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Review of UAG Plyo, Plasma, and Monarch cases for S9

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by twister6, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
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    This is a Review of Urban Armor Gear (UAG) cases for Samsung Galaxy S9. Manufacturer website: UAG.

    Intro.

    It has been awhile since my last smartphone upgrade, thus a reason I slowed down with accessories reviews. While being a diehard Sammy fan, I’m not too crazy with the latest trends of non-removable (by user) batteries and wrapped around edge displays, but you can’t stop the progress. Plus, I feel that the only way to be Wowed by a new phone is if you take your time and skip a year or two to really feel a step up in performance and features.

    So here I’m, with a brand-new Galaxy S9, and the first thing I do is to get UAG cases, provided for review purpose by manufacturer. I said this many times in the past, while I have reviewed and compared a ton of cases from different manufacturers, I always go back to UAG because for my personal preference they strike a perfect balance between build quality, lightweight construction, cool looking design, and a peace of mind in protection which I have put to the test with many of the phones in our household.

    But unlike the original, more “traditional” Pathfinder design I use daily with all our previous Galaxy phones, this time I’m going to look at their slim’n’slick Plyo, semi-transparent pathfinder inspired Plasma, and luxurious bulletproof Monarch designs.

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    UAG – S9 Plyo.

    S9 Plyo case is by far their slimmest model which still meets military drop-test standards, features impact resistant armor frame, feather-light 34g composite construction, generous port openings, easy to press buttons with a nice tactile response, and full open display without obstructing touch area of the edges. The case is available in Ice, Ash, Crimson, and Glacier semi-translucent colors.

    The corners of the case are protected with air-soft material to cushion the impact and to lift the screen off the surface when placed down, or if it falls on a flat surface. The back and the sides are non-flexible for a better impact resistance, only the area around the buttons and at the bottom/top around the port cutouts is rubbery and more flexible to stretch when placing the phone inside. Once inside the case, phone is wrapped securely, without a worry of falling out.

    Obviously, it won’t offer the same level of protection as some other bulkier cases, but that’s a trade-off for having a very slim design. Also, it’s not exactly scratch resistant and a little slippery on the back, though the sides have a nice grip. The most important, it offers a scratch resistance and a grip improvement for your phone. Furthermore, the case can probably push on some screen protectors due to lip overlap. Screen protector compatibility, either film or glass, is the biggest challenge with any case for S9, and I’m afraid that some people might have to make a choice to either have a case or screen protector, but not both. I haven’t tested every screen protector combination yet, but based on some of the budget stuff I tried, it’s not exactly a clear cut, no pun intended.

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    UAG – S9 Plasma.

    I have tested Plasma case before, so already knew what to expect. It reminds me a lot of a classic Pathfinder design, except the shell is more semi-transparent. This case steps up in a level of protection with three layers, including armor shell, shock cushion, and impact resistant rubber. It comes in Ice, Ash, Cobalt, and Citron semi-transparent colors, has an impact and shock resistant design that meets military drop-test standards, still has a feather-light composite construction with fused PC armor shell, softer impact resistant core, and a raised rubber bumper with extra corner protection.

    The back has a more sculptured “industrial” design with infused rubbery sides and corners, scratch resistant skip pads for the back, and raised bumper corners to keep the screen from touching the surface when placed down. This case has a better grip than Plyo, and should offer a better drop protection, while it weights the same as 34g Plyo case. The design is more masculine, not as slick as Plyo. You still have large easy to push buttons with a tactile response, and the generous port openings at the top and the bottom.

    The rubber bumper sides/top grips the phone securely, and has an adequate cutout for an easy access to the touch screen, including curved edges. But like Plyo, the selection of screen protectors here could be trial’n’error since there is a possibility it could push on the sides of screen protector. This is another situation where you might consider using either case without screen protector or screen protector without a case.

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    UAG – S9 Monarch.

    Monarch is UAG’s premium luxury model which offers the ultimate protection with 5 layers, including armor frame, leather and carbon fiber, polycarbonate (PC) shear plate, alloy metal hardware, and impact resistant rubber. As a matter of fact, in comparison to other two cases, Monarch meets Double Military drop-test standard requirements, and it comes with 10-Year Warranty. Of course, I don’t think anybody is planning to use their S9 phone for 10 years, but the fact UAG offers 10 years warranty on this case means it was handcrafted and held to a higher standard with a confidence that it will last 10 years.

    Despite all these extra protection layer (all part of a single piece fused shell), the case weight is still only 44g, 10g more than Plyo and Plasma cases. The back features a top grain leather material and alloy metal hardware, with two available colors of Black and Crimson. Here, you will find a soft impact-resistant core and honeycomb traction grip. Still, large easy to press buttons with a tactile response, and generous open ports. Corner bumpers protect the case when dropped, plus raise the screen off the surface with placed down. The skip pads on the back give it a good friction from sliding off the smooth surface.

    One advantage of this case is a more generous opening of a rubber bumper which has a bigger cutout at the top and the sides, allowing to use different screen protectors without worrying of pushing on the sides.

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    Another surprise was being able to use wireless charging stand (Choetech upright multi-coil stand) which worked OK considering metal hardware on the back of the case. This is obviously not an issue with Plyo and Plasma cases since they only have PC material on the back. But it was great to be able to use S9 with Monarch case for wireless charging. The only thing here, due to a more generous cutout/opening, the phone is easier to get in and out of the case. S9 still feels secure inside, but it’s a lot easier to pull the rubber bumpers to remove the phone. Just keep in mind, if it gets loose over time, it’s covered under 10-Year warranty.

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    Conclusion.

    I know everybody is looking for one perfect smartphone case, but often it’s not easy to find because there is always a trade-off. If you want the slimmest one just to enhance the grip and to get scratch protection for the back of the phone, you will have to compromise on some drop protection. On the other hand, if you want to have the best protection, you will have to settle in on a heavier case that going to add more bulk to your phone. Thus, you will have to pick your priorities, and sometimes it will be impossible to settle on one single case, so you might end up with a few, depending on where and how you use it.

    For me personally, I’m very happy with Monarch case and can call it a day. Though with a little extra weight, it’s still a slim great looking premium case which offers a decent level of protection, full access to display and controls, and front opening large enough to accommodate most of the screen protectors. For others, such as my wife who also just got S9, Plasma is a more lightweight and slimmer option with a tougher protection while Plyo is great alternative to use with popsocket or any other stick-on stands which require a flat back surface. The bottom line, you can’t go wrong with either one.
     

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