iPhone 11 Pro Max Clear Case Review ($55) vs Spigen Clear Cases ($12)

We received our Midnight Green (naturally, of course) Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max on Friday and we’ve been playing with the phone over the weekend (early thoughts: the cameras are excellent).

Ahead of our upcoming review, here’s a quick look at Apple’s pricey $55 CAD Clear Case for iPhone 11 Pro Max, compared to the Spigen Ultra Hybrid and Liquid Crystal clear case, which retail for $12.99 CAD each on Amazon.ca.

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Spigen Ultra Hybrid (left); Apple Clear Case (middle); Spigen Liquid Crystal (right)

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Apple Clear Case Review for iPhone 11 Pro Max ($55 CAD)

If you read our review of Apple’s Clear Case when it first debuted for the iPhone XR, this review is pretty much similar in nature.

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The Apple Clear Case is made of hard clear plastic through and is relatively thin, allowing your iPhone 11 Pro Max to almost feel like it’s not in a case. We found the case too slippery to the touch—it would easily slip out of dress or khaki pants, as the case slides freely against clothing. This is due to the scratch-resistant coating on both the outside and inside of the case.

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With its clear back, the Apple Clear Case does a great job of showing off your expensive 2019 iPhone purchase. The case is also light as to not add much bulk. The camera cut out has a slightly raised perimeter edge to protect your triple rear cameras when laying flat on a table.

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Downsides? The buttons are too stiff, making it not as easy to press the Sleep/Wake and also the volume rocker buttons. The opening cutout for the mute switch is too tiny. Our large fingers barely were able to move the mute switch since the opening is too small. The fit is so tight on your iPhone, removing the case can be a challenge at first.

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The price of the Clear Case is a hefty $55 in Canada. I can see spending $55 on a leather case but to pay this much for clear plastic just feels wrong. But if money is no object, the Clear Case does fit well and is thin and very clear. Just beware of stiff buttons and a smaller than average cut out for the mute switch.

Spigen Ultra Hybrid and Liquid Crystal for iPhone 11 Pro Max

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Apple Clear Case (left); Spigen Ultra Hybrid (right)

If you’re not ready to fork out $55 for Apple’s clear case, Spigen has some clear cases, such as the Ultra Hybrid or Liquid Crystal, both available for $12.99 CAD.

The Ultra Hybrid has a clear, flexible number but a rigid plastic back. It is grip-friendly and the bumper corners have the company’s Air Cushion Technology to absorb impact during a drop. The clear back has clear plastic covering the back and inside, to ensure a clear view of the back of your iPhone 11 Pro Max, as seen below:

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Here’s a better view of the Air Cushion Technology, which is essentially an air gap on the corners to absorb impact from drops:

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The Liquid Crystal is the same as the Ultra Hybrid for the most part, but instead of a rigid plastic back, the entire case is made of flexible clear rubber. The back of the case has a dot pattern, which will eliminate any watermark effects. Overall, the Crystal Hybrid feels slightly thinner than the Ultra Hybrid, but differences are very minor.

Here’s the subtle dot pattern on the back of the Liquid Crystal:

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Both of these Spigen clear cases have softer buttons compared to the Apple Clear Case. These Spigen cases also have a raised bumper on the front that goes all around the phone.

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Liquid Crystal Case, bottom view

Cutouts for the mute switch are also much larger making the button easier to access with a finger, as seen in the comparison picture below:

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Spigen Liquid Crystal (top) vs Apple Clear Case (bottom)

What about yellowing? Apple says “all materials and coatings are optimised to prevent yellowing over time.” As for the Spigen cases, the Ultra Hybrid states it has “long-lasting clarity resistant to yellowing.” Heck, if any of the Spigen cases get dirty or stain, you could buy another one (four times) to replace it and still be way ahead of spending $60 after tax on Apple’s case.

Which case to buy? The Apple Clear Case is nice but I found it to be way too slippery and the mute switch cut out is too small for those with large fingers. It is very clear but at $60+ after tax, that’s a lot of money to spend on a piece of plastic (that probably doesn’t cost much to make). Alternatives can be found for a fraction of the price, such as Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid or Liquid Crystal for $12.99 CAD each on Amazon.ca.

Spigen sent us these cases to check out but this review is not sponsored and opinions are our own.

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