Although I prefer lighter cases, I really appreciated the Monarch Series design. A lot of other protection-orientated cases have huge bezels that stick out with logos and extra decorations, which make the case look too bulky and distracting. UAG struck a good balance with its Plasma Series cases: the bezels are high enough to provide decent protection, yet smooth enough to look minimalist. I could hardly notice it from the front, since the bezel’s uniform black color just blended in with the iPhone itself. I personally, I thought that the design on the back was great, and far better than the Plasma Series. The black outline fit nicely with the leather and silver screw-heads at the edges, and a rugged hex-pattern covered the sides. The only issue is that it’s easier to get fingerprints and oil on the case; however, this is mostly due to the color I picked out. There’s also a huge variety of other textures and colors to chose from if you’d prefer: ice, cobalt, rust, crimson, and magma and just some of the alternatives.

I have no complaints on the usability: the case was easy to take out of my pocket, and the leather made it comfortable to hold. Like other UAG cases, the Monarch Series include oversized tactile buttons, which makes it easy and satisfying to press the iPhone power and volume buttons. The cutouts were large, and should fit any cables that you put through them. It is slightly heavier than the Plasma Series cases, but it’s hardly noticeable while carrying it around.

Urban Armor Gear advertises the “MIL STD 810G-516.6” standard, which means that this case should handle military-grade shock tests. A lot of case producers claim this, but since no central organization actually certifies this standard, it’s hard to definitely prove that many cases are truly have “military-grade protection.” Nevertheless, the Monarch Series case feels extremely durable, and will definitely protect against scratches and drops. It should perform even better than the Plasma Series, since it boasts five-layer protection and a 10 year limited warranty.

Want the UAG Monarch iPhone X Case? Get it here ($60)