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Samsung's trio of Galaxy S21 phones are already several months old, and by all accounts, they've been a huge success. We even went as far to say that the S21 is the 2021 smartphone to beat (so far) while the S21 Ultra is quite simply a hugely good phone. Like any great device, the S21 in your hand deserves to have quality protection. These are our top five favorite cases for the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra.
Best personalized case: dbrand Grip (Featured)
dbrand's Grip continues to be an AP favorite for the dozens of ways you can make your phone say "this is my phone" without, say, an unfortunate smelting accident. We've got the iconic (literally) limited edition Icons skin on our purple Galaxy S21 here, and it's a subtle stunner in matte black. But dbrand has tons of options to suit your individual taste, and you can even order the abundantly-protective Grip case solo, should you so choose. We're just saying, though: this case looks best with a skin, and that's sort of dbrand's thing.
Best rugged but not obnoxiously huge case: Otterbox Symmetry
If you care about ruggedness (and if you're protecting a $1200 phone, we don't blame you), Otterbox is one of those names in the industry that comes to mind first. While their super aggressive and boxy cases aren't for everyone, Otterbox does make a line that's decidedly slimmed down from their traditional offerings: the Symmetry. I've generally been a fan of this case for a while now, and it looks particularly good in this shade of teal on the S21 Ultra. It feels super rugged without feeling chunky, and the buttons have surprisingly good feel for such a solid case.
Best eco-friendly case: Incipio Organicore
We like the idea of a good eco friendly case, but they're not always the best to actually use. Incipio's Organicore has two things going for it that I think most "green" cases don't: it's understated and it fits really well. The compostable materials the organicore is made of feel pretty dang sturdy, and the case wraps reassuringly well around our Galaxy S21 Ultra review unit. I wish there were some more color options, but this black case is going to please most people. It also matches the black on the S21 Ultra nicely.
Best premium case on a budget: Cyrill Color Brick
Cyrill is one of the sub-brands of Spigen, and that's a brand we like. But Cyrill tends to market more "femine" styles for its cases, which I think has unfairly left them ignored by most of the world. There's nothing feminine about this dark gray Color Brick for the S21 Ultra, for one. For another, it looks really, really nice and I love the contrasting yellow power and volume keys included in the box as a little extra (you swap them out yourself).
Best leather case: Official Samsung Leather Cover
I've been using Samsung's official saddle brown leather case on the S21 Ultra, and I really dig it. Not only is the fit impeccable, the leather is wearing and getting some real patina. It's a handsome shade of brown Samsung's chosen, and the large camera module cover was at first a little over the top to my eyes, but it's actually grown on me a lot. It's not cheap, to be sure, but it's also not what I'd call overpriced: it's just a real nice leather case.
Which one belongs on your phone?
If customization is what you're looking for, it's tough to beat dbrand's abundance of Grip Case skins. There's also something to be said about premium simplicity, in which case Cyrill's mysteriously dark Color Brick option is sure to impress. If we're being honest, though, only our favorite cases out of the mountain we tested made it on this list, so you really can't go wrong with any of these.