Case roundup for the iPhone 12 Pro Max (part 1)

As usual for my case roundups, I'll cover a variety of styles, with most samples supplied by MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of iPhone 12 / 12 Pro cases and covers

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.

Having said all this, there will be a part 2 to this round-up, covering newer cases and including some MagSafe items. So watch this space!

Ringke Onyx, £10

Advertising itself as 'military grade protection', this is an even tougher TPU case that we're used to seeing from Ringke. 

The sides are textured and grippy, the back has little 'feet' that lift the phone from dirty surfaces, and there are the usual thickenings at the top and bottom, to protect against face and back drops.

Terrific stuff. The back is tough and textured too. It's almost impossible to imagine one's iPhone being damaged inside this, though you have to be OK with matt black!

Score: 9/10

Ringke Air, £15

Smoked black, rather than opaque black, this is a protective and understated option. You don't get to see the colour of your iPhone, but you do get some extra grip from the smooth TPU.

As usual with Ringke, there are the raised top and bottoms, though only on the front face this time - the back is completely flat. But perhaps for a professional this might add to the style in the office?

The button covers are top notch and feel just right, an area where other cases let the user down. 

Not the cheapest Ringke case in this roundup, but fair value for money - you're getting quality materials.

Score: 8/10

Olixar Sentinel and Glass Screen Protector, £20

A classic TPU design (first seen from Spigen?), with mock metal texturing and interesting panels moulded into the back and with tough matt TPU all round.

You don't get extra corner protection, mind you, so ultimate drop safety isn't assured. But you do get a glass screen protector thrown in. These are 'love it or hate it' accessories and arguably not needed on the iPhone 12 range, given the Sapphire Shield glass. But if you were eyeing up a screen protector anyway then this combination ends up being good value.

Score: 8/10

Olixar Ultra-thin, £7

As thin as the name suggests, this is superb at not adding size to your iPhone, but at the expense of any kind of premium feel or protection - for such a large phone this is a compromise too far.

The sides of the case barely cover the sides of the phone, and with zero 'wrap around' over the screen front, there's nothing preventing the very flimsy (thin) TPU from flexing and pulling away at the slightest stress.

It goes without saying that there's no extra corner or face/back protection.

Disappointing - I've been a fan of Olixar's Ultra-thin case for smaller phones, but it just seemed... not enough on something this big, heavy, and expensive.

Score: 6/10

Olixar Flexi-Cover Full Body, £10

This is an odd one, to be sure. A two -part case that is both traditional protection and screen protector. There's no delicate way to put this, but... it's like having your iPhone in a condom!

Surprisingly, once coaxed into place and with plastic gripping plastic, the phone is still usable. Yes, you're tapping and swiping clear TPU, but it's doable. Perhaps this is the phone case to use in a young family environment, where jam and other unmentionables might otherwise be smeared on your expensive phone!

Yet, despite the unique selling point, I can't really recommend this solution to the every day iPhone user - it's just crazily in the way of the full responsive, HDR iOS experience.

Score: 6/10

Olixar ExoShield Carbon, £13

There's a lot to like here, from the seemingly reinforced corners (they're not really) to the frosted clear back and camera island detailing.

However, I have issues with Olixar's design here. It feels fine in the hand at first glance but then you start to use it...

The side buttons are all flush - and bear with me for this isn't just a cosmetic factor. The buttons are almost impossible to find 'blind', so you have to fiddle around finding the right place to press. And then you find that the flush nature means that you have to press harder than with a prominent button since you have less mechanical leverage.

Add in the lack of face or back drop protection and I wouldn't recommend this case at all. Sorry, Olixar, I do like some of your designs, but this one's a no go!

Score: 5/10

Olixar Soft Silicone, £10

Mimicking Apple's soft silicone finish, Olixar has done a good job of giving executive casing at a quarter of Apple's charge. The case looks and feels great.

Unfortunately there's not the same structural rigidity as Apple's offering, so the bottom corners are very loose in practice. The slightest pressure and all protection is gone. Add in the wide open bottom edge (I lost a screen to a bottom edge drop last year) and I'd rate any protection factor here as very low indeed.

It's more about looks and style. Which is fine, as long as you're in a carpeted office!

Score: 6/10

Olixar Soft Silicone Wallet, £13

So close, Olixar, so very close. As wallet cases go, this is potentially top notch, with thankfully thin front, back, and hinge material, meaning that the folded/closed iPhone isn't unbearably thick.

There are two problems. First, the front card slot (not much of a wallet, with only one card capacity!) is nicely inlaid, but despite the thumb access hole it's still almost impossible to get the card out and past the hinge. On the other hand, you could argue that the card (perhaps ID of some kind) can't fall out on its own at any point, so there's some security there!!

Then there's the poorly made phone holder itself - the TPU is too thin (again) and bendy. OK, the phone is unlikely to come out because of the folio flap, but it always feels... cheap. Thanks partly to the amateurish seam running down the length of the right hand edge. 

That there's a legend saying 'IP 12 6.7' can be excused as this was perhaps the first case off the production line, before the phone was officially released - I'm sure it will be gone by now.

I'd love to see higher quality TPU used and perhaps a slight redesign of the front flap in terms of card storage. In the meantime, a modest score, I think.

Score: 7/10

Ringke Fusion, £6

It's been quite a journey to get here, but we arrive at my favourite case from this roundup. Everything, repeat everything about it is perfect.

Tough TPU with reinforced corners and face drop protection? Check. Twin lanyard holes? Check. Clear finish that shows the character of your iPhone? Check. Button covers and general feel? Top notch. 

Price? Cheapest in this round-up, which makes no sense. If clear cases are your preference then look no further, this is the Rolls Royce and is dirt cheap. I just don't know how Ringke do it. 

NB. This case is from Amazon UK, not MobileFun, despite them being a Ringke dealer. And no, I don't know why they don't stock this!

Score: 10/10

More case reviews soon!!


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