Google Pixel 3 XL Case roundup

Another flagship in for review - this time it's the bigger, notched Pixel. And it means more cases to try out and score!

I've taken a likely cross-section of Pixel 3 XL cases, thanks to the folks at MobileFun, kind people that they are, and also to the folks at Totallee.

See Mobile Fun's complete range of Pixel 3 XL cases and covers here.

In no particular order(!):

Ringke Fusion, £13

This has been one of my favourite cases for the last few years, on several phones. It's crystal clear (it comes with protective layers that need stripping off), ruggedly made, and has moulded bracings in the corners, to protect the phone from corner drops.



Being clear has the huge advantage in 2018, with phones now coming in premium finishes, usually glass, that you actually get to see the expensive smartphone you just bought.

The corner bracings double as feet when the phone's laid down on its back, plus there's a lanyard hole, should you be into hanging this from a wrist or your neck.



In short, a perfect compromise between protection and style.

9/10

Olixar ExoShield, £10

Transparent-backed, but this time with a jet black rim, this looks handsome and is reasonably protective.



The design's sound in principle, but rather let down by cheap button push-outs and a glossy finish on the black portions (matt looks less tacky, I think).


Still, for £10 you can't argue the value for money - and it'll definitely do the job.

7/10

Ghostek Exec2, £20

Ghostek gets full marks for trying, it really does. The idea of a super-rugged case which can also be your wallet thanks to an elasticated slot for 'up to 5' cards. And the implementation is first class... spoiled only by the impracticality in daily life, as I shall explain...



As a case, this is really tough, with two layer construction, rubberised rim and cloth-covered back, all very premium. The button push-outs are superb too, the Pixel 3 XL feels great to use.


Alas, the core USP hasn't really been thought through. The leather pouch is well made, with metal liner and elasticated sides, but... in practice the concept is flawed. 

Put one card in and it just falls out again. Put two cards in and they're snug but very hard to get out again in a hurry. Put three or more cards in and you start to need a vice-like grip to ever extract them. Plus you also lose the Qi charging facility of the Pixel 3 XL because of the extra depth added to the case.


So close, but no cigar. Sorry, Ghostek.

5/10

Olixar NovaShield, £13

Another transparent backed bumper design, but this time with black mouldings that are partly protective and partly cosmetic.



The good news is that the finish here is matt and definitely premium, with large button push-outs that feel classy. 

There's no real heavy duty protection here, but you're covered from all sides against small drops, at least, while the phone looks a million dollars.



8/10

Olixar Leather Style Wallet Stand, £10

Cheap and cheerful, we're talking faux leather, of course, though it's nicely grippy and has the usual folding 'stand' functionality, plus the obligatory card slots (hence 'wallet'). The phone casing itself is patently cheap, but it does the job.



The card slots work well enough in that it's easy to remove one card from each, though the material is flimsy and I don't think it would last more than a few months without some kind of tear. Still, at this low price, I guess you just buy a new case?

The catch is magnetic and top notch, though you do have to content with the other bug bear of this type of design - a dramatic increase in overall cased thickness. The fingerprint scanner is just accessible, but not trivial to reach for all finger sizes.



The back fold design is well known by now and works well, with the screen naturally propped up at about 45 degrees. The front flap threatens to get in the way but doesn't in practice.

7/10

Totallee Ultra Thin (Clear), $29

Totallee specialise in minimalist cases, adding as little thickness and depth as possible. Here's the first of two designs - this one's more traditional, being form fitting TPU that's tough and yet pretty thin. And beautifully fitting, as you'd expect at the somewhat inflated price.



Effectively you're paying for the knowhow to get a case to be this thin and yet so tightly fitting. 

The flip side of thinness is, of course, that there's very little drop protection - this case is all about protection from dirt and scratches.

8/10

Totallee Ultra Thin (Black Matt), $29

The more innovative of the two cases is even thinner, adding less than 1mm to the Pixel 3 XL on all sides - just staggeringly thin. The net result is that you can use the phone in its protected state but it still feels the same size as the naked device.



I'm really not sure of the exact material used, other than it being a matt-finished and durable plastic. The fit is again perfect.

Of course, in this case, being black, you don't get to see the phone you paid so much money for.  But I still have no complaints.


Very nice. this doesn't quite make top marks because of the lack of any realistic drop protection. But it's still stunning and - maybe - worth the purchase price!

8/10

Spigen Liquid Crystal, £9

Ah yes, Spigen is a favourite of mine, but with good reason. Given the mission here to protect the 3 Xl as much as possible while not getting in the way of use or of appreciating the device's design and colours, the Liquid Crystal was the one to get in.


Spigen's plastic is just sooo clear, so grippy, so premium. It's hard to describe, but it's... solid without actually being solid, especially around the cutouts for camera and fingerprint sensor. Just beautifully made.


One of my favourite things to do with quality clear cases is appreciate the light refracting qualities when using the phone at night. So turn on the 'LED torch' feature in Android and the whole case outline lights up - pretty cool, eh?


The super-protective qualities are partly down to the 'Air cushion' tech used in all four corners - literally a TPU-encased bubble of air and the idea is that, in the event of an initial corner impact (by far the most likely, if you think about it), the air will compress before any force gets transmitted through to the phone:


A terrific case, my joint favourite in this round-up. The only flaw I could find in this design is that it's so close-fitting that visible artefacts appear under the plastic as it bonds with the metal underneath.

9/10

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