Spigen Rugged Armor Pixel 4 case review: Just buy one already

Spigen Rugged Armor case for Pixel 4 XL
(Image: © Joe Maring / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

Bottom line: The Rugged Armor just may be Spigen's most popular case, and there's a good reason for that. This is a very thin and lightweight case, but even so, it still manages to provide the Pixel 4 with trustworthy shock-absorbing durability. It also offers clicky buttons and a simple design, all at a fantastic price. Just be aware of the ultra-smooth back and lack of color options.


  • +

    Ample protection with shock-absorption

  • +

    Nice and thin

  • +

    Clean design

  • +

    Textured frame

  • +

    Good, clicky button covers


  • -

    Back is too slippery/smooth

  • -

    It's only available in black

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Whenever a new phone is released, there are some cases we can count on being released for it. One such case is the Spigen Rugged Armor.

Admittedly, the Rugged Armor doesn't look like anything special at first glance. It's a simple, black case that doesn't appear to be all that protective, but in reality, it's consistently one of the best cases you can buy — and it's been that way for years.

If you have a Pixel 4 or 4 XL and want a sleek, reliable case that won't break the bank, keep on reading below for our full Spigen Rugged Armor review.

Spigen Rugged Armor What I love

Spigen Rugged Armor case for Pixel 4 XL

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

When it comes to phone cases, I'm quite picky with what I like. I don't want something that's going to add a lot of bulk to my device, but I also value having reliable protection seeing as how I can be a clutz at times. This is a balance the Spigen Rugged Armor strikes beautifully, and that's not an easy thing to do.

The Rugged Armor is quite slim with a thickness of just 0.11 inches, meaning the Pixel 4 still retains a great in-hand feel. The corners are nicely rounded, further adding to the case's comfort, and you'll find a textured frame to add some welcome grip.

Despite having such a minimalistic design, the Rugged Armor lives up to its name by providing the Pixel 4 with more than enough coverage for all sorts of daily use. I wouldn't consider this a "heavy-duty" case, but it does a great job at keeping the phone safe from scratches, dings, and small drops. You also get Spigen's Air Cushion Technology, which helps to absorb shock in the event of a fall.

Speaking of durability, the front of the Rugged Armor has a small bezel that's raised above the Pixel 4's screen, ensuring it doesn't shatter if it hits the ground face-down.

As for the Rugged Armor's aesthetics, I think it strikes a good balance of being clean while still offering some visual appeal. The smooth matte black backside is flanked by two patterns on the top and bottom portions, allowing it to stand out without being overly flashy. If you aren't a fan of the looks, the Spigen Liquid Air offers a different design with essentially the same thickness and protection offered by the Rugged Armor.

Spigen Rugged Armor What's not so great

Spigen Rugged Armor case for Pixel 4 XL

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

Speaking of the Liquid Air, the Rugged Armor shares the biggest downside also found with that case — the slippery back.

While the textured frame of the Rugged Armor add more grip to the Pixel 4, the smooth backside does not. In fact, it's more slippery than the Pixel 4's glass back. It's not a deal-breaker, but it does take some getting used to during your first few days of rocking the case.

My only other complaint with the Rugged Armor is Spigen's decision to only offer the case in black. It does look good and has a cool, stealthy aesthetic, but I'd really love to see the company get creative and offer the Rugged Armor in a bunch of different paint jobs — red, blue, green, yellow, you name it.

Spigen Rugged Armor Should you buy it?

Spigen Rugged Armor case for Pixel 4 XL

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

The Spigen Rugged Armor isn't an exciting or extravegant case the way something like the Dbrand Grip is, but that's not the point of it. Instead, the Rugged Armor is a no-frills case that just wants to give you lots of protection in a slim profile without bleeding your wallet dry.

4 out of 5

In those regards, the Rugged Armor does a fantastic job. The slippery back is a pain in the butt and the lone black paint job makes my heart yearn for more colors, but all-in-all, this is a wonderfully functional case that won't let you down.

Whether you're picking this up for the Pixel 4 or larger Pixel 4 XL, this is one of the most reliable cases you can buy.

Joe Maring

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