The Nexus 5 is the Google phone and one of our favorite phones on the market, due in large part to its cheap $350 price and quick updates. Whether your new Nexus is in-hand or you’re still trying to decide if you want to go with Bright Red, consider buying a case.
Updated on 5-28-2014 by Simon Hill: Added five new cases to the roundup from Tech21, Diztronic, Supcase, Seidio, and Fosmon.
Tech21 Impact Frame Case ($30)
The frosted, translucent back plate is made from unbreakable polycarbonate and there’s a frame of impact resistant material to absorb shock. It’s a fairly slim case that offers full access to all your controls and ports and there’s a raised bezel to offer some protection for the screen. You can still see the Nexus logo through the back and it’s fairly understated, but if you want to go even more muted than the red variety, pick black.
If you can’t stand fingerprints on your case or smudgy smears then opt for Diztronic’s matte back case. It’s a flexible case, so it’s easy to fit and it will absorb minor impacts. There are covers for the buttons, but they’re easy to press, and a small lip around the front of the frame helps protect the screen if your Nexus 5 should land face down. It’s a very basic case, but it’s decent for the money.
There are a few different color options here, but all of the cases provide the same mix of polycarbonate hard shell protection with a flexible TPU bumper to bear the brunt of drops. You can get them with a clear or opaque backing. The fit is good and the cut-outs are precise, but the button covers don’t offer any feedback, and the headphone port is tight, which could be a deal-breaker for some people.
Here’s a good folio style case for all-round protection. There’s a nice, durable case with a soft-touch finish that you slot your Nexus 5 into. It has a kickstand on the back held in place by a magnet so it won’t be popping out uninvited. There’s also a cover made of polyurethane with a soft microfiber lining on the inside to keep your screen looking perfect. There’s a small slot in there for a credit card or ID, and it works with the sleep/wake function, so the Nexus 5 bursts into life when you open it.
You get a lot for your money with this case. There’s an inner silicone layer, a polycarbonate exoskeleton, and a holster with a belt clip that rotates 180 degrees. You’ll also find a kickstand on the back for propping your Nexus 5 in landscape view and watching a video. You can’t expect the best quality at this price, and it certainly isn’t the best looking case around, but if you specifically want a holster, belt clip, and kickstand then this is your cheapest option.
Trident Aegis Case ($35)
Specializing in rugged cases, Trident lives up to military standards for vibration and drop protection. The Aegis is the classic silicone inner with an outer polycarbonate shell. All controls and ports are protected, there are dust filters for the speaker and microphone, and the case comes with a screen protector. It improves grip and won’t skid around when placed down. The outer shell comes in various colors to contrast with the black inner. Surprisingly, it’s also degradable and compostable.
Here’s an understated, minimalist design to match your Nexus 5. Inside there’s a silicone case that completely covers the phone and protects those porcelain buttons, some people find them sharp so this could be just the tonic. On top of the soft silicone there’s a tough polycarbonate shell. The fit is good, the cut-outs are precise, and it provides solid protection without a lot of bulk. It doesn’t improve grip, so if that’s important to you, keep looking.
If you want to add a touch of style to the Nexus 5, then you might consider wrapping it in brushed aluminum. This Incipio case is a hard plastic frame, that’s translucent at the sides, with an aluminum back panel. It’s slim and it snaps on, offering full access thanks to a full complement of precision cut-outs. Incipio promises no reception or NFC interference, and wireless charging should work with the case on too.
This case is all about drop protection and it covers your Nexus 5 from any angle. The corners are toughened to bear the brunt of any impact and the raised lip on the front protects the screen. You also get a screen protector with the case. There are covers for all the buttons and ports. You also get a holster with a belt clip. Your Nexus 5 is safe from falls of up to 7 feet when it’s in this case.
With Slickwraps you can create a whole new look for your Nexus 5 without adding any bulk. They are basically decals that you have to carefully stick on to your phone. There are various different looks including carbon, glow in the dark, leather, metal, wood, plain color, and glitz. You’ll get a little bit of protection from scratches and scuffs, but you might still want to consider a bumper case if drops are a concern.
When you’re selling a phone like the Nexus 5 for $350, it seems counterintuitive to charge $50 for a case, but this official LG offering does deliver all-round protection and a snug fit. It’s a slim case in black or white, and it features a front cover that protects the screen and automatically wakes your phone when you open it. Wireless charging works with it on.
Cheap and cheerful, these cases come in 11, slightly translucent, varieties; all adorned with Andy the Android on the back. They’re made of malleable TPU and they’ll provide basic protection. You can choose from a couple of different designs at the same price point on the Cruzerlite website.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case ($25)
This blend of bumper and case has a clear back panel to show off the Nexus 5 design, surrounded by a black frame that provides some extra grip. Toughened corners safeguard it against drops and you can probably guess what the scratch-prevention coating does. This is a solid blend of TPU and polycarbonate that should keep your phone in good condition without spoiling the aesthetic.
Rearth Ringke Slim Case ($10)
Supermodel skinny, with a full range of cut-outs, and a minimalist design that aims to avoid cramping the Nexus 5’s natural style, this fairly cheap offering from Rearth could be what you’re looking for. It’s very light, comes in black or white, and you’ll barely know it’s there at all. There are raised corners to protect the screen when it lies face down and it has a soft touch coating.
Boxwave Blackout Case ($13)
Here’s a decent TPU case with a matte finish back and glossy accents to give it a little style. It’s very slim, but you’ll enjoy protection against bumps and scratches without it impeding your access to controls and features. It definitely adds a little extra grip, and it won’t pick up fingerprints.
You can get a plain TPU case from Caseology or opt for the faux leather (polyurethane) outer layer, which is available in a few different colors. It’s a durable case that’s svelte and feels comfortable to hold. The cut-outs are not perfect, but they’re not a major problem, and the price certainly won’t be giving you a headache.
If you’re seeking something chunky that will allow you to turn butterfingers with impunity and keep your Nexus 5 in pristine condition, then this is worth a look. There’s an inner TPU for shock absorption and outer polycarbonate for general indestructibility. It’s bulky, but you can still access the ports, and there’s a handy wee kickstand on the back.
Poetic Slimbook Case ($15)
You’ll generally find this heavily discounted from the RRP (it’s currently $3 on Amazon, which is a steal). It’s a fake leather folio style case that offers all round protection for your Nexus 5. It’s light and it features magnets, but they aren’t very strong, so it may occasionally pop open when you’d rather it didn’t. There are slots for cards inside and a soft lining.
Armourdillo Hybrid Protective Case ($17.50)
This is another rugged option that has a chunky, non-slip textured finish. The flexible silicone interior can withstand shocks and the polycarbonate shell stops anything damaging the exterior. It’s got precision cut-outs, a nifty flip-out kickstand, and it supports wireless charging. You’ve got a few color options to offset the black including red, purple, and blue.
We’ll finish off with Google’s official offering which is this dual layer bumper case that combines a soft rubber lining with a hard shell. You can get it in classic black, soft grey, or bright-as-the-sun red or yellow. It is definitely pricey, but it will fit perfectly and it won’t block anything, including wireless charging.
That’s all the Nexus 5 cases and covers we have right now, but check back later for updates, or suggest your own favorites in the comments.
Updated on 2-07-2014 by Simon Hill: Added five new cases to the roundup from Trident, Acase, Incipio, Ballistic, and Slickwraps.