Google Pixel 6 Case Round-Up: Protective Options from Incipio, Vena, and Gear4

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Google Pixel 6 Case Round-Up: Protective Options from Incipio, Vena, and Gear4 Listen to this article

Have you got a Google Pixel 6 series? If so, I’ll bet you love its flagship build, the pure Android experience, the Pixel exclusive features, and the excellent cameras. It may seem like a shame to cover up such a beautiful device, but a naked Pixel 6’s glass body is slick, slippery, and just waiting to be dropped. With that in mind, we’ve got five protective Pixel 6 case options for your consideration, including the Incipio Dual, the Vena vCommute, the Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell Case, the Gear4 Havana, and the Incipio Grip.

The Pixel 6 series display is made of Gorilla Glass Victus, which is twice as scratch-resistant as Gorilla Glass 6; Victus can also survive drops of up to two meters versus Gorilla Glass 6’s 1.6 meters. So, while it might be tempting not to put a case on your phone — since it’s less likely to shatter when dropped, at least — it has to be said that even Gorilla Glass Victus isn’t immune to ugly scratches.

Even if you never let sharp objects like keys come into contact with your Pixel 6’s display, something as routine as sliding your phone in and out of pants or shirt pockets will eventually result in micro-scratches that make your display appear scuffed.

These micro-scratches and scuffs are going to happen, especially if you haven’t yet found a screen protector that will work properly with the Pixel 6’s curved display edges and in-display fingerprint reader, which is the boat I find myself in; for the first time since I started using a Pixel, I don’t have a screen protector installed on my phone at all. Therefore, the amount of face-down protection offered by the case I use is now a very significant consideration.

 

It may not look possible, but the Pixel 6’s back will lie stably — although at a bit of an incline — without a case. But the caveat is that the bottom edge of the glass camera module will be the point that ends up supporting the phone when it’s lying naked on its back. All it would take to crack the glass camera module would be setting the phone down too hard once. Yikes.

 

Each of these cases can survive a significant drop, and they all offer protection for the Pixel 6’s display and camera module, so let’s take a look!

Incipio Duo for Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

The $29.99 Incipio Duo has a slim design yet provides up to 12-feet of drop protection using dual layers and impact struts for reducing the force of drops on the phone.

The Incipio Duo is available in Black or Salsa Red; the red case’s contrasting rubbery black bezel is ~1mm tall at the top and bottom of the display and ~0.5mm tall on the sides.

This bezel is enough to provide face-down protection without causing swiping issues from any direction; it’s also high enough to act as a buffer when sliding the phone in and out of a pocket.

Bezel height on the Incipio Duo for Google Pixel 6 series

On the back of the Duo, there are small, raised black rubber curves near the outer edges of the corners. These bumps aren’t quite grippy enough to keep the case from slipping on a sloped surface, but they work in tandem with the bezels on the camera module to protect the camera when the phone is lying on its back.

Camera module bezels on the Incipio Duo for Google Pixel 6 series

I like that the camera module cutout doesn’t entirely extend to the phone’s edges, so there is decent protection there.

Camera module bezels on the Incipio Duo for Google Pixel 6 series

The Pixel’s right side power and volume buttons are covered with black rubber. The top microphone, bottom microphone, speaker, and USB-C port cutouts offer access while still providing top and bottom edge protection for the phone.

The Incipio Duo has a soft-touch finish that is smooth enough to slide into my jean’s rear pocket without snagging; it’s a bit slick but not nearly as slick as the Google case was.

This case’s design doesn’t include any extra grips or ridges that might help you keep a better hold on the phone, but by forgoing that, you get a slim and light case that still offers significant protection during a drop.

Incipio mentions that the Duo case is made from recycled materials. It is scratch and discoloration-resistant; it also has Incipio’s Antimicrobial Defense, which means that the case has been given an antimicrobial treatment Incipio says prevents 99.9% of surface bacteria. The Duo also allows wireless charging without any issues.

The Incipio Duo is an affordable case to consider if you want 12′ of drop protection for your Google Pixel 6 without adding a lot of bulk.

Vena vCommute for Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

If you’re interested in finding a case that offers drop protection and can also function as a wallet, the $49.99 Vena vCommute for the Pixel 6 series is an excellent option.

The vCommute comes in a two-tone space gray and black; it is composed of a dual-layer polycarbonate and TPU with what Vena calls a CornerGuard design. It meets the military drop-test standard (MIL-STD 810G-516.6) of surviving 26 drops from 4′.

Since not many of us are worried about dropping our phones from a second-story window, this should be more than adequate for most drops.

The Vena vCommute has a thick ~2mm bezel at the top and bottom of the display that offers significant face-down protection and pocket-sliding protection; the side bezels are deeply sloped to allow full display access.

The Pixel 6 Pro in the Vena vCommute case, showing the height of the top and bottom bezels

 

The power and volume buttons are partially covered with slit buttons that flex well.

The Pixel 6 Pro buttons on the right side of the Vena vCommute case.

The top microphone, bottom microphone, speaker, and USB-C port have generously sized cutouts, and it will provide top and bottom edge protection in drops.

The ports on the bottom of the Vena vCommute case for Pixel 6 Pro

On the vCommute’s back, there is a three-section foldable leather flap that serves a dual purpose. A slot under the leather flap can hold up to three ID or credit cards.

Using that same leather flap, you can create a stand for either vertical or horizontal viewing, a handy feature when watching movies or making video calls.

Adding this wallet/kickstand combo makes the case a little thicker than the others in this roundup, but the added functionality seems like a fair trade-off.

 

Inside the three sections of the foldable leather wallet flap, metal plates have been incorporated so that you can use the phone with compatible magnetic mounts.

The magnetic mount compatibility is pretty handy, but it means that to charge your Pixel 6 wirelessly, you’ll have to take the extra steps of opening the flap and removing any metal credit or business cards before setting your phone on the wireless charger.

I really like the significant protection given to the camera module by the Vena Commute; notice how the deep ridges all around the cameras make it safe to lay down just about anywhere?

The camera module protection offered by the Vena vCommute Pixel 6 series case

 

The extra functionality built into the Vena Commute case makes it an excellent choice for nights out when you don’t want to carry a wallet or purse. The kickstand function makes it handy for impromptu video calls or watching videos at your desk or on a plane.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Just remember to fold the flap back and remove any metal cards if you want to charge wirelessly!

Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell Case for Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

The $49.99 Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell Case is a cheerful  TPU case that adds minimal bulk to the Pixel 6. Because it is, for the most part, a clear case, your Pixel 6’s unique colors will show through, which I consider a plus.

The Defensive Hard Shell case has shock-absorbing cushioned bumpers for corner drops. It also has ~2mm raised bezels at the top and bottom of the display to provide face-down protection. The bezels dip low on the sides allowing for unfettered access to the display.

Showing the bezels around the display on the Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell Case for Google Pixel 6 series

The TPU case material covers the power and volume buttons.

The button covers on the right side of the Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell Case for Google Pixel 6 series

There are cutouts for the top microphone, bottom microphone, speaker, and USB-C port rather than leaving this area open, so again, there is extra top and bottom edge protection.

There are slightly raised ~1mm bezels at the top and bottom of the camera module; the camera cutout extends almost to the phone’s edges, but there is a bit of side protection.

Showing the bezels around the camera model on the Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell Case for Google Pixel 6 series

The Defensive Hardshell Case’s box mentions that this case is drop-tested for up to 12′; it is made from sustainable materials and has Incipio’s Antimicrobial Defense. This case doesn’t hamper wireless use, and it’s a fun choice for someone who likes a little bit of bling without being too obnoxious.

If you want a protective case that’s a little more fun than the standard solid color, the Kate Spade New York Defensive Hardshell with its hollyhock floral design should fit the bill.

Gear4 Havana for Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

The $29.99 Gear4 Havana is a much less expensive clear case that also allows the colors of your Pixel 6 series to show while offering 10′ of drop protection with a D30 reinforced top, bottom, and corners. You can really see the reinforced top, bottom, and corners in these photos.

The Havana has raised ~1.5mm bezels on the top and bottom of the display for face-down protection; the side bezels slope down to allow full access to the display’s edges.

Showing the bezels around the display on the Zagg Gear4 Havana for Google Pixel 6 series

The power and volume buttons are covered in the same semi-transparent material from which the case is made.

The covered buttons on the right side of the Zagg Gear4 Havana for Google Pixel 6 series

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The Gear4 Havana has a slim and lightweight design, even with the added D30 material on the top, bottom, and corners. This case also has cutouts for the top microphone, bottom microphone, speaker, and the USB-C port rather than a large open area, which helps protect the top and bottom edges.

Light horizontal grooves on the back give the case some visual interest; they also help keep the case from feeling too slick when you’re holding it.

The back of the Zagg Gear4 Havana for Google Pixel 6 series

A ~1mm raised bezel protects the Pixel’s camera module on all sides; I appreciate that this case, like the Vena Commute, provides a full bezel around the camera module.

Showing the bezels around the camera module on the Zagg Gear4 Havana for Google Pixel 6 series

Zagg says that the Gear4 Havana case has been treated with their RepelFlex Antimicrobial Treatment, which Zagg says inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria and guards against degradation from microorganisms.

I like knowing that so many of these cases come with antimicrobial treatments, but I hate that there’s no practical way for us at home to test them to see how effective they are! Ah well.

This phone also allows all wireless functions without any issues.

If you want an unembellished clear case that offers face-down and camera protection with D30 top, bottom, and corner drop protection, the Gear4 Havana is an excellent choice.

Incipio Grip for Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

If you liked the looks of the Incipio Duo but prefer something just a bit more, well, grippy, look no further than the $39.99 Incipio Grip for the Google Pixel 6 series; it’s available in Black and Midnight Navy.

The Incipio Grip has same-colored multidirectional grips on the sides and corners that will help you keep a solid hold on your phone at all times. It also has Incipio’s impact struts for up to 14′ of drop protection.

There is a raised ~1mm to 1.5mm bezel that goes all the way around the display for full face-down protection.

Showing the bezels around the display on the Incipio Grip for Google Pixel 6 series

The Pixel’s right side power and volume buttons are covered.

The buttons on the right side of the Incipio Grip for Google Pixel 6 series

And there are cutouts for the top microphone, bottom microphone, speaker, and USB-C port, so the case also offers complete top and bottom edge drop protection.

As we saw on the Incipio Duo, there are raised black rubber curves near the outer edges of the case’s rear corners that work in tandem with the raised ~1mm bezels on the camera module to offer protection.

Showing the bezels around the camera module on the Incipio Grip for Google Pixel 6 series

The cutouts for the camera module do not extend to the phone’s edges, which helps to provide additional camera protection.

The back of the Incipio Grip for Google Pixel 6 series

Incipio mentions that, like the Duo case, the Grip is made from recycled materials, and it’s scratch and discoloration-resistant. The Grip also has Incipio’s Antimicrobial Defense, which Incipio says prevents 99.9% of surface bacteria. Also worth noting is that this case allows wireless charging without any issues.

I like that the Inicpio Grip adds the raised shapes for added traction on the sides and corners, yet it manages to remain quite slim and easily pocketable.

If you want a slim case with serious drop protection and added traction when holding, you’ll be pleased with the Incipio Grip.

Source: All cases that I tried were manufacturer supplied

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Do you have a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro? If so, which Pixel 6 case is your favorite?

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.