When the Pixel 5 first arrived, there was a brief moment where I thought I should try and find a decent case for it knowing that it would be a phone I used heavily for some time. Taking a quick glance through the stores of the typical casemakers left me unsatisfied and it sure looked like they had all given up on Google’s Pixel line. So I decided to try something new – I bought a freakin’ Latercase for the Pixel 5.
- UPDATE: While the Latercase is a pretty nice case, I really wanted a carbon fiber case with a camera cutout, not this design, where the camera was encased. I found one over at Amazon and it’s pretty great. Still expensive, but I’ve been using it for several weeks now and would recommend it over Latercase. You can buy it here.
For those not familiar with Latercase, it’s my understanding that Lew from Unbox Therapy owns this company and they have only made cases for a short time. By no means is Latercase one of those mega-casemakers like Spigen that churns out dozens of cheap plastic cases with various levels of protection for every phone imaginable and instead has a much narrower focus.
These cases are without a doubt expensive at between $39 and $45, they feature an incredibly thin carbon fiber design, and are available for a good chunk of the most popular phones from Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei, Apple, and, Google. Of course, I decided to dive in to the world of Latercase because they were one of the few to offer a Pixel 5 case in the early days, even if it was a pre-order situation where I had to wait well over a month to get it.
To be clear, I really did buy this. This isn’t a review sample or a sponsored post or anything like that. I put in an order on October 30, probably late at night after several IPAs, and received it on December 7. I paid $39 for it.
Here’s what I can tell you about the Pixel 5 Latercase:
- It’s incredibly thin at 0.6mm. It’s so thin that after slapping it on my Pixel 5 over a month ago, I haven’t really noticed it’s on there. You know how cases often remind you at all times that they are there when you swipe from an edge and are greeted by an ill-fitting piece of plastic wrapped around your phone? Or maybe you notice the added bulk or it changing the way your phone looks, but you acknowledge the reason you are dealing with this hell is because you are protecting an investment? Yeah, this case has a different vibe.
- It feels incredible in the hand. The carbon fiber or Kevlar gives off a soft touch with a semi-bumpy texture and subtle stickiness. Like, this is a texture I think most of you would really enjoy.
- It’s also never slippery, whether your hands are warm or cold. You know how depending on the time of day or temperature in your house, your hands might find your phone’s exterior slippery at one moment, then sticky the next? This case always settles into your hand without any of that unexpectedness.
- The amount of protection this case provides is probably minimal. First of all, it wraps around the backside of the phone, which is typically a big deal because most modern phones are made of glass and need a case covering them at all times. The Pixel 5 isn’t glass, so by putting this on, it’s really just a stylistic choice vs. a protective one.
- And that idea is really enforced when you look at the absolute lack of front display protection (below) it offers. For example, most cases, even the really thin ones, try to at least wrap up far enough around corners so that setting your phone face-down would at least lift the display off a surface. This case doesn’t, as it is unapologetically minimal and thin. If you flip your phone over with this Latercase on, the display is going to be touching whatever surface you put it on.
- I’m also not sure that if you dropped this phone on a corner, that it would provide much protection. Again, it’s insanely thin with a precision fit and not trying to be a maximalist ultra-protector, but I just want you to understand what you are getting here.
- If I have one other complaint, it’s that the fingerprint cutout isn’t exactly centered perfectly. This could be a manufacturing issue that has since been resolved or maybe I have a one-off misaligned case, but it’s a thing I noticed. Ok, I really wish the camera housing wasn’t covered up by the case too.
With all of that said, this case is exactly what I was looking for on that lonely October case shopping night. The Pixel 5 Latercase is on there to give me a sense of protection without constantly reminding me that I just covered my phone in awful plastic. It does so by adding grip and a style I’m not sure I love or hate, but I do know that I could touch this texture and never get sick of it.
Should you fork out $40 for a case this thin that offers such a minimal amount of protection? Hey, you do you. Like I just said, I really like this case, so if you have $40 to spend on a thin slab of Kevlar, I think you’ll like this. If you need a case to truly protect your Pixel 5, then maybe find another brand.