The best of the best? Case Roundup for the Galaxy Note 9 take two...

Covered in my initial Note 9 case roundup last Autumn were:

Spigen Rugged Armor, £18

Olixar Premium with tempered glass, £25

Samsung LED View Cover Case, £55

Olixar MeshTex, £10

UAG Plyo, £30

Noreve Leather Cover, 70 Euros

(See the links - or the headings below - for the original product pages!)

As usual for my case roundups, I'll cover a variety of styles, with all samples supplied by
MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of Galaxy Note 9 cases and covers.

Note (puns intended throughout!) that I'm going to refer to the phone as the 'Note 9', as do MobileFun. Samsung's stylistic 'Note9' just won't catch on - it looks awful!

Ringke Fusion, £5

On offer at a knock down price as I write this, the Fusion design, here in clear but very tough plastic, is fabulously protective. In fact, it's ironic that the case itself arrives with protective covers of its own, to make sure that the clear almost mirror finish stays scratch free until its in your hands.

The rip-off covers are something of a pain to peel, I had to resort to a razor blade to get started - but it's a one-time hassle.

There's no arguing once it's in place. The Fusion fits perfectly, is very grippy, offers reinforced corners and raised ends, along with some protection for the Note 9's curved sides too.

This is my case of choice as I leave this round up (part 2), so look no further if you want something ridiculously high quality and ridiculously cheap. (Obviously, I can't control if the offer goes away, so be quick!)

Score: 10/10

Ringke Air, £5

Also super cheap yet very high quality is Ringke's take on the traditional clear TPU design. Nothing fancy, no special features, but it IS made of tougher material than your average high street case and the fit is perfect, as you'd expect from Ringke.

The case ends are raised slightly to help protect against face impacts, but there's limited protection for the Note 9 curved screen sides, as you'd expect.

Overall though, the 'Air' adds minimal extra bulk and yet offers some protection against daily activities, if not really hard drops.

I particularly liked the gentle ramp up to the fingerprint sensor, making it super easy to find.

A cracking buy, if not currently at the value level of the Fusion case above.

Score: 9/10

PDair Leather Pouch with belt clip, £25

Now this is interesting, as I've sworn by PDair belt cases for the last decade. My use case is somewhat belt and braces, mind you, since once you remove the phone from the case then it's unprotected again. So I typically use a phone in a slimline TPU-style case (e.g. the Fusion or Air ones above), but keep the cased whole in a PDair holster on the belt. Now, the extra thickness of the TPU case means that you need to plan ahead and experiment - I'm currently using a PDair pouch from (I think) the old Google Nexus 6, which was huge for its day. In any case, it fits well with the Fusion-cased Note 9.

The core USP of this design, other than being a belt case, often considered unfashionable (though I don't care!), is that the strong metal spring clip is very slimline and makes sure that the phone 'doesn't stick out' from the hip. It's also very well made - in a decade of using PDair pouches, I've only ever had one wear out (the elasticated sides started to go).

However, here we're talking of casing a naked Note 9, so I'm going to presume a use case for the phone that doesn't involve huge risk. So use around the home or office mainly, with carpeted floors.

With that proviso in place, the Note 9 and case fit perfectly:

The stitching and materials are absolutely top notch, as you'd expect from the price, which isn't bargain basement.

So it all comes down to how you want to carry and use your Note 9. I'm sooo tempted to go down this route, but I'd worry when out and about taking photos, for example. So, on reflection, I'm going to stick to the hybrid approach mentioned above...

But that shouldn't take away from the design and quality here.

Score: 9/10

Case Me Leather-style 3-in-1 Wallet Case, £13

And now we come to something very unusual indeed. You've heard of wallet cases, usually with a handful of card slots, you've heard of full on wallet hybrids, with billfold space too, but this is a dedicated case for the Note 9 that has no less than 11 card slots, two of which are transparent, a couple of sections for bills/notes, a zipped compartment for coins, plus a detachable Note 9 mount and case-let. All for £13, which is - frankly - amazing, since the faux leather feels utterly premium and the case is beautifully made.

The 3-in-1 even comes in a case of its own. This review is going to get very 'meta' indeed!

I don't think there's any intention by the designers to have you use the case for the case' in daily life, though the eyelet at the top seems to hint at a 'showerproof' camping use, but it's a nice touch when you first receive the item. Getting the case out isn't trivial, getting it back in is harder, so let's leave the outer case off to one side(!)

Opening up the 3-in-1 shows the main opening fold, with five card slots and an in-situ receptacle for the Note 9. All quite standard so far, if a little 'plush'!

However, the phone receptacle is a case in its own right and is held in place by magnets - a little tug and it comes free:

Here the Note 9 is in place and held snugly, plus I've also attached the provided but optional lanyard. This sub-case isn't in the same league as the Spigen and Ringke offerings, but it's eminently good enough for the part time use here. After all, you'll use the phone in the folio system half the time, at least, then you'll detach the sub-case for media watching, camera work, and so on.

The plush faux leather and look and feel are kept for the sub-case and everything - again - just feels super premium, utterly belying the price tag.

You'll be wondering about the '3-in-1' bit though - there's a whole extra flap off to the left, press-studded into place, with six more slots and the two bill/note sections:

Your jaw will drop when you discover all this, and with good reason. The idea here is that you never again need to carry both wallet and phone - this is the one accessory that does both jobs.

You'll have guessed at the only downside by now, of course - we're talking of over an inch of thickness in your pocket, which allied to the Note 9's large dimensions, means that this needs a large pocket - think cargo 'pants' or (better) a jacket pocket. Or even just a place in your man bag or ruck sack?

As with the PDair case above, I seriously thought about this for my personal Note 9, but just can't see this fitting my wardrobe and daily habits. But - again - this absolutely doesn't take away from the stunning value for money and design here. If you think you can fit this into your clothing and lifestyle then look no further - it's by far the best 'all in one' I've reviewed.

PS. The magnetic fixing for the sub-case does mean that in principle the CaseMe folks are making this design for other large smartphones and just needing to change the sub-case each time. This probably helps them to keep the price down.

Score: 9/10


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