Apple’s brand-new iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max handsets are beautiful – both to the eyes and to the touch – but all it takes is one good drop to put an end to that seemingly short-lived appreciation. That’s why I always use a case.
Given just how many case options there are on the market today, both from no name manufacturers and from well recognized brands, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to go over some of my favorite cases that I’ve enjoyed using since splurging on the smaller iPhone 11 Pro this Fall.
I like to keep half of a dozen cases or so on hand at any point in time because different cases have varying features that make certain ones more ideal for what I’m doing any particular day. If I know I’m going to be somewhere rough or rugged, then I’ll use a thicker case; otherwise, I levitate toward something thinner. Some of my cases include added utility that I’ll go over in this piece.
My favorite iPhone 11 Pro cases
After taking a moment to think about the cases I use the most and why, these were my obvious choices:
1. Speck Presidio Grip
Topping today’s list is the Speck Presidio Grip, a highly versatile case that meets slenderness somewhere in the middle with military grade drop protection of up to 13 feet and a pocket-friendly 1.2cm at its thickest point when installed.
Speck’s Presidio series cases come equipped with a proprietary rubberized bumper technology that they call Impactium, and I have yet to experience a drop where it hasn’t helped my iPhone land safely. I’d even go as far as to call this my daily driver given just how often I use it.
My favorite feature of the Presidio Grip case is what’s in the name – the grip. So many cases on the market are either too slippery or catch too much of my pocket when I pull my iPhone out. The Grip’s hard plastic rear shell combined with the subtle rubber rubbing is the perfect compromise, and it feels great in my hand.
- Grippy sides and rear
- Great drop protection
- Excellent screen and camera bezel for lay-on-table protection
- Good port access
- Buttons feel slightly squishy
You can pick up a Speck Presidio Grip case for your iPhone 11 Pro for anywhere from $22-40 on Amazon, depending on the colorway.
2. Nomad Active Rugged Case
The second runner-up to my favorite case above is the Nomad Active Rugged Case, a sporty option that combines the luxury of leather with the performance of 6-foot drop protection while maintaining a pocketable 1.2cm at its thickest point when installed.
Nomad is known for their use of Horween leather in many of their cases, but this is the first time they’ve deviated to something new. The Nomad Active Rugged Case takes advantage of German Heinen leather, and unlike Horween leather, Nomad’s Heinen-wrapped case sports hydrophobic qualities that make it uncompromisingly luxurious in damp environments.
Albeit not the most protective case on this list, Nomad’s Active Rugged Case brings decent drop protection with a slim form factor and premium materials. It’s great for the office life, but it can be used confidently on outdoor excursions. Nomad even includes a lanyard loop near the iPhone’s speakers to prevent drops entirely.
- Uncompromising materials with hydrophobic qualities
- Fair drop protection
- Good screen and camera bezel for lay-on-table protection
- Integrated lanyard loop
- Leather scratches easily
- Lanyard not included
- Not as grippy as I’d like
3. Mophie Juice Pack Access
Another case I like to keep in my arsenal is the Mophie Juice Pack Access, a case that couples an integrated Qi-enabled battery pack with high-tech USB-C-based pass-through charging. Measuring about 1.8cm at its thickest point when installed, this pocketable case is on the beefier side of things, but for all the right reasons.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’d trust this case in a dropping contest, but it definitely has some rigidity to it that would make me confident in protecting against small drops – perhaps from my waist when exiting my car. But clearly, drop protection isn’t this case’s takeaway feature.
As an avid Pokémon GO player, my iPhone’s battery almost always seems to need more juice after just a few hours, and this case extends my handset’s battery life more than two-fold. Best of all, it charges either with a wireless Qi-enabled charger or with a USB-C cable, and the latter is particularly tempting given just how much I wish the iPhone would ditch Lightning in place of USB-C.
- Nearly double the iPhone’s standard battery life
- Fully Qi-compatible (both for charging the case and the iPhone)
- Integrated USB-C port
- Leaves the entire bottom of your iPhone exposed
- Somewhat chunky
- Not as grippy as I’d like
The Mophie Juice Pack Access is available for $80 on Amazon with Prime shipping.
4. OtterBox Defender Pro
By far the chunkiest case on this list is the OtterBox Defender Pro, a case that shares its roots with the iconic OtterBox Defender but stands apart with its integration of an anti-microbial coating that resists germs and stains better than the former. Holster included, this case measures almost 3.5cm thick at its thickest point when installed, or just 1.5cm without the holster.
The OtterBox Defender Pro is far from my daily driver, but I trust its beefiness when carrying out tasks that would otherwise be dangerous for my iPhone, such as working on my car, hiking, or zip-lining. What’s more is the port protectors keep water and dust out of the Lightning port and ringer/silent switch. In most high-risk situations, I’d trust this case over most others.
As an added bonus, the holster’s clip doubles as a kickstand, enabling effortless Netflix binge-watching when you get home to unwind. What’s more is these cases don’t integrate a chintzy screen protector anymore, so you’re free to use your favorite tempered glass option instead.
- Dependable drop protection time and time again
- Optional holster doubles as a kickstand
- Anti-microbial finish
- Integrated port covers
- Protective bezels for the screen and camera
- Time-consuming to install and uninstall
If you’re serious about protecting your pricey investment, then you can buy an OtterBox Defender Pro case from the manufacturer’s website for $71. The case comes in a variety of colors to match any taste.
5. Pitaka Air Case
Whenever I’m in an environment relaxed enough not to necessitate any form of drop protection, but still want some form of scratch protection from being set on a tabletop or otherwise, I turn to my Pitaka Air Case, a premium minimalist case made of 600D aramid fiber that adds just 0.06cm of thickness to a naked iPhone 11 Pro.
It’s rare that I’m daring enough to go this minimalistic with my $1,000 iPhone, but if I do, I do it with Pitaka’s Air Case. It’s so thin that the iPhone quite literally feels naked in my hand, apart from the fabulous silky feel that the case seems to emanate in one’s hand, which offers a satisfying grip.
The one thing I disliked about this case was the plastic camera bezel that made my iPhone ‘floppy’ on a flat surface, so I pulled it off the case. The manufacturer probably wouldn’t recommend doing this since the lenses protrude from this impossibly thin case without the bezel, but I think it makes the user experience a whole lot nicer, especially if I’m in an environment where I don’t really have to worry about damage.
- Impossibly thin design is perfect for minimalists
- Made from genuine 600D aramid fibers that resist wear and tear
- Good grip in the hand
- No drop protection
- Annoying camera bezel (can be removed)
- No screen bezel
Fellow minimalists can pick up a Pitaka Air Case for $60 from Amazon with Prime shipping.
When it comes to smartphone cases, some people prefer minimalism over protection, and others are just the opposite. I’m somewhat moderate on the matter, and that’s why I like to have such a strong variety for different occasions.
While these are certainly my favorite cases to use, I’m curious to know what my readers’ favorite iPhone cases might be. Please feel free to comment about yours below.