Checking out Spigen’s iPhone 13 Pro case and accessory lineup
The Apple iPhone 13 series is destined to be popular till the next iteration comes around, possibly even beyond that, as Apple will likely sell it for a few years at a discount. For most people buying this phone, a case is going to be high up in purchase priority. We do have some recommendations for iPhone 13 cases, and one of the easy-to-recommend brands is Spigen. In this post, we’re checking out some of the most popular Spigen cases for the Apple iPhone 13 Pro to see how well they serve their purpose.
About this review: Spigen sent four of their Apple iPhone 13 Pro cases, an iPhone 13 case, and the MagSafe charger for review, while the rest of the cases and accessories were previously purchased by me for personal use. The company did not have any inputs into the content of this article.
I am Team No-Case predominantly, especially when it comes to reviewing phones. But every once in a while, I do need to make my own smartphone purchases. Or sometimes, the review device in hand just doesn’t feel that great on its own. With the new Apple iPhone 13 Pro, it was a case of both — it is a personal purchase that I need to keep in pristine condition for a year (so that I can get the best resale value on the phone when I jump onto the next one) and I detest the boxy design that digs into my palm every time I grip the phone for more than five minutes. The side frame also catches onto fingerprints and hand-oil stains, spoiling the otherwise premium look of this Apple flagship. A case just makes sense, so I went ahead with my long-time favorite, the Spigen Ultra Hybrid case. As someone who frequents the beach, I also needed a screen protector and I picked the Spigen EZ Fit Tempered Glass Screen Protector. I purchased both of these alongside the iPhone 13 Pro on day 1 of its India launch (September 24, 2021), so what you see in this article is how both of them have aged in the past 2+ months of regular use.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid (Crystal Clear) case for the iPhone 13 Pro
The reason I immediately went with the Spigen Ultra Hybrid for the iPhone 13 Pro is that I have been a long-time user of this lineup of cases. I’ve recently used it on the iPhone 12, the OnePlus 8 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra — all of which were personal purchases. I have accidentally dropped each one of them, but the device body has never taken damage through the case, though do note that I club the case with a screen protector too.
Just dropped the OnePlus 8 Pro from about 4 feet — banged sideways onto a wall and double bounced on the floor.
Buy a Spigen case guys
— Aamir Siddiqui (@aamirsidd94) November 5, 2020
With the Spigen Ultra Hybrid case for the iPhone 13 Pro, I expected to get more of the same protection, and so far, I have not been disappointed. In India, you can get cheap silicone cases and TPU cases for as low as ₹50 (~$0.67), so the ₹1,599 (~$21.5) price tag on this Spigen case might seem over the top. But for a phone as expensive as the iPhone 13 Pro, I really did not want to cheap out. I have had one ~3-foot drop and a few careless flicks onto the table so far, there has been no damage to the phone, so I am really glad that I stuck with this case.
The Spigen Ultra Hybrid lineup primarily uses a flexible TPU bumper merged with a stiff polycarbonate backplate. This combination means that the case does not flex or twist as ordinary silicone cases do. The case barely budges if you twist its top and bottom in different directions. What does intentionally flex is the TPU bumper, letting you slide your phone in with relative ease while still holding it firmly in place. The TPU bumper sides of the case are flat but not sharp, so you retain the overall shape of the iPhone 13 series. You do get fingerprints onto the case, and even dust is fairly visible — but that is to be expected with a glossy transparent case. Spigen has Matte variants in case you want fewer fingerprints to remain visible, but that comes with a frosted glass look.
The Crystal Clear in the name represents the lack of color on the bumper — Spigen has a few color variants you can opt for, if you want something to match your phone. The case also has what Spigen calls “Air Cushion Technology” — it’s essentially a pocket of air at the corners, meant to take in the pressure from any direct impacts on the corners. I do not know if this approach yields any benefit over not having any air cushions, but I’ve not damaged any phone that I have used the Ultra Hybrid on (but I do recognize that correlation is not equal to causation).
Other protective elements on the case include a raised lip for the camera island. The lip protrudes a fair bit, but so does the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera, and in effect, you get a very slight gap for protecting your camera lenses if you place the phone on its back. There are raised lips on the other three sides as well, so the phone rocks a little less (otherwise it would have rocked a whole lot more). You also get raised lips on the front, and they are just enough to keep your phone in place yet stay out of the way of your phone use.
Spigen has precise cutouts for the charging port, the speaker hole, and the alert slider. For the buttons, you get thinner cavities, letting you click the volume rocker and the power button easily.
Note, this case is not MagSafe compatible — as you can clearly see, there are no MagSafe magnets on the case itself. MagSafe accessories will still stick to the phone’s magnets, but the magnetic pull is very light and you can easily dislodge the accessory. You can wirelessly charge the iPhone through the case, but note that you will not get full charging speeds.
I do want to address the apparent yellowing on the case. If you notice, the TPU bumper on the case has yellowed a fair bit in my two months of use (see the first picture vs recent pictures). The yellowing is fairly normal on practically all clear TPU cases — when exposed to heat and sunlight, there is natural chemical degradation that causes it to yellow. There is no degradation in quality, though. The case does not look as pristine as it did on day 1, and you can notice the yellow much more when you have it in hand. But the color is much easier to ignore when the case is on your phone, especially since the polycarbonate back retains its clear color and it is just the bumper that is yellower. A workaround for this could be to get the color variants for the bumper, but I have not really been bothered enough by the gradual yellowing to choose a colored case.
The Spigen Ultra Hybrid case lineup is one of the safest choices of cases, with a great balance between protection, bulk, style, and utility. The back is polycarbonate, and the bumpers are TPU. While the case is not MagSafe compatible, you can charge the phone through the case.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid (White) MagSafe Compatible case for the iPhone 13 Pro
This is the same case as above, but now with MagSafe Compatibility. As you can see, there is a white ring and dropoff visible on the back of the case, and those are magnets. The MagSafe case allows you to use MagSafe accessories with your iPhone, without needing to remove the case. The magnet grip is as strong as it is with a naked iPhone, if not stronger. You can wirelessly charge the iPhone through the case and get full charging speeds.
If you run your finger on the back of the case, you will not feel the white ring strip. The ring is placed on the inner side of the case, and the texture change can be felt here. Spigen has variants with different colors for the magnet ring, and the White in the name refers to the color of the magnet ring. I could not spot any color variants for the TPU bumper, though.
One very small change is that the power button cutout is larger on this MagSafe case than on the non-MagSafe case. However, I do not notice any difference in clickability — they work just the same practically.
The Spigen Ultra Hybrid case lineup is one of the safest choices of cases, and this particular case has the added advantage of being MagSafe compatible, allowing you to use all MagSafe accessories with the iPhone while having the case on.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid S (Crystal Clear) case for the iPhone 13 Pro
This is the same case as the non-MagSafe case above, but now with a Stand. The stand opens up from about 30º to about 75º. Anything below the minimum pullout will snap the stand back shut. There are magnets on either side of the stand, so it does not flop around when in a resting position, making it easy to carry around in your pocket without worrying about the stand getting stuck when pulling the phone out.
The primary use case of this case is obviously for the stand and for keeping your iPhone 13 Pro propped on a table. You can place the phone in landscape or portrait, but the most confident stance is landscape as the iPhone 13 Pro is top-heavy and can tip backward.
Note, this case is not MagSafe compatible. You can wirelessly charge the iPhone through the case, but you will not get full charging speeds. The stand will also get in the way of the charger, so you would need a wireless charger that would be able to accommodate the stand in its resting position.
The Spigen Ultra Hybrid S is the same as the regular Ultra Hybrid case lineup, but with the added stand. The stand has a magnet to keep it securely shut, and you can place the phone in both portrait and landscape orientations.
Spigen Thin Fit (Navy Blue) case for the iPhone 13 Pro
As the name implies, the Spigen Thin Fit is a case that is meant for people who want a thin, lightweight, and not-bulky case. The focus here is scratch protection and adding some grip and non-slip coating, rather than drop protection. The case could possibly handle a drop or two, but I haven’t personally dropped the phone with this on yet.
Look closely, and you will spot that the Thin Fit does share build ideas with the Ultra Hybrid line. There is a polycarbonate backplate, but this one does extend halfway onto the side. The TPU bumper also exists, and it is soft to touch on this case. You get raised lips for the camera bump, and more for the display side. The cutouts stay precise, and the buttons remain easy to press — no complaints.
Commenting on the feel of the case, it stays true to its name. There’s next-to-no added bulk because of the case, while you still get the benefits of using a case. Yes, I don’t feel as confident dropping the iPhone with this case on as I would with the Ultra Hybrid on. But that is okay, as this case intentionally serves a different audience. The matte feel of the polycarbonate back also does not let any fingerprints show up, so you maintain a very clean look on the phone.
Note, this case is not MagSafe compatible. You can wirelessly charge the iPhone through the case, but you will not get full charging speeds.
The Spigen Thin Fit case is a case for people who dislike bulky cases. The case provides a decent base level of protection, without adding any weight or significant thickness to the phone.
Spigen Mag Armor case for the iPhone 13 Pro
I’ve used Spigen’s Rugged Armor cases in the past, but the Mag Armor is new for me. As the name would imply, the highlight of the Mag Armor case is the mix between great protection and MagSafe compatibility. Spigen asserts that it is their first case designed for MagSafe. From what I can see, the other Armor lineup cases such as Tough Armor and Slim Armor have had MagSafe compatibility added on, whereas MagSafe compatibility was a goal from the ground up for this case. Consequently, there is no non-MagSafe version of this case.
Let’s get the MagSafe bits out of the way first. There is nothing visible on the back of the phone, but on the inside, you do spot the obvious indications for the magnet ring. With this case, you can use MagSafe accessories with your iPhone, without needing to remove the case. The magnet grip is as strong as it is with a naked iPhone, if not stronger. You can wirelessly charge the iPhone through the case and get full charging speeds. Spigen does warn that the “case may show circular imprints from magnet charger compression over time“, but I haven’t had this happen in my two weeks of rotating use.
Moving on, the Mag Armor case is really well built, and I actually grew to like it more than the Ultra Hybrid. Most of the case is a TPU bumper and other TPU elements, but there is (what appears to be) half a polycarbonate backplate. Since the top and bottom are not covered by the plate, the case has a lot more flex to it. This case also has the Air Cushion technology on it. You also see the usual lips on the camera and front, precise cutouts for ports, and buttons that retain clickability.
There’s a variety of finishes on the exterior of the case. The back has this visible pattern on it, which hides fingerprints pretty well. The bottom and top of the bumper are soft and smooth, while the sides have a different feel that I can best describe as soft-sandstone (think OnePlus, but much softer and flatter). The case finally adds some curve to the boxy, flat sides of the iPhone 13 Pro, instantly making it much easier for me to hold the damn iPhone. Mind you, the curve is subtle, but the case softens the hard edges of the phone mid-frame just enough for me to not dread gripping this expensive rectangle of a phone.
Spigen Tough Armor Mag case
The Tough Armor Mag case that Spigen sent for review was mistakenly for the iPhone 13 and not the iPhone 13 Pro that I have. I’ve used Tough Armor cases in the past, but for obvious reasons, I could not use this particular case as it wouldn’t fit.
Nonetheless, the Tough Armor Mag case has all the usual hallmarks of a good case. It has the conventional flat edges that Spigen presents on this lineup, a hybrid TPU plus polycarbonate build, alongside MagSafe compatibility. There are pieces of foam in the middle for shock protection, but the total foam coverage is a lot lower on this MagSafe compatible case than it is on the non-MagSafe case. Note that the foam pieces are on the backplate only and not on the side frame, so the overall difference in practical utility between the MagSafe case and the non-MagSafe case may not be all that different from each other. On the regular non-MagSafe case, you also get color options for the backplate. However, you do get a circular cutout in the middle to show off the phone’s rear Apple logo on both variants of the case, which is something I did not expect to see on a case designed for maximum impact protection.
The Spigen Tough Armor Mag case is part of one of the most popular lineups from Spigen. You get a TPU-polycarbonate hybrid build as well as pockets of foam on the backplate. The Apple logo also remains visible on this opaque case.
Spigen Glastr EZ Fit Screen Protector for the iPhone 13 Pro
Before Spigen sent me one, I actually did purchase the very same Glastr EZ Fit Screen Protector on day 1 for my iPhone 13 Pro, the same as I did with the iPhone 12 too. I’ve used this screen protector line for the past year, and I have had no complaints about it.
For starters, you get two screen protectors in the pack. Each one comes set within its own tray that matches the silhouette of the phone. The tray is half the magic, as it facilitates a near-flawless application. You wipe the phone screen and set the phone down on a flat surface, remove the protective film from the screen protector within the tray, and then place the tray over the phone, where it will click and fit into place. Press down on the middle of the screen protector and you will see it sticking onto the phone screen. Remove the holder sticker from the tray and the screen protector will fully rest on the phone. You can then lift the tray and use the squeegee to remove any air bubbles.
The very first time I tried this screen protector, I actually messed up. I live in a rather dusty area, so despite my best efforts, a few specks of dust had managed to sneak in the application process, spoiling an otherwise perfect application. I had the screen protector applied for an hour like that before I decided to lift up the protector and remove the dust with cello-tape (I had already used up the dust removal stickers that were provided). Surprisingly, that worked and the same screen protector settled in perfectly after that. This application lasted for the entire duration of my iPhone 12 ownership, so it made sense for me to pick the same screen protector up for the iPhone 13 Pro as well.
What I like about the Spigen Glastr EZ Fit is that it is case-friendly and is compatible with all of Spigen’s cases. Presuming you got the tray alignment right (how can you not?), all the other cases that I tried in this review have been worn and removed (cycled through 10 days, and then again when writing this up) on an iPhone with the protector applied, without unsettling it. There’s a thin gap between the case and the screen protector, just enough tolerance to allow the two products to harmoniously coexist. The screen protector also has rounded edges, so it doesn’t feel sharp if you use it without a case.
Over a year of use, the screen protector took the brunt of scratches in my pockets but had otherwise survived through a few drops (with a Spigen case on). If you are using just the screen protector without any cases, there’s a probability that a phone drop will get you a crack or some chipping — but that’s the very purpose of the screen protector. It needs to take the major brunt of use without transferring any damage to your phone screen, which is much harder and expensive to replace. To that end, the Spigen Glastr EZ Fit held up well in my experience. I also have no complaints on other aspects such as clarity or smudge resistance — it performs as I’ve experienced other screen protectors perform. This is not the cheapest screen protector around, but I have been very happy with how it performs and would consider it an investment into an expensive phone rather than an expense. Note that I use the regular version of the screen protector which is clear and does not cover the front camera and the Face ID sensors, and Spigen also sells a “sensor protection” version that does cover those sensors as well as a “privacy” variant.
The Spigen Glastr EZ Fit Screen Protector is a case-friendly screen protector that is very easy to apply and does the job really well.
Spigen PowerArc ArcField Magnetic Wireless Charger
Spigen also sent along their ArcField Magnetic Wireless Charger. This is essentially a MagSafe charger equivalent, but cheaper at $25 than Apple’s $39 charger. Neither Apple nor Spigen include a charging brick with their product. The Spigen wireless charger has a USB Type-C end on one side, and the wireless charger puck on the other. It is an extremely light puck that gently snaps onto the MagSafe magnets on compatible iPhones like the iPhone 12 and 13 series. It maxes out at 7.5W output (Qi) for the iPhone 13 Pro, while the Apple charger maxes out at 15W — I wouldn’t call either number as “fast” for wireless charging, and you can blame Apple for the difference in numbers. Note that there are no grip surfaces underneath the charger, so it will slide around your table — that is an intentional design decision as the MagSafe puck chargers are meant to allow movement with the phone. The Spigen charger works through thin cases, but the general rule of thumb is that the more the distance between the charging coil on the phone and the charger, the slower it will charge. You can charge other devices with this too, but you’d still be restricted to 7.5W and you might not get any magnetic latching.
I’ve not been a fan of the Apple MagSafe charger, and the Spigen ArcField Magnetic Wireless Charger does not reinvent the category in any way. If you specifically need a MagSafe charging puck, you can consider getting one. But otherwise, there are better wireless chargers for the iPhone on the market.
The Spigen PowerArc ArcField Magnetic Wireless Charger is a MagSafe charger alternative. However, it suffers from the same design limitations as the official charger from Apple, and Apple does not allow full 15W charging from Qi chargers.
Spigen OneTap MagSafe Stand
The Spigen OneTap MagSafe Stand is a personal purchase and not part of Spigen’s review kit, and it has been the most surprising Spigen product for me. I didn’t realize how much I would like it, and it has now found a permanent spot on my desk.
As the name implies, the MagSafe Stand is a phone stand that relies on MagSafe to hold your iPhone in place. The phone snaps into place as you bring it close to the stand. You can place the phone in any orientation or angle as this is a MagSafe compatible stand. The head of the stand can be tilted all the way down till the head touches the stand, and almost all the way to the other side (but this causes imbalance). There are no other moving parts. There’s a slit in the stand to help you route a charging wire through. There’s also a magnet area on the back wherein you can stick a cable magnet that comes within the box (but was sadly missing on mine). The stand has rubber feet that felt like adhesive at first, but I later realized were not sticky, but grippy.
Why I really like the MagSafe Stand is because it does what it says on the box. The iPhone 13 Pro latches firmly onto it, and pulling it out takes deliberate effort, just the right amount you would expect on a stand. I’ve placed this next to my desktop, and combined with the phone’s FaceID, this lets me quickly read through the myriad notifications I receive in a day without needing to pick up my phone.
You can use the stand with non-MagSafe cases, but the magnetic grip is not very confident in such cases. Pair it with a MagSafe case, and it is strong enough for me to photograph the phone stuck on it 5 feet in the air. I am very happy with this stand, though now that I have it, I wished I had the one with wireless charging. Right now, to charge the phone, I need to route the wire and plug it normally, which is a bit inconvenient — wireless charging would have saved me the hassle entirely. There’s a $7 difference in the pricing between the two variants. I do consider phone stands a non-essential purchase, so you will have to decide if the $30 spend is worth the convenience to you, especially since you can’t place any other non-MagSafe product on this.
Spigen makes quality products, and this is another year where I have walked as a happy customer and a happy reviewer. A lot of cases and accessories you see in this review are personal purchases, and they were day 1 purchases because of the past goodwill that the brand has accumulated. Yes, some of the prices are on the expensive side, especially if you compare them with the sea of alternatives from lesser-known brands around the world. But I do not mind paying the small premium to get something I can and have truly depended on. Based on the product, it could be worth assessing if you would get the same value out of it as I did.
What are your thoughts on the above-mentioned cases from Spigen? Do you also have good (or bad) experiences with Spigen cases? Let us know in the comments below!