On New Year's Eve, a friend asked a question about my iPhone XS Max that I hadn't anticipated: "Wait, that's so pretty. Why do you hide it?" I had removed my basic, black-leather, Apple-made case from my XL-size phone, and after I considered this question, I didn't want to put the case back on.
So I hit Apple's online store to see if the company makes clear cases for the XS Max. It does not: Only the bright, colorfulXR iPhones get Apple-produced transparent cases. And while clear cases make sense for the XR — that banana yellow and coral orange shouldn't be hidden — I wondered why Apple left its pricier handsets in the cold.
I then poked around on Amazon, looking for clear iPhone cases and trying to see which was best, since we hadn't named one supreme yet. Ultimately, I stopped out of frustration over a lack of product reviews that mentioned how the cases felt to touch, because that was a key factor for why I bought the $49 black-leather Apple case.
And then, my salvation came at the Tom's Guide office. During a morning meeting, I noticed that senior writer Caitlin McGarry, who's constantly provided life-saving advice, was rocking a slim, clear case on her iPhone XS: Spigen's Case Ultra Hybrid.
I asked if I could see it, and when my colleague handed her phone to me, I was seriously, instantly impressed. First off, it feels good. Secondly, the case's clear back provided an excellent window to the iPhone's lovely back.
And while I would love it if the iPhone's gold metallic frame were a little more visible, there's no way that hue wouldn't get obscured given how light bounces around the curved case's sides.
Lastly, and most importantly for day-to-day usage, the Spigen case's volume and lock buttons felt really snappy and easy to click. Too often, case makers leave us with mushy buttons, an issue I see on every case my parents have ever bought at the AT&T store. (I always tell them not to, but they never remember.) Those buttons make clicking a pain.
My decision got even easier when I found out that the iPhone XS Max version of the Case Ultra Hybrid was only $13 on Amazon. (The XS version costs a bit more right now, at $20, but Caitlin found it for $12 at one point.) At that price, it was practically too small a risk not to take.
I got the case in the mail a couple days later, and ever since snapping it onto my iPhone without a hitch, I've never regretted my decision. The only issue, really, is that my colleague has one more thing to list in the ways she's fixed my life.
Credit: Tom's Guide