Home / News / The best phone cases and accessories of 2023 are simply magnetic

The best phone cases and accessories of 2023 are simply magnetic

136
I-Blason Cosmo Mag for iPhone 15 Pro Max in Butterfly Blue in three angles on a white background

2023 may have been a boring year to be a phone nerd, but as a phone accessory addict, this year was the best ever. Qi2 — basically MagSafe for everyone — was announced at CES in January, kicking off a renewed interest in MagSafe accessories and MagSafe cases throughout the year, even though we won’t see a Qi2 Android phone until 2024. Thanks to the European Union’s rulings — and the begging of millions of Apple and non-Apple users — the iPhone 15 launched with USB-C, signaling the end of the Lightning era. This gave us a new bumper crop of USB-C phone accessories that now work with iPhone and Android.

ANDROID POLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

And, of course, phone cases continue to get stronger, grippier, and sleeker, which made my case addiction explode this year. My only saving grace was that I did not physically own most of the phones these cool cases were for; I am a small phone fan, but new case versions always start with the biggest, most expensive model. This was especially true of this year’s neat new MagSafe cases, as the Galaxy S23 Ultra has more than double the selection of my personal, pocket-friendly Galaxy S23. But that hasn’t stopped me, or the rest of the Android Police team, from seeking out the boldest, the newest, and the weirdest cases we could this year.

Thus, by my authority as Case Queen, I hereby present the best cases — and adjacent accessories — of 2023.

1 i-Blason Cosmo Mag

This is a case that debuted with the iPhone 15 series this fall, but I’m anxious to see it come to Android phones in 2024. i-Blason has long held a special place in my heart for fulfilling a specific and desperate need in the case community. It’s a Chevy SSR — or ’00s Toyota Hilux — in a market full of F-250s and Silverados; a durable case that doesn’t look like a macho “military grade” tank.

The Cosmo uses the same front frame and flexible bumper case as i-Blason’s ArmorBox or Supcase’s UB Pro, and while it’s not quite the “20-foot drop protection”, it can take a drop and a beating like a champ while serving up fun colors and patterns. This mentality goes the extra mile with the Cosmo Mag, using butterflies, glitter, and its iconic marbled mosaic motif to blend the MagSafe magnet into the back of the case instead of just slapping it on there for all to see, like most clear MagSafe cases do.

It also packs a lens cover/kickstand combo to add a little extra functionality while keeping everything in your purse from scratching up your all-important cameras.

i-Blason Cosmo Mag case for iPhone 15 Pro Max

2 Spigen Ultra Hybrid Zero One

Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid has long been a fan favorite, but it was elevated this year by the Zero One version that debuted with the Galaxy S23 series. Something of a middle ground between the more muted teardowns of Nothing and the ultra-specific (and honestly, busy) “Teardown” from dbrand, the Zero One offers something that strikes the balance between the two extremes. There’s enough detail to catch your eye when you have a free moment, but it’s not awash in awkward colors or drastically different material depictions that can make those cases awkward.

Among the teardown-style cases that arrived this year — and unceremoniously exited this year — the Zero One is the most affordable of the bunch and wonderfully easy on the eyes. After years of Spigen going more simplistic and monotonous, it’s nice to see them branching back out into fun, graphic designs.

Spigen-ultra-S23-Ultra

Spigen Ultra Hybrid Zero One for Galaxy S23 Ultra

$19 $35 Save $16

3 Peak Design Everyday Case with Loop

Peak Design’s Everyday Case has offered MagSafe for the Samsung Galaxy S Series and Google Pixels for the last 2-3 years, but this year, we got two important upgrades for the Pixel 8 series: color options and an 8 Pro-exclusive loop grip. I’ve been impatiently waiting for Peak Design to finally have enough confidence in Android phones to present color options — every color is extra work and thus extra risk for an accessory maker, which is why less popular phones often have fewer case and case color choices — and it’s finally here.

The colors here are all refined and sophisticated, from Sage green to Sun yellow to Redwood brown, each with color-matched bumpers and sporting subtle anchor points for phone straps or a sturdy phone lanyard on your next vacation to the sides of the speaker cutouts. The fabric back to this case also feels better than any other fabric case I’ve ever used (outside the Gear4 London, which we’ll cover in a minute), as we know from years of experience that the Everyday ages wonderfully over the life of your phone.

It also reminds us to vote for carbon neutrality in the lining, which I can appreciate heading into 2024.

peak-design-everyday-loop-pixel-8-pro-case

Peak Design Everyday Loop for Pixel 8 Pro

4 dbrand Grip Case

“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=”null”>

dbrand x-ray skins for Pixel 8 and other phone models

This is by no means a new case, but it did get the all-important MagSafe upgrade this year for the Pixel 8 series, as well as some sweet new designs like the X-Ray series launched last month, the cube-y Verge partnership, and the self-professed Nothing-ripoff “Something.” The X-Ray series goes beyond simple teardowns and actually uses high-fidelity scans from 450-kilovolt X-ray machine of each product, flavored in both dark and light themes — I’m a dark theme forever girl, but the light theme X-Rays above are very, very tempting.

The case itself is still living up to its name as an almost too-grippy case, as discussed by Daniel Bader, Will Sattelberg, and myself in the last Android Police podcast of 2023. It being extra grippy, thanks to its mix of raised side grips and the nearly porous microdot texture, can mean that it’ll sometimes stick to the sides of your pockets while trying to get it in and out, but that also means that once it’s in, it is staying in.

A photo of the Dbrand Grip case for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 with the X-Ray skin applied

Dbrand Grip for Galaxy Z Fold 5

$50 $70 Save $20

5 Zagg Gear4 London

This is one of the only non-MagSafe cases on the list this year because it’s simply irresistable. This fabric case from Gear4 has a grippy pattern 3D printed across the back, and it feels addictively good. The mixture of the woven material and thin lines of soft-touch plastic make for excellent grip without being too tacky and sticking to the edges the way that dbrand Grip Case we just mentioned does.

In addition to being cute AF, this surprisingly sleek case sports a 13-foot drop protection rating, which is as much as most heavy-duty Galaxy S23 cases while being half the thickness. If Zagg had slipped a magnetic ring inside this case, my Galaxy S23 would’ve worn nothing else this year.

Gear4 London for Galaxy S23

Gear4 London for Galaxy S23

6 PopSockets PopGrip for MagSafe Round

PopSockets hopped on the MagSafe train back with the iPhone 12, but this year, it finally slimmed things down. Well, it got rid of the extra “stabilizing” magnet and the bottom pill portion, as a completely round grip on a completely round magnet doesn’t really need extra material. This was a marked improvement as the old pill-style MagSafe PopGrip could sometimes pry itself off your phone using the bottom tip of the base as a fulcrum point as you exerted force between the PopTop and the phone.

We also got a whole new array of colors — including translucent, pearly, solid, and glittery bases — and licensed combos, such as an understated Deathly Hallows model for Harry Potter and a trio of Gen 1 Pokemon. These kits also come with one of the best MagSafe adapters we saw this year. As an honorable mention, PopSockets collaborated with Anker on an Anker MagGo with PopGrip portable battery this summer, and hopefully, a Qi2 version of this extra-sleek charger will arrive next year.

PopSockets: PopGrip for MagSafe (Round)

PopSockets: PopGrip for MagSafe (Round)

7 Rokform Eagle 3

Rokform touts itself as making the “World’s Most Magnetic Cases,” and it honestly gets close to being too magnetic. The Eagle 3 is a sports case designed to stick to golf carts and not come off while you’re driving around the course or while filming your swing for training purposes. I never slapped it on a cart, but after sticking it to fridges, washing machines, my front door, and some metal shelves that almost fell over when I pulled it off, this case honestly scares me a little.

Even just getting MagSafe grips and stands off the back sometimes required shimmying an envelope underneath for more leverage to break the magnetic seal. However, if you normally stick your phone to the wall, your workbench, or other surfaces, the Eagle 3 is slimmer and better-looking than Rokform’s Rugged Case, and you will never have to worry about the magnets failing. If anything, you’ll maybe have to worry about this case pulling a magnetic mount out of the wall.

Rokform Eagle 3 for Galaxy S23

Rokform Eagle 3 for Galaxy S23

8 Most Awkward Case: Casetify Inside Out Series

Last month, JerryRig Everything YouTuber Zack Nelson and casemaker dbrand announced they were suing Casetify, a somewhat expensive case and accessory maker for ripping off their work for their “Inside Out” design series. The copied artwork still had many easter eggs and brand iconography from these brands — and iFixit as well — and while the lawyers are still going through the motions, the product images tell a clear, damning story that JerryRig made abundantly clear in this video.

Casetify recalled the cases in question, and the lawsuit is in progress, but the damage is done, and it will be a long, if not impossible, road for the brand to recover among mobile tech enthusiasts. I personally like(d) Casetify’s cases, even if it never brings any of the cool series — such as the Bounce Series or the new Impact Ring Stand — to Android. But there’s no worthwhile excuse for a company that regularly charges $70-$100 for a single case to have stolen graphics from other brands, especially this one.

Casetify is known for its Co-Lab cases with dozens of popular brands, from Barbie to Evangelion to phone manufacturer Nothing; in fact, that’s the primary draw of Casetify’s products to myself and many others. This company is built on licensing agreements, and it’s nearly unthinkable that it proceeded with these case designs without pursuing one. Even if this was a case of a contracted designer stealing work rather than an in-house employee — and we have no indication that was the case here — that these were not caught in a review stage is a company failure.

This article was produced in partnership with Supcase, but its contents were not shown to the company beforehand. All content is written independently and meets Android Police’s stringent editorial standards.

Sorry to end the list on that downer, but at least I can assure you we’ll be seeing better things in 2024 for Android cases and accessories. We’ll be seeing our first Qi2 Android phones in 2024 — it’s still unclear if that’ll be the Samsung Galaxy S24 or if another phone will take that honor — and we’re already seeing case makers rise to meet that challenge. The continued transition from Lightning to USB-C for previously iPhone-only accessories will also bring us better gimbal, chargers, and portable batteries, which we’ll be testing as soon as we can. Cheers!

No Comments

Comment on
There are no comments yet, but you can be the one to add the very first comment!

Comments