Here are our choices for the five best smartphone cases at CES 2016

Speck Pocket VR with CandyShell Case
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Taking over almost an entire section of the giant North Hall at CES 2016, smartphone case and accessory manufacturers had plenty to show off at the Las Vegas show. We spent some time walking round the huge booths, with the express intention of finding our favorite cases. The choice was gigantic, but we finally found the five we liked best, which are presented right here.

Here’s our pick of the phone cases shown off at CES 2016.

Speck Pocket VR with CandyShell Case

Mobile VR is a fun, cheap, and easy way to access the growing library of virtual reality apps, games, and media available for your smartphone. Except Google Cardboard, while great, isn’t exactly hard-wearing or easy to carry around. Speck has come up with Pocket VR, a combo package of its CandyShell Grip case and a neat foldable VR viewer.

The case is excellent, made to comply with military standards and provide real drop and shock protection for your phone. It’s the perfect partner for a phone that has to be held and moved around in front of your face, increasing the chances of an accident happening. The Pocket VR itself is really clever. Almost flat when folded up, it’s pulled apart to reveal the Cardboard-certified lenses, then the sides are clipped back to make the viewer, into which the phone is secured.

Despite the open body, the content displayed looks great, and the design is typical of Speck — it’s comfortable to hold, cool to look at, and of excellent quality. The Pocket VR pack will go on sale in the spring, and $70 will get you the viewer and the CandyShell Grip for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, or the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Incipio Performance Series

Cases in Incipio’s new Performance Series range come with five different levels of protection, allowing you to pick which one best suits your lifestyle. Rarely leave the office or house without your phone safely in a bag or pocket? The basic Level 1 or Level 2 case will probably suffice. Want a complete, all-encompassing tough case to protect against almost anything? The Level 5 case is the one to choose.

Each Performance Series case shares a similar design, but as you move up the series, they are increasingly built to withstand greater drops. The Level 1 will survive a 3-foot drop, Level 2 a 6-foot drop, and Level 3 — which also comes in a cool folio design — can handle a 9-foot fall. Levels 4 and 5 take on 14-foot and 16-foot drops, respectively, with ease. Available in a range of colors for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, Incipio’s Performance Series cases cost between $25 and $50, and can be ordered now.

Rhinoshield Crash Guard

Rhinoshield already produces bumper-style cases for the iPhone and the Galaxy S6, but it’s now adding another model to its range, this time for the new Nexus 6P. Almost the only case we saw for the Nexus 6P at CES 2016, the Crash Guard looks great, and fits the phone extremely well. Crash Guard’s innovative material used for the bumper should keep the big Huawei phone safe in most situations.

The company told us demand has been high for the Nexus 6P Crash Guard case, which goes on sale in mid-January, so getting in your pre-order could be wise if you don’t want to wait around. It’s priced at $25, comes in four colors (we liked the blue), and can also be purchased with protective layers for the front and rear of the phone.

Native Union Clic 360

Available since late summer, the classy Clic 360 is the perfect example of how to make a tough smartphone case that doesn’t look like a tough smartphone case. Inside is a ribbed 3D rubber mesh that uses the same shock absorption technology as Nike does for its shoes, and on the outside is a water-repellent, very durable waxed canvas panel inserted into the soft rubber body. The Native Union logo stitched onto the canvas finishes off the look.

Together, the Clic 360 meets military grade standards of protection, yet looks as stylish and attractive as one which barely protects against a stiff breeze. Produced for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, it’s sold in several colors (with the red and blue looking superb), for a very reasonable $30.

Dog & Bone Wetsuit Impact

One of the most impressive cases in terms of overall protection we tried out, the Wetsuit Impact brings together three desirable features — an IP68 waterproof rating, a glass impact barrier with a 9H hardness level, and a military standard case — into a single package it says is slimmer than any other available.

It looks great, particularly the eye-catching orange and black model, and will take on water, snow, dirt, and shocks with ease. The Wetsuit Impact will cost you $80, which isn’t cheap, but it’s doubtful you’ll find the same degree of protection in such a compact case elsewhere.

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