UAG Monarch Series Case: Rugged protection without the bulk (review)

The iPhone 8 resides in smartphone purgatory. It isn’t the newest model thanks to the release of the iPhone X. It also doesn’t differ much from the iPhone in terms of design. You might be wondering who would buy this model. I’m going to go on a limb and say anyone who bought the S version of any iPhone. The iPhone is basically an iPhone 7S with a glass back for wireless charging. I am one of those people who upgraded to an iPhone 8 Plus because I appreciate the processor upgrade and I didn’t want to deal with all the issues that people go through when they are the first to use the newest model.

That being said, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is a premium phone. You can expect a premium price tag in the ballpark of $129 and $149 to repair the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus respectively. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a solid phone case. When you drop your phone as much as me, you’re going to need a rugged case. When it comes to rugged, you got to go with Urban Armor Gear. I got my hands on the premium Monarch Series iPhone 8 Plus case. Here are my thoughts.

Design

The UAG Monarch Series comes in three different colors: platinum, graphite, and crimson. I got my hands on the crimson version and I couldn’t help but notice that this color really stands out. The Monarch case is engineered to give you maximum protection in a slim form factor. The thing about rugged cases such as LifeProof cases is that they are usually bulky. These cases do a fantastic job of protecting your phone but you’re pretty much carrying around a brick with you all day. Good luck fitting that if you wear slim fit jeans.

The Monarch series weighs only 1.4 ounces and is one of the thinnest rugged cases that I’ve come across. I reviewed the UAG Trooper Series recently and the Monarch is much, much slimmer. Wireless charging becomes an issue with thicker cases because of interference. The Monarch case is thin enough to be compatible with Apple Pay and wireless charging. The bulk is slightly larger than Apple’s silicone case that I frequently use. However, the silicone case is definitely geared towards aesthetics rather than maximum protection.

Slight lip to provide screen protection
Camera bump protection

UAG didn’t skimp at all on protection for the Monarch Series which makes it all the more impressive that it’s still so slim. The Monarch Series is constructed with five layers of protection formed from metal, top grain leather, polycarbonate, and impact-resistant rubber. The combination of these materials allows the case to exceed protection standards set by the military (MIL STD 810G 516.6). It’s also backed by a 10-year limited warranty which is much longer than you’ll have your phone for.

It’s impressive the level of detail that the UAG engineers put into the construction of this case. The corners on a phone are the most vulnerable to impact during a drop which is why there is extra protection around the corners. The inside of the case is made with a soft impact-resistant core to cushion the phone from any drops.

Impressions

The Monarch Series case feels extremely premium in the hand and it should be with a price tag of $59.95. This is around the ballpark of other premium cases that focus on maximum protection. However, I still can’t get over how thin this phone case is for the protection that it provides. I wear pretty tight jeans and I can still fit my iPhone 8 Plus with the Monarch case without any problems.

The cutouts on the case all fit my phone perfectly and give it nice tactile feedback so it’s clear when I press my volume rockers or power button. I hate when the button cutouts are mushy and you can’t tell if your presses are registering. The outer sides of the case are lined with a honeycomb traction grip which makes the phone easy to grip. This is especially important for a phone as big as the iPhone 8 Plus which is already pretty slippery due to the glass exterior.

Cutouts for speakers and Lightning port
Honeycomb traction grip

Protection is the main reason you would get this case. I’m pretty rough with my phone and drop it all the time from different heights. I drop my phone the most when I am pulling it out of my pocket. The Monarch Series has done a stellar job of protecting my fragile iPhone and the case still looks brand new. I’ve dropped it once from around ear level and there are still no signs of damage to the case or the phone. You can tell the Monarch case is built with quality materials and not the cheap plastic you see on most phone cases. The crimson metal provides a rigid frame which reinforces the exterior while the softer interior gives the case some flexibility for cushioning the impact of a drop. You can even see the screws that cut through the entire case to hold it together. You don’t see that kind of quality in most phone cases.

Overall

The Monarch Series Case for the iPhone 8 Plus is for people who want maximum protection without the bulk that most rugged phone cases have. UAG has always been known for its durability and this case is no different. You won’t find another case that is as light and slim as the Monarch case that offers military drop protection standards. It is definitely worth the $60 which is much cheaper than paying to repair your iPhone if it breaks.

The Monarch Series Case comes in three colors: Platinum, Graphite, and Crimson. You can purchase the case for $59.95 at Urban Armor Gear, Amazon, and Best Buy. Just remember that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus has the exact same dimensions as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus so you can use the case interchangeably.

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