Expand the possibilities with the protective Monarch Series cocoon from UAG.

Despite the delayed release of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, case manufacturing companies were ready to prevent drops, scuffs, scratches, scrapes, dings, and dents.  By now, many are brand loyalists and rarely veer from their comfort.  Unfortunately, many of the big box stores showcase the same few select brands in store.  Yet, they provide limited access to fantastic devices online or in less trafficked in-store regions.  The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has decreased brick-and-Mortar traffic but has increased online sales.  Therefore, online reviews are even more important, as many may remain leery about going out/about. Without the ability to look at the device yourself, handle it, and read/enjoy the box art, what should you buy?  The Urban ARMOR GEAR company has been around since 2013 and provides attractive, functional, high-quality, cost-effective gear.  If you are looking for a new protective case for your shiny new iPhone, consider covering up with UAG. 

The Urban Armor Gear Monarch Series Case for iPhone 12 Pro Max arrived in a sleek, stylish, 4 5/8 inches wide by 7 7/8 inches tall by 1-inch thick hanging package.  Looking at the cover, I loved the frosted semi-opaque plastic window and the ability to visualize the case directly.  The bright-white UAG name was clearly visible along the top, while the Drop Tested orange and black, MIL-STD 810G-516G heptagon logo was found along the left, and a hexagonal TOP GRAIN LEATHER sticker was found along the right. These features added to the overall ambiance and were well placed about the cover panel.  Along the bottom of the panel, you will find a white sticker noting “Premium Protection Monarch Series Designed for New iPhone 6.7” 2020.” The right side panel listed UAG “Built to Go Further” in black/orange color, and the left side panel listed UAG “Rugged, Lightweight Drop-Tested Protection.”  You will find the same UAG slogan as the right-side panel along the top of the rear panel.  You will also find information about the product’s patent-pending status and ten-year warranty along the bottom of the panel.  However, the main focal point was the 4-inches tall by 3-inches wide image of the front/back of the UAG Monarch iPhone case and three written descriptors: Armor Frame, Premium Materials, 5 Layer Protection. 

To access the case, lift the small flap, and remove the 1.86-ounce case from the clear plastic tray.  The black leather/plastic case measured 6 1/2inches tall by 3 1/4 inches wide by 1/2inches thick.  The back surface had a precision 1 3/8 inches wide by 1 7/16 inches tall cutout for the camera and a raised bezel to protect the lens.  The plastic was built up over the textured leather backing and made six geographic shapes.  I loved that the edges along the back of the case were tapered and that the UAG logo was clearly etched into the rear surface.  Along each of the corners, save the camera cutout section, you will find a star-shaped screw design.  It appeared as if the company wanted to create a metallic look with their case.  If that was the goal, they successfully used that design aspect.  Turning to the side panels, I initially found some exciting features and a concern for a not so exciting one.  The right side had a generous 1/2 inches long by 1/8 inches tall volume toggle cutout and two 1/2 inches long by 1/8 inches tall volume buttons.  Each rubberized-button was attached at the center and edges and moved as a unit.  I was concerned that this would cause the buttons to feel a bit muddy.  I prefer individual buttons and an external volume toggle option/wheel to the cutout. 

Despite my concern for the buttons, I could not have been more wrong.  When fully installed, the case fits the iPhone 12 Pro max securely and efficiently.  The buttons molded to those of the iPhone and had an amazing click-feel.  To whoever designed the buttons, I give a tip of the hat because they did an extraordinary job.  The volume toggle slot was perfectly sized and easily accommodated my fingertip.  Additionally, when in hand, the hexagonal cutouts along the side of the case proved to be substantially more functional than just a visually appealing decision.  Looking to the left side panel, you will find the same hexagonal design as the right-side panel and a similar 15/16 inches long by 1/8 inches thick power button.  Again, the button had a nice click-feel and did not have a rubbery feel. 

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Along the lower aspect of the case, you will find a 17/32 inches wide by 9/32 inches tall lightning cutout and flanking 3/8 inches wide by 3/16 inches tall right-sided speaker cutout and 5/8 inches wide by 3/16 inches tall left-sided speaker cutout.  The top/bottom/side panels were connected by slightly enlarge corner cutouts, which created an octagonal shape.  The raised edges increased the protection while also decreasing pinpoint drop points to spread out the area of contact over a larger surface area.  The case’s inner surface provided additional protection with slightly raised hexagon sections that created a layer of air between the case and the phone.  With the phone installed, the combination weighed a total of 9.91 ounces.  To test the drop rating, I did drop the phone/case combo from a height of 2 feet onto the bottom, bottom corner, and the back.  I was pleased to find no damage/scratches/scuffs to the case, nor any damage to the phone itself.  The bezel stuck up above the iPhone screen plane and provided a degree of glancing scratch resistance.  Unfortunately, the phone’s sheer size may increase the odds that a glancing blow may actually strike the screen. Despite this concern, I carried my phone within the case for the past ten days and enjoyed the experience without any screen damage.

In summary, I loved the look/feel of the case and the grip-feel along the sides.  However, I missed having a wrist lanyard or some of their form of grip enhancement tool.  My favorite features of the case were the leather/plastic backing and the angled external corners.  The look/design gave off a dollop of nerdy Sci-Fi Nostalgia.  My only complaint was that the case nearly eliminated the beautiful color of the Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro Max.  Except around the camera cutout, the phone’s color was blocked by the tactical plastic/leather case.  Additionally, the case prevented wireless charging, which may be a major concern for some. Although not a deal-breaker, some may want a clear back to see the amazing new color and the ability to charge wirelessly. If you are searching for a protective, attractive, and functional case, then check out the UAG monarch series (also available in mallard, red, carbon fiber for those who want to spice it up further).  Protect that ~$1100 iPhone investment for as little as 16 cents per day.  

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