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Review: Tech21’s ‘Made for Google’ Pixel 4 accessories are a bit of a mixed bag

If you picked up a Pixel 4 over the holiday sales and you’re looking for a case to go with it, products with the “Made for Google” badge are a great place to start. Tech21 is one of the biggest names in that collection, and over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent some time with the company’s Pixel 4 XL accessories.

Evo Check — great protection, better customization

First and foremost, there’s Tech21’s signature case, the Evo Check. This somewhat thick plastic case is grippy, comfortable, and most importantly very protective. The case is rated for a 12-foot drop with a thick border around the sides of the phone, full protection along the back, and a raised lip to help protect the screen. The entire case is antimicrobial, too, which means it will stay much cleaner than other cases.

In testing out the Evo Check for Pixel 4 XL, I found that it’s still a pretty sweet case. The buttons feel solid and the cutouts for the speaker and USB-C port are pretty much perfect. The camera cutout on the back is a little off, though. So far, only Google’s Fabric case has been perfect for me.

tech21 pixel 4 xl made for google evo check case

Perhaps the biggest benefit to Tech21’s Evo Check for Pixel 4 is that it comes in multiple colors and with customizable buttons. I spent my time with the bright “Could by Coral” version — although, in hindsight, “Indigo” would have looked way better with my white Pixel — and it shipped with coral, yellow, and blue buttons. I swapped out the coral for the blue. The process of removing the buttons is a pain, but it’s great that you get the option.

Evo Check costs $39.99, which isn’t cheap, but it’s a great case overall that I wouldn’t regret spending the money on.

Studio Colour — slim and made from plants

My favorite of the two cases from Tech21 was the Studio Colour. I picked up the “Let Off Steam” version of this case, which is a slightly blue shade of gray. It’s basic but unique. As a side note to Tech21, I need that “Life on Mars” color found on the iPhone’s version of the case on Pixel immediately.

The Studio Colour caught my eye primarily because it’s not made from plastic like most cases are. Instead, Tech21 uses plant-based materials to craft this Pixel 4 case. This results in buttons that are a bit stiff, but the overall case feels uncompromised from the material choice. Cutouts are mostly perfect, aside from the camera which, again, is a bit off.

pixel 4 xl made for google tech21 studio colour case

The slim design of the Studio Colour also felt great. The case itself is a bit stiff, which makes the overall thin profile feel safer and less prone to any damage.

Studio Colour costs $29, and it’s well worth the money if you like the colors it offers.

Impact Shield Screen Protector — truly horrible

Screen protectors are, in my opinion, a necessary evil. They’re almost always worse-feeling or looking than the glass on your phone, but I’d rather deal with that than shell out for a screen repair or a new phone entirely.

Tech21’s Impact Shield screen protector looks good at first glance online, but I can’t stress enough that you should not spend your money on this product.

The Impact Shield is a plastic screen protector which the company says is scratch-resistant, self-healing, and “easy to apply.” Those first two points may be true — I frankly couldn’t use the product long enough to test — but even if so, they’re overshadowed by a plethora of negatives.

tech21 impact shield pixel 4 xl screen protector

Most importantly, this screen protector doesn’t actually cover the entire display. It only goes up to the top bezel, leaving a good portion of the glass completely uncovered. This is something you can’t know for sure based on the company’s listings.

The screen protector itself also seems to have absolutely no oleophobic coating, which means smudges appear almost instantly and are hard to get off.

The installation process may be the most flawed portion of this product, though. Tech21’s packaging makes the instructions a bit hard to find, and you won’t find any dust removal stickers or wet wipes to help clean off the display. The included microfiber cloth also left my display with more dust attached than before I wiped it down.

The plastic installation guide piece also leaves far too much room for error, which left me with a misaligned screen protector. Part of that alignment is definitely on my own user error, but the guide piece is far worse than similar installation methods I’ve used for similar screen protectors.

I could go on a bit more about what’s wrong with the Impact Shield, but I think I’ve made my point. You should not buy this screen protector, especially for $29. There are way better options out there for much less money.

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Disclosure: Tech21 provided review units of the Evo Check and Impact Shield products. The Studio Colour was purchased by the author directly.

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