I've always been a very practical person. When given the choice of form or function I'll almost always choose function. But what if you didn't have to choose? Sometimes a product comes along that figures out how to give you the best of both worlds. This is the Urban Armor Gear case for iPhone 6. UAG was kind enough to send me this case for review, and in the two weeks that I've used it I've been very impressed.
UAG names all of their cases based on the color and this blue case is known as Aero. They offer it in five colors, but the edge is always black. I do think that a white edge would look better on the white iPhone but I understand that the corners and edges are designed to absorb all the impact and would definitely show scratches and dirt. The black iPhone looks very sleek in these cases though. The case is a one piece design made from a hard polycarbonate outside and a soft TPU inside. The inside also features a honeycomb design to provide extra shock absorption and keep the case very lightweight.
To install the phone you start with the volume button side first and then firmly press each corner in place. It fits very tight and the case doesn't feel stretchy at all. I've pulled on the most flexible piece by the mute switch daily for a week now and it's still kept it shape. I find the easiest way to remove the case is by starting with the more flexible corner by the mute switch. Then slide down to the bottom left corner and the phone easily pops out.
Generally with a rugged case you either talk about how stiff the buttons are or say they're bearable and work ok. That's not the case here. UAG has included slits beside all of their buttons and it makes them work amazingly well. It feels just like you're pushing the actual buttons. I've never used a case that does this so well. The volume buttons protrude from the case ever so slightly which makes them easy to quickly locate and press. The power button however is almost completely flush and although it's still just as easy to press, it can be difficult to locate in the dark or when not looking at your case.
There are generous cutouts for the headphone jack and lightning connector. Instead of leaving big gaps around these cutouts they've filled the space by bringing the material flush to the phone. This keeps dust and debri out and looks great. I appreciate this kind of attention to detail.
A screen protector is included with a cutout around the home button and around the earpiece and camera. Although I generally don't like screen protectors this one is really good. It is the exact width of your screen so be careful installing it because there's no margin for error. It's very smooth to the touch and handles glare just like an iPhone with no screen protector. It handles finger prints and smudging well and any smudges it does pick up aren't really visible when the screen is on.
The real beauty of this case is how thin it is. It measures in at just over 10mm which means it's only adding roughly 3mm to your iPhone. You'd be hard pressed to find a case this thin that provides this much protection.
The protection mainly comes from these skid pads on the corners. There's a good chance that if you drop your phone a corner is going to hit first. There's plenty of padding on the corners and a raised edge that keeps your phone off the table when on its back. These skid pads will take all the bumps and bruises for your phone and keep the rest of the case looking great. This means that your phone will lie flat on a table whether on the back or front. It also means that your phone won't slid around easily when you lay it down on a smooth surface despite having a fairly smooth back.
UAG cases meet Mil-spec standards for drops. This means they can withstand repeated drops from four feet to the face, back, and corners. I dropped my phone over a half a dozen times from pocket height and texting height with no noticeable damage to the case or phone. Although the case is very thin I have no problems dropping my phone in this case.
The most controversial thing about this case is the cutouts on the back. The UAG representative that sent me this case said the bottom cutout was to see the color of the phone and the top cutout was to allow the Apple logo to act as a mirror. It certainly is reflective but you're not going to see much more than your eye in such a tiny mirror. However since they don't put these cutouts on any of their other cases I have to assume she's right. A number of people have reported using them as grip points when holding the phone. In portrait mode your index finger naturally falls in the top cutout and when in landscape mode both middle fingers easily rest in the cutouts. I did find myself naturally placing my index finger in the top cutout when talking on the phone, though it does feel more comfortable to place your finger just slightly above the cutout.
The UAG logo on the back has a nice metallic finish but because of the font choice it also spells gen if turned upside down. I had a couple of people ask me what gen means when they first saw the case.
I had previously said that it'd be hard to find a case that protects as well as the Otterbox Symmetry without adding much bulk in the same price point. Boy was I wrong. This case is definitely my new go to case for an iPhone 6 recommendation. The only downside would be the industrial look if you don't like that sort of thing. It protects the phone very well, is surprisingly thin, and the included screen protector is really good. They sell for around $30 on Amazon or $35 on UAG's site with free shipping.