After nearly a month with the Apple iPhone SE, see the ZDNet full review, the phone is in perfect condition thanks to regular use of cases and screen protectors. For the past couple weeks I've been testing three Gear4 cases and a couple InvisibleShield screen protectors from ZAGG. ZAGG currently offers three screen protectors and five case options for the iPhone SE.
Available InvisibleShield screen protectors are priced from $29.99 to $49.99. The Gear4 case options also range in price from $29.99 t0 $49.99. All screen protectors and cases are built with anti-microbial protection to help keep your phone free of bacteria.
The Crystal Palace case has a clear design that lets you enjoy the design of your iPhone as it was intended from Apple. With my selected Product Red phone it is great to enjoy the vibrant color I selected. The case is composed of the D3O material that is used for impact protection in a variety of industries, such as sports, defense, and industrial applications.
Through the use of the D3O material, Gear4 achieves a 13 feet drop protection rating so you can trust it should survive a drop from your hand as long as it lands favorably. The edges have fairly substantial material to protect the corners and the edges from a drop.
The clear material is glossy and smooth, which makes it a bit slick if set down on a table. The back material has anti-yellowing elements in it so it won't deteriorate over time and it will keep looking good for years. Speaking of years, these cases all have a limited lifetime warranty so you can trust that the cases will outlast your iPhone SE.
The bottom edge is a bit malleable so you can lock in your phone and then remove it by pulling back a bit in this areas. There are raised buttons for volume and the right side button with an opening for the ringer switch.
This 0.3-ounce case is available in Clear and Iridescent color options for $39.99. Wireless charging and Apple Pay work perfectly with your phone in this case.
Also: Apple iPhone SE (2020) review: An affordable, capable business phone fit for uncertain times
The Piccadilly case is very similar to the Crystal Palace case with Black as the only available color option. The color only appears in three bands contained within the top and two sides of the edges of the case. It's a nice option to still show off the lovely red iPhone SE.
The same level of drop protection, wireless charging and Apple Pay support, along with edges that rise just above the display a bit to provide screen protection are present in this case.
While both of these Gear4 cases let you enjoy your iPhone SE colors and design, they are just a bit too slick for me to use on a daily basis. I appreciate the solid protection and style with the price being fairly typical for cases of this type.
Since we tend to carry our phones just about everywhere today, it is nice to see these cases include the anti-microbial protection that kills 99.9% of most common surface bacteria. This helps keep the case fresh and may help reduce the spread of bacteria as well.
Also: iPhone SE (2020) hands-on: Four quick thoughts after unboxing Apple's $399 iPhone
My favorite Gear4 case for the Apple iPhone SE is the Oxford Eco case that is priced at $49.99 and comes in Black. The Eco part of the name comes from the fact that the case is made with recycled plastic from water bottles so it is a great use of materials from consumers.
A primary reason I like the case is because it serves as a kickstand for watching media and also has two credit card slots so I can carry my iPhone SE in this case and leave the wallet behind. Simply open the front and then flip the left side out to the closure clamp to enjoy movies or Facetime calls.
Like the other two Gear4 cases, it achieves a 13 feet drop rating with 3DO impact protection technology. The inner coating in the shell case portion has a microfiber lining to protect the back of your iPhone SE. This same material lines the inside front cover where the two card slots are cut into the front flap. A long fabric hinge is provided with mesh fabric material on the outside of the case. This material makes it a bit easier to grip your iPhone SE.
A piece of plastic extends down from the front and fits into the right side of the shell case to keep the front of the case secure over your iPhone SE display. It locks in well and helps protect the display of your iPhone SE too.
There are openings for the ringer switch, camera, Lightning port, and speaker. Raised buttons for volume and the right side are present with the volume buttons still being usable when the front flap is secured over the display.
Over the years I learned that glass displays scratch easily even with advanced glass materials so I don't take any chances and get a protector on my phones as soon as I buy them. The Glass Elite+ and Glass Elite VisionGuard+ screen protectors, $39.99 and $49.99 respectively, have the same simple installation procedure and offer the same anti-microbial technology, case-friendly coverage, and shatter protection.
ZAGG provided a statement that studies show there is 10 times more bacteria on cell phones than toilet seats, which is rather disgusting. If you don't want to put a bacteria-infested phone display against your face then you should consider one of these protectors with anti-microbial technology.
For $10 more, the VisonGuard+ offers blue light protection for your eyes with ZAGG's Eyesafe technology. Blue light has been shown to contribute to digital eye strain so there is a layer on this protector to filter out that part of the light spectrum. I could barely see a visible difference in the protectors and screen clarity was not impacted.
The InvisibleShield installation process is one of the best I have experienced with a nice mat that holds your phone in place and an alignment tray that makes sure you install the protector in the exact location needed for proper coverage. There were no bubbles during installation and there is no impact on the front fingerprint sensor.
Another great feature of these protectors is the ability to have almost zero smudges when touching your display. Apple applies a decent oleophobic coating to its phones, but this takes things to the next level and the display looks fantastic while also being protected from scratches and drops.