Bottom line: The Pixel 4 is a good-looking phone, but those good looks quickly diminish if you drop it and turn the Pixel 4 into a shattered mess. The Spigen Tough Armor ensures that doesn't happen, offering incredible dual-layer protection that's backed by a military-grade durability rating. So long as you don't mind bulking up the Pixel 4 quite a bit, this is a great case for all of the butterfingers out there.
- Rugged dual-layer design
- Military-grade protection
- Built-in kickstand
- Textured power button
- Priced right
- Not visually interesting
- Heavy and thick
- Button covers are difficult to press
I want to preface this entire review by saying that I'm not particularly fond of bulky phone cases. I understand why they exist and get why some people love them so much, but they've never been my cup of tea.
Lucky for me, that's precisely the kind of case the Spigen Tough Armor is. It's big, bulky, and sets out to protect the Pixel 4 from just about anything in its path.
The Spigen Tough Armor isn't a case I'll personally be buying anytime soon, but if you're shopping around for an ultra-rugged case that does its job without being too costly, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better option.
Spigen Tough Armor Why you should buy it
With a name like "Tough Armor," you'd expect this case to be, well, tough. In these regards, the Spigen Tough Armor soars.
Spigen uses a dual-layer design to get the level of protection that's offered here, consisting of flexible TPU and a hard polycarbonate shell. This is a proven combination of materials, and it keeps the Pixel 4 safe from even the nastiest of drops.
The Tough Armor also uses Spigen's custom Air Cushion Technology for increased shock-absorption, along with a certified military-grade durability rating for drop tests.
That's a lot of text to say that the Spigen Tough Armor does a good job at protecting the Pixel 4. We don't advise you buy the case and then start dropping your Pixel 4 on purpose just to push the case to its limits, but in those events where you lose your grip and your Pixel 4 goes for an accidental spill, the Tough Armor is there to take the brunt of the impact and leave your phone looking brand-new.
Along with its much-talked-about ruggedness, the other highlight of the Tough Armor is its built-in kickstand. This is found on the back of the case, and it allows you to horizontally prop up your Pixel 4 for hands-free use.
There's only one position the kickstand can be used in, but for those times when you want to quickly stand your phone up so you and some friends can gather around to watch a quick YouTube video, it's great to have.
Spigen Tough Armor What I'm not a fan of
Unfortunately, all of that durability does come at a cost. The Tough armor is a thiccc phone and adds a lot of heft to the Pixel 4 — turning a relatively slim and lightweight handset into one that's quite a meatball.
Added thickness and heft is to be expected with rugged cases like this, but for the way I like to use my phone, the increased bulk the Tough Armor adds proved to be an annoyance.
My other main complaint about the Tough Armor is its design. To be frank, it's pretty boring.
The black-on-black color of the case I have is great for a sleek and subdued aesthetic, but I really wish Spigen would have some fun with the dual-layer nature of the case and offer more color combos. Also, while I love the textured power button on the Tough Armor, the button covers in general are difficult to press — something that can be pretty annoying throughout daily use.
Spigen Tough Armor Should you buy it?
The Spigen Tough Armor may not be the slimmest or most striking case for the Pixel 4, but that's on purpose. This case is focused solely on being as functional as can be, and in those regards, the Tough Armor does a damn fine job. This is an incredibly rugged case and one you can trust to keep your Pixel 4 safe through just about anything. For a phone that starts out at $799 or $899 depending on what model you choose, that's important.
4 out of 5
Having a built-in kickstand on the back isn't necessary, but it's a nice touch that takes this case from being good and makes it great. Plus, when you consider the price Spigen's asking for the whole package, you start to see just how good the value proposition really is.
I still think improvements could be made to the Tough Armor's aesthetics and button covers, but if you're OK sacrificing those things for maximum durability, the Spigen Tough Armor is hard to argue with.
Chunky and rugged
Spigen Tough Armor
The Pixel 4 is a good-looking phone, but those good looks quickly diminish if you drop it and turn the Pixel 4 into a shattered mess. The Spigen Tough Armor ensures that doesn't happen, offering incredible dual-layer protection that's backed by a military-grade durability rating. So long as you don't mind bulking up the Pixel 4 quite a bit, this is a great case for all of the butterfingers out there.
Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.
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