UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone

Urban Armor Gear makes some of my favorite cases and its new iPhone X collection is now available. With the glass back and very high price, it makes sense to protect your iPhone with a case designed to survive accidental drops.

There are six Urban Armor Gear models, in various colors, available for the Apple iPhone X. I tested four models with my space gray iPhone X and the Monarch remains my favorite, but the clear Pylo may soon move into that position.

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UAG sent along the Graphite Monarch, Black Pathfinder, Black Trooper, and Ice Plyo cases. These cases range from $34.95 to $59.95, which is reasonable given the construction, style, and protection offered. You can also choose a Plasma or Metropolis series for $39.95 each.

UAG Monarch series

The UAG Monarch series is the top end style at UAG, thanks in large part to its double military standard drop protection and integration of leather and metal hardware in the case. The side honeycomb traction grip looks great and makes it easy to hold onto your Apple iPhone X, which is a very slippery device by itself. The Graphite Monarch perfectly matches my space gray iPhone X.

The long side button has ridges on it to provide great tactile feel so you can easily press it every time. The volume buttons are also raised and easy to activate. There is a large enough opening to activate the ringer switch. Openings are present on the bottom for the Lightning port, speaker, and microphone grilles.

The Monarch series offers five-layers of protection wtih a tough frame piece, top grain leather, a polycarbonate shear plate, alloy metal hardware torx screws holding the layers secure, and impact resistant rubber. The case meets the 2X military drop-test standards, MIL STD 810G 516.6. It also comes with a 10-year limited warranty, which is longer than anyone ever keeps a smartphone. There is plenty of rubber material in the corners to help with drops and material inside to also protect your phone while it rests in the case.

There is honeycomb patterned material on the sides, that extends around to the back, for excellent grip. There is a large opening in the back for the dual camera and flash. Wireless charging and Apple Pay both work just fine with the iPhone X mounted in the case.

Sometimes cases with drop protection can be a bit bulky and heavy, but that's one aspect I love about UAG. Its cases provide excellent protection while being fairly light weight due to the composite construction.

The case is available now for $59.95 in Graphite, Platinum, Crimson, Black, and Carbon Fiber. Some of these are new colors for UAG and I may have to give that cool Carbon Fiber one a try soon.

UAG Pathfinder series

The Pathfinder series is the original style and design we saw launch on UAG. It is similar to the Monarch series, but has a simpler back design and is not as robust for drop protection even though it still meets the military drop standard.

The reinforced corners are more pronounced on the Pathfinder while also being angular in design rather than rounded like we see on the Monarch. The same side button and openings are present, but there is not the same side design for improved grip like we see on the Monarch.

The UAG Pathfinder is available for $39.95 in black, white, and orange. Apple Pay and wireless charging are supported by this case as well.

UAG Trooper series

With continued support at retail locations for Apple Pay, I see more and more people using their iPhone and a case as their only wallet. The Trooper series makes this possible with a compartment on the back that can hold up to four credit cards. I used it to carry my office door access card, driver's license, and ORCA transit pass. The transit pass worked through the case, but my office access system was not able to pick up the card in the case.

This is one UAG case that does have some bulk due to the rear compartment, but it is in depth and not width or much weight. This case is about 18 mm thick, compared to about 11 mm for the Monarch series. Due to this depth, wireless charging is not supported by the Trooper case. Apple Pay does work though. Added depth still feels fine in my hand, but I'm personally not yet ready to commit to such bulk given how pocketable the new iPhone X is in a smaller case.

The buttons and openings are the same as the Monarch with angled corners similar to the Pathfinder. The camera opening is deep due to the rear compartment, but it is also large enough that I haven't seen any impact on camera performance.

The sides have a matte finish with no texture on them. The back door has a textured pattern on it and an opening on the left side to help you open the rear compartment. There are two hinges for the door and it closes securely.

The Trooper case is available only in black for $39.95. Once you place your iPhone X in this case, it is quite difficult to remove it so be careful when taking out your iPhone. I found pressing in on the camera through the opening to be a good start at removal.

UAG Plyo series

The Plyo series is similar to the Monarch series with rounded corners, textured buttons, and the same openings. However, this case is clear and flexible so it gives you protection with a bit closer feel to naked.

The Plyo series is drop certified thanks to the clear armor shell and air-soft corners that are designed to absorb and spread the impact of a drop. You can see the color and design of your iPhone X through the clear case, which also means it is quite glossy and has fingerprints on the back that are evident.

Apple Pay and wireless charging are supported too. You can see on the back how the center inch or so is pressed against the back of your iPhone while the four sides around this area angle out to the edges.

If you are loking for solid drop protection in a case that doesn't add much in size, weight, or looks then the Pylo may be what you are looking for. It is available for $39.95 in Ice, Ash, and Crimson.

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