Phones

ESR Samsung Galaxy S22 Extremely Steel Kickstand case hands-on: Drop safety with two-way stand

With the large, gorgeous Super AMOLED 6.8-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra it is often used to enjoy media content on the go. In order to optimize the viewing experience, an easy way to prop it up is essential. The ESR Metal Kickstand case securely stands up your phone in both landscape and portrait orientation.

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The ESR Metal Kickstand case is priced at just $22.99 and is available in black or clear style options. The black one is solid black with a black color kickstand. The clear one lets you show off the color of your S22 Ultra with a silver metal kickstand.

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The kickstand on the ESR case is the most substantial kickstand I’ve seen on a case and is made of metal. Some are flimsy plastic kickstands, but that is clearly not the case here. At first, I thought ESR had a major design flaw since it appeared that the volume controls were on the bottom (in landscape orientation) so you couldn’t control the volume while watching video content. That is true when the kickstand is extended and you put the extended end down on a surface with the hinged end up. However, the ESR case has such a substantial kickstand design that you simply rotate your phone 180 degrees and the extended end lays down in parallel to the surface while still propping up the phone.

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

This type of kickstand design is unique, but it also gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to propping your phone up at the best angle for your viewing needs. You can prop up your phone up to 60 degrees from horizontal. I actually had to contact the review representative since I thought the design was messed up since having the kickstand down like this is unusual. It actually makes for a very stable platform too with most of the kickstand resting on a flat surface.

You can also rotate your phone and use it in portrait orientation with the kickstand securely propping up your phone for Google Duo, Teams, or other video conferencing sessions. Propping it up is also convenient for reading on the S22 Ultra.

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The clear model I tested has soft TPU sides that improve your grip on the phone while the hard acrylic back protects your phone and lets you show off the color of your phone. The back is scratch-resistant and will not yellow. The black model has a soft touch finish to help you hold onto your phone.

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The kickstand portion on the lower back protrudes out from the back of the phone, but it is low enough that wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, and wireless payments all still work just fine with your phone mounted in the case.

Ample openings are provided for the USB-C port, speakers, mics, cameras, and S Pen silo. Clearly defined raised buttons are present for volume and power. Each of the corners of the case also has extra material to protect your phone, called Air Guard, since corner drops are common and without adequate protection, a drop on a corner can cause substantial damage.

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The edges along the top and bottom of the ESR Metal Kickstand case rise just above the display so when you place your phone face down on a surface the display does not touch the surface. The edges are designed so that the display remains fully usable without compromise.

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