The Best Google Pixel phone cases: Live, Silicone, 3rd-party

Chris Burns - Nov 19, 2016, 9:45 am CST
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The Best Google Pixel phone cases: Live, Silicone, 3rd-party

Today we’re running down the best Google Pixel cases that’ve been released thus far for the larger of the two devices, the Pixel XL. As Google is in the process of making a very big deal about these devices, both the Pixel and the Pixel XL are enjoying attention with cases from many brands. We’ve done some syphoning of the best of these cases and bring you the best of the best, as follows.

The first wave of Google Pixel XL cases includes a lot of “this already works” sort of designs. Companies that make cases for lots of different kinds of phones are re-fitting their case designs to fit the Pixel family. As such, we’ve already seen cases that look just like what you’re about to see, for the most part.

It’s important to recognize that while we sometimes suggest that one case is better than all others, this is a very subjective process. Choosing a case can be as difficult as choosing a smartphone, especially when it comes to aesthetics. When it comes to protection*, however, there’s one brand I trust above all others.

*When I say protection, I mean protection within reasonable size bounds. The cases we’re showing here keep the basic shape and size of the phone in mind. There will be cases that cover the entire phone for super extreme ruggedness in the future – but for now, we’re sticking to the basics.

1. Tech21’s Evo Check

Since the Google Pixel isn’t a particularly complicated piece of industrial design, cases of all sorts can be made for it relatively simply. The case you see below is the Evo Check from the company Tech21. This same case family previously came out on top when we reviewed Galaxy S6 cases last year.

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The Evo Check provides great resistance to damage – it’s the most robust case we’ve tested thus far. It carries with it the Tech21 technology called FlexShock, made of material similar to that of the 1990’s Nickelodeon toy Gak. Instead of bashing up against the edge of the phone when the device is dropped, this material absorbs impact and the phone (and case) bounce.

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Like many other Tech21 cases, this Evo Check will cost around $40 USD through the Tech21 online store. This case is out in black with black border (border being the interior bit, the protective FlexShock. It’s also available in white with white border – both are excellent for any of the several colors in which the Pixel XL comes.

2. Google Live Case (with custom design)

We also have the Google Live Case – this one a customized case with a design from yours truly. The design is printed with colors that are extremely vibrant – save the edges. The design isn’t as sharp as I’d expected it to be, but well within the bounds of acceptability.

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The Google Live Case comes with a download of a wallpaper based on the design printed on the case, so the device looks all fancy and matching. The case has a button inside it that is difficult to press, but easy to get used to pressing. This button activates features within the phone.

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Using an app available through Google Play, this button is able to do things like open an app or turn on the flash at the back of the phone to be used as a flashlight. It’s the colorful design you’re paying for, here, as protection to the phone is limited to the very basic. While this case has never popped off of the phone as long as I’ve used it, I would not be surprised if a long drop resulted in some serious damage since the case is made only of plastic.

While the protection the Live Case offers isn’t massive, the ability to customize is well worth the cash. The Google Store online offers a variety of already-designed cases which are pretty great too. All Live Cases from Google cost a cool $40 USD.

3. Pixel XL Case by Google

The plain-ol’ colorful “Pixel XL Case by Google” is my choice for best combination of style, fit, protection and price for the Pixel XL. This case is extremely similar to the “Silicone Case” for iPhone by Apple. The only difference seems to be the slightly fancier interior in Apple’s case.

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Both companies suggest they’ve got a “microfiber” lining, protecting the surface of the phone from the case itself. The silicone in both cases provide just enough grip and bounce that they’re well in and above my standard for feeling that my phone is safe. While Apple’s silicone seems just a TINY bit more grippy, both cases do this job well.

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What’s important with silicone is that it’s not manufactured in a way that makes it sticky. We’ve seen devices and accessories aplenty with silicone that’s far too soft, collecting so much dust that they weren’t worth the hassle. Google and Apple know what good silicone is all about.

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This Google-made case for the Pixel XL is the best of the pack if you’re all about balance. That’s a balance of price, protection, fit, and style. The “Pixel XL Case by Google” costs a cool $35 from the Google Store and comes in 5 different colors.

Wrap-up

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL have a decent selection of cases available from both Google and 3rd-party manufacturers. The cases I’ve listed above are great for their own purposes, and while I personally like the silicone case because of its balance in features, others may choose differently. The case that offers the best protection in a phone drop situation is the Tech21 case, while the case that’s most unique is the customizable Live Case from Google.

You can trust that each of the cases we have listed here bat well above their cost when it comes to quality. We do not list smartphone cases that fall below our standards for phone protection or material quality – unless they’re so terrible we just NEED to make it known. Rest assured that any of the three cases above would be a top-notch choice for your Pixel or Pixel XL.


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