MagBak Case for iPhone Review
The MagBak Case for iPhone’s strong magnet lets you mount it with confidence, while the included MagSticks can be conveniently placed almost anywhere.
- Included MagSticks stick anywhere
- Powerful magnets feel very secure
- Reasonable drop protection from hollow corners
- TPU material attracts fingerprints
- iPhone’s angle/tilt depends on MagStick orientation
- Shallow edges don’t raise the display too far off the surface
1.55 oz (43.9 g)
5.9 in x 3 in x .5 in (15 x 7.6 x 1.3 cm)
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), Polycarbonate
We’ll let you in on a little secret: most Pack Hacker crew members daily drive an iPhone. To be even more specific, most of us use an iPhone series 12 or newer. Do you know what that means? Yep, at least one MagSafe accessory per square foot of the office (Apple introduced MagSafe to iPhones in the 12 series, in case you didn’t know). Can you blame us, though? MagSafe is convenient and helps eliminate cables.
However, if there’s one thing we don’t like about MagSafe, it’s the relatively weak magnets. We’re sure there’s a justification for it. Strong magnets would make attaching and detaching less easy and convenient otherwise. On the other hand, a car mount relying entirely on MagSafe would make your iPhone drop like a brick on the first speed bump. That’s where third-party cases like MagBak’s come in. With much stronger magnets and freebie magnetic strips, this case seems to be a nifty little upgrade for those looking for one.
The particular case we’re sampling in this review is an iPhone 13 case, although MagBak has been making magnetic cases for a while now. In fact, they pre-date Apple’s MagSafe by a couple of years. If you sort through their website, you can find magnetic iPhone X cases on clearance at the time of writing. So yeah, it’s not like the brand just hopped on the maglev hype train as it was leaving the station; they’ve got their own experience.
On the surface, the MagBak Case doesn’t look all that different from other iPhone cases, though that’s not saying much. That’s like saying all car tires look the same; the differences lie in the subtleties. Since this isn’t MagBak’s first attempt, you can see how they nail a lot of features. The Lightning port has enough clearance even for those connectors with large housings, as do the speaker grills and the silent switch.
There is a little debossed branding at the back. We don’t find any dirt accumulating around those, nor on any of the nooks and crannies, we mentioned earlier. Your mileage may vary depending on how clean you keep your phone and how careful you are. That said, no matter how careful you are, the MagBak Case’s TPU material catches fingerprints and natural oils without fail. Fortunately for us, we’re rocking the black colorway, so stains are generally less noticeable, and they wipe off fairly easily.
Take a peek at the inner corners of the MagBak Case, and you’ll see they’re hollow, giving the case some room to compress in case of a drop. You can think of it as the crumple zones of a modern car specifically designed to collapse and absorb impact. It’s the same principle, though the MagBak Case will revert to its original shape after a fall.
We’ve had exactly one accidental drop over the course of the two-week testing period when it fell a little over a meter on a graveled parking lot. The iPhone survived without a scratch, and so did the MagBak Case. If there’s one thing to nitpick, it’s that the edges of the case are relatively shallow, meaning the display isn’t that far off the surface when your phone’s facing down. On the other hand, this also makes it feel less intrusive as your finger doesn’t catch on the edges too much when swiping.
Now, let’s talk about what makes the MagBak Case special: the magnets. The magnets built into this case feel way stronger than those on the iPhone 13. They include a circular arrangement and additional strips corresponding to the included MagSticks, so the MagBak Case is also MagSafe compatible. Not “Made for MagSafe,” mind you—that requires full integration into Apple’s MagSafe ecosystem, which could include software. Meanwhile, “MagSafe compatible” basically means there are magnets in the MagBak Case that can stick to other MagSafe accessories, and that’s it.
So you’re probably asking, “Will this work with my MagSafe wireless charger?” We have the official Apple MagSafe charger, and it indeed does work. Other Qi wireless chargers work fine as well. That said, if you also have the MagBak Wallet attached, wireless charging won’t work, though the magnets will still stick.
Since the MagBak Case’s magnets are super strong, they can stick to any ferromagnetic material like steel, and your phone will stay there pretty securely. If you want a more secure mount, you’ll have to use the included MagSticks. There are two in the box, so that you can put them in separate locations. Interestingly, the iPhone 14 variant only comes with one MagStick, so your mileage may vary. On a car, the mounting force feels secure enough that the iPhone 13 doesn’t fall after a speed bump. However, the magnets almost seem overkill in more stationary locations like a kitchen.
It’s worth mentioning that since the MagSticks adhere to surfaces with basically no adjustment, your iPhone’s tilt/angle will be oriented accordingly. So if you put the MagStick on a wall at waist height, you’ll have no choice but to look at it downwards or find a chair and sit down to see it clearly. In other words, think it over carefully before you place these two MagStick freebies.
The MagBak Case doesn’t look or feel particularly bulky as far as iPhone 13 cases come and go. We’ve seen thicker cases from companies like Otterbox and Peak Design, so you shouldn’t have trouble fitting the MagBak Case into your pocket. The only time we had an issue, we were simultaneously testing it with the MagBak Wallet attached.
As we slipped the phone into a pocket, the MagBak Wallet slid off when it caught on the edge. That’s not really a fault of MagBak per se. Try sticking two flat magnets together and sliding them in opposite directions, and you’ll understand why.
For travel purposes, the MagSafe and Qi wireless charging compatibility is excellent since, as mentioned, those two are widely supported. In a fairly techy city, you may find a coffee shop with Qi charging built into the tables. Plus, the strong magnets allow you the flexibility to mount it on most ferromagnetic surfaces, which should be pretty easy to find. When in doubt, just hover the MagBak around it.
For comparison’s sake, take a look at the MagSafe-compatible cases from Moment and Peak Design. These two brands have an edge with their ecosystems of photography-related accessories, making them a no-brainer choice if you’re into mobile photography. If not, then the MagBak Case still has its own strengths to flex.
Both the Moment Case and Peak Design Everyday Case are MagSafe compatible. However, the Peak Design Everyday Case design includes a notch (SlimLink) in the middle to improve mounting security by preventing the slipping issue mentioned earlier. We’d say Peak Design and MagBak are tied in terms of raw magnet strength, followed closely by Moment.
Neither Peak Design nor Moment cases come with extras, whereas MagBak includes two of their MagSticks. There’s some value there, but it depends on what kind of pricing you find for your model at the time of purchase (Moment’s and MagBak’s cases come at around $50, while Peak Design’s case is about $40).
Lastly, Peak Design’s Everyday Case edges out MagBak’s and Moment’s offerings by having more style. Okay, this is purely subjective, but ask yourself, which among these three caught your attention first? Be honest if it’s the one with nylon canvas.
At its core, the MagBak Case is an already solid foundation for an iPhone case. They’ve nailed the basics like port clearance, protection, and a slim profile. What pushes it above and beyond a regular case is its strong magnets and the inclusion of the MagSticks, letting us use it relatively hassle-free from the get-go without having to find compatible accessories and pay for more.
- Sleek matte finish is soft and
- MagSafe compatible and feels very secure
- Works with a large ecosystem of MagBak accessories
- Still looks and feels great—some oil marks from fingers, though they’re easy to wipe off
- No blemishes on the phone case (or phone, for that matter) after a few drops
- Insanely strong magnets feel secure pretty much anywhere
- Digging that it attaches to anything metal, so mounting it around the house is pretty easy