Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Protective Case Review: Tough, but is it worth the price?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Protective Case Review: Tough, but is it worth the price?

Congratulations on your Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra purchase! No smartphone is complete without a new case though, and as you can see from our Galaxy S21 Ultra case round-up, Samsung has quite a few options available for you. One of them is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Case, which looks to protect your flagship device well and gives you a stand to boot. But is it worth the full $40 price?

When holding the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Case, it certainly feels tough. With a rubber inner layer and a hard plastic back, it’s clear that this case is designed to absorb shocks, as well as protect from any blunt force that might happen on the back of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. When the phone isn’t within the case, I can flex the Rugged Protective Case slightly, but it doesn’t give away much to pressure. That’s good news, as the case isn’t very likely to slip off when you don’t want it to. If you put your phone in your back pocket and mistakenly sit on your Galaxy S21 Ultra from time to time (you really shouldn’t), you don’t need to worry about this case popping off as a result.

Samsung Rugged Protective Case Review

Of course, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is not a small phone whatsoever, so a case that adds a lot of bulk to an already big phone isn’t going to be ideal for a lot of people. Thankfully, the Rugged Protective Case is pretty slim, only adding a small amount of bulk to the sides of the S21 Ultra, and the textured rubber makes it a lot easier to hold the device, as well. Despite the slightly-added bulk, I find it much easier to hold the Galaxy S21 Ultra with the case on than without. I don’t have particularly big hands, and holding the phone with the case didn’t feel uncomfortable.

 

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Case also does a really good job of protecting the camera lenses. Most cases will just feature a simple cutout and not bother to protect the lenses. But this case makes sure the lenses aren’t sticking out (like they do on the phone) by making the hard plastic completely flush, with cutouts for the lenses. So it’s less likely for your lenses to get damaged in any way, and your device won’t be resting on the lenses when you lay it down face up. It really feels like the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera is safe and secure in this case.

Samsung Rugged Protective Case back view

Rugged Case Close-up

We received the silver color Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Case for review, and despite it not really being my style, it looks pretty nice. However, I was worried about how easy scratches and damage would show on the bright metallic cover. My fingernail didn’t do any damage to the paint, which was not surprising–if paint chipped off that easily on a $40 product, that would be a big problem. My keys lightly brushing up against the case was also fine. Some moderate pressure with a key (something that’ll typically happen if both items are at the bottom of a purse or bag) did cause a bit of damage, leaving a small scratch showing the black plastic underneath.

Admittedly, the point of something like the Rugged Protective Case is to protect your Galaxy S21 Ultra against that sort of damage. But, if you’re having difficulty choosing between the silver and black colors of this case, I’d recommend going with the black color, as the silver does show any damage your case has, a lot easier than the black color probably will. Unless Samsung used a different color under the black Rugged Case, the scratches that take away the paint will be a lot less noticeable because they’ll be the same color.

Samsung Rugged Protective Case bottom view

Rugged Case Close-up

The Rugged Protective Case has one other important feature to talk about though, and that’s the stands on the back. This case features two stands that allow you to prop your Galaxy S21 Ultra up sideways, at a 45-degree and 60-degree angle. These stands only work in landscape mode though, so if you’re looking for something that can hold your phone up in portrait mode, this case is unfortunately not for you.

However, when you flip the stands up, it’s easy to notice that they’re a bit flimsy. When testing the stands in landscape mode, I jostled the Galaxy S21 Ultra a bit, as if I was poking around in an app, only to have the longer of the two stands pop right off from the pressure! The stand wasn’t exactly broken, and I was able to pop it back in, but for a case where one of the features is having a stand, having it pop off from just a few finger pokes on the device is not ideal at all. If I can’t skip an episode of a show I may be watching with the phone propped up without the risk of it breaking, what’s the point of the stand at all?

Samsung Rugged Protective Case side view

Rugged Case Close-up

This Rugged Protective Case definitely feels tough, for the most part. Given the rubber and hard plastic protective layers, this case will definitely protect your expensive new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra from the shocks and falls that’ll happen with an average user. But at the end of the day, this case is $40. I can’t really recommend this case at the full MSRP, especially when the stand popped off so easily. There are many Galaxy S21 Ultra cases on the market that can provide this same level of protection and a sturdier stand for a fraction of the price. Their stands can probably work in portrait mode, too.

There’s no denying the official Samsung name though, and there are many ways to save on official Samsung accessories. If you have the ability to knock down the price a bit, then the Rugged Case becomes a lot more palatable. I’d still recommend going with a different Samsung case though, unless the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Case is the only one that ticks all the boxes.

If, after all this, you’re still interested in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Case, you can pick it up from the Samsung Store!

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rugged Protective Case
    If you're looking for an official Samsung branded case that should protect from the shocks and falls you'll suffer from normal use.

About author

Elizabeth Henges
Elizabeth Henges

As XDA Developers' Deals Guru, I find all the best tech deals and pass the savings onto you. I've been a journalist since the early 2010s, covering gaming, tech, and e-commerce. If you have any deals you'd like to pass on, you can e-mail me at [email protected]