Which case should I buy for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?

We compare the major phone case brands and what they have to offer when it comes to keeping your shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 crack-free.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 has arrived. As we said in our review, it’s one of, if not the, best smartphone Samsung have ever brought to market. However, it’s also one of the most expensive - and you’d be crazy not to invest in a case to protect it.

There are too many case brands and manufacturers out there to compare them all. Nevertheless, we’ve brought together the major one to try them out for ourselves and compare what they can offer when it comes to keeping your shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 crack-free.

Otterbox Commuter

How much protection does it offer?

Otterbox’s Commuter Series of cases use a dual-layered design to cover the Samsung Galaxy Note8 with on-the-go protection through both a shock-absorbing slipcover and more-durable outer shell.

It promises to protect against both everyday bumps, as well lint and grime build-up. Otterbox say it carries their own Certified Drop+ Protection seal of approval. While the certification doesn’t actually translate to any specific in terms of meters or whatnot, Otterbox say this means it has survived 24 or more tests and 238 hours of rigorous testing.

They do note that, unlike some of Otterbox’s other cases, the Commuter won’t protect against water damage beyond the Note 8’s existing IP68 rating.

How does it look and how does it feel?

Generally speaking the Otterbox commuter is a pretty comfortable case to hold. However, it does infringe upon the slimmed down form-factor of the Note 8 to a pretty noticeable degree. Regardless of whether I held it in my hand or kept it in my pocket, the Note 8’s size and weight felt like more of a burden. Basically, the trade-off for the added protection is that you lose out on a lot of the gains that the device’s edge-to-edge display brings to form-factor.

What Colors Can I Get It In?

It comes in Black, Indigo and a pinkish Ballet.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, the Otterbox’s Commuter cases retail for AUD $64.95.

Does it come with a warranty?

Otterbox offer a 1 year warranty against defects in material or workmanship.

Tech21 Evo Check

How much protection does it offer?

The Evo Check boasts a three-layer protection system where the outer layer works to cushion the impact of a drop, the case’s skeleton frame then spreads out the kinetic energy before the inner FlexShock layer absorbs it.

All up, Tech21 say it provides up to three metres of drop protection and that they’ve drop tested our Evo Check cases 20 times in a bespoke impact testing machine to ensure it meets that standard.

How does it look and how does it feel?

Generally speaking, pretty nice. For the most part, it doesn't feel like cheap plastic to the touch, nor did it infringe on the sleek edges of the device itself too much. The difference between it and a naked Note 8 was noticable, but no so much as certain other cases.

We found that the Clear White model we used did contrast pretty harshly against the solid blacks of the Note 8’s AMOLED display when not in use, which didn’t always look great. However, opting for the Smokey Black option likely eases this aesthetic clash.

The partially-transparent back layer of the case means that you do still get at least a little bit of that Samsung style with the Evo Check. Unfortunately, not really enough to show off with. Likewise, we weren’t big fans of the softer, gel-like texture here. The buttons on the sides of the case also feel a little too resilient and you’ll have to regularly and consciously push down on them harder in order to hit the volume, power and Bixby buttons.

What Colors Can I Get It In?

The Evo Check case is available in Clear White and Smokey Black.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Tech21’s Evo Check case retail for AUD $54.95.

Does it come with a warranty?

Tech21 offer a lifetime guarantee against defects for their Evo Check cases, as long as you’re purchasing from an authorised retailer.

Pelican Adventurer

How much protection does it offer?

The Pelican Adventurer case offers up a two-layer protective design where the kinetic energy from drops is partially-deflected between a tougher outer layer, then absorbed by a softer inner layer.

Pelican say it’s been tested to Military Specifications MIL-STD 810G for 1.2 meters of drop protection.

How does it look and how does it feel?

Really nice. In fact, of all the Note 8 cases we tested as part of this comparison, this one probably felt like the snuggest fit for the form-factor of the Note 8. It adds a thin-yet-sturdy bezel to things that blends in nicely to sleek black curves of the phablet. The case also moulded to the Note 8’s buttons really well, preserving most of their natural clickiness.

Unfortunately, we did encounter a little bit of trouble with the ports at the bottom of the case. Pelican are touting 8 point protection for the headphone, USB-C and S-Pen ports here. However, a side effect of this was that it was actually a bit difficult to pop and pull the S-Pen out of the Note 8 due to the enclosure’s sizing.

What Colors Can I Get It In?

The Pelican Adventurer is available in black.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Australia’s Pelican Adventurer case retail for AUD $39.95.

Does it come with a warranty?

Yes. Pelican have thrown in their usual “You break it, we replace it” lifetime warranty for the case.  

Pelican Voyager

How much protection does it offer?

The Pelican Voyager case protects against impact, shock, dust and sharp-edged attacks to your Galaxy note 8 through four layers of protection. Rigid polycarbonate, energy-absorbing thermoplastic elastomers and polyurethane rubber disperse impact energy. Meanwhile, a scratch resistant coated screen protector works to protect the front of your phone.

Like the Adventurer, the Voyager has been tested to Military Specifications MIL-STD 810G for 1.2 meters of drop protection.

How does it look and how does it feel?

The Pelican Voyager is pretty much the brand’s most heavy-duty case on offer when it comes to the Galaxy Note 8. Unsurprisingly, it looks and feels the part. You (literally) need a point of leverage to snap the case open if your phone out of this and every corner of the package feels solid.

Pelican have even thrown in a holster and kickstand to sweeten the deal.

Unfortunately, if you’re a sucker for the aesthetics of the Note 8, you probably won’t come away too impressed. Any gains to form-factor from the edge-to-edge display are pretty much wiped out here by Pelican in pursuit of as much rugged durability as they can muster.

Still, if you want the best possible protection for your $1500 it’s definitely worth considering.

What Colors Can I Get It In?

The Voyager is only available in black.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Australia’s Pelican Adventurer case retail for AUD $59.95.

Does it come with a warranty?

Yes. Pelican have thrown in their usual “You break it, we replace it” lifetime warranty for the case.  

Which case should I buy for the Galaxy Note 8?

We spent a few days with the cases listed above and, based on that time, we’d likely lean towards recommending Tech21’s Evo Check cases. Landing at a strong price-point and offering up more meters of drop protection than other brands, it’s a solid choice - if protection is your priority.

That said, if you’re a sucker for aesthetics, Pelican’s Adventurer case might be worth more than just a look. It doesn’t offer quite the high level of drop resistance as the Evo Check but it does provide a pretty respectable amount, whilst also hitting a lower price point and maintaining the slim form-factor of the Note 8 itself.

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Tags Evo ClearNote 8Tech 21Otterbox CommuterPelican ProductsTech21OtterboxNote smartphonePelican Phone CasessamsungPelicanSamsung Galaxy Note 8Galaxy Note 8

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Fergus Halliday

Fergus Halliday

PC World
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