Not every case needs to be expensive to be functional and protective.
Since just a few days after I got my Galaxy S9, I've been using Samsung's official Alcantara case and loving it. It's soft, and it lets me keep the phone mostly protected without sacrificing the premium look and feel. But here's the thing: I paid $50 for a thin case that doesn't even cover the bottom of the phone.
Cases don't have to be expensive or be made out of fancy materials like Alcantara or leather to fulfill their purpose, though. First and foremost, a case serves to protect your phone from the inevitable scratches and drops it'll encounter over the months and years to come. Ideally, it looks good too, and doesn't add too much thickness to your phone so it still fits comfortably in your hand and pocket. The Spigen Liquid Crystal case checks all of those boxes for only $10.99.
Spigen Liquid Crystal case for Galaxy S9
Bottom line: This is a slim, clear case that shows off the color of your phone and doesn't break the bank.
Thin, clear design that lets you see your phone's design
Tactile button covers
Smooth bottom edge with wide port cutouts
Available in 7 total finishes
Front edge is a little sharp
Not as protective as some thicker cases in Spigen's lineup
For $11, there's not much to complain about here. The Liquid Crystal case is simple in design, covering the back, sides, and bottom of the phone in a thin layer of TPU (that's thermoplastic polyurethane — basically plastic). There's a bit of branding along the case — a Spigen logo, manufacturing details, and a callout to the case's Air Cushion technology that, in theory, absorbs the shock from drops and protects your phone from damage.
The Liquid Crystal case is just one of Spigen's many cases for the Galaxy S9, and it's one of the thinnest in the selection at just 0.4 inches. I got the clear finish, but the Liquid Crystal is also available in matte black, along with a collection of flashier designs with glitter or floral print. No matter which finish you get, it comes lined with a small dotted pattern inside, which adds a bit of visual texture and prevents weird bubbling patterns.
To be totally honest, I wasn't expecting much from a cheap, thin case like this. The last clear case I got years ago had horribly stiff buttons and sharp edges along the port cutouts on the bottom, but none of that is true with the Liquid Crystal. The buttons are still very tactile and clicky, and the bottom of the case is smooth, which is especially important if you're the type to hold your phone in one hand with the bemoaned pinky shelf. There's also plenty of space around the camera cutout, where a sloped design guides your finger straight to the fingerprint sensor — it's by far my favorite part of the case.
Rough around the edges
Spigen Liquid Crystal What doesn't work
My only gripe with the case is that it's a bit rough along the front edge. It's nothing terrible and it certainly won't scratch your hand, but it can be a bit annoying to feel when your thumb slides from the case to the screen. One of the corners is also a bit sharp around the back — again, nothing serious, but the fact that only one corner is like this makes me question Spigen's consistency when making this case. Still, for how little you're paying, a few slight imperfections are forgivable.
clearly a good deal
Spigen Liquid Crystal case for Galaxy S9
For $11, the Liquid Crystal case definitely blew through my expectations. It's got just enough material to protect your phone from damage — at least, in the event of a minor fall — but it's thin enough that you'll barely notice it's there. Especially since I have the blue Galaxy S9, I really appreciate being able to see the finish of my phone clearly through the case, which is something my more expensive Alcantara case can't offer, beyond the exposed bottom edge.
4out of 5
Unless you need something more protective (in which case Spigen's Pro Guard series may be a better fit), the Crystal Clear case is a fantastic option for Galaxy S9 owners that won't break the bank. Of course, there's also a larger model available for the Galaxy S9+, as well as most other popular phones. I'm not entirely sure that it'll replace my Alcantara case, but ... I'm also not sure that it won't.