Another Year, Another Coverup

    It happens every time Samsung releases a new smartphone. In fact, most Samsung addicts, like myself, expect it!

    Now, with the release of the new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, get ready for the great Samsung coverup, where every phone case maker enters the arena to grab your hard-earned cash by offering to “protect” your new phone.

    The battle has begun and we have three finalists (actually they were the only case manufacturers to send us samples): Urban Armor Gear (UAG), Speck and X-Doria. This is in strong contrast to past years where we’ve had to rent out storage space to hold all of the cases.

    The battle begins with the Monarch from Urban Armor Gear ($59.95).

    This is the most rugged-looking of the cases we tested and is a bit more than just a drop-proof clamshell case.

    All UAG cases feature:

    • Handcrafted, featherlight construction with five layers of protection
    • Top grain leather and alloy metal hardware
    • A soft impact-resistant core and honeycomb traction grip
    • Oversized tactile buttons and protective screen.
    • Compatibility with Samsung Pay and Samsung Fast Wireless Charging
    • It meets 2X Military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6)
    • 10-Year Limited Warranty

    The only thing that may be a bit questionable about these specs are the so-called military drop test standards.

    Technically, the manufacturer boasting this should be test dropping their cases on plywood-covered concrete surfaces from at least four feet off the ground. Simple math shows us that these UAG cases should survive at least an eight-foot drop.

    But, according to an old article on these standards written by Simon Hill for Digital Trends, there’s no way to PROVE these drop tests have been conducted, because there’s no agency or consumer group performing the test.

    So, what did we do? You guessed it: unwilling to risk damaging our phones with our own drop tests, we took the manufacturers’ word for it.

    The Presidio Grip  and Presidio Clear ($44.95) cases from Speck boast protection from 10- and eight-foot drops respectively (“exceeding military specs”)

    Key features for the Presidio Grip include:

    • A no-slip textured grip
    • A raised bezel to protect the phone’s screen
    • IMPACTIUM™ Shock Barrier
    • Scratch-resistant matte finish
    • Lifetime limited warranty

    The Presidio Clear features:

    • Double layered IMPACTIUM™ CLEAR protection
    • A raised bezel to protect the phone’s screen
    • It resists UV yellowing
    • Scratch-resistant coating
    • Lifetime limited warranty

    The Defense Lux ($34.99) and Defense Shield ($29.99) cases from x-doria have also been drop-tested from a height of 10 feet.

    What makes these cases “unique” it their ability to amplify the Galaxy S9’s bottom speaker and redirect the sound to the front of the case using “an integrated sound channel.”

    We tried it.

    It works!

    Key features of the Defense Lux include:

    • A durable, machined metal exterior frame
    • A textured rear back panel
    • A soft rubber interior lining absorbs shocks and jolts
    • A clear polycarbonate shell
    • A raised lip protects your screen from drops and surface scratches.

    The Defense Shield has similar specs but features a clear, rather than textured back.

    Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email or through his website. Beginning Feb. 6, you can hear Mike waxing on and off about tech trends on Tina on Tech.

    • Michael L. Berman has more than 40 years' experience writing and editing for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich (CT) Bulletin, The Journal of Commerce and The Middletown (CT) Press. Mike's Techtalk column was syndicated by the Scripps Howard News Service from 1995 to 2000 and appeared as a computer and technology blog on www.shns.com until No. 19, 2013. You can also visit Mike's consumer technology website at www.jocgeek.com.

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