Dbrand Grip Pixel 4 case review: Unlike anything else (in a good way)

Dbrand Grip case for Google Pixel 4 XL
(Image: © Joe Maring / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

Bottom line: You may know it best for creating top-notch skins, but did you know Dbrand also has phone cases? The Dbrand Grip for the Pixel 4 is a premium case option, and it's worth every penny. It has a simple design with wonderful grip, offers military-grade protection, and the clickiest buttons I've ever experienced. Not to mention, the back is fully-customizable with Dbrand's 3M vinyl skins. This is about as good as it gets.


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    Super grippy

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    Customizable back

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    Military-grade protection

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    Crescent Arc screen bezel is a joy

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    The buttons are SO CLICKY


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    Errs on the bulky side of things

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In the grand scheme of things, a phone case is not a complicated product. All it needs to do is protect your handset from drops and spills — and, well, that's about it. However, as you start to look into the finer details, such as design, in-hand-feel, button clickiness, etc., you'll find a bunch of factors that come into play that can significantly affect your day-to-day experience.

A lot of companies have come really close to perfecting all of those things, and this has resulted in some fantastic cases for the Pixel 4. I've had the privilege to use many of them, and one that's stood out as one of my favorites is the Dbrand Grip.

The Dbrand Grip has evolved and changed a lot since it was first introduced in 2017, and the current iteration for the Pixel 4 is a joy to use. So long as you can get over the steep price tag and slightly chunky design, it's well worth your time and attention.

Dbrand Grip What I like

Dbrand Grip case for Google Pixel 4 XL

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

There are a few things about the Grip that stand out, one of which is its design. On its own, it's a minimalistic matte black case that doesn't draw too much attention to itself. The back is smooth and slightly embedded below the bumper that goes all around the phone, the left and right sides are textured to give you a secure grip, and there are precise cutouts for the USB-C port and speaker grills.

It's a fine-looking case on its own, but where things get really exciting is when you factor in Dbrand's skins. When you order the Grip, you can customize it by adding a skin for an extra $10. Just like how Dbrand skins go on your phone to give it a unique look and feel, these skins apply to the back of the Grip and do the same thing.

Dbrand Grip's customization page

Source: Dbrand (Image credit: Source: Dbrand)

There are a ton of materials and colors to choose from, including basic glossy colors, carbon fiber finishes, metal and wood designs, camo, and more. It's, by far, the most customizable case you'll find, and if you're someone like me that values that sort of thing, it makes the Grip awfully appealing.

The skins are extremely easy to apply and remove as you please, and if you'd like, you can always order additional skins after your Grip is delivered.

Another big win for the Dbrand Grip is its button covers. I tried an older version of the Grip on my iPhone XS last year, and the buttons were pretty awful. Dbrand has since tweaked its design, and the buttons that are present on the Grip for the Pixel 4 are outstanding. Each one has a ribbed texture, they're easy to press, and they have a resounding click that makes my heart sing whenever I use them. I'm a real stickler for buttons on cases, and these are easily some of the best I've ever used.

The last big design win for the Dbrand Grip is its Crescent Arc bezel surrounding the Pixel 4's display. Rather than having the front bumper be straight, it lowers towards the middle of the screen so that it's easier to reach the very edges of the Pixel 4's display. Especially with Android 10's gestures requiring a swipe from the left/right edge to go back, it's been a small design tweak that I've greatly appreciated.

As for the Grip's durability, it should be more than enough for most folks. It's rated with military-grade impact protection, and while I didn't feel like purposefully abusing my Pixel 4 with the Grip on, it does feel like a case that'll hold up just fine in the event that you drop your phone.

Dbrand Grip Where it can improve

Dbrand Grip case for Google Pixel 4 XL

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

If I had to pick a bone with the Dbrand Grip, it'd be its thickness. A 2mm profile doesn't sound like much, but it does make the Pixel 4 feel noticeably chunkier. It's not quite as heavy-duty as some ultra-rugged cases like the Spigen Tough Armor or SUCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro, but it's also far from the thinnest case on the market.

Some added thickness is to be expected for good drop protection, but you wouldn't find me complaining if Dbrand managed to trim down the Grip — even if just a little bit.

Lastly, there's something to be said about the Grip's price. At $30, it's one of the more expensive Pixel 4 cases you can buy, and while I do think it's worth the price of admission, I also don't judge someone struggling to see the value proposition when you can get three cases on Amazon for about the same price.

Dbrand Grip Should you buy it?

Dbrand Grip case for Google Pixel 4 XL

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Just like how the Pixel 4 is a premium smartphone, the Dbrand Grip is a premium phone case. It may not be the best value out there, but if you have the cash to afford it, the user experience is fantastic.

For my wants and needs, the Grip checks just about every box. It has a simple design, feels great in the hand, has top-notch buttons, and can be customized like no other. I do wish it was a bit thinner, but that's just about the only complaint I can think of.

4.5 out of 5

If you want to get the most bang-for-your-buck, look into something else. The Spigen Liquid Air costs almost a 1/3 of the Grip and has many of the same benefits. However, if you're OK with the $30 asking price and think the features of the Grip are worth the extra coin, go ahead and scoop one up. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.