We’ve been waiting a long time for a follow-up to 2016’s iPhone SE, and this year it finally arrived. The new iPhone SE is just as desirable a budget smartphone as the original iPhone SE, bringing a return to Touch ID and a classic design wrapped around a 4.7-inch display. It’s not as stylish as the latest iPhones, but since it uses the same A13 Bionic processor, it’s just as powerful — and it’s available at a snip of the price at $400.
While it’s only $400, it’s still a phone you want to keep safe, and the best way to do that is with a protective case. A good protective case can add as much (or as little) protection as you like, and can even add some new utility to your shiny new iPhone. Here are some of the best iPhone SE cases we’ve come across so far.
Catalyst Impact Protection Case
Catalyst’s Impact Protection cases provides — as its name suggests — excellent protection against impact and drops, rated for drops up to 9.9 feet (three meters). It’s not as bulky as you might expect, with raised bezels to prevent your screen ever touching down and an included wrist lanyard that reduces the risk of you dropping your phone in the first place. This case won’t interfere with wireless charging, and it has a handy rotating mute switch to mute your phone in seconds. Although it’s far from the cheapest option on our list, you’re paying for superior protection. It comes in black, blue and orange, army green, or coral.
Casely Power 2.0 Battery Case
The iPhone SE comes with a 1,821mAh battery, which isn’t going to last heavy users all day — so this case gives you the extra juice you need. Although it’s not clear just what size battery this case contains, reviews suggest it’s powerful enough to fully charge your phone, and it will definitely boost you through to the end of the day if you’re caught short. It comes in a wide range of colors too, but we love the classic black with its green LEDs which let you know when the case is fully charged. You can charge it using your phone charger and it’s wireless charging compatible too. It’s expensive, but battery cases always are — and the convenient extra battery life is totally worth it.
Otterbox Symmetry Series Case
OtterBox is no stranger when it comes to protection, and we love the Symmetry series, which comes in black, clear, or — our favorite — the Muted Waters variation, a pale blue with soft pink detailing. It’s a good looking case that also absorbs shock and protects against drops and scratches thanks to its dual-layer construction. Raised edges go a long way towards keeping your screen safe, and all OtterBox cases come with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s super slim too — in fact, it’s one of the slimmest cases you’ll find that offers this level of protection.
Olixar Genuine Leather Wallet Case
The classic styling and genuine leather of this wallet case speak for itself — if you’re going to pick up a wallet case, make it this one from Olixar. Sturdy, yet made from surprisingly soft real leather, it has three credit card slots, a separate slot for ID, and a handy additional pocket for cash or documents. The interior shell holds your iPhone securely, with a magnetic closure, and the case folds back into a kickstand for hands-free Netflix sessions. What more could you ask for?
Tech21 Pure Shimmer Case
You don’t have to sacrifice style for protection, as this case from Tech21 shows. Its ultra-slim profile provides an impressive 10 feet (three meters) of drop protection, all wrapped up in a gorgeous iridescent case. A self-healing finish protects against minor scratches and knocks, so this case will stay looking as beautiful as the day you bought it for longer.
Spigen Liquid Crystal Case
The iPhone SE is based on the iPhone 8‘s design, so it’s definitely a little older-looking than most phones — but that doesn’t mean you want to hide it away from the world. Spigen’s Liquid Crystal means you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for protection. It’s made from completely clear TPU that allows Apple’s design to shine through, while the shock-absorbent TPU adds protection against minor shocks, scratches, and dirt. If you want stronger protection, you’ll have to invest in something heftier, but for this level of slim protection, you can’t go wrong with Spigen’s Liquid Crystal case.
UAG Biodegradable Outback Case
Apple has been taking great strides to provide a more sustainably-sourced iPhone, so it makes sense to complement those efforts with a biodegradable and compostable phone case. UAG’s Outback series is 100% compostable, made from materials that will naturally break down when composted. That doesn’t mean you’re getting sub-standard protection, though. The Outback series meets military drop standard MIL-SPEC (810G – 516.6), and it’s ergonomically engineered to feel good in the hand. However, it’s expensive for what it is, and it’s not exactly an attractive case. If you can look past that, this is a good choice for the sustainably-minded.
Official Apple Leather Case
Who knows the details of an iPhone better than Apple itself? Apple’s official leather case is a thing of beauty — it’s made from specially tanned and finished European leather that feels soft and looks incredible. As it’s real leather, it’ll age over time, adding a new and unique style to every case. Machined aluminum buttons protect the sides of your phone, while the soft microfiber inside holds your phone close without the risk of scratches. It’s durable and should protect against all manner of everyday hazards. However, the case doesn’t protect the bottom of the phone, leaving that edge open to scratches.
Moshi SenseCover Portfolio Case
If not being able to quickly glance at your screen is the reason you avoid folio cases, Moshi’s SenseCover is the case for you. A scratch-resistant window on the front allows you to answer the phone and check the time without opening your case up. The case that holds your phone offers military-grade drop protection, while the front cover has been lined with microfiber to prevent scratches. It unfolds into a stand for easy video watching, and a magnetic clasp helps to keep it closed while in your bag or pocket. It comes in this vibrant pink color, but if that’s a little too bold for you, check out the Sahara Beige option instead.
Case-Mate Twinkle Case
The new iPhone SE is an attractive phone, but it could really use some glitter. Case-Mate’s Twinkle case is the case to grab if you’re looking to make a serious statement, with a twinkling, shimmering glitter that catches the light and changes at every angle. There’s brawn to back up the beauty, too, and Case-Mate is claiming it can resist drops up to 10 feet (three meters). Metallic buttons feel nice and protect the sides of your phone, and the flexible sides mean it’s easier to keep hold of your phone. While it may seem expensive at first glance, it’s more protective than you might think and adds a style perfect for anyone who wants to stand out.
Incipio DualPro Case
Incipio’s protective options are legendary, and the DualPro series shows why that is. The DualPro is a dual-layer case, which means it uses a combination of flexible TPU and hard polycarbonate in its construction. The soft inner core provides protection against drops and bumps, while the harder outer shell is perfect to prevent scratches and protect against blemishes and dirt. The outer shell has been treated with a soft touch material to stop it from slipping out of your hand. While protective, it’s not the most fashion-forward case on this list — though it is available in a more attractive red and black option. Be quick, as this case often sells out quickly.
BodyGuardz SlideVue Case
Better known for its strong glass screen protectors, BodyGuardz is worth checking out when you’re looking for a case. It’s probably immediately obvious why we’ve picked the SlideVue case, and that’s the sliding finger loop built into the back of the case. Just slide a finger into it during use, and your iPhone slipping from your hand will become a thing of the past. It also doubles as a kickstand. BodyGuardz hasn’t skimped on protection because of the loop, though, and the case’s shock-absorbing TPU has been bolstered with Unequal’s tech, which is used in shock-absorption gear for athletes. It’s sleek and slim and comes in a number of styles to match your needs.
- The best iPhone 11 Pro Max cases and covers
- The best iPhone 6S cases and covers
- The best iPhone XS Max cases and covers
- The best iPhone 11 Pro cases and covers
- The best protective iPhone cases for 2021