Best rugged and stylish cases for the Pixel and Pixel XL

The excitement surrounding Google’s brand new Pixel and Pixel XL phones shows no signs of abating, even after months of almost daily leaks leading up to their official unveiling on Oct. 4, and relatively few surprises during the announcement event. Still, Google’s first in-house developed phones managed to grab the attention of many with promises for free unlimited cloud storage for uncompressed videos and photos, the “best smartphone cameras” on the market, and for next-level mobile VR experience in the form Google Daydream. Now, with everything said and done as far as announcements go, and with pre-orders for the Pixels open since the day of their unveiling, there’s not a long left before the smartphones get into the eager hands of fans.

The official release date for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL is pinned at Oct. 20, and if you’ve already placed your pre-order, or are intending to invest in one of them once they’re out, now would be the perfect time to think of how you’re going to fend your shiny, new Android handset from scuffs, scratches, dents, and other undesirable for a premium smartphone embellishments. Thankfully, we’re a step ahead and have already done the thinking for you. Whether you’re looking for a tough-as-nails shell, or a sleek wrapping that will complement the design of the Pixels, or something in-between, we’ve got you covered. These are some of the best cases for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, available now:

As rugged as they come

Commuter and Defender Series by Otterbox (from $39.95)

Defender              Commuter

Can’t make a good list of rugged smartphone cases without some excellent offerings from veteran accessory maker Otterbox. The Defender case is the more rugged option, as can be expected, clad in thicker skin, with a sturdier frame underneath. Marked by bulkier outlines with sharper slants, the Defender offers 3-layer protection protection for your Pixel or Pixel XL, complete with a screen protector, port covers and a detachable holster that doubles as a belt-clip and a kickstand. The Commuter, on the other hand, while very sturdy in and of itself, takes it down a notch with 2-layer protection, an overall sleeker profile, no screen protector and no holster. However, this shell too has port covers, raised edges around the front screen and camera opening, and bares Otterbox’s Drop+ Protection certificate, which makes it perfect for those who want amped-up protection, but won’t be doing any rock climbing with their Pixel phone.


Rugged Armor by Spigen ($14.99)

A case that strikes an almost perfect balance between style and toughness, Spigen’s Rugged Armor shell for the Pixel and Pixel XL offers single layer protection with a premium look and at an affordable price. This carbon-textured and flexible TPU wrapper sports raised edges around the screen portion and all other openings to ensure protection for your Pixel, no matter which way up you leave it. It also offers Mill-Grade protection implementing Spigen’s Air Cushion technology in all its corners for superior shock absorption.

Dual Pro, Octane, Carnaby Esquire by Incipio (from $24.99)

Dual Pro                Octane                 Carnaby

Incipio’s Dual Pro entry for the Pixel phones offers two-layer protection with a soft silicone viscera and a tough polycarbonate outer shell. It sports raised edges around the screen portion and a wider opening around the fingerprint scanner to make swipe gestures over it easier to perform. The Octane case too offers two layers of protection, but mixes things up with a TPU-textured bumper for better shock absorption, and also adds a second color for more contrasting look. The Carnaby Esquire shell is the most expensive of the bunch (at $34.99) and successfully manages to walk the line between style and ruggedness. It sports a good-looking co-molded design comprised of a hard outer shell and a shock absorbing polymer material, covered in a soft cotton finish for added comfort and that “urban look.”

Presidio Grip by Speck (from $39.95)

Presidio’s new case for the Pixel and Pixel XL sports an ultra-slim design with heavily-textured back and bumper for superior grip. Its interior is lined with a special shock-absorbing material, which Presidio claims is capable of absorbing 52% more shock from impact than traditional rubber. This is the accessory maker’s slimmest case yet and has been drop tested numerous times in laboratory settings.

Evo Check by tech21 ($39.92

The Evo Check Pixel case looks bulky, but is actually very lightweight. It sports raised edges around all important openings, but offers no port covers, which makes it a decent choice if you want to protect your phone from falls, but not a good one if you’re looking to keep moisture and dust out of the device.

Style before safety

Liquid Crystal by Spigen ($14.99)

Spigen’s Liquid Crystal case for the Pixel and Pixel XL has to main goals – to protect your phone and to preserve its original look. This thin TPU wrapper with slightly raised edges around all important openings will keep your phone protected in most day-to-day scenarios and won’t obscure any of its finely crafted features.

Ultra Hybrid by Spigen ($24.99)

This case, like the one before it, aims to preserve the flashy looks of your Pixel phone as best as it can, but also offers amped-up protection, thanks to its bulkier frame enveloped in a hard polycarbonate carapace. The Ultra Hybrid shell for the Pixel phones offers Mill-Grade protection implementing Spigen’s Air Cushion technology in all its corners for superior shock absorption.


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