Vanguard Series

It's only natural to want to protect your pricey new phone, but when that phone is the $1100 Note 10+, that urge is all but a requirement. Locking a phone this beautiful inside Fort Knox may seem like a crime, but I'd rather my phone be protected and intact than shattered on display.

Good heavy duty cases offer great protection, but great heavy-duty cases offer it while also adding functionality to your phone. Behold the Armadillotek Vanguard Series: a heavy-duty kickstand case that's more user-friendly than OtterBox while offering more robust drop protection at a lower price.

At a glance

Armadillotek Vanguard Series

Bottom line: Grab yourself a heavy-duty case that is as functional as it is secure. The fold-flat kickstand works great in landscape or portrait and doesn't interfere with wireless charging. This case is half the price of an Otterbox while offering better grip and easier assembly.

The Good

  • Superb protection and grip
  • Sturdy kickstand
  • Excellent value
  • Compatible with Qi charging

The Bad

  • Heavy-duty bulk
  • Could use better color options

Armadillotek Vanguard Series Note 10+ Case Heavy-duty handiness

Let's kick it

This super sturdy case consists of two layers: an inner frame that you snap the Note 10+ into face-first, and an outer shell that holds that frame in place and keeps the Note 10+ safe from drops, dings, and slips. While this is a fairly common makeup for heavy duty cases, it's far easier to get your Note 10+ in and out of this case than competitors like the OtterBox that feel like you're going to break your phone getting it free.

The dust flap on the bottom of the case covers the USB-C port — great if you work in areas with a lot of fine debris like sawdust or metal shavings — and the kickstand around back allows you to prop up your super-sized phone in landscape or portrait mode with ease. I use the Vanguard Series' kickstands a lot, since they can double as phone grips when I'm trekking around Walt Disney World playing AR games on the Note's unkillable battery.

Kickstand gripFront lookChevrons

Coming around to the sides of this case, we have one of my favorite features here. There are chevron grips on the sides of this case where there aren't button, and the buttons sit flush with them, giving the case a pleasant feel in the had that still allows you to know exactly where you hand is in relation to the buttons. It pairs with the tapering on the back to help the case not feel as tanklike as case this thick should.

Armadillotek Vanguard Series Note 10+ Case What could still improve

Bulky black

There's no denying that a heavy duty case is going to have some bulk to it, especially with a kickstand built flush into the back panel. Armadillotek wears it as well as it can with the Vanguard Series, but it's still going to feel too big and bulky for some people. The Vanguard Series for my S10 fit snugly in my shoulder holster, but the Note 10 version is just too big to slide in, so when I rock this case, my phone has to live in my backpack instead of my holster.

At launch, there were only three colors available for the Note 10+, but Armadillotek has finally added a few more options, including a two-tone Purple that I lovingly refer to as Wildberry. I wish more of these muted color palettes had migrated to Vanguard Series from the Urban Ranger, but I'm happy to have at least one color that's not black and doesn't look like it walked off a construction site.

Armadillotek Vanguard Series Note 10+ Case Should you buy it?

Protect your Note

If you have to rock a case that can withstand drops onto rocks or concrete, it's hard to do better than the Vanguard Series. This Texas-born case series has only been around for a couple of years, but it's made quite an impression in that time for its high quality and modest pricing.

4.5 out of 5

I tend towards more slim and sleek cases, but when I'm going to have a long day and I need a case that I know will protect the Note 10+ from anything and everything that gets thrown at it, Armadillotek's got my back. The Vanguard Series everything you could want in a heavy-duty kickstand case, especially now that some of the cooler colors are showing up.

Texas tough

Armadillotek Vanguard Series

A heavy duty case with a kick(stand)

Featuring mil-spec durability, a great vertical/landscape kickstand, and a variety of diverse colors to choose from, the Vanguard Series is better than Oterbox for half the price.

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