Samsung has supersized the Galaxy experience with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, and with that big beautiful 6.9-inch screen comes a larger and heavier phone than even last year's Galaxy Note 10+. While I can understand not wanting to bulk up your S20 Ultra, a case is not optional on a phone this big; you need a protective case to add grip to that big glass back and add some cushions or shock-absorbing bumpers to the corners. From clear and thin to big and functional, these are the best cases to buy your new flagship.
Want to show off your S20 Ultra's glass-backed beauty while still protecting it from scratches, slips, and the oh-so-dreaded shatter? This case gives you robust bumper and corner protection and a crystal clear back.
This ultra-thin case sports both 8-foot drop protection and anti-microbial properties while being made with sustainable, plant-based materials. The color choice here are distinct and diverse, but I like the blue and cherry.
This is one of the few case options for the S20 Ultra that offers the same color selection as its smaller comrades (you can get it in black, silver, blue, gray, red, or brown). It's a good thing, too, because these premium, genuine leather cases will look absolutely stunning no matter which color you choose.
Speck's iconic grip pattern is traditionally a place for grime to accumulate over time, but these days Speck puts a Microban treatment on the case so it repels germs and helps keep your phone's filth from infecting you.
Snakehive's leather folios always feel wonderful in the hand, but I'd expect nothing less of European full-grain nubuck leather! This year's color options also include a darling teal, which looks positively to die for.
With extra protection in the corners and a crystal clear back, this durable case proves that not all clear cases have to be dainty. You can get it in clear with orange or red accents or a smoky black as well.
This hybrid case comes in four colors this year — I just love the new teal — and combines a sturdy plastic frame with a flexible, curve-hugging TPU sleeve to give you the best of both worlds in a slim package.
Ringke is better known for its clear cases, but the Air-S is a sleek TPU case that comes in three fun colors — and no, one of them is not boring black — and it offers the Ultra grip without big bulk or high prices.
The Vanguard Series is one of the better heavy-duty kickstand cases for Galaxy phones, and this year we have the more subdued Red as a launch color alongside the brighter orange and blue.
Cards, cash, and chevrons
Feitenn Fabric Wallet
Rather than the classic leather look, this folio uses chevron-covered fabric. There's room for three cards and cash inside, and the first card flap has a porthole so that you can display your driver's license.
Sucnakp's Rough Grip has been around, but the S20 Ultra model is using a new slanted groove texture on the back alongside a narrow horizontal texture to the side of the camera module for a unique look and extra grip.
There's no way around this: the Ultra is a huge phone. It's completely understandable that you wouldn't want to bulk it up more, so get this Totallee case for some grip and scratch protection without added heft.
This seafoam green or black case features a shock-absorbing inner layer and a rigid shell that's easy to grip and easy to adhere PopSockets to, because weighing half a pound, you're going to want a PopSocket on the S20 Ultra.
There's no need to hide the Galaxy S20 Ultra's beautiful glass back, especially when clear cases like the Ringke Fusion X are getting more durable every year. For a thin case option that will add a lot of grip, the Tech21 Studio Colour comes in some darling shades and gently hugs the S20's curves while also helping you keep ahold of your super-sized S20 Ultra.
Considering how big this phone already is, you might as well go for broke and get yourself a durable case that can double as a kickstand both horizontally or vertically. I've enjoyed the ArmadilloTek Vanguard Series because it's durable as all get-out and the kickstand also doubles as a phone grip while I'm walking around. That kickstand is also far more sturdy than most of the wimpy landscape-only kickstands that are built into the back of other cases, and the ability to use it in portrait mode makes it easier for browsing social media or reading e-books while eating a quick dinner in the break room.
How much protection do you really need with the S20 Ultra?
Weighing in at about half a pound, getting a case that can absorb the impact of an S20 Ultra being dropped from shoulder-high is pretty important, but no matter what, you need a case that offers a lip around the screen and that big, honkin' camera module. I'm a fan of the ArmadilloTek CyberRanger because it has absorbent gel cushions in the four corners of the case to help better protect your super-sized phone from the ever-so-dreaded corner drop.
However, don't think that you have to go thick and tank-like in order to defend your Ultra; there are some slimmer cases offering decent drop protection these days, like the Tech21 Studo Colour with its 8-foot impact protection and lithe form. Even slim TPU cases like the Ringke Air-S can offer some impact protection and grip without getting bulky.
For a protective case, there's a whole MSDS database of material types out there, but there's only five you really need to care about:
TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane): flexible, cheap to manufacture, and can be molded into just about any shape and color you want. This is the de facto material for single-layer cases and the inner layer of hybrid cases, in fact, most "silicone" cases are actually TPU.
PC (polycarbonate): hard plastic, will crack before it bends, not great for drops but okay for scratch protection, this is what most "ultra-thin" cases are made of.
Leather: tanned hides (or a faux material imitating it), feel great in the hand, have a luxurious feel, but tend to be expensive. Leather is the most popular material for folios and wallet cases, as well as premium cases.
Metal: mostly used for accents in phone cases, can be molded in a myriad of ways, thousands of metal types available, and feels nice in the hand. The reason you won't see metal used very often in smartphone cases is that most metals will interfere with wireless charging.
Fabric: easy to work with, comes in tons of thicknesses and patterns, cheap to manufacture, and can range from quite inexpensive to luxury-brand. Fabric cases tend to not hold up over time, but depending on the texture/base material, it can feel absolutely amazing.
Microfiber: thin fabric with a very fine texture, typically used to line premium cases in order to prevent the phone from getting scratched while inside the case.
For the Galaxy S20 Ultra, you want a case that has at least some TPU in it around the bumper so that it's easy to get in/out and adds a little impact absorption. If you can, a case with a microfiber lining is a great way to ensure that should dirt/dust find its way into the cracks and crevices of your case that it shouldn't scratch the back glass of your S20 Ultra.