Urban Armor Gear Monarch lives up to the name, providing a quality sleeve-style case for your iPhone 6s plus and 7 plus.
It is amazing how many options are available to customize your smart device. Some may choose a fully enclosed case like the Otterbox, Catalyst or Lifeproof. Others may opt for a simple bezel cover made from silicone or plastic. Yet others may choose to leave their phone naked. Every time I see a naked iPhone, in a back pocket or thrown into a purse, I cringe. Why spend all of that money on a device and not protect it? Personally, I have always opted for the fully enclosed case with included screen protector. UAG has drastically changed my opinion on case type with its case covers.
I have received the Monarch case from UAG, Urban Armor Gear. The case is presented in attractive retail packaging. The front provides a clear visual of the case, resting behind tinted clear plastic. I really enjoy this form of packaging, as it allows you to directly visualize the product. The dark tinting was rather ingenious, enhancing the dark coloration of the case. The title UAG is displayed in dark gray across the top and MONARCH is listed in white along the bottom right. The back of the package provides a visual image of the case and breaks down the construction/layers. The outer layer is a dark gray metallic armor frame. Beneath this layer is an odor free “top grain” leather layer. The third, deeper, layer is an unseen polycarbonate shear plate. In three of the corners, you will find alloy screws, which serve to hold the layers together. The sides of the case are made of impact resistant rubber, providing a beehive/honeycombed appearance. The dark silver metallic armor overlay provides an amazing contrast to the other layers. The leather and honeycombed rubber enhance the visual and tactile feel of the case, through the variety of textures. The silver UAG logo is clearly displayed in the middle of the case. The silver on dark gray on black coloration is very appealing. The overall feel of the case is rugged, tactical and feels very secure.
I am not certain where the name originated. The word monarch makes you think King, Emperor, Leader, etc. Is this supposed to be the king of cases? If so, I would expect it to be the Highlander-of-cases, the one to rule them all. I am not certain if I like that the case accommodates both the iPhone 6s plus and the iPhone 7. I want my case to be designed for my phone and not to solely work with my phone. I understand the reasoning, however. The iPhone 7 plus is not as ubiquitous as the 6s plus. By allowing coverage for both devices, the potential sales are drastically increased.
Although the phones are identical in size/dimension, they have some differences. Apple has removed the 3.5mm jack from the iPhone 7 plus, opting for stereo speakers, which are amazing. The other glaring difference is found in the camera. The iPhone 7 plus has dual 12MP cameras with a wide angle and a telephoto lens and a Quad-LED flash. This requires a larger opening in the case. This feature favors the 7 plus, leaving roughly 1/4 inch along the back of the iPhone 6s plus unprotected. This extra opening could lead to dust/debris getting into the case, which may scratch your phone. The case will accommodate the new camera features as well as the old features. The bottom of the case has cutouts for the new stereo speakers, yet leaves a larger circular opening for the 6s plus 3.5mm jack. I feel that this could have been better designed by adding symmetry to both of the cutouts. Having no 3.5mm jack, the extra cutout space is a minor eyesore.
The inside backing of the case (the part that rests against your phone), has a hard plastic honeycombed feel. There is a black rubberized UAG, which is mildly elevated above the plastic backing. This lifts your phone, just enough, to maintain the tight feel of the case. The alloy metal screws are recessed, which did not scratch my iPhone 7 plus in jet black. There is a 7/16” by 1/4” cutout for the sound on/off toggle. It has plastic buttons for the volume up and down and the power button as well. The phone fits into the rubberized sides very securely and really had no wobble. Having the new jet black color, I am worried about scratching and any open port is a potential future scratch. I noticed that the rubber edges were also slightly elevated and provided enough lift to hold the case securely. The quality really does feel quite secure. Although I will not personally test the drop rating, the device has been found to be twice the military standard.
The case is quite lightweight, weighing 1.8 ounces. It measures 3 3/16″ wide by 6 7/16″ tall by 1/2″ thick. Neither the weight nor the case adds that much heft to the phone. My biggest complaint is that there is no screen protection, nor is there an included method to carry the phone. The case quality is top notch, adding very little weight to the native phone. You have full access to the features of the iPhone 6s plus and the iPhone 7. This case would work well with a Zagg shield or similar screen protector. If you are a fan of the coloration of the phone, this case may not be the best choice for you. You can pocket carry the device or place it into a purse or satchel. You can rest comfortably knowing that the bezel and back of the phone are protected. However, I would caution screen scratches, if utilizing this form of protection.
I would rate the case at 4/5 stars based on the build quality, lightweight status, and the overall feel. I have utilized the case for about 1 week and I have not had any scratches on my phone. The ports are easily accessible, charging is easy with a good open lightning port. I do not know that I would call this the King of cases, but UAG really knows their craft.
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