The best phone cases for 2019: protect your camera phone in style

Picking up the best phone case you can afford is always a good move. A lot of the latest flagship smartphones are made from glass build materials now, and there are hundreds of harrowing horror stories out there – so if you want to avoid a deluxe drop disaster, you'll need to protect your device with the right phone case or cover.  

Fortunately, if you’re the proud new owner of one of today’s best camera phones, there are a lot of options for keeping it safe, from ultra-slim phone cases that show off your device’s design through to rugged, bulky shells that can survive almost anything. And if you pick the right one, it might even improve your phone’s camera. 

How to pick the best phone case

Shattered glass screens are one of the most common accidents to befall a smartphone. It's most likely to happen if you drop your device and it lands on a corner, where the force exerted on the glass is more concentrated. At the very least, you need a phone case that uses a shock-absorbent material such as silicone or rubber, and protects the corners. If you’re feeling confident, a slim, unobtrusive phone case from a brand like Peel might be all you need. 

However, a more costly calamity for a camera phone is a cracked lens – and the best way to avoid this is to buy a tougher phone case. To that end, we think the best protective phone case is the Defender series from OtterBox, which has a durable, layered design for better defence against drops and dings.

Ultimately, the best phone case for you depends on what you want from your smartphone (do you want it to be more stylish or safe?) and how actively you use it. All the options here are optimised for camera phones in particular, so whatever level of protection you’re after, you’ll find something that won't hinder your ability to take great photographs quickly. Read on for our pick of the best phone cases right now…

1. Moment Pixel Photo Case

The best phone case for mobile photographers and filmmakers

Colour: Black/Walnut Wood/Tan Leather | Compatible with: Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL

Lens-ready and low cost
Slim and durable
Lenses aren’t cheap (obvs)

The Moment Photo Case is designed to turn the world's top camera phones – the newest Pixel, iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices – into more sophisticated snappers. Aside from protecting them from drops and scrapes with a thin, shock-absorbing rubberised body, the Moment Pixel Photo Case comes with a built-in lens interface for attaching Moment's range of lenses, plus a strap attachment to stop you dropping your camera phone again. Meanwhile, wireless charging support means you can place it on any Qi-compatible charging pad. If you’ve got an iPhone X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus or 7, we’d choose Moment’s excellent MFi-approved Battery Photo Case for iPhone. It comes with a 3,100mAh built-in battery for charging your iPhone on the go, giving you longer shooting time, and an integrated Lightening port, as well as a two-stage shutter button for taking photos: pressing down halfway focuses the lens; a full press takes the picture. Whichever camera phone you have though, if you're into mobile photography or filmmaking, these are some of the best phone cases you can buy. 

2. Spigen Neo Hybrid

One of the best phone cases for everyday use you can get

Colour: Shiny Black, Gunmetal, Burgundy, Artic Silver, Pale Dogwood, Lilac Purple | Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Android smartphones

Slim grip design
Handles well 
Could be tougher

Spigen is one of the biggest names in smartphone protection, and it’s easy to see why its Neo Hybrid line is one of the company’s most popular set of phone cases. With enhanced shock absorption, slim grip design and a dual-layered structure for extra protection, the Neo Hyrid won’t add as much bulk to your camera phone as some other cases, but you’ll get plenty of protection for day-to-day use. The Herringbone-textured rubber is smooth but grippy, so your device won't slip out of your hand while you're taking photos, and it comes in a range of different colours: gunmetal, burgundy, jet black, pale dogwood and satin silver. Bear in mind that it isn't as tough as the most protective ranges on the market, so if you're prone to drops or other phone-related accidents then a phone case like the Otterbox Defender (number three in this list) might be a better choice. But if you're looking for a brilliant balance of style, functionality and usability, the Spigen Neo Hybrid is one of the best phone cases you can buy.

  • Buy the Spigen Neo Hybrid now at Amazon from $13.99  / £9.99 

3. OtterBox Defender Screenless edition

The best drop protection you can get in a phone case

Colour: Stormy Peaks, Black, Big Sur Blue | Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Android smartphones

Very protective
Good grip 
Very bulky

When it comes to protective phone cases, the Otterbox Defender is about as comprehensive as it gets. The multi-layer design gives you dust, drop and scratch protection, while a reinforced polycarbonate inner and a thick silicone outer that absorbs impact. Port covers prevent dirt and dirt from clogging jacks and ports; and the rubber back provides a good camera cut out that also protects protruding lenses when you place your camera phone on a flat surface. The Otterbox Defender series will add a fair bit of bulk to your phone – this isn’t a good option if you like to keep your phone in your pocket or want to show off its form – and it isn’t waterproof, either. But when it comes to ultimate drop protection, it’s a winner.

  • Buy the OtterBox Defender Screenless at Amazon from $36.60  / £42.99

4. Sandmarc Lens Edition

A quality phone case that will improve your iPhone photography

Colour: Black | Compatible with: iPhone only

Thin, light and grippy case
Brilliant lenses
Less protection than other cases

Another phone case range that’s designed to improve smartphone photography – this time exclusively for iPhone – is Sandmarc’s Lens Edition series. This ultra-thin case-and-lens-mount protects your iPhone when you’re out and about, while giving you a 2x wide lens, 4x telephoto zoom, 5x fisheye lens or  macro lens. You also get a handy clip-on mount in the box, in case you want to use your own case. You won’t get as much protection from the case for your phone as other cases in this list, but if you have an iPhone, theses lenses are fantastic for travel, urban and landscape photography. 

5. OtterBox Symmetry

A bulkier than average slim-line phone case with better than average protection

Colour: Tonic Violet, Black, Aspen Gleam, Fine Port, You Ashed 4 It, On Fleck, Gradient Energy | Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Android smartphones

Slim and durable
Great protection
Larger than a slim-line case

OtterBox is best-known for its robust protection and tank-sized cases. The company's OtterBox Symmetry series, however, is a lighter-duty line, offering a thinner one-piece design that doesn't loose too much on the protection front. Build quality is excellent, marrying a synthetic rubber interior with a durable polycarbonate outer shell, and it's easy to take on and off. As with the Spiegen Neo Hybrid, at number one, there are no advanced features like waterproof capabilities, built-in batteries or fold out kickstands – and it will still add a little bulk to your camera phone. But if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly phone case with better-than-average protection for the size and weight, the Symmetry series is definitely worth considering. 

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