The best iPhone SE (2022) cases
If you just picked the new one iPhone SE, congratulations – It’s an impressive phone that’s definitely over $429. Speaking of costs, you should protect that investment by ordering a case for your phone.
We know that shopping for cases and figuring out your specific needs can leave you scratching your head, so we’ve made this for you. After spending some time using several iPhone SE cases from brands like Smartish, Lifeproof, Gear4 and Otterbox, we can come up with some hands-on impressions. Here are some of the best picks you can buy right now, from subtle clear cases to sturdy models designed to beat.
Smartish is known for its affordable phone cases that give your phone personality. Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is available in black, blue, white, or gray and has a spot on the back of the case that holds three credit or debit cards, along with some cash. The card storage area adds thickness to the already small iPhone SE, but it allows you to avoid carrying around a bulkier wallet. If the trade-off is worth it, you can get the Slayer Vol. 1 from Smartish for $20. If you want a completely custom version, the price goes up to $35 – that’s a steal.
The Smartish Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 takes the same basic approach as Vol. 1, but swap out the plastic for a material that looks like leather. There’s still room for up to three cards and some cash in the cardholder, though we wonder if the material will stretch over time to be able to fit more cards. Or, in that case, if your card might be more prone to falling out. If you are studying design, you can get Vol. 2 of the Smartish Wallet Slayer for $20. If you’re going to use either Smartish wallet with wireless charging, just remember that you’ll need to remove your card before placing your phone on the charging dock.
Gear4’s Piccadilly Case has a pretty funny name, but it’s business when it comes to protecting your phone. For the most part, the case is transparent, showing off your iPhone SE’s colors while adding a splash of color on its edges. We have the black model on our iPhone SE right now and it looks great. Gear4 claims Piccadilly is designed to protect your phone at depths of up to 13 feet. Our only complaint is the slight metallic sheen that makes the Piccadilly slippery right out of the box. We hope that handling the case eases this, making it less likely to slip out of your hands.
If you want a solid layer of protection in a clear carrying case, the Otterbox Symmetry Series is a smart choice. Otterbox is synonymous with solid protection, and the company now offers thinner, lighter cases like the Symmetry Series. The case itself, obviously, with solid buttons. A curious line in the case wraps around the entire perimeter, and after using the case, we realized it’s there to add an extra layer of grip to your phone. Brilliant.
Another obvious case we’ve used is the Gear4 Crystal Palace. It looks very similar to the Gear4 Piccadilly, but instead of having a colored line around the outer edge, the Crystal Palace’s case is completely clear. We also found that its stiffer edges could make it more resistant to abuse.. That said, it’s only certified for drops from 13 feet, just like the Piccadilly . As far as we are concerned, the difference between the two cases is due to the striking colors.
The Lifeproof Wake line looks more like a traditional case, while providing a layer of protection and a unique texture on the back of the phone. Made from ocean-sourced plastic, this is a durable case that’s supposed to last when dropped from two meters or more than six meters. The wave-like texture on the back is reminiscent of the sea, and talking about the material used in the Wake Series is a plastic derived from the ocean. Our favorite part of the case? The side buttons come in different colors, adding beauty to the overall look.
If you are looking for a cheaper case with minimal protection, Gripmunk Slim is a perfect choice. It’s thin, although some might say it’s almost too thin, allowing you to bend and twist it when it’s not in the phone. But when using the iPhone SE, the grip on the sides ensures it won’t easily slip out of your hand. You can get a solid color like black or blue for $15, or a custom case for double that at $30. Gripmunk Slim won’t provide the best protection during long drops, but it looks good and will protect your phone from daily wear and tear.
The Gear4 Wembley palette comes in a variety of colors. We have navy blue on our phones right now, but you can choose from gray, mint, lilac, and magenta. We like the look and feel of this case, although it’s not as sturdy as other Gear4 cases we’ve covered. However, the top and bottom are reinforced, giving you just enough protection from occasional crashes, while the case still looks like it can withstand the side effects.
For those who like the look and feel of a Gear4 case but want extra protection, we recommend Battersea. There’s nothing soft or bendy about the case, giving you confidence that it will last after being dropped once or seven times. The back of the case has a semicircular pattern made of rubber, which makes it easy to grip and holds it beautifully when you put it down. You can get the Battersea in any color, as long as you like black. For what it’s worth, Gear4 says the Battersea case is built for a 16-foot drop, which blows other cases out of the water in terms of drop protection.
The Otterbox Commuter case is essentially two different parts. There’s a soft interior that fits your phone well, with a stiffer, sturdier exterior to add another layer of protection to your phone. One benefit of having multiple pieces is that the Otterbox can mix colors, giving you a different look than other standard single-color containers. We tested the Teal version, but it also comes in pink, blue, and black. There’s also a charging port cover for added protection when your phone isn’t charging – keeping things like lint, dust, and debris out of your phone’s charging port.
Adding even more protection to the iPhone SE is the Otterbox Defender Pro case. Not only is it multi-layered like a Commuter case, but it also has a built-in screen protector. The outer shell is made of rubber, providing an easy-to-grip surface. Inside the box is a leather belt holster – yes, they still exist – allowing you to easily store your phone without a pocket or bag. We’d prefer a dedicated screen protector over the one included with Defender Pro, but at $30, it’s hard to pass up.
The iPhone SE has an IP67 water and dust resistance rating. That means it can survive in one meter of water for thirty minutes. However, that rating doesn’t provide protection outside of the phone if it falls off your kitchen table and we love that the Lifeproof Fre case adds extra protection. and longer water resistance. With the Fre case on your iPhone SE, your phone will stay safe and perform well in water at a depth of two meters for an hour, thanks to the use of a built-in screen protector and port cover. Our favorite part in Fre? It is still small and thin, although it is considered a solid case.