Back in April, Google announced it was launching official Live cases for its Nexus 6, 6P and 5X smartphones. Live cases are personalized smartphone cases where you can put just about any image onto a blank slate for a personal touch to add to your smartphone.

There are two types to choose from, the Photos Live Case, and the Places Live Case.

google live cases

I decided to pick up two live cases for my Nexus 6P to test them out.

Designing your own live cases

The process of designing a Live case is simple. All you have to do is go to the Google Store, select Live Cases, pick from Places or Photos and follow the four step process.

For exact instructions, you can follow my tutorial here.

I chose to do one of each – one of my dog Taro when she was a puppy, and one from Places where I spend most of my time.

live case photos
Taro on the Google Photos Live Case.


Custom Google Places Live Case for the Nexus 6P.
Custom Google Places Live Case for the Nexus 6P.

Setting up a custom case design is very simple. Google will even warn you if your image is blurry and will result in a blurry print. In both of my cases though, I had no issues with resolution.

You’re free to choose from stock images, or you can place pre selected designs Google has laid out for you, from different colors schemes to different shapes and patterns. In the Live Case I made, I selected a two tone fading color scheme of blue and purple. My Places Case though remained stock from Google Maps.

Cases come with a live wallpaper and NFC chip

What’s an especially cool feature built into both live cases, is an NFC chip that serves as a button to bring in your image from your creation to create a live wallpaper. Once you download the official Live Case app from the Google Play Store, all you have to do touch the case to your phone to activate it.


Your live wallpaper will be the image of your Place or Live photo, so with my Live Case of Taro, my wallpaper became an image of her as well.

The shortcut button on the back can give you one-touch access to places of interest around you, or you can customize the button to open your camera or your favorite app.


Fit and Feel

The fit of the official Google Live cases is perfect. At the time I placed my orders back in April, the Matte option was available, but Glossy was not. Matte provides a smooth finish that doesn’t attract fingerprints and is nice to hold.


As you can see in the images, the cases fit about as perfect as one can ask for.


There’s also a lip that protrudes just above the display to offer drop protection for your screen.



At $35 per case, with shipping included, the price for a custom and well-built case is a great price. It fits perfectly, offers excellent protection for your Nexus smartphones, and looks pretty darned cool. It’s a nice change from the black and clear cases we normally purchase. The only downside to ordering a custom case is the long wait time of 4-5 weeks, but that may be shorter now that it has been available to purchase for a couple of months now.

Get your own custom Live Case from the Google Play Store for $35.

The Nexus 6P is also on sale at Amazon and Newegg for a limited time.


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  1. If you value looks over protection this case is for you. It looks great.
    Having had a live case for a month now I have found that the nfc button sometimes works mostly not. While I do like the look of the case and especially how unlikely you are to accidentally press volume or power button handling or picking up the case it offers little in the way of protection to the keys from dirt or whatever you get on your hands, getting into the button crevices. There is some protection from dropping but the case is too thin and close fitting to offer real protection if dropped hard. The case is also cut away on the top and bottom of the phone so for those of us who want to keep our phones in mint condition, these cut always will allow scratches on the beautiful metal edges no matter how careful you are with your phone.

  2. I’ve dropped my N6P with my live case on it a handful of times. We have concrete floors in our house and neither the case nor the phone have signs of damage. Now the best bent metal near the volume rocker switches, that Google fails to acknowledge as a defect, is a different issue.

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