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Urban Armor Gear Monarch Case for iPhone 7/7 Plus Review
      #49757 - 12/13/16 04:21 PM

UAG has long been one of my go-to manufacturers when shopping for a rugged iPhone case. Having owned eight of them over the years (that I can remember), I have a pretty good idea when they innovate and when they're just releasing a new style. For those of you sitting on the edge of your seat, I'm here to tell you that the Monarch is definitely the former, not the latter. Right now, I'm holding it in one hand, and a UAG case that I purchased for my iPhone 6 Plus in another. They weight about the same, but that's where the similarity ends. The older case has a polycarbonate spine and TPU rubber on the edges. The Monarch, however, has a rigid back plate that to provide strength against flexion, TPU rubber sides to make installation a snap as well as provide some "bounce" when dropped, a polycarbonate layer for rigidity, metal torx screws to hold it all together, and inexplicably, real leather accents. Clearly this last bit is all about style, but it seems an odd choice for a rugged product. All of these layers come together to form a case that allegedly complies with MIL STD 810G using laboratory test method 516.6 for shock. Because there is no commercial organization or agency that certifies the protection provided by consumer products, it's always best to purchase a rugged case from a reputable manufacturer like UAG that stands behind their products. Buying a generic or no-name product to protect your $700+ investment is never a good idea.

Once installed, you'll find that the buttons are covered but the mute switch, speakers, and Lightning Port are not. On older model iPhones, this would severely limit the conditions where this case could be used. However, since the 7 Series is water-resistant, it's almost a non-issue for those with the latest and greatest. The case approximately doubles the thickness of your iPhone, which is fine with me as I find them so thin they are almost unwieldy. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Apple's Jony Ive continues to press for thinner and thinner devices when the millions who use his products really just want a bigger battery and something that's a bit easier to hold onto. But, I digress...

The Monarch is UAG's best case to date. And, thanks to Apple's new push toward water-resistance, their previous Achilles heel (moisture) is no longer an issue. If you are looking for great drop protection in a case with some serious style, then look no further than UAG's Monarch.

Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: Serious drop and shock protection. Covered buttons. Multi-material construction. Aggressively styled.
What's Not: Leather accents seem a bit out of place on a rugged case. Priced at the high-end.
Price: $59.95
Website: Urban Armor Gear

Reviewed by: Tom Slayton




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