There are instantly recognizable signs that a smartphone-related tragedy has occurred. A big, ugly chunk gouged out from a plastic back; a shattered, crumbling, multi-colored LED screen; a water-logged phone holding on for dear life in a bowl of dry rice. Maybe you’ve experienced them yourself. These are things no one wants to deal with, and that’s why a good case is so important — especially when you’re trekking through trails, camping in the woods, diving deep in the ocean or recording footage of high-octane sports. If you’re on an adventure, you’ll need a case that can withstand the abuse. Here are the best cases to take with you.
Best All-Purpose Case for iPhone: As of now, Catalyst’s smartphone cases serve the iPhone market and the iPhone market alone. These cases are laudably slim given their ability to resist water intrusion (even in pools and oceans), and they’re decidedly un-ugly — an unusual trait in the world of rugged cases. Best of all, the cases keep things sealed up while still providing access to switches, buttons, and the entire screen, so you won’t have to pop your phone in and out to use it away from water.
Best Waterproof Case for Galaxy Devices: Lifeproof makes cases for a multitude of products, but most importantly, it looks after those who have snapped up one of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. Cases are available for the S5, S6 and S7. They’re a bit bulky and spartan, but they do what they claim to: protect your phone from drops, spills, dust and things you’ve yet to imagine.
Best Sports Case for iPhone: Think of the Hitcase Pro as a shock-resistant, fully waterproof suit of tank skin armed with the technical finesse of an action camera. You probably won’t achieve the video quality of a GoPro, but with the built-in rail mount, camera accessories and lens attachments, you can come pretty close.
Watershot Pro Housing Kit
Best Waterproof Case for iPhone: This is not a “case,” according to Watershot — it’s a scuba-ready housing kit, built to dive deep (up to 195 feet), complete with ergonomic handgrip, interchangeable lens, compatibility with all GoPro mounts and quick access to all of the buttons on your iPhone.
Mophie Juice Pack H2PRO
Best Battery-Infused Rugged Case for iPhone: When it comes to our precious smartphones, the only thing scarier than a dead battery is a cracked screen or a thorough water-logging. Mophie’s juice pack is the three-in-one answer to all those threats: shock resistant and fully waterproof, while more than doubling the battery life.
Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro
Best Case for Nexus: The Unicorn Beetle Pro doesn’t try to impress anyone; it’s utilitarian to the core. Its polycarbonate shell protects against drops, and its built-in screen protector prevents scratches. It’s not waterproof, though, so if you’re expecting to get wet, you’ll probably want to take extra precautions. For the lighter stuff, like drops, dirt and dust, it should hold up fine.