The best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases in 2021

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series of phones are now available to buy, and it’s a great time to get a case to protect your fancy new device. 

Cases are a subjective matter when it comes to style, and there’s a huge selection on the market. One thing that is objective, however, is the level of protection they offer.

With design and function in mind, there are a few key points we take into account when making our picks: We like more neutral cases without too many design elements, and we prefer to keep branding and logos to a minimum. We also like slimmer cases that still offer great protection and help keep the phones manageable in your hands. And finally, cases should not interfere with 5G signals or wireless charging.

I’ve been covering smartphones and accessories for six years. Based on my expertise in this category and my personal experience with similar models on previous phones, I’ve researched and selected the best cases for the new S21 lineup. We also aim to test these cases on the phones as they become available.

Here are the best cases for Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series:

The best case overall

samsung Galaxy S21 5G Silicone Cover

Samsung’s Silicone Cover offers the best overall balance of design, comfort, price, protection, and material for the Galaxy S21 series. 

Pros: Inexpensive, simple and elegant, comfortable, good protection, slim, silicone feels premium, flattens camera module against back of the case, raised edge for screen protection

Cons: Not for maximum protection, lack of color choices, may not protect camera lenses as well as others on this list

The Samsung Silicone Cover is a simple and elegant case made of silicone with a smooth matte texture that covers the edges, back, and camera modules of the phones. One of the best things about the Samsung Silicone Cover is that it doesn’t add much bulk to the phone while offering a decent amount of protection against drops.

It also features slightly raised edges to protect the screen when laying down on a flat surface. It’s available in black, gray, pink, and violet. 

In addition to being our top pick overall, this model is also a good alternative to our pick for best slim case if buyers are looking for another option. 

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S21 Ultra

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The best case for protection

OtterBox Defender Series Pro for Samsung Galaxy S21

Otterbox’s Defender Series Pro series of cases are synonymous with rugged protection, and they’re the best option we’ve seen to protect your Galaxy S21 phone. 

Pros: Best protection, charging port cover, not an overly chunky design, antimicrobial coating, raised edges for screen, camera module sinks into case for protection, comes with a belt holster than can act as a stand 

Cons: Rather expensive, thick, lack of color options 

The Defender Series Pro for Galaxy S21 phones features heavy duty protection against drops, and includes a charging port cover to prevent dirt and dust from entering the device. It also includes an antimicrobial coating, combined with silver-based additives, to block microbial growth. To be clear, though a nice feature, Otterbox doesn’t specifically mention that the case deters viruses, like COVID-19. 

The Defender Pro Series also supports wireless charging, it doesn’t block 5G signals, and it features raised edges to protect the screen. The case flattens out the camera module on the back while it’s resting on a flat surface for protection. 

It’s available in black, dark blue, and a deep purple/pink combination.

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S21 Ultra

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The best case for grip

Speck Presidio2 Grip case

Speck’s Presidio2 Grip case for the Galaxy S21 series is a hardshell protective case with ridges throughout the sides and back for grip. 

Pros: Ridges add grip, still easy to take in and out of pockets, relatively slim, raised edges for screen protection, camera module sits flush against back, antimicrobial coating

Cons: Can be expensive without a deal, may not protect camera lenses as well as thicker cases, limited color options

I’ve personally been using the Presidio2 Grip for an iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is directly comparable to the Galaxy S21 version. One of the things I like about it is that it offers great grip in my hand, but its hard and smooth shell makes it easier to take the phone in and out of pockets than silicone cases. 

The Presidio2 Grip is also quite slim and features raised edges to protect the screen while laying down on a flat surface. The case’s thickness means the S21’s protruding camera module is flush against the case, which helps with wobbling when the phone is laying back-down on a flat surface. Despite the ridges, the Presidio2 Grip still supports wireless charging. 

It also includes an antimicrobial coating to prevent bacteria growth, but like the Otterbox, there’s no mention or claims against viruses. 

It’s available in a deep blue, gray, and black. 

S21+

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S21 Ultra

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The best leather case

samsung Galaxy S21 5G Leather Cover

Samsung’s own Leather Cover for Galaxy S21 phones is a slim genuine leather case that covers the back and camera module. 

Pros: Beautiful leather aesthetic, slim, covers camera module

Cons: Expensive, no raised edges for screen protection, may not protect camera lenses as well as thicker cases, limited color options

This Samsung case combines a leather design with a slim form factor. It’s great that it’s slim, but you should note that it doesn’t flatten out the protruding camera module against the back of the phone, and it’ll still wobble if you use the phone on a flat surface. 

Also note that it doesn’t have raised edges and won’t do as good a job as other cases here to protect the screen when the phone is laying down flat on a surface. 

Still, it’s a classy leather phone case that will fit the S21 series perfectly and offer decent protection against drops. It also supports wireless charging.

It’s available in black and brown leather. 

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The best slim case

Bare Naked case for Galaxy S21, S21 plus,S21 Ultra

Bare’s Naked case for Galaxy S21 is a hardshell case with a matte texture, and it doesn’t feature any branding, which we like.

Pros: Ultra-slim design, inexpensive, no branding or logos, lip for camera module for light camera lens protection

Cons: Not ideal for drops, no raised edge for screen protection, limited color choices

Bare’s Naked case is among the slimmest cases you can find for the S21, coming in at just 0.35mm thick. As an ultra-thin case, it’s not ideal for drop protection. Rather, it’s designed to protect your Galaxy S21 from scratches and lighter impacts.

It doesn’t have raised edges to protect the screen when laid down on a flat surface, but it does have a lip for the camera module, which means it’ll prevent scratches and scuffs on the camera lenses if you rest the phone on a smooth flat surface. 

It’s available in black or a frosted clear option.

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The best clear case

Spigen Liquid Crystal case for Galaxy S21

Spigen’s Liquid Crystal clear case for Galaxy S21 phones maintains a slim profile, and its flexible build means it can absorb shocks.

Pros: Slim design hides chunky look with port holes, inexpensive, covers power and volume buttons, includes camera module lip to protect lenses, raised edges for screen protection, little branding and logos

Cons: Clear cases risk yellowing over time 

We like the Spigen’s Liquid Crystal clear case for Galaxy S21 for its slim footprint and the fact that it covers the power and volume buttons, which helps reduce the chunky appearance that port holes can leave on certain thicker clear cases when looking directly at the screen. 

The case is made of flexible polyurethane that absorbs shocks, and it includes a lip for the camera module to protect the camera lenses when placed on a flat surface.

The Liquid Crystal by Spigen is also well priced on Amazon compared to its higher cost on Sprigen’s site. 

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The best case with built-in PopSocket

Galaxy S21 5G Otter + Pop Symmetry Series Case

The Otter+Pop Symmetry Series Case is built upon Otterbox’s tough and durable Symmetry series made of a mix of hard plastic and rubber. 

Pros: Tough and durable case, built-in PopSocket, PopTops can be easily switched out, compatible with PopSocket Car Vent Mount and Multi Surface Mount, raised edges for screen and camera protection, antimicrobial coating

Cons: Expensive, thicker case, may require removing PopTop for wireless charging, limited color options

The Otter+Pop Symmetry Series Case has raised edges for screen and camera protection. It also includes an antimicrobial coating and silver-based additives to block against microbial growth. But, again, there’s no claims here for virus protection. 

As the name implies, the Otter+Pop Symmetry case has a built-in genuine PopSocket, where the PopTops can be easily switched out by closing the PopSocket, pressing down, and twisting to release it from the case. The PopSocket itself sits flush against the back of the case when closed, so there’s no protrusion. 

It’s also compatible with PopSocket’s Car Vent Mount and PopSockets Multi-Surface Mount.

One complaint we have against this case is that you might need to remove the PopTop for wireless charging, which isn’t ideal and makes this a poor option if you like wireless charging. It’s available in teal and black. 

S21+

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Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 phones feature a new look, improved specs, and cheaper prices than last year’s models

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Samsung Galaxy S21 ***EMBARGO 1/14 10AM ET***
The Galaxy S21 Ultra (left), Galaxy S21 Plus (center), and Galaxy S21 (right).

  • Samsung launched its new Galaxy S21 flagship phones on January 14.
  • Prices start at $799.99 for the Galaxy S21, $999.99 for the Galaxy S21 Plus, and $1,199.99 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
  • They’re available for preorder today and will be widely available to buy starting January 29 from Samsung, online retailers, and carriers. 
  • The Galaxy S21 phones come with a fresh design, new specs, and camera improvements. 
  • See also: The best smartphones

Samsung announced its latest Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra flagship smartphones on January 14.

The new Galaxy S21 phones will be available to preorder from Samsung.com starting on January 14 at 11 a.m. ET, and ending on January 28. They’ll be widely available to buy starting on January 29 in carrier stores, online retailers, and Samsung.com.

Samsung Galaxy S21 price

The phones start at $799.99 for the Galaxy S21, $999.99 for the Galaxy S21 Plus, and $1,199.99 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Those are cheaper price tags than Samsung’s 2020 Galaxy S20 series, which are always welcome. Samsung says that the price difference can largely be attributed to maturing 5G technology. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus ***EMBARGO 1/14 10AM ET***
The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus have flat screens compared to the curved screens from previous generations.

As usual, Samsung has some incentives for preorders, which include $200 in Samsung credit and a free Galaxy SmartTag. Samsung and some carriers also have trade-in program that let you trade in your old phone to reduce the price of a Galaxy S21 device.

Samsung Galaxy S21 features

Samsung has overhauled its usual smartphone design for the new Galaxy S21 series, including flat screens for the S21 and S21 Plus compared to curved screens from previous models. The backs of the Galaxy S21 series are also getting the matte glass texture treatment compared to Samsung’s traditional clear glass.

And who could miss the fancy new camera module design that wraps around the top left corner of the Galaxy S21 phones? It’s a unique look compared to the usual plaques we often see on smartphone camera models, and it helps the Galaxy S21 series stand out among the crowd.

***EMBARGO 1/14 10AM ET*** Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus come in a variety of colors.

The Galaxy S21 series is getting the full 120Hz screen refresh rate treatment that’s largely expected on high-end phones these days, which makes for a smooth look and feel when navigating around Android and apps. Samsung also added a new Eye Comfort Shield feature to each S21 model that automatically adjusts the screen’s color temperature based on the time of day. The screen will have a brighter, cooler tone that transitions to a warmer tone as the day wears on.

And of course, the cameras got some attention, too. Save for the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s new quad-lens system, there’s nothing too remarkably different with the camera hardware itself, but Samsung added some new features that could prove handy for certain users. Namely, the new Director’s View shows you what each camera lens sees in small thumbnails and lets you switch between lenses while you’re recording video. There’s also a Vlogger View that records video with both the rear and front cameras at the same time.

***EMBARGO 1/14 10AM ET*** Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four camera lenses, and comes in two different colors.

The fourth lens in the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s quad-camera system is an extra 10x optical zoom lens that complements a 3x optical zoom lens. Having this variety of lenses should lead to better zoomed photos and a wider range of distances, while also enabling Samsung’s crazy 100x digital zoom, which is seeing several improvements as well.

Samsung also said that it’s improved the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s low-light photography capabilities by combining nine pixels into one to absorb more light. Unfortunately, this feature won’t be available on the S21 Plus or standard S21.

Also specific to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, is support for the S Pen stylus from Samsung’s Galaxy Note series. It’ll offer the same functionality as Note users get, and you can store the S Pen in a sleeve that comes with a special case.

And specific to the Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra will be ultra-wide-band (UWB) radios. The UWB radios will let users turn their phones into digital car keys to lock and unlock their cars.

***EMBARGO 1/14 10AM ET*** Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with S Pen
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is compatible with Samsung’s S Pen stylus with the same functionality as the company’s line of Note phones.

Galaxy S21 specs

Display: 6.2-inch flat 1080p (2,400 x 1,080) 48-120Hz AMOLED

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Memory and storage: 8GB RAM, 128GB/256GB storage

Rear cameras: 12-megapixel standard wide, 12-megapixel 120-degree ultra-wide, and 64-megapixel 3x hybrid zoom up to 30x digital zoom 

Selfie camera: 10-megapixel 

Battery: 4,000mAh

Water resistance: IP68

Connectivity: Sub6 (5G), mmWave (5G)

Galaxy S21 Plus specs

Display: 6.7-inch flat 1080p (2,400 x 1,080) 48-120Hz AMOLED

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Memory and storage: 8GB RAM, 128GB/256GB storage

Rear cameras: 12-megapixel standard wide, 12-megapixel 120-degree ultra-wide, and 64-megapixel 3x hybrid zoom up to 30x digital zoom 

Selfie camera: 10-megapixel 

Battery: 4,800mAh

Water resistance: IP68

Connectivity: Sub6 (5G), mmWave (5G), ultra-wide-band (UWB)

Galaxy S21 Ultra specs

Display: 6.8-inch curved 1440p (3,200 x 1,440) 10-120Hz AMOLED

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Memory and storage: 12GB RAM with 128GB/256GB storage; or 16GB RAM with 512GB storage

Rear cameras: 108-megapixel standard wide with phase detection, 12-megapixel 120-degree ultra-wide, 10-megapixel 3x optical zoom, and 10-megapixel 10x optical up to 100x digital zoom 

Selfie camera: 10-megapixel 

Battery: 5,000mAh

Water resistance: IP68

Connectivity: Sub6 (5G), mmWave (5G), WiFi 6E, ultra-wide-band (UWB)

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