When it comes to rugged phone cases, the likely first case maker to come to mind is Otterbox. The company has a wide variety of tough and rugged cases to choose from, including some that you wouldn’t expect to see. But for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Otterbox pulled out all of the stops, and we’ve had the chance to spend some time with the best options. Here are our opinions and favorites of the bunch.
Back in the old days, the standard Otterbox Defender was the de-facto choice for having the most protection on your phone. Now that has been supplanted by the Defender Pro, with its ability to withstand four times as many drops as the traditional military standard that you find in other cases. Otterbox also includes a holster that doubles as a kickstand for those times where you want to sit back and watch some YouTube or Netflix.
Since the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the largest and tallest phones on the market, it makes sense for you to want to grab a PopSocket and throw it on the back. But with the Otter Pop + Symmetry, you’ll be able to use both the PopSocket and have a case on your phone at the same time. The Symmetry case is one of the best options out there already, so including a built-in PopSocket is a no-brainer.
There aren’t too many folio wallet cases available for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, outside of the first-party cases from Samsung directly. The problem with those options, however, is that they aren’t exactly the most protective cases out there. Otterbox has remedied this with the Strada Via, a new folio case that includes a card slot on the inner flap, along with a magnetic latch to keep the folio closed when you’re not using your phone.
In years past, the Symmetry featured a two-piece construction, but Otterbox has ditched those ideas in favor of an all-in-one solution. The Symmetry sports a rather large cutout on the back around the camera hump, but that’s to help ensure that you won’t end up with any accidental scratches on any of the cameras here. The buttons are nice and tactile, and the case itself has a textured finish which helps to improve grip along with the TPU/Polycarbonate combination around the edges.
The Defender Pro is quite a formidable case for those who want as much rugged protection as possible. But the problem with that case is that it’s rather thick and bulky for some. That’s where the traditional Otterbox Defender comes in, providing almost the same amount of great protection, without all of the added bulk and weight. You’ll find a dual-layer design with a polycarbonate inner shell that you have to install your phone into, and then the outer TPU enclosure for added shock absorption. Just like the Defender Pro, Otterbox includes a belt clip for the standard Defender if that’s your kind of thing.
The Otterbox Commuter is the slimmest case out of the group, but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices protection just for the sake of being slimmer. There’s a dual-layer design here with a TPU inner shell providing the shock absorption and a polycarbonate outer shell to keep the TPU shell in place. Otterbox even added some cutouts on the backside of the case to help with the grip, while ensuring that your buttons are still accessible and tactile.