Skip to main content

Review: Caseology’s Nano Pop is the best slim but sturdy Galaxy S21 case

Bold color accents, great texture, and a nicely contoured camera cutout make the Nano Pop the one to beat.

While I adore researching the best cases for the Samsung Galaxy S21 — or whichever phone is hitting the market this week — I'm always a tad disappointed when I go look at the newest and fanciest ones a manufacturer offers and see that they're only for iPhone. I can't be too mad — when you're starting out a new series, iPhone is the safer bet and its owners are never shy to call out anything they don't like — but I am disappointed all the same.

Such was the case with the Caseology Nano Pop, which debuted for the iPhone 11 series in late 2019. It came back for the iPhone 12 with bolder colors, and I held out hope that it would soon make the jump to Android phones. That jump came with Samsung Galaxy 21, and it was worth the wait. I've long adored the Caseology Parallax Series for its fun colors and unique cubist design across the back, but the Nano Pop has more grip and more reinforcement around that shiny new camera module.

It's not quite as heavy-duty as the Parallax, but I'm okay with that because the extra grip means I shouldn't have to test what kind of drop it'll survive.

Caseology Nano Pop for Galaxy S21

Bottom line: This solid little case won't bulk up your Galaxy S21, but it will add protection against slips and drops while also adding some grip and style. While most cases and case manufacturers don't really know what to do with that new camera bump on the S21, the Nano Pop highlights and protects it in the best way possible.

The Good

  • Slim profile
  • Great grip
  • Excellent color combos

The Bad

  • Wish the accent color appeared more

$17 at Amazon

Not like, love

Caseology Nano Pop for Galaxy S21 What I love

Let's start with the design. Rather than a traditional hybrid case where a flexible TPU shell slips into a polycarbonate frame, a smaller plastic frame is embedded into the flexible Nano Pop case to ensure you have a nice tall lip around the camera and no light from the flash can bleed through a gap in the silicone. The camera module cutout also shares the same bold color as the case's interior lining, where thin air cushion grooves are etched in concentric, elongated ellipses.

I wish that color also bled through to the buttons, but at least the pop around the camera is bolder for the S21 than it is for more Nano Pop versions. The three color combinations here are quite fetching, but I wish we'd gotten that Apple Red/Caramel combo the iPhone 12 series did. Don't get me wrong, the Light Violet and Prune Charcoal are perfectly fine — except for that latter name, Caseology, what were you thinking?

The button covers might blend into the rest of the case's main color, but I still adore them because they have the perfect amount of give to them. They're not loose and clicky, they're not stiff and hard; the button covers here are exactly the flexible fit you want to see in a case. Yes, it's a small detail, but it's one you'll notice every time you adjust your volume, or take a screenshot, or turn off the screen.

Perfectly sculpted for a great fit and easy application

The cutouts for the pinhole microphones and the speaker grill are nice and tight, so you'll be less likely to get lint or other debris caught inside. While the cutout for the USB-C port feels a tiny bit lopsided when you look at it, it does this to avoid a secondary cutout for the mic beside it, and it makes the port nicely wide for fatter adapters and cables.

Texture is another small detail that makes a big difference. While the Nano Pop lacks the same 3D texturing Caseology uses on the Parallax, there's a soft-touch coating on here that's pleasantly grippy, even when your hands are a bit sweaty after being outside in the Florida heat (85 in February, but hey, it beats snow). I still put my trusty phone grip on the S21 so it'd be easier to reach the top of the screen one-handed, but if you have bigger hands than mine, the Nano Pop is all the grip you need.

Caseology Nano Pop for Galaxy S21 What I don't like

As I mentioned before, I'd've loved to see a few more color options here — especially for the Galaxy S21 Ultra case, which only has two colorways — but I can't really blame Caseology by playing it safe with fewer variations. At least they're both on the color wheel and not just basic black. And again, I really, really wish the accent color applied to more than the lining and the camera cutout; putting it on the buttons or around the USB cutout could take that pop of color to the next level.

It's early days, so I'm not 100% sure how this soft-touch texture on the Nano Pop will hold up after months of my skin oils eating away at it. In over a week, I've only needed to wipe it off once to avoid any grime buildup, so it should last a while, but I know it won't hold forever. Then again, no case looks perfect after a year of slipping it in and out of my pocket.

Caseology Nano Pop for Galaxy S21 Competition

Being a hybrid case for the Samsung Galaxy S21, the Nano Pop has lots and lots of company in the space. It's better looking than the gunmetal grey Spigen Neo Hybrid, it's easier to get on and off than the OtterBox Commuter Series — the OtterBox Symmetry series would be a better competitor if it weren't more than twice the price — and the Speck Presidio2 Grip is also double the price.

In fact, the biggest competition the Nano Pop faces right now from name-brand cases is from Caseology itself. The Caseology Parallax is still one of my favorite case series of all time, even if the plastic half of the bumper can be more slippery than the Nano Pop's silicone sides. The Parallax is the same price and the more classic hybrid construction, but so far, the Nano Pop has won me over with fit, feel, and its bold color combos.

Caseology Nano Pop for Galaxy S21 Should you buy it?

If you're looking for a case that won't sacrifice pocketability for protection, the Nano Pop is the Goldilocks case between dainty ultra-thin cases and bulky heavy duty Galaxy S21 cases. It provides style, soft grip, and just enough impact protection that you won't feel the need to white-knuckle grip your phone the second you leave the house.

5 out of 5

Another benefit of the Caseology Nano Pop is that unlike other big-name cases that launch with over-inflated prices that become reasonable as the months wear on, Caseology launches its cases at affordable prices so you get the best value and protection for your phone from Day One. I have about two dozen other cases to try out over the next few months, but when I'm not reviewing them, the Light Violet Nano Pop is my go-to case for the foreseeable future.

Caseology Nano Pop for Galaxy S21

$17 at Amazon

Meet my new favorite case series.

This grippy case is compact and comfortable to hold for hours on end, exactly what you want in an accessory that guards your digital lifeline. So long as you're not looking for heavy-duty protection, the Nano Pop checks all the case boxes and then some.

Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

How to watch England vs New Zealand: Live stream 2nd Test series cricket on

With the first Test ending in a draw, the series is on a knife edge at Edgbaston, as Joe Root's side look to put off the field controversies to one side and claim a much needed win against the Kiwis. Don't miss a single ball of the 2nd Test with our England vs New Zealand live stream guide below. The series has been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of offensive historic tweets posted by Ollie Robinson who made his debut in the opening Test but has since been suspended. With the controversy still brewing amid interventions from politicians and accusations leveled at other members of the team, Root has a battle on his hands to keep his side focused on the game ahead. One positive for Root coming into the game is that they'll be playing in front of a near capacity crowd at Egbaston, with the overwhelming majority of the expected 18,000 spectators set to be cheering on the home side. The tourists have been delivered a huge blow coming intot his final match, with s

Review: The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is a truly moving Alexa speaker

This new Echo Show is a real head-turner. The smart speaker market has grown quite a bit since Amazon introduced the first Echo in late 2014. However, after introducing the first Echo Show in 2017, the evolution of smart screened devices hasn't progressed nearly so quickly. There have mostly been incremental updates to the devices put out by Amazon, Google, and others like Lenovo, adding bigger screens and (marginally) better speakers, but nothing has really moved the category forward. As it has done several times before, Amazon is poised to usher in the next paradigm shift in smart speaker tech with its latest Echo device, the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). I've had the pleasure of using just about every Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker over the past few years, so I feel well-suited to write this Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) review based on that background. I'm not going to get too far into the argument of which smart assistant is better — by now, you've

The Galaxy Watch 4 is coming soon — here's everything you need to know

Samsung's Galaxy-brain play: leaving Tizen behind for Wear OS. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, one of the best Android smartwatches , may have only just launched in November 2020, but the latest rumors out of South Korea suggest the company may already be developing its replacement — with some big changes and upgrades in the works meant to topple Apple from its smartwatch throne. There's no confirmation whether Samsung's 2021 smartwatch will be named the "Galaxy Watch 4" or adopt a new name entirely. However, we know that this new watch will run the new version of Wear OS, which would have a big impact on app support and Android phone connectivity. It could also feature a newer-faster chipset, which could put it leagues ahead of the best Wear OS watches . Details are fairly scarce so far, but we've scrounged up every known leak about specs, design leaks, and pricing, along with everything else we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung's bes

6 things Apple stole from Android at WWDC— and one that Google should steal

Every year, Apple and Google trade ideas for their newest versions of iOS and Android, respectively. But this year, during Apple's WWDC 2021, it seems like Apple purloined more than a few ideas that Google's integrated into Android over the last few years. Millions of iOS users won't get their hands on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 until later this year, so until then, we don't know until then how the new features will fare in the real world. For now, here's a tongue-in-cheek look at six features Apple, um, borrowed from Android with its latest software releases. Jump to: iPad widgets and app drawer Live Text Apple Maps AR navigation iOS notifications New Siri capabilities Apple Photos Bonus: What Google needs to steal iPad widgets and app drawer iPad OS 15 introduced two big new updates for the iPad home screen today: widgets and the App Library. If you think this sounds awfully familiar, there's a good reason for that. 2020's iOS 14 introduced both