Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: The Case-Mate Tough Case not only looks great, but it offers serious protection for one of the most expensive and delicate phones on the market. It also makes using the Z Flip easier and more enjoyable, all for a reasonable price.
Precision cutouts and fit
10-foot drop protection
Improves the Z Flip
Fingerprint reader is a bit odd
Could be more grippy
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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is arguably one of the most exciting phones of 2020 – and one of the most expensive. While the all-glass chassis looks stunning, it also makes the Z Flip extremely slippery. It's so slick it causes anxiety every time you grab and open it.
The Case-Mate Tough Case for the Z Flip ($40) is one of the first on the market. It's also so good I don't feel I need to find something better. Here's why this is a solid choice for those who want to protect the Z Flip.
Case-Mate Tough Case design and features
Case-Mate is a well-known brand and one of the first to work with Samsung directly on the Z Flip for accessories. That means all the cutouts, fit and finish, and design is made for the Z Flip (versus some knock off cheap solution).
As the name implies, the Tough Case is much more than just cosmetic protection. Indeed, Case-Mate says this case is rated for 10-foot drop protection. Considering most phone drops are waist-level (so around 3 feet), this puts the Tough Case at the more extreme end for phone armor.
There are cutouts for the rear camera and LCD secondary display, power button, speakers, microphones, and Type-C charging port. The volume rockers have tactile faux buttons.
The case corners have a slight bulge to them due to being reinforced for drops. Most phone damage happens on the edges causing the chassis to shatter, so this is smart.
For installation, there is nothing to it. The case snaps on, and Case-Mate has a piece of material that even covers the hinge offering cosmetic protection. There are no adhesive strips, unlike the including TPU case that Samsung puts in the Z Flip's box.
The case is a robust, reinforced design with not a lot of flex, especially on the flat back. While it can pick up fingerprints due to the matte black color scheme, it is infinitely better than the TPU case or just using the Z Flip without a case.
Case-Mate Tough Case what you'll love
Due to the design, the Tough Case makes the Z Flip feel better to hold and use. For instance, there is a slightly raised lip around the display. Not only is that design great for added protection, but it also means the Z Flip now completely closes with no gap between the folded screens. A secondary effect of this choice is the Z Flip now opens slightly more natural since it can't close as much as without the case.
Because the power button and fingerprint reader have a large cutout and the volume keys use faux buttons, you can now easily distinguish between the two when not looking. Your finger naturally falls into that power button cutout, which is excellent.
For the overall design, Case-Mate kept it simple, clean, and minimalist. The Z Flip looks professional, and it even hides the somewhat flashy Samsung logo on the hinge (while protecting it from scratches). Due to the recess of the camera area, the front display and dual camera setup are also well protected.
The quality and craftsmanship here feel top-notch, too, with no apparent design defects. Qi charging also works just fine with this case during my testing.
Case-Mate Tough Case What you won't like
No case is perfect, and there are a few quibbles with this one. The price is a bit high at $40 – but compared to Samsung's official $70 leather case, it's a bargain. Still, the case market is flooded with cheap $10 options, and the same will happen with the Z Flip in due time.
The recessed power button brings a negative side effect in reducing fingerprint reader accuracy. You'll likely have to redo your fingerprint scans to get them working again due to the change in angles.
Some people may take offense at the hinge cover, which slightly bulges when laying flat. It's a fair point, but it is a minor inconvenience.
Case-Mate says this case has a "tactile grip." They're overselling it. Yes, it is absolutely less slippery compared to no case and it is certainly better than the included TPU one, but this Case-Mate is smooth all around. Some actual grip pads would have gone a long way to making it even more tactile.
Case-Mate Tough Case for Galaxy Z Flip is a winner
The Case-Mate Tough Case is an easy recommendation for Z Flip owners. I'm so happy with it that I'm not looking for alternatives.
For one, it delivers excellent drop protection. Even if the ten-foot claim is hyperbolic, this case can easily handle average three-foot drops. The corners are reinforced, and there are shock-absorbing materials on the inside.
The design also looks great. It's matte, black, and clean looking. The cutouts make it easier to use (once you redo your fingerprint scans), including opening the Z Flip.
4.5 out of 5
I'm also happy to report that while the Tough Case adds some girth to the Z Flip, I barely noticed it. That's because even when folded in half, the Z Flip is still smaller and easier to pocket than any other 6.7-inch phone on the market. This case does not change that.
Crucially, this case gives me something that's not advertised on the box: confidence. The Z Flip is a very luxurious phone that has an incredibly fragile glass exterior. When combined with being super slippery and having to pry it open to use it, it's a bit nerve-racking to use. With this case, not only is the Z Flip more comfortable to open and use, but I have less fear of dropping it or tossing it on the table. The Case-Mate Tough Case makes the Z Flip feel like a regular phone, and that's well worth the $40 price tag.
An excellent choice
Clean looks and solid protection
The Case-Mate Tough Case not only protects the Z Flip from most drops, but it also makes using the phone better inspiring confidence.
A new way to fold
Your pockets' best friend
If you're intimidated by the Galaxy Fold, the Z Flip brings Samsung's folding tech to a much more accessible form factor. When it's open, the Z Flip looks like any other Android phone. Fold it up, and it becomes incredibly portable and much easier to fit into tight pockets or small bags.
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