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A handful of iPhone 8 Plus case mini-reviews

Across these years of plus-sized iPhones, I’ve never owned one. But with the release of the iPhone 8, I decided I really wanted the dual cameras, so I chose to get the Plus. I did a lot of pre-testing in the Apple Store—using an iPhone 7 Plus— before I ordered. The size seemed doable, but the phones were definitely slippery—except for jet black, which was nicely grippy.

So I knew I wanted a case (no jet black iPhone 8), but I also knew I didn’t want to make the iPhone much larger than it already was. In advance of my phone’s arrival, I did some shopping on Amazon, looking for relatively thin and inexpensive cases to test. I wound up ordering five…

It’s important to note that none of these are specifically designed for the iPhone 8 Plus, though most mention that phone in their description. The size differences between the 7 Plus and the 8 Plus are minimal—the 8 Plus is .1mm both wider and thicker—aren’t great, and with a couple noted exceptions, I had no size-related issues with these cases.

Total cost for all five was $65—not dirt cheap, but certainly well under the $40 to $80 you can spend for a single “nice” iPhone Plus-sized case. Given that I’ve had the phone for only a few days, what follows are not full-on case reviews, but some initial thoughts on each of the five…

Overview

My five cases fall into two categories: Full coverage (three of these) and minimalist (two). All five cases fully cover the back of the phone; the full coverage cases have thicker sides that wrap up and above the height of the screen, to protect it if you set the phone face-side down. They are designed to provide some protection in the event of a drop, but I didn’t do any drop testing.

The minimalist cases also wrap the sides of the iPhone, but the wrap is incredibly thin, and doesn’t extend above—or even up to—the screen. I doubt either of the minimalist cases I bought would offer much protection in the event of a drop onto concrete.

All five cases slid easily into and out of a pants pocket, and all of the openings and covers fit properly and didn’t interfere with the operation of the iPhone’s buttons and ports—including the sometimes-troublesome mute switch.

This table summarizes each case’s dimensions against a bare iPhone…

Stupid USA Units Metric Units
Description Length Width Height Weight Length Width Height Weight
Bare iPhone 8 Plus 6.24 in 3.07 in 0.30 in 7.13 oz 158.40 mm 78.10 mm 7.50 mm 202.00 g
Luvvitt Clear Grip 6.31 in 3.19 in 0.39 in 8.13 oz 160.27 mm 81.03 mm 9.91 mm 230.35 g
Silk iPhone Grip Case 6.34 in 3.23 in 0.40 in 8.33 oz 161.04 mm 82.04 mm 10.16 mm 236.02 g
Spigen Ultra Hybrid 6.38 in 3.24 in 0.41 in 8.33 oz 161.93 mm 82.30 mm 10.41 mm 236.02 g
Humixx Clear Case 6.27 in 3.15 in 0.34 in 7.63 oz 159.26 mm 80.01 mm 8.64 mm 216.17 g
Totallee The Scarf 6.26 in 3.13 in 0.33 in 7.53 oz 159.00 mm 79.50 mm 8.38 mm 213.34 g

As you can see, the Luvvitt Clear Grip was the smallest and lightest of the full-coverage cases, while Totallee’s The Scarf out-minimalized the Humixx Clear Case. Now on to the mini-reviews…

Full coverage cases

These three cases both cover the phone and hopefully provide some level of protection from drops; they’re bulkier than the two ultra-thin cases below, but not overly so.

Luvvitt Clear Grip [$12.97]

This case is made of pliable soft clear plastic. The case goes on and off very easily, yet it’s very secure once on the phone. The corners are bumped out a bit from the inside of the case, creating a little air pocket on each corner for added impact resistance. This does make the corners marginally longer and wider than the rest of the case, but only by less than a tenth of an inch. The plastic is nice and grippy, but my favorite feature helps grip even more…

Each side has a set of prominent ridges that make it ridiculously easy to hold the phone. This case feels like it would offer really good protection in the event of a drop.

Silk iPhone Grip Case [$11.99]

The Silk iphone case was unique among the five in that it included a front-side plastic screen protector, which I have not installed, and probably won’t. (I have yet to scratch an iPhone screen in any noticeable way, and prefer the feeling of finger on glass versus the plastic screen protectors.) The packaging is a nice trifold setup, with the screen cover on the left, the case in the middle, and a help/info page on the right.

This is the only one of the five cases I bought that isn’t transparent or translucent; it’s a gray color—lighter than it appears in the above photo—that plays nicely off the black of the phone. There’s a small dark band near the camera cutout that lines up with one of the antenna bands on the phone, but there aren’t similar bands at the other antenna locations, so I’m not sure if this bit is functional or decorative.

The case is semi-flexible and feels pleasant in hand—it’s lightly textured, so it’s not slippery at all, despite it looking quite slick at first glance. Like the Luvvitt case, this one also goes on and comes off easily, though not quite as much so as the Luvvitt. The plastic is firmer than that of the Luvvitt, and it also features air pockets in the corners, though they’re smaller and entirely within the case’s outline.

The only real downside to me is that it’s a solid color, completely hiding the back of the iPhone…and on an 8 Plus, that’s a lot of solid gray to look at.

Spigen Ultra Hybrid [$14]

The case is called a hybrid because it’s a mix of two materials—firm clear plastic on the back, and a softer, thicker plastic wrapping the sides. There are four color schemes available; mine is black sides/clear back. (Fans of rose gold will probably like the Rose Crystal version.) Out of the box, there’s anti-scratch film on both the inside and outside of the clear plastic piece; after peeling this off (which was tougher than I expected it to be), remember to clean the inside with a cleaning cloth, lest you trap some easily-visible fingerprints inside your case.

The edges are thick, and there are “feet” at each corner to help keep the camera clear…

Of the three full-coverage cases, this one was the hardest to put on and take off—not overly hard, just definitely tougher than the other two. However, as it’s bulkier than the other two, it might offer the best protection in a drop—Spigen claims it was drop tested from four feet 26 times, though they don’t provide any pictures or results of their tests.

Full coverage cases wrap-up

I found all three of these cases very good on first use. The Luvvitt offers the best grip and seemingly solid drop protection and is the least-bulky and lightest of the three. The Silk includes a screen protector and a nicely textured grippable plastic. The Spigen is the bulkiest, but offers the only stated drop testing of the three.

So which one do I like the most? As of now, after only a few days’ usage, it’s the Luvvitt. The soft plastic feels nice in the hand, the textured sides make it really easy to hold, and it adds the least size and weight of the three full-coverage cases.

Minimalist cases

The last two cases I bought offer little to no protection from a drop; their job is to improve grip and offer scratch protection when you set your phone down on something, or leave it in a purse or pocket with other stuff. They’re so thin that they don’t even cover the iPhone’s camera bump, so both have slight bumps of their own to protect the camera.

These are also the only two cases where the iPhone 8’s added thickness comes into play: Neither one quite reached all the way to the screen of the iPhone, and the ports on the bottom of the phone were slightly out of alignment, though still usable. For example, here’s the bottom of the Humixx case…

You can see how the Lightning port isn’t centered in its opening, and how the case doesn’t reach the edge of the screen. Both of these problems would be fixed if either company released a true iPhone 8 version of their cases, but I don’t know if that’ll happen.

Humixx Clear Case [$10]

The Humixx case is a very thin piece of clear mostly-rigid plastic (it’s also available in a pleasing blue or rose gold). Thanks to two slits at the bottom corners of the case, it goes on relatively easily, as the slits let the case flex around the corners of the phone. It’s still nowhere near as easy a fit as the full coverage cases, but it is much easier than the Totallee (the other minimalist case). Removing the case is a bit more work, but it does come off without my feeling like I may break it in the process.

As noted, the case doesn’t extend beyond (or even up to) the front glass, so there’s no protection at all, even from setting your phone face-down on a surface. The sides and back are well protected from accidental scrapes, however. I imagine that dropping the phone in this case—or the Totallee—would result in a broken case and possibly a damaged phone. But if you buy one of these cases expecting drop protection, you’re shopping wrong.

The plastic isn’t as grippy as any of the full-coverage cases, but it’s definitely less slick than the bare iPhone.

Totallee The Scarf [$17]

This case seems, remarkably, even thinner than the Humixx case, and it’s lighter by a tenth of an ounce. It’s available in eight different translucent shades; mine is smoke gray. Of all five cases I tested, this one was—by far—the hardest to put on…and that much harder to take off. Unlike the Humixx, there aren’t any slits in the bottom corners, so it’s an exercise in fingernails and careful bending to remove the case. I’m not afraid of damaging the phone, but the case is so thin and light that it feels like it’ll rip through at one of the port cutouts if it flexes too much.

Once on, though…the case basically disappears. Here’s how it looks on my phone…

The case itself does offer a two year warranty, so if it were to break when I tried to remove it, I assume I could get another. In a nice touch, there’s a hand-signed “Thank You!” card stuck to the back inside of the box. This case is quite grippable, and feels nice in my hand. As you can imagine, with something this thin, expecting any protection from a drop is probably wishful thinking. It is most definitely a case only for scratch protection on the sides and back of your phone.

Lightweight cases wrap-up

Both of these thin cases would do a fine job against scratches, but not much else. There’s likely no protection from a drop, and because neither case reaches above the screen, there’s not even scratch protection if you set your phone down face-first. But they are thin and incredibly light; less than half the weight of the others. I’d probably wait to see if an iPhone 8 specific version is released (either by these companies or by someone else), so that the case fits a bit more fully than either of these do.

Of the two, I prefer Totallee’s The Scarf, even though it’s toughest to get on and off. It’s the lightest of all five cases, it’s grippy enough, it’s so thin it looks like part of the iPhone, and it’s got a two-year warranty if anything goes wrong. But I wouldn’t recommend either of these cases—or any case in this category—unless they were specifically updated for the iPhone 8. The added depth will help the case fit slightly better, and protect more of the side of the phone, specifically the screen edges.

For now, the Luvvitt is my case of choice, though I’ll be testing the others over the next week or two to see how they hold up to my initial impressions.

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