Samsung's all-glass smartphone design undeniably looks great and especially so for larger phones like the Note 8. But no matter what phone makers say about the ruggedness of Gorilla Glass 5, it still might crack or shatter if it takes a nasty fall. Even if you're careful not to drop your phone, microabrasions and scratches will likely appear over the course of day-to-day use without a case. If you lead an active life (or just know you're prone to dropping your phone), you should invest in a case for your Note 8 that's a bit more heavy-duty than your average case.
Feather light heavyweight protection
The UAG Plasma is a remarkably slim and lightweight case with a great amount of texture and ridges along the side edges and back to assist with in-hand grip. It has reinforced corners that'll take the brunt of any falls and also provide relief from your screen when you put your phone face down. It's also compatible with NFC and Qi wireless charging functionality.
Samsung's most rugged case
Samsung has delivered a simple and compelling design for its Note 8 rugged case that manages to incorporate a built-in kickstand. Branded with the Samsung logo on the back, this case adds much-appreciated texture to help with your grip, along with precise cutouts on the bottom for access to the headphone jack, charging port, and S Pen.
Spigen's Tough Armor case delivers rugged dual-layer protection you want with a matte finish on the outer shell and a kickstand that's always there when you need it. Shock-absorbing TPU around the top and corners will take the brunt of most drops while the polycarbonate shell around the back only adds 2.5mm of girth to the Note 8's thickness. The buttons along the side are covered and kept flush with the design of the case, although the power button was given some extra texture so you can always find it.
Thin is in
The Spigen Rugged Armor is a one-piece case that provides rugged protection due to the intelligent way that this case disperses the shock from impacts. The best features here are the reinforced corners and the simple matte finish that looks and feels great. Spigen does it all while keeping the case ultra-thin so that it doesn't add unnecessary bulk.
Keep your phone in view
Some people complain that rugged cases completely cover up the design of their phone and they'd rather see their beautiful phone and not some cheap plastic and rubber. To those people, I would recommend the Spigen Rugged Crystal, a clear case that still offers the heavy-duty protection you need to keep your Note 8 in pristine condition.
Protects front to back
The Unicorn Beetle case combines a polycarbonate shell with a flexible and shock-absorbing TPU inner sleeve for a truly rugged look. Supcase then goes an extra step further by including a built-in screen protector around the front to prevent scratches on your Note 8's display. It's beefy in the corners where it needs to be yet slim and sporty enough as to not turn your phone into a thick brick of plastic. It's also available in four color styles.
Belt clip convenience
The Encased Rugged Belt Case features a dual-layer design with an impact dispersion system that helps to keep your Note 8 out of harm's way even during the nastiest of drops. Encased includes a free belt clip that is also designed to protect from direct impacts and gives you easy access to your phone using a quick release system.
Extra fancy design
Zizo's cases sure stand out from the rest of the pack with sharp angles around the corners and all the ridges and textures on the backside. Whether you like the look of these cases or not is a matter of personal taste, but there's no denying that all those ridges will help with your grip. Even if it still manages to slip out of your hands, it should survive most drops. There's also a pop-out kickstand, which is always a handy feature.
The OtterBox Commuter Series balances its dual-layer design while maintaining a reasonably compact form for a rugged case. It's compatible with screen protectors and features a generous lip around the screen to protect the display from scuffs and scratches. Backed by OtterBox's limited lifetime warranty and quality customer service, you can buy with confidence.
Rugged does not mean bulky anymore
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In the conversations I have with people about their favorite types of phone cases, I hear a common refrain about rugged cases adding too much bulk. That's sometimes the case, and there's nothing wrong with Encased (opens in new tab) or Zizo (opens in new tab) offerings, for example, but case makers have gotten really good at making their rugged cases just as pocketable as a naked phone.
One brand that's really great at this is Spigen, with both the Rugged Armor (opens in new tab) and Rugged Crystal (opens in new tab) offering outstanding protection while preserving the look and feel of the Note 8.
Despite all the offerings, I ultimately have to recommend the UAG Plasma (opens in new tab) case because it has an all-around great design, so your phone will be protected. It also offers the best current value and comes in multiple color styles.