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A slim, droppable iPhone case. One of our favorites!
Thule Atmos X4 Review – Pretty much an X3 with a screen protector
Today we’re doing the review for the Thule Atmos X4. This is a slim, tough iPhone case that comes with a screen protector but isn’t waterproof.
The X4 is the slighlty tougher version of the X3 as it comes with a screen protector and still has corners that are drop-rated to 6 ft. The buttons on the case are exceptional and the adhesive screen protector is top notch in terms of protection but we’ve got a small usability issue which is more noticeable on the iPhone 6 than 6 Plus.
For this Thule Atmos X4 Review, we’ve given this case a score of 4.6 Eh’s out of 5. This is currently the highest rated slim case that we’ve reviewed as it edges out the Rhinoshield Crashguard slightly, is higher than Thule’s own Atmos X3 and is definitely higher than the Incipio NGP, Tech 21 Classic Shell and any sort of Otterbox case. If you need more options, check out the comparison tool that has every case that we’ve reviewed.
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Design – Thin, a little wider but tough as nails
In terms of design, this is a thicker iPhone case as the screen protector juts out past the edges of the case. This also increase the chance that your phone will slide off if placed facedown. The case out of the box fits well together but with the screen protector, depending on how you install it, there might be a gap between the protector and the case. Good thing removing/re-applying the screen protector is easy and can be done a few times without having any issues.
When compared directly to the Thule Atmos X3, we’ve noticed the following:
- The X4 is a tad bit thinner
- The X4’s screen protector doesn’t fit the X3 well
- The cutouts at the bottom of the X4 are larger than the X3’s
Wear and tear is a tad lower than some other cases only because the corners aren’t covered with any soft rubber so a high drop on concrete is going to leave a minor mark. From everyday usage, the Thule Atmos X4 holds up incredibly well, even in Aaron’s wife purse!
If you decide to use the case without the included screen protector, the edges of the case are far enough away that you can easily use some of the larger screen protectors like the Sir Lancelot Holy Grail and iLoome Screenmate Max. Despite the fact that the majority of the case is pretty slick, the rubbery parts along the sides and the tapered edge, allows the X4 to sit comfortably in your hand.
Protection – One of the best for dry protection
In terms of protection, the corners of the X4, like the X3 are drop rated up to 6 ft. With the added screen protector, it will be a case that will probably protect your iPHone 6 or 6 Plus from a face first 6 ft drop. From screen protection, it comes with an adhesive screen protector that sticks to the front of the iPhone so there isn’t a gap to deal with.
Thule calls the screen protector the StratoShield and on their website, they show a 220 g ball being dropped from 5ft and having no impact on the iPhone’s touchscreen. Before writing our Thule Atmos X4 Review, we took Bertha, our 200g metal ball, and dropped it from 4ft and to our surprise, the screen on our iPhone 6 Plus didn’t break. However, the impact did leave a dent on the iPhone but according to the viewers on our drop test video, the dent didn’t bother them as long as the screen held up.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the setup was the potential for dust and debris to get between the screen protector and the case. This isn’t a big issue because the dust/debris doesn’t really move when its in there, you’re usage isn’t really spreading it around so its more of an annoyance than something that’s going to harm your iPhone.
Functionality – The case portion is an upgrade over the X3
In terms of accessing your iPhone, you can easily use larger than normal headphone jacks and lightning cables as the bottom of the case, unlike the X3 is quite open. The X3’s buttons weren’t terribly tough to use though we did notice the buttons being a little crooked and tougher to use but Thule’s eliminated those small issues from the X4. The “Function Plus” buttons are really nice, easy to find and have a nice response to them. In fact, we wish our $300 dollar Element G10 Titanium had buttons like the X4.
At the beginning of the review, we did mention an issue with the screen usability and that deals with the height of the edges on the screen protector. The screen protector is high enough that trying to scroll through all the dwellers you sent out to the wasteland in Fallout shelter is a little tougher on the iPhone 6. With the larger screen on the 6 Plus, that issue generally goes away because everything on the 6 Plus is a bit larger. The screen protector maintains the clarity of the iPhones retina screen and doesn’t add any additional glare or reflections.
So with all things considered, the X4, though a little pricier than other cases is a worthy case to get if you’re a little clumsier but still want decent protection with out a lot of bulk. We believe this is a good alternative to some of the larger cases such as the Otterbox Defender and Griffin Survivor All-Terrain.
Again, we gave this case a score of 4.6 Eh’s out of 5. If you’re looking for a premium iPhone case, consider getting one of the Ronin’s from Element. It will definitely class up your iPhone and put a dent in your wallet.