If there is one thing the world isn’t short of, it is iPhone cases. They come in all shapes, sizes, types, and materials, from manufacturers across the world. As anyone who has dropped their iPhone and busted the screen (which is most of us) can tell you, it is a hard world out there with a naked or barely-covered device. As such, those cases with heavy duty drop protection have always been a popular choice for many. Unfortunately, the cases that provide the highest degree of protection tend to add a lot of bulk and completely obscure the look of the iPhone. While there is certainly a place for these cases and there are many lines of work and types of play where they are absolutely necessary, they tend to viewed as the only options to protect an iPhone from drops.
However, there are accessory manufacturers who are working to provide more varied levels of protection, as well as balancing the need for protection with the aesthetics of the device. One such manufacturer is Urban Armor Gear, otherwise known as UAG. They have developed an extensive lineup of cases with Military Standard 810G drop protection, with models to fit iPhones from the 5/5S/SE to the 7 Plus, as well as all current models of iPad, several versions of the MacBook, and several models of Android phones. Their cases have a great industrial aesthetic that fits the function perfectly. I have owned a couple of UAG cases for previous models of iPhones, and I really liked the balance of protection and good looks. However, their Plasma Series brings a fresh, new element to their typical design.
The Plasma Series brings elements that we are used to from UAG, such as three-layer construction and military spec drop protection, but it also features a slim and light profile that almost seems at odds with this level of protection. The Plasma Series also shakes things up even more with a translucent back that shows off the look of the iPhone in a way that few cases that tout superior drop protection can match.
I chose the clear Ice model, as it beautifully pairs with the look of my Rose Gold iPhone 7 Plus.
The coolest element on the back of the case is the honeycomb look of the shock cushion layer. This layer is translucent, as well, so the Rose Gold color comes through in such a way that it looks like the honeycomb design is part of the iPhone. Several people who have handled my phone since I started testing this case noticed this design element and asked about it. It’s a small thing, but good design is about the small things. Combining form and function in a meaningful way like this gets an A in my book.
Another small, but interesting touch is the way that the translucent back actually wraps around to the sides.
I also like the fact that the Plasma case has a raised edge all the way around the screen for drop protection.
This can get in the way of use if it is too thick and close to the screen, and can be useless if it is too shallow to provide protection. Too much of a thick, raised edge can also interfere with screen protectors, if you prefer to use one like I do. The raised edge on the Plasma is squarely in the Goldilocks Zone for me- just right.
The other design element that stood out to me is the way the case fits and feels in the hand. This case is thinner and lighter than several I’ve used with my 7 Plus, which is an accomplishment with this level of drop protection. It also doesn’t add any unnecessary width to the Plus, which is important. This phone can be a challenge for some users to hold, and for most any of us to use with one hand. The design of this case doesn’t get in the way in this regard, which is worth noting.
The only critique that I have is that I wish that UAG has designed around the Apple logo on the back of the phone a little more.
The UAG logo design element on the back of the case cuts into the Apple logo, and just slightly into the “iPhone” labeling on the back of the device. Since they took the step of embracing the look of the phone, it would have been nice for them to go just that little bit further. However, this is pretty nit-picky on my part. Everything is still visible through the translucent back, and the combo of form and function is strong enough that this is just a minor critique.
The UAG Plasma Series cases for iPhone 7 Plus (the same model also works for the 6S and 6 Plus, as well) retails for $39.95. I feel like this is a fair price for a high-quality case with this level of drop protection. It is also less than what you would typically pay for a comparable new case from other protection-oriented manufacturers, such as Otterbox and Lifeproof. UAG’s Plasma doesn’t deliver the extreme protection that some other cases do, but it does provide an excellent balance of protection, appealing looks, and price. For iPhone owners who don’t need that extreme level of protection on a day-to-day basis, this case is definitely one you should consider.
The UAG Plasma Series Ice case for iPhone 6/6S/7 Plus is available from UAG for $39.95 plus tax.
The Plasma Series Ice case was provided for review on iPad Insight by Urban Armor Gear (UAG). For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.