Case roundup for the Apple iPhone 12 / 12 Pro

As usual for my case roundups, I'll cover a variety of styles, with most (though not all) samples supplied by MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of iPhone 12 / 12 Pro cases and covers. Note that this year the vanilla iPhone and smaller Pro model are identical in size and form, which makes things easier for everyone!

But on with the individual cases, each link goes to the relevant product page, of course.

Of note is that Apple introduced 'MagSafe' magnets to this year's iPhones, with the result that official Apple cases also have circular MagSafe features - and the prices have gone up again, with the Apple cases now being £49 (in the UK). Almost fifty quid for a case! 

Far better to pay a quarter (or less) the price and get a simpler affair from a third party. OK, you won't get a 'cool' MagSafe animation when you put the case on - but Qi charging still works through all of these designs, it turns out you really don't need magnets after all if you're happy centring the phone on a Qi pad yourself.

tech21 evoslim, £25

Yes, yes, all lowercase. It's a little bit strange, but then I'm not 'artistic', so maybe I'm the odd one out here!

For £25, i.e. on the pricey side, I'd expect a) premium materials, b) premium fit, and c) premium protection. And... the 'evoslim' ticks all the boxes. In fact, it ticks one more, in that the material is claimed to be antimicrobial, something which I can't actually err.... test for!

The (in this case) matt black TPU is very high quality and firm where it needs to be, the matt finish is grippy and I positively loved the fit and feel in the hand - no flappy sides or being afraid that the case will fall off. It fits the iPhone 12/12 Pro like a glove.

True, you don't get to show off the Apple logo on your phone, but hey, there's a clear version too, in that case.

Rather amusingly, the marketing material for this says 'the easy-to-press buttons add another fun level of interaction'. While, this is over the top, the button covers are very precisely made, easy to find, and again the feel is terrific, as if pressing the phone's buttons directly.

Something else I always look for is face drop protection and it's here, though very subtle. Look closely at the top and bottom of the case and you can see a slight raising of the edge profile (by about 1mm), again in sturdy TPU, so that if the iPhone 12 is dropped face down by accident, the case will take all the impact and not the display glass. 

The only possible negative, as you can imagine, is the price. I appreciate that this is an aspirational case brand, but even so, £25 is a little on the high side. Or maybe the 'antimicrobial' aspect is important to you in these Covid-19 times, in which case keeping you safe is a no-brainer!

Score: 9/10

Olixar Ultra-thin Clear, £7

Necessarily squarer-sided than usual because of the phone's design, this Olixar classic is as good as always in terms of value for money and adding grip. There's basic protection but I wouldn't put too much trust in it for a drop since the corners aren't reinforced and there's very little raised edge to shelter the display. 

Still, it's simple and cheap - it doesn't look that good on the Product RED phone here, mind you, since the colour bleeds through the sides in unconvincing fashion - the case looks like an afterthought - which it was, in fairness. This would look a lot better on a more neutral coloured iPhone 12/12 Pro.

Score: 8/10

Olixar Genuine Leather, Black, £15

Stylish and tough, I loved the leather finish here - it's not super-premium, but hey, it's pretty good for £15. The fit is pretty good in the top half, but unfortunately the design panders too much to the 'swipe up' generation by opting for an 'open' bottom, as seen here.

The idea is that your finger can more easily swipe up from below the display, but the structural integrity compromise is too high, I contend. I've had my main iPhone screen smash using exactly such a design a year ago, the phone dropped bottom-first, and where a fully closed design would have saved me a £280 repair fee!!

In addition, the lack of 'closure' means that the bottom case corners don't grip as well as they should, so the iPhone 12 is always in danger of popping out. Which isn't good for a case design.

In short: nice materials, shame about the design. Olixar, do a version without the cutout and it'll fare much, much better.

Score: 6/10

Olixar Soft Silicone Wallet case, Red, £13

This one's a bargain - neoprene inner (with card slot), soft silicone outer that's pretty well colour matched to the phone, and with the slimmer fabric hinge to the design that keeps the overall thickness down.

The rounded corners in particular make the cased and folded phone a treat in the hand. There's the usual hinge in the back for media stand usage, though the design does mean that the camera island is recessed quite far. Not an issue - in fact, more protection, but it always looks slightly odd.

I also liked the metal grille on the front flap, meaning that you can answer (or start) a call with the phone UI and then close the flap and carry on talking without the usual 'flap getting in the way' look.

So, one of my favourite 'wallet' implementations so far - it looks a treat on the iPhone 12 Product RED, though I could have done without the 'IP 12 6.1' stencil on the side, Olixar! Hopefully this is just present on early production cases and will have been dropped by now.

Score: 9/10

Olixar Soft Silicone Red, £10

In theory suffering from the same design flaw as the Leather version above, this fares slightly better in that the Silicone is more pliable than the 'leather-on-plastic' above. As a result, the bottom corners stay in position better and even provide modest face drop protection.

But I still can't give full marks for an ultimately flawed design, I'm afraid. On the plus side, the silicone is thick and super grippy, plus the interior soft finish is just plain luxurious.  

The colour is almost matched to Product RED too, so an extra point for that. 

It's plush, it's grippy, it's luxurious, and it's surprisingly cheap. But ultimately flawed by the open bottom - as my own repair costs for this design proved last year!

Score: 8/10

UAG Lucent Ash Slim Tough Urban Armor, £25

Premium smoked TPU perhaps, but not £25-worth. The only real selling point is the dimple matrix, raised slightly inside the case to provide extra cushioning for the expensive glass back of the iPhone 12.

The fit is excellent, as you'd expect at the price, but there's only basic face drop protection from a slightly raised rim - there's nothing extra at the corners or top/bottom.

Slightly oddly, the dimples are recessed on the back and you'll either love the effect or think that it looks strange. 

Even if you love the design though, and even though this comes in a nice box, I'd hesitate to suggest that £25 is way too dear, considering the two Ringke cases immediately below in this round-up! So it loses a point for price, unfortunately.

Score: 7/10

Ringke Air Glitter, £15

Not the cheapest TPU case here, but arguably the best. Ringke have a proven track record of, you know, actually taking into account such trivial matters as actually protecting your phone. As a result, we have really tough plastic at the corners, we have a raised profile at top and bottom (though not on the rear face, as on some other Ringke designs), plus an exemplary fit.

As a result, the iPhone 12 feels super snug and as bomb-proof as in any other case in this roundup. 

The RED of the phone shows up well though the clear TPU and even manages not to be too distracting when viewing the cased phone head-on, thanks to the super-precise fit - the bleed through is even all round.

Add in some glitter effect for a 'special' look (sadly there isn't a complete clear option, at least at the time of writing) and a lanyard eyelet, and we have the pick of the bunch in this test so far.

Score: 9/10

Ringke Air Smoked Black, £15

Rinse and repeat for this smoked black version of the exact same Ringke design! Well made, decent protection, raised and reinforced corners, yada yada...

The combination of smoked black with Product RED doesn't quite work though, it's a two-tone look that's not aesthetic enough - so best get the Glitter one above - or keep your eyes peeled for a totally clear or red version in the future!

Score: 9/10

SUPCASE Ultimate Beetle Pro, $28

OK, it's superlative time. Under specific circumstances. The UBPro (for short) is built for people hiking up mountains in the rain. For rock climbers. For hard core adventurers. Really. For anyone else, it's way over the top and far too cumbersome!

Essentially it's a two part super-ruggedised TPU and hard plastic case, complete with glass screen protector on the inner case part. So your phone is protected on all sides. Cue SUPCASE's marketing dept talking about dropping cased iPhones from a helicopter, and so on.

The two part case then fits into a military-grade-tough belt clasp system, which is neither slim nor sexy, but which you can absolutely see on an outdoor enthusiast's belt, next to their climbing rope and rucksack.

We're not into looks with the UBPro, we're just into making sure that nothing touches your iPhone when you're scrambling across rocks in a storm. Oh, and with a kick-stand so that you video yourself sitting on a hill somewhere not out of breath at all!

(Oh, and the fit is so snug that it'll take you 5 minutes to get the case on and 10 minutes to get it off again! Which is good from a security point of view, but not so good if you need to change SIM card or just swap case for a different need....)

Score: 8/10 (though it could be 4/10 or 10/10, depending on your needs!)

Olixar Carbon Fibre (Slim), £13

A classic look with nice texturing for grip and that quirky 'AUTOFOCUS' legend for no good reason whatsoever(!)

Note however that this has the keyword 'Slim' in its title and as a result it's not quite as protective as one might expect, given its looks. The fit is fine and your iPhone doesn't feel much bigger than when naked, but there's no serious face drop protection and nothing special in the corners to absorb shocks. 

If you're happy with grippy, modest protection, and a modest price though, then this is worth a look.

Score: 8/10

Olixar Genuine Leather Wallet, £20

There's a lot to like here - the smell of the leather (however thin), the padding inside the front folio, the provision for two cards, the snug black caddy for the iPhone itself. Yes, it's a folio case and these aren't to everyone's taste, but within the constraints of the concept this is done very well.

Closed, in the hand, this doesn't feel too big, and yet there's significant protection on most sides. There's even a hinge in the back so that the case doubles as a kickstand.

Me being me, and me being picky, I do have some criticisms though. Firstly, and less importantly, the second card slot is hard to access in terms of getting a good grip on the card there. 

Secondly, the bottom of the phone caddy is open, presumably to ease swipes from the bottom of the screen. However, there's a knock on effect here. The magnetic catch is just strong enough to keep the folio closed without needing too much force to separate every time you want phone access. Which is good, except that the flexibility of the leather also means that if the phone is dropped bottom first (as I did last year to my cost) then the front folio will simply skew out of the way of the impact and there's a good chance that the phone's frame will hit the ground. So I'd like to have seen the bottom of the caddy filled out more so that it's plastic hitting the ground and not metal or glass.

Still, one of the better folio designs and good value at £20.

Score: 8/10

SUP UB Style, Clear, $19

A new manufacturer to me, SUPCASE comes recommended for producing tough and protective cases. There are many colours in this range, but I looked at the Clear one for maximum enjoyment of the iPhone itself.

The TPU is top notch and reminds me of the finish of the Ringke cases - but there's not quite the same degree of design polish. Not quite. You still get the lanyard holes, the top and bottom face drop protection, the reinforced corners and impeccable fit.

But the raised edges are only on the front face, not the bottom. The corner protection is just a slight extrusion of the same thickness of TPU. And the button cutouts/covers are stiffer. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad case, it's just not as good as what Ringke offers for the same price or less.

SUPCASE gets credit for the huge number of colours available too - something for everyone's preference!

Score: 8/10


Another SUPCASE range with a dozen colour choices, I picked Red here. It would look even better on the PRODUCT RED iPhone, but that has now moved on, so making do with white below!

The idea here is to provide the absolute maximum protection while keeping a semblance of style. As a result we have a tough, textured, and ribbed outer case, reaching round to grip on top of an inner TPU frame with built-in hard plastic screen protector. Together with the iPhone's built in Ceramic Shield and metal frame, you're essentially bomb-proof in this.

At a usability cost, of course. You're interacting, day to day, with non-oleophobic plastic and not oleophobic glass. Which seems a shame, given how much you've paid for your slick iPhone experience. And no, you can't use this case without the screen protector, since it's bonded to the inner frame!

But there's no denying the protection on offer here, which gets the score up by at least a point. If I were more of an outdoors man, and certainly on an all-weather hike across the hills or a cycle ride around the country, this would probably be my top pick. The corners are massively reinforced, drops and shocks are absorbed by the multiple materials layers, and yet the clear back sections still reassure you that your iPhone is inside (and you can show off... just a little)!

Score: 8/10


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