The third-generation iPhone SE is now available to buy, and that means one thing: it’s time to get a case to protect it. While it sports toughened glass that should help protect it against scratches and smashes, it won’t stand up to the same level of punishment as it would when equipped with a case.
The problem is, there are plenty of cases available for the iPhone SE focusing on different aspects of protection. Do you go for a drop-proof case and sacrifice bulk, or do you go for something more fashionable? And what about materials?
We at Tech Advisor look to make that decision easier with our recommendations of the best iPhone SE cases for both the iPhone SE (2020) and the newer iPhone SE (2022).
Note: While we’ve tested many equivalents of the cases mentioned here in our iPhone 13 Pro Max case roundup, we haven’t specifically tested the iPhone SE cases mentioned here.
Best iPhone SE cases in 2022
Apple Silicone case
As the company that designed the iPhone SE, there’s something to be said for Apple’s own silicone cases for the iPhone SE. Sure, they’re more expensive than most of the competition, but you’re getting an Apple-level quality product in return.
That includes a soft-touch silicone case that doesn’t have that ‘sticky’ feeling of cheap silicone cases, a microfiber lining to keep the phone free of micro-abrasions and a design thin enough to be compatible with wireless chargers.
It’s available in several finishes, ranging from white to Product RED, allowing you to perfectly match the colour of the iPhone SE to the case. It may be simple, but it works.
Mous Limitless 2.0
The Mous Limitless 2.0 is a solid choice for all new iPhone SE owners, not just because it’s available in a number of finishes including Walnut and Aramid Fibre, but because it offers some of the best drop protection around. You’ve probably seen some of their tests on YouTube, dropping the latest iPhones from ever-increasing heights with no damage to the smartphone itself.
That’s down to Mous’ trademarked AiroShock impact material built into the case itself, providing rigid protection without much added bulk – only 2.2mm according to Mous. There’s also a raised lip at the front to keep your display from coming into contact with hard surfaces.
To top it all off, the Limitless 2.0 also boasts its own MagSafe competitor dubbed AutoAlign with a range of magnetic accessories available separately.
The main competition to Mous’ AiroShock technology is the D30 material used in Zagg’s Gear4 range, a material used by the military and professional athletes because of its impressive shock absorption.
In fact, Zagg claims that the Gear4 Battersea will be able to protect your iPhone SE from drops as high as 16ft (5 meters), providing great peace of mind for the clumsier among us.
It doesn’t come at the cost of bulk either, with a combination of D30, polycarbonate and TPU offering a lightweight design that won’t ruin the portable dimensions of Apple’s 4.7in iPhone.
It’s even compatible with Qi wireless charging, providing top-level protection without inconvenience.
While most cases tend to focus on protecting the rear, there’s a subset of wallet-style cases that also look to protect the screen. The Otterbox Strada is one such example, sporting a book-cover style case that can fold to the back when in use – and it can also hold ID, bank cards or cash via the interior card slot.
The downside to cases like this is the added heft that comes with the full front-and-back protection. If you want to appreciate Apple’s craftmanship, this style of case isn’t for you.
But, if you like the idea of full protection and the ability to leave your wallet or purse at home, the Strada becomes a more attractive option.
Casetify Impact case
The Casetify Impact collection for iPhone SE comes in a variety of colours and finishes – much more than any other case mentioned here – with the additional benefit of being able to customise your own if you can’t find one to your liking. If you’ve got a specific design in mind, Casetify is the one to go for.
Design aside, the Impact collection (as the name suggests) provides drop protection using the company’s trademarked qìtech shock-absorbing material that it claims can protect the iPhone SE from drops as high as 6.6ft.
It’s still relatively lightweight though, with Casetify promising “world-class slimness” and full compatibility with Qi wireless chargers.
If you prioritise the design of the iPhone SE over drop protection, the Totallee Thin iPhone SE case is a solid option. It’s completely transparent and thinner than other cases mentioned here, allowing you to showcase the bright colour options of the latest iPhone SE without much added heft.
It’s made from a flexible TPU for basic scratch and scuff protection, and it’s grippy to the touch, which should make it easier to hold one-handed without it slipping from your hand.
The company also claims that, unlike cheap rivals, the Totallee Thin won’t turn yellow over time when exposed to sunlight.