Bottom line: U by UAG Anchor Series shows that strong, protective cases can also be pretty. This case has a unique design on the back that is minimalistic; it's slim, has tactile buttons and precise cutouts, and won't add much bulk to your device.
Slim and sleek protection
Tactile button covers
Distinctive design on the back
Comes in beautiful colors
Lip around the screen not very deep
Not fully compatible with MagSafe
Pricey for a basic case
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When it comes to my iPhone 12 Pro, I always keep it in a case. Not only do I consider myself clumsy, so I can't fully trust myself with a naked iPhone, but I prefer to have the additional grip that a case provides, as well as extra protection from everyday wear and tear.
Urban Armor Gear (UAG) is one of the more popular brands when it comes to cases, but many of the cases it offers are rugged, bulky, and honestly more "manly" than I'd prefer. I was intrigued by the recent U By UAG collection that they have, as it has more slim and sleek options, and they even have a gorgeous Dusty Rose pink color — these are right up my alley!
I've tried out the Anchor Series for my iPhone 12 Pro, and it's a great option for anyone who wants a slim but protective case.
U by UAG Anchor Series iPhone Case: Price and availability
You can find the U by UAG Anchor Series cases on Amazon and direct from the UAG website. I tested the version specifically for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro; however, the U by UAG Anchor Series is also available for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max devices. The retail price for the Anchor Series is $40.
U by UAG Anchor Series iPhone Case: One of UAG's slimmest cases yet, with good protection
I never tried out UAG cases before because, honestly, they were not aesthetically pleasing for my tastes, and I thought they looked bulky. The U by UAG Anchor Series is quite the opposite and definitely a new favorite of mine from the brand.
The Anchor Series is a stiff armor shell with soft rubberized edges and an impact-resistant core. While it feels rigid, it's effortless to get on your iPhone and take it off when necessary. The back of the case is matte, but there are gloss recessed channels around the camera cutout. A simple but subtle "U" logo is embossed on the back, near the bottom of the case.
I've noticed that some cases make it hard to press the buttons too, but thankfully that isn't the case with the Anchor Series. Despite the weird look to them, they are easy to press and provide great tactile feedback. There's nothing worse than a squishy or hard button press, so the Anchor Series is a perfect middle ground.
The cutouts for the charging port, speakers, mute switch, and camera are also precise, with a little more depth on the camera to keep the lenses safe and sound. Like many other cases, there is a lip around the edges of the front to keep the screen safe if you set it face-down on a surface. However, it's not too deep compared to other cases.
U by UAG's Anchor Series case will work with wireless charging, which is a given considering how slim it is. However, while UAG says on its product page that this case will "work with MagSafe," it only means that it will charge wirelessly if properly aligned, but it won't stick like a true MagSafe-compatible iPhone 12 Pro case.
According to UAG, the Anchor Series meets military-grade drop-test standards. I haven't purposely dropped my iPhone from a few feet up with any case because I'm a bit paranoid, but this one has held up well to everyday wear and tear, along with the occasional drop.
U by UAG Anchor Series iPhone Case: Don't expect it to work with MagSafe
While I love the tactile feeling of the buttons on this case, I'm not a big fan of how they look. It's a little weird and takes some getting used to. But by no means is it a dealbreaker.
I'm not a big fan of how shallow the lip is around the front screen. I prefer the edges of cases to be a little deeper just for peace of mind when putting it face-down on a table. Of course, this may vary for you.
The biggest gripe of mine about this case is that while UAG claims that it "works with MagSafe," it doesn't really. You can basically use a MagSafe charger with this as a regular wireless charger since the lack of magnets in the case means MagSafe won't stick. But as long as you line it up properly and don't move it, yes, it will charge. But if you're using something like the Belkin MagSafe Charger Stand, this case will not work with it at all. I mean, yeah, it will charge, but it won't stay in place, so what's the point?
I wish UAG had a MagSafe-compatible option for this case because it's one of my favorites, but lack of compatibility is a big problem.
U by UAG Anchor Series iPhone Case: Competition
There are a ton of other slim and protective cases out on the market. A big one is the OtterBox Symmetry Series. It's one of my other top choices because it has that tough protection OtterBox is known for, is one of its slimmer and lightweight offerings, and it comes in a ton of colors.
If you prefer to show off the color of your iPhone but still want a protective case that doesn't add bulk, try the Incipio Slim case. This one doesn't add much bulk and protects your phone from drops of up to 14 feet.
U by UAG Anchor Series iPhone Case: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a slim but protective case
- You enjoy easy-to-press and tactile buttons on cases
- You prefer a minimalistic case
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want full MagSafe compatibility
- You prefer cases with deeper edges to protect the screen
- You don't want to spend a lot of money on a basic case
The U by UAG Anchor Series iPhone case is a nice slim option that still offers a lot of protection for your device. It's firm and rigid but still very easy to get on and take off when necessary, and the impact-resistant core means your iPhone is safe and sound. And if you're the type who needs tactile, clicky button feedback, the Anchor Series provides it nicely. It's also distinctive but minimalistic at the same time.
However, while UAG says that this case works with MagSafe, it only works as a regular wireless charger. You won't be getting the magnetic effect since there are no magnets in the case, and if you use a MagSafe charging stand that is supposed to hold up your iPhone 12 with magnets, it won't work. The protective lip around the front screen is also a bit shallower than I'd like, and overall, the case can be a little on the pricey side, considering what you're getting.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.