Otterbox Symmetry Case Series for Galaxy S9+ review: Too big for its price tag and your pocket

In a market that's saturated with cases from thousands upon thousands of casemakers in every shade, color, and style available, it's easy for users to get reliant on name brands to find cases of quality. Even among our favorite Samsung Galaxy S9+ cases, known names like Spigen and SUPCASE make the rounds because they deliver quality and security time and time again.

Otterbox is one of the best-known casemakers in the world, with the Otterbox Defender Series being known as much for its robust protection as it is for its tank-like size, but Otterbox has lighter-duty cases in its repertoire. The Otterbox Symmetry Case Series for the Samsung S9+ sports shinier cases, prettier cases, but can they escape the curse of the Otterbox bulk?

The Good

  • Subtle gradient plays well with phone's color
  • Lifetime limited warranty and dependable durability

The Bad

  • Buttons are stiff and not very responsive
  • Very stiff bumper makes it difficult to get the phone in and out of the case
  • Too big and unwieldy, especially for its price tag

Otterbox Symmetry Case Series for Galaxy S9+ What works well

The Symmetry Series consists of solid, shiny single-layer clear cases, some of which are crystal clear while others have copious amounts of glitter infused into the polycarbonate. The glittery Aloha Ombre caught my eye for its teal gradient, allowing it to play well with both the Lilac Purple and Coral Blue versions of the S9+.

I was expecting a bold wave of color surging up from the base of the case, but it's much more subtle in person than it is in the renders online. Also not quite as noticeably in the renders is the not-sharp but not-smooth groove along the side of the case where it transitions from smooth clear polycarbonate to the frosted front bumper.

The port cutouts are okay with the cutout around the fingerprint and heart rate scanner especially wide for S9+ users who actually use their phone to track their heart rate.

Ample cutouts, not ample button slack

Otterbox Symmetry Case Series for Galaxy S9+ What falls flat

This may not be the kind of three-layer, super-duper, ready-for-the-apocalypse ultra-rugged phone case that Otterbox is made for, but it still has most of that bulk. The Symmetry Series may be a single-layer case, but it's thicker than every dual-layer case in my collection today, clear case or solid. This thickness is especially noticeable at three times: when trying to get your phone in or out of the case, when using the buttons, and when sticking it in a pocket, purse, or holster.

Now, most people don't switch cases every few days — and admittedly, when I'm not reviewing cases, I don't switch that often either — but when trying to get the S9+ into the Symmetry for the first time, I was genuinely scared I might break the phone trying to get it in there. The bumper is almost as stiff and immovable as the polycarbonate back, and unfortunately, that applies to the buttons, too. I'm having to exert far more force to activate the buttons while using the Symmetry case on my S9+, and it's made screenshotting especially painful.

Like most clear cases, the Symmetry is a magnet for smudges and smears, and while those are hidden in the glimmer of the glitter easily enough, this case started picking up scuffs in 3 days. Unlike smudges, scuffs don't rub out and aren't hidden by the glitter's shine.

Aloha is hello and goodbye for a reason

Otterbox Symmetry Case Series for Galaxy S9+

Otterbox means dependable. Otterbox means strong. And Otterbox means bulky, no matter how much the Symmetry Series for the Galaxy S9+ tries to pass itself off as "thin and sleek". This case is noticeably more bulky than every other clear case I've tried to date, and while its glitter is quite sparkly, the rest of the case feels dull.

2.5 out of 5

Even though the Symmetry Series comes in some alluring styles like the Aloha Ombre, the case is as stiff to get the phone in and out of as it is to try and press the buttons on. And for the same price as the Otterbox, you could buy yourself two S9+ clear cases that are easier to use and easier to pocket.

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Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.