Waterfield Designs Ranger iPhone Case review: Versatile holster

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Front
(Image: © Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: The Ranger iPhone Case is made from naturally-tanned full-grain leather, and the inside is lined with Ultrasuede®, which is a plush liner that keeps your screen clean. There is a roomy external pocket for cash, cards, or small accessories, as well as a cutout for the Lightning port. A magnetic fidlock closure keeps everything safe and secure, and the holster can be magnetically attached to a belt, strap, or even just your pants.


  • +

    Made with genuine leather

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    Develops patina over time

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    Magnet closures are super strong

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    Has a roomy pocket for extras

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    Ultrasuede® lining keeps screen clean

  • +

    Durable with easy access


  • -

    Can feel bulky

  • -

    Pocket can't hold too much

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Our iPhones are pretty much one of the most important computing devices that we carry around everywhere on a daily basis. But how do we carry them? Some of us carry them in our back pockets, while others prefer the front. Others may carry them in a purse or bag. But let's face it — sometimes it may get a little uncomfortable sitting with a phone in your back pocket, and getting it out of a front pocket may be a little cumbersome in certain situations. And if you have it in a purse or bag, you may not be aware of your device when you get an important call or message.

A holster can solve a lot of issues that may arise. While I have always carried my phone in my pockets, I decided to give the Waterfield Designs Ranger iPhone 12 Pro Case a shot, which is a handmade leather holster. I've never been a fan of holsters, but the Ranger iPhone Case is a rare exception. Plus, as a big fan of Waterfields' other leather goods like the VERO Sleeve and Executive Leather Messenger, I was curious to see how Waterfield could differentiate themselves from the rest.

An elegant leather holster that holds up very well

Waterfield Designs Ranger iPhone Case: What I like

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Open

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Open (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Waterfield Designs is a favorite here at iMore, and that's because we love the company's handcrafted leather goods. The Ranger iPhone Case is no exception. This holster style case is made with premium, naturally-tanned full-grain leather in either black or chocolate color options.

I chose the chocolate option because Waterfield products are known to develop a nice, rich patina over time, showing up better with brown leather versus black. While my chocolate Ranger case arrived as a light brown, it has developed into a darker, richer brown (just like chocolate) after using it every day for almost a month.

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Day One

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Day One (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Ranger case is available for several different devices, from the iPhone 11 all the way to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. There are also sizes for Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy Note 10, and 10+. I have the iPhone 12 Pro size, and it is a perfect fit for my device. While Waterfield states that the Ranger is designed to hold a naked iPhone 12 or an iPhone 12 in an Apple case or similar, I have not had any issues with various cases that I have. I am currently using an OtterBox Symmetry case with MagSafe, and it slips in and out of the Ranger perfectly. I have also used Caseology Parallax, Otter+Pop case, OtterBox Figura with a mophie juice pack connect adapter, Speck Presidio Grip, and other cases without issue. As long as your case (and any attachable accessories) are not too thick or bulky, it should be able to fit in the Ranger.

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Side

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Side (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Ranger case's interior is lined with the soft and plush Ultrasuede® material, which also helps clean your screen a little bit as your phone comes in and out of the holster. In front of the main compartment is a small external pocket, which is perfect for holding cash, credit cards, and other small accessories like EarPods or a small external battery. At the bottom of the Ranger case is a cutout for access to the Lightning port, so you can plug in your EarPods or just charge the iPhone up while it's inside.

With the Ranger case, the real magic is within the magnetic fidlock closure on the front. To open it, you need to pull it down first, then lift it up. When you let go of the flap, the magnets weigh it down, and it "snaps" back into place. The overall experience is rather enjoyable, and once you get used to pulling it down first, it's super easy to get to your phone.

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Back Open

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Back Open (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

On the back of the Ranger case is where you'll find the small magnetic strap that can attach to your belt, bag strap, or even just the top of your pants or pocket. The magnets here are super strong and made with rare-earth materials, so they will keep the Ranger holster in place no matter what. I appreciated the flexibility of the Ranger case, as I had been attaching it to my pants pocket for weeks. But it works nicely with a belt too, and easily slips onto the strap of your favorite laptop bag.

Even though I don't normally use holsters, I have found the Ranger to be a welcome addition to my repertoire of iPhone accessories. I much prefer having my iPhone 12 Pro in the Ranger holster case versus my back pocket that I've been using for years since Plus size devices.

That external pocket could have been more roomy

Waterfield Designs Ranger iPhone Case: What I don't like

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Back

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Back (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

I was a little disappointed that I couldn't fit the mophie juice pack connect in the external pocket to use with the adapter on my Figura case. While Waterfield says that pocket is "roomy," don't expect to fit anything too thick in there because otherwise, your iPhone won't fit.

I also noticed that sometimes when wearing the holster on my pant pocket, depending on what I was doing, the magnets would detach by accident. It was still hooked into my pocket, but it would be hanging off a bit. I would notice it before it fell off completely, and I think the reason was because of the jeans I wore. I have had no issues when using the Ranger case with a belt or even on a bag strap.

And finally, like other Waterfield products, the price of the Ranger case is a little high. However, considering how well that the leather holds up, the secure fidlock closure, and versatility, this holster case is worth the cost of admission.

The competition

If you don't want to pay that much for a holster case, then you could take a look at the Monsoon Alpha Leather Case Holster with Belt Clip. It's a slim leather sleeve that has a magnetic flap on the front to keep your device inside, and it has a traditional plastic clip that goes on your belt. It's fairly basic, but the cost is also low.

But keep in mind that Waterfield products are handmade and will last a very long time. Plus, Waterfield leather goods develop a nice patina over time.

Waterfield Designs Ranger iPhone Case: Should you buy

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Worn

Waterfield Designs Ranger Iphone Case Worn (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

You should buy this if ...

You like genuine leather goods

Waterfield Designs uses premium leather for most of its offerings, including the Ranger iPhone Case. This is real leather, and it develops a rich patina over time. In fact, it doesn't even take long for the patina to start showing if you use this holster daily, as I have.

You want a versatile holster

Thanks to the magnetic attachment on the Ranger holster, it's more versatile. You can always attach it to your belt, but this also works great on the strap of your favorite computer bag or even just on your pants or pockets. Since it's not a plastic clip like other holsters, it won't leave indentations on whatever it's attached to.

You want something tough and durable

Like other Waterfield products, the Ranger is pretty tough and durable. The leather develops a patina over time, and it may get scuffed up every now and then (if you're like me and drop it), but it actually looks better that way. And even if it does fall, your iPhone is safe and secure inside, especially with the Ultrasuede® lining.

You should not buy this if ...

You don't like holsters

Holsters are definitely not everyone's style. If you don't usually like holsters, then you may not want to spend money to find out if you'll like this one. But I honestly like it, and I normally don't use holsters, at least until now.

You don't like leather

The Ranger iPhone Case only comes in leather. So if you are a hardcore vegan or just don't like leather products, then you should look into an alternative material holster.

You are on a budget

Waterfield Designs' products aren't cheap — you're paying for high quality. But if you can't drop $89 for a leather holster, then you should look elsewhere.

If you are the type of person who loves real leather products and wants an easier, more versatile way of securely carrying your iPhone 12 Pro around, then the Ranger iPhone Case is a great option. The naturally-tanned full-grain leather feels great, it has a pocket for extras, the magnetic fidlock closure keeps everything secure, and the magnetic attachment gives this holster versatility.

But if you don't care for genuine leather, are on a budget, and not a fan of holsters, then this may not be the product for you. However, just know that I didn't really care for holsters either until I tried the Ranger, and now I take it with me wherever I go!

Christine Chan

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.