iPhone 11 Clear Case review: is it worth $40?

The iPhone 11 Clear Case is one of only three Apple-made cases for the new baseline iPhone. It joins two of the most basic silicone cases — black and white — in Apple’s lineup of iPhone 11 cases. With that established, pickings are slim if you’re wanting to stick with an Apple-produced case for your new iPhone.

Should you consider dropping $40 for Apple’s iPhone 11 Clear Case, or should you look at more price-friendly and more varied iPhone 11 clear case options from third-party sellers? Watch our brief hands-on video for the details.

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This isn’t my first rodeo using one of Apple’s $40 clear cases on an iPhone. Last year’s iPhone XR marked the debut of a clear case option in Apple’s lineup, and it’s been put to the test over the past year.

My observation from the iPhone XR Clear Case experiment was that it did a wonderful job of protecting the iPhone XR inside. At the end of nearly a year, the iPhone XR looks almost flawless except for some screen scratches, which is no fault of the case itself.

As such, I knew what to expect from the iPhone 11 Clear Case, as it is predictably similar to last year’s version.

iPhone 11 Clear Case review video

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One of the most frustrating things about cheap clear cases is that they tend to yellow over time, aren’t always crystal clear, and tend to scratch up easily.

Apple says that, thanks to thousands of hours of testing, design, and R&D, it’s been able to address those issues with its iPhone 11 Clear Case. I don’t doubt that Apple has put in the man hours in an effort to make a better clear case, but you’ll still need to temper your expectations to a degree.

For the most part, Apple’s claims are correct. My iPhone 11 Clear Case is crystal clear, and for the most part, it didn’t distort the bright colored finish of the iPhone lurking beneath. At certain angles you may notice a “rainbow” effect in the plastic, which is common to most clear cases, but I found that I had to go looking for the issue on both the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 Clear Cases.

It also does a good job of resisting scratches on the hard exterior and interior, but it’s definitely not scratch proof. My iPhone XR has its fair share of battle scars to prove that point.

Perhaps the biggest concern was whether of not the case would yellow over time. In my experience with cheap clear cases, after just a few months of use, they would acquire a nasty-looking yellow tinge.

Slight yellowing on the iPhone XR Clear Case (right) after a year

With Apple’s Clear Case, yellowing is less of a factor, although it still happens over time. After about a year’s usage, most of the iPhone XR Clear Case has maintained its optical clarity, but certain parts of the case, mostly around the buttons, have adopted a slight yellow pigment.

Related video: iPhone 11 Top Features

Eventual yellowing is, to anyone who’s used their fair share of clear cases, unsurprising. Apple doesn’t say that its case is yellow proof, just that it went to great lengths to prevent yellowing.

Considering that the iPhone 11 Clear Case is a slightly updated take on its predecessor, my experience with the iPhone XR Clear Case should provide a good indicator of what to expect over the long term.

One of my biggest beefs with the iPhone XR Clear Case was its mushy buttons that lacked tactility. I feel like this has been slightly improved on the iPhone 11 Clear Case, but it’s still nowhere near as good as the buttons on Apple’s leather case offerings.

Another complaint that some users have is the lack of a protective lip on the bottom of the case where the speakers, microphone, and Lighting port are housed.

Related video: All iPhone 11 Pro Cases

Apple purposely left the bottom area of its case free of material to help facilitate the swipe gestures that are so ubiquitous in iOS these days. I think it was a smart move, and my virtually flawless iPhone XR shows that the design had little to no effect on how well the case was able to protect my iPhone.

Overall, I think the iPhone 11 Clear Case is worth considering. It’s obviously priced to make a profit, and some would argue that it’s overpriced for what it is. It’s an understandable argument when you can buy a half a dozen iPhone 11 clear cases on Amazon for the price of one Apple iPhone 11 Clear Case.

Whatever case you decide to go with, I think it makes sense to stick with a clear option in order to show off the good-looking finishes of the iPhone 11.

What do you think? Is Apple’s clear case overpriced, or do you think it’s reasonable? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts, and be sure to watch our Top iPhone 11 Features video and subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more coverage of Apple’s latest new smartphone.

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Avatar for Jeff Benjamin Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.