UAG Monarch iPhone Case review: Lightweight but tough

This Urban Armor Gear (UAG) case is feather-light, and yet it is quite protective. Its ruggedly handsome, masculine looks will be sure to appeal to many. Though it's built to protect, it doesn't add much bulk to your iPhone.

The Good

  • Feather-light
  • Protective
  • Ruggedly handsome
  • Military drop tested
  • Hand-crafted with top grain leather
  • Wireless charging compatible

The Bad

  • Pricey
  • Not for people wanting feminine aesthetic

Light and tough

UAG Monarch iPhone Case: Features

UAG Monarch iPhone Case

This case is handcrafted from top grain leather, plastic, and metal. It's actually a five-layer case: UAG's signature armor frame and shock-resistant core, top-grain leather, a polycarbonate shear plate, and metal hardware, all wrapped in impact-resistant rubber. The plastic is visible on the inside and outside, with leather peeking out between the outer plastic structure. Metal hardware at each corner appears to hold the layers together. It's a unique and masculine look.

Don't let the lightweight feel fool you: this case is seriously protective.

The edges of the case are hard rubber with a deep honeycomb pattern for traction. This makes the case grippy but it still slips in and out of the pocket easily and does not attract lint. The edges remind me of tire treads in both look and feel. There is enough flex to make putting it on and taking it off easy.

Clicky button covers protect the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons. Cutouts for the camera, mute switch, speakers, and Lightning port allow the iPhone's full functionality. The Lightning port cutout is large enough to allow, not only Apple's charging cable, but also a larger third-party cable I own. The iPhone's Wireless charging works fine with this case.

The UAG Monarch iPhone Case meets 2X military drop-test standards (MIL-STD 810G 516.6), which means it has been dropped 26 times from a height of four feet at different angles. The case comes with a 10-year limited warranty and comes in a variety of colors; the price varies depending on which size and color you choose.

Sweet spot

UAG Monarch iPhone Case: What I like

For me, this case hits the sweet spot between protection and bulk. I really don't like a bulky case, and this one isn't bulky. Protection is obviously important, and while this one isn't a tank, it certainly offers plenty of protection for the casual user. I also like that it doesn't get in the way of any of the iPhone's functionality. The inclusion of top-grain leather and metal in an otherwise plastic and rubber case is a nice classy touch.

UAG Monarch iPhone Case

Very particular style

UAG Monarch iPhone Case: What I don't like

While this is definitely a good-looking case, my personal taste runs more towards a classically feminine style. This case just isn't my own aesthetic. It's also pretty pricey.

Highly recommended

UAG Monarch iPhone Case: Bottom line

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this case to anyone who enjoys the ruggedly handsome aesthetic. The variety of materials, including top grain leather and alloy metal, makes for a unique look. It's military drop-tested and protective while remaining feather-light so it won't weigh you down on your adventures.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.