, Dog & Bone, Nomad, and Distil Union supplied cases for review purposes.