Urban Armor Gear (UAG) makes some of our favorite cases. They don’t come cheap, but the notion of “You get what you pay for” totally applies here. So what makes them so special? Well, they strike such a good balance between durability and slimness. And do so with unique style.
For Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 series, UAG offers four variants of its classic, composite design. We had our pick of two, and we went with the toned-down Plyo case for the Galaxy S9 and the more traditional Plasma case for the larger S9+. Let’s check ’em out.
We’ve looked at UAG’s classic composite cases in the past, and the feel here is very familiar. Namely, the time-honored topographic stiffener design, hexagonal texturing, and faux screws continue to be carried over. The newest tweaks you’ll find are on the details around the perimeter, and the vibrant color additions.
We weren’t sure about this seemingly bright Cobalt blue color based on the product page. Our worries were calmed when we got it. The blue is actually deep and lush in person. It pairs fantastically with the Midnight Black Galaxy S9+, since the case has black accents throughout.
Speaking of which, the matte plastic you’ll find around the frame of the case is of a thick, rubbery quality – very durable stuff. It also contrasts nicely with the glossy body. Just like we said in the beginning, this case has equal amounts of looks and protection (rated with the military MIL-STD-810G impact standard).
That said, we imagine that not everyone will fancy the industrial facade. All of UAG’s cases follow this design language. The Plyo series is the only one that makes a departure (toning things down), which is why we’ve chosen to look at it too.
For being so rugged, we’re surprised at how slim the Plasma case is. It has bulk in just the right places, such as beefed up corners, suitably raised front lips to protect the phone’s display, and the ribbed sides to enhance grip. The cutouts for the phone perfectly align. We especially appreciate that the openings for the bottom port are enlarged to make sure the case doesn’t get in the way with usual phone operation.
We must say that although the case provides ample protection, UAG doesn’t opt to cover up the curved design of the Galaxy S9 – the sides slope down to follow the form of the phone and let the eye-catching curved display to show. Case makers always struggle with Samsung’s non-conventional design. The downside here is that, at the
right wrong angle, the glass can be impacted here.
We’ve always loved the way UAG does the physical button overlay. They have the perfect thickness and tactile feel. The power button (and now also the Bixby button) have a very identifiable ridged texture, while the volume rocker is thicker on its ends. A pleasure as ever to use.
In a nutshell, the newer Plyo case is provides the same protection as the Plasma but in a more traditional form. UAG simplifies the back panel, removing all the texture of the composite case. This makes the Plyo look like the common transparent cases you find out there.
We initially thought this was a lite version of UAG’s signature case, but in-hand, it feels just as tough. UAG manages to maintain the stiff and sturdy quality (and military durability rating) despite the slimmer package. The design also retains the thicker frame (and corners), raised lip protection on the front, ribbed sides, and the same meaty buttons as on the Plasma. Though, the case has a tighter fit than most of its type, something to consider if you’ll be taking it on and off.
Being UAG, there is a distinctive flare in the design, though subtle. At a close look, you’ll catch that the back panel has a trapezoidal slope (with creases connecting all four corners). It looks nice to us and a great way to address the otherwise standard look to the case.
In our opinion, the only thing not to like about UAG’s cases is the price. It’s not exorbitant, but it’s hard to overlook the whole selection of cases on Amazon that cost much less. You can somewhat justify it by the excellent protection that UAG supplies (which it does without turning your phone into a brick), but there are still less expensive options that can too. We’ll say, if you love UAG’s design and plan to have your phone for the long run, then it’s worth it.