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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.
Have questions about our Thule Atmos X4 Review? Please ask them on our Google+ page or on our Facebook page.
August 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm
Would you recommend the atmos x3 w/ a clear-cote fusion screen ($32 w/ a coupon) or the x4?
August 11, 2015 at 5:02 pm
That would be a good compromise.
September 24, 2015 at 1:31 am
witch one is the best option for iphone 6s plus: thule atmos x4 or atmos x3+cinder screen protector?
August 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm
I already have the atmos x3, but I was wondering if an upgrade to the x4 is worth it if I don’t plan on using the x4’s screen protector.
Looking mainly at whether or not the x4 main case itself is more durable than the x3. Thanks!
August 14, 2015 at 4:40 pm
In terms of durability, I think they are almost the same. The biggest difference are the buttons and the bottom lip being rubber than plastic and if you’ve never used it, you won’t know the difference.
August 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm
Ok, thanks for the info!
October 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm
Would you recommend this X4 or the Mightyshell with faceplate and why? I am stuck between the two.
October 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm
Both are pretty great but I’d go with the X4…its a little easier to handle.
August 28, 2015 at 1:07 am
I had the same question!
August 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm
do you know of a belt clip that works with the thule atmos x4 phone case? thanks
August 20, 2015 at 10:03 pm
No, all the ones I have don’t fit. I spoke to Thule and they don’t make one.
September 6, 2015 at 4:34 pm
Use a belt holster like the Simple.Be Answer 500. This fits an iPhone 6 or 6Plus in a case – including the OtterBox.
November 13, 2015 at 8:21 am
I use a leather, horizontal TurtleBack holster with a swivel belt clip from turtlebackcase.com You can also find them on Amazon.
Turtleback has horizontal or vertical cases in leather or nylon. The stem of the belt clip failed after a number of months, but Turtleback replaced the holster with no problem with an identical looking, but supposedly improved design. No problems since. Mophie has a slightly better looking holster, but it’s a bit too loose to hold an iPhone 6 plus with a Thule X3.
August 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm
can this case be used without the screen protector?
August 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm
Yes. It would be like the X3.
August 20, 2015 at 12:26 am
Please review the Magpul Field Case for the iPhone 6+!!!
August 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm
I will put it on the list!
August 23, 2015 at 4:30 am
I wanted to buy an x4 but could only find an x3 in store. It was on clearance, so I picked it up and added a zagg invisible shield hd glass screen protector. I was thinking it would just “tide me over” until I could buy an x4, but now I’m wondering if its drop/impact protection is already just as good?
August 24, 2015 at 2:22 pm
The case will be similar…the difference between the X3 and X4 is quite minimal. The screen protector won’t be as tough…generally I’ve seen my screen protector break around 2 ft with my 200g ball while the X4’s screen protector took the ball at 4ft with now problem.
With that being said, the glass screen protector will protect your screen from one really bad drop…you’ll just have to get another after it cracks.
August 23, 2015 at 7:36 pm
hello man ..greetings from Mexico….i enjoy you channel alot….can you help me out …i have the griffin survivor all terrain for the iphone 6 …i love the case but i found it to be really bulky…i wanna get a slim case with a screen protector and the Atmos x4 seems the best option so far…..is there any other slim case that has a screen protector that does not stick to the screen like the atmos ..something similar to the set up the survivor has that you can recommend me…..i kinda like to take the phone out of the case sometime and iam afraid that once that i take the screen protector of the atmos x4 it wont stick back …..can you please help me out man…..thanks …
ps please review the Puregear dualtek extreme shock case
August 24, 2015 at 2:19 pm
Something like these two cases? http://www.mobilereviews-eh.ca/compare/1/28,27/poetic-revolution-vs-supcase-unicorn-beetle-pro/
August 24, 2015 at 1:48 pm
Hey man just checkin on how I can get one of these bad boys in Australia? Also, I’m a high pocket user, is the screen protector likely to peel off or is it easy to get the corners/edges caught on zip or jeans pockets etc, how suctioned is it to the iPhone. Keep up the good work bro
August 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm
The entire screen protector is sticky. It does stick out a little bit but moving it in and out of my pocket never pulled the screen protector off.
August 27, 2015 at 3:50 am
Hey apparently I can’t get it in Aus
What’s the chance of you sending it to me, if I pay you the cost +shipping first?
August 25, 2015 at 4:03 pm
So…if I want good general protection from water and shock, plus sensitive tactile and sound benefits with no glare on my screen…what is case do you recommend for the Iphone 6? (I do not intend to submerge my phone, but am generally “rough” on a phone…and I have got caught out in the rain when working out)…
August 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm
I have yet to find a waterproof case that provides that keeps the sound quality of the iPhone. The X4 is a decent case for general protection. If you’re looking for a tougher case, you could consider getting a LifeProof case (either the Fre or Nuud would work) but the sound isn’t great coming from those cases. Rain in general isn’t a problem for the iPhone…submersion is what kills the phone.
August 30, 2015 at 11:39 am
Great review ! I’ve been looking at most of your reviews and I like the real life tests you use to make your point. While considering the Nubb for my iPhone6 I came across this link for the SUNSKY case https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWq0NYm0kU Have you seen this case? Whada think? Any future review?
August 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm
It seems a little sketchy to me…doing a search on the case and nothing comes up but a bunch of low-price product outlets. I usually don’t review products where the company only pushes them through those channels.
September 11, 2015 at 10:37 pm
Hey Aaron….love your reviews! Which Thule has the better GRIP? I have an iPhone 6 Plus. I own the X3…and I love it. I don’t necessarily want their new screen protector so I’m hesitant to buy the X4…..unless the grip is better. Thoughts? Jim
September 12, 2015 at 8:05 pm
The X4 and X3 are about the same in terms of grippyness. The only thing different about them for grip is that the X4 is a little thinner along the sides so that might make a difference for some people.
September 14, 2015 at 8:49 pm
September 13, 2015 at 4:07 am
Hi thanks for your reviews!
I was looking at getting the otterbox for the new iphone 6s that i ordered mainly do to the way i seem to break phones, i know this is going to sound extraterrestrial but when i have my phone in my pocket (currently a s3 in a uag case, the screen is against my thigh and the back is facing the outside world) i tend to bump into the corner of my desk at work and the screen breaks, i have managed to to this 3 times – same corner, same desk. I will be cutting the corner of :). So i am looking for a case that has a stiff back not floppy, how is the x3? I also saw that thule has an x5 now. If not the x3 do you have another recomendation?
Thanks in advanced, Mark
September 13, 2015 at 8:31 pm
The back on the X3/X4 is pretty rigid though I don’t know if it will prevent your screen from breaking. If you’re switching the an iPhone, the back is a little more durable than the S3 I believe (it’s glass right?) so your current breaking situation might not be an issue.
September 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm
How does the Rhinoshield Crash Guard front shield screen protector compare to the screen protector that comes with the Thule Atmos X4 ? I’m leaning towards getting the X4 case (I like the grip) but go with the Rhinoshield screen protector over the Thule protector because it seems like the Thule protector covers or obstructs a little too much of the screen. Your thoughts? Many thanks!
September 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm
The X4’s screen protector is thinner and offers better viewability. I know Rhinoshield is updating their front guard soon to address the thickness and viewability.
For the X4’s, make sure you get an updated one that allows you to easily access the control center.
September 29, 2015 at 9:33 pm
Will the x4’s screen protector fit on a x3 for iphone 6? Wife really wants pink but also really needs a screen protector for full protection. I have x4 for iphone plus thanks to your review.
October 1, 2015 at 5:41 pm
It does but not well, there are gaps between the screen protector and case.
October 2, 2015 at 6:01 pm
Thanks for the awesome reviews!
I had a few questions related to the Atmos X4 as well as the Cinder Screen protector for the iPhone 6s plus. In your review you mentioned that the stratosheild on the X4 tends to slide when placed face-down on a table. Would this happen when using the cinder screen protector with the X4 case instead of the stratosheild? Also in terms of screen and drop protection which do you think would offer more protection? Cinder+ X4 case or stratosheild +X4?
Keep up the good work!. Thanks!
October 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm
Thanks for the review. I was wondering if the Thule Atmos X4 is compatible with the new Iphone 6s?
October 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm
I was wondering if you had access to the new version of the X4 (with the “fixed” screen protector). How good does it fit with iPhone 6s compared to the older 6? Are there any (larger) gaps or any noticeable difference at all?
October 7, 2015 at 8:48 pm
I haven’t come across a new X4 with the screen protector…but the case itself fits with the 6S. Didn’t notice anything outstanding with an X4 and a 6S.
October 5, 2015 at 10:29 pm
Hi Aaron, many thanks for your reviews. Is the Thule Atmos X4 compatible with the Iphone 6s? Thanks
October 6, 2015 at 12:59 am
Hey Aaron in have the new iphone 6s and already ordered my CINDER screen protector. My question is with the CINDER would you recommend the Thule X4 or the K11 bumber as the choice of case to go along with?
October 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm
I’d go with the X4 as the K11 doesn’t fit the Cinder.
October 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm
Have you tested the Thule x5 yet?
October 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm
No. Waiting for my review cases to show up.
October 8, 2015 at 5:57 pm
By chance I visited a large box retailer near me in the Midwest of the US, and they happened to have the new X-5’s. I immediately purchased one since I have been looking for a waterproof type case (other than Lifeproof & Catalyst) for my 6+.
October 7, 2015 at 12:06 am
Can you use different screen protector other than the one that comes with the atmos x4?
October 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm
October 12, 2015 at 9:26 pm
I’m highly considering getting myself a X4 for my new 6s; however, I really want something that provides good dust, water, abuse, etc. protection. Have you looked into the X5 or plan on doing so? If so, do you think it would be a viable option? Thanks, great website and reviews!
October 12, 2015 at 9:28 pm
Nevermind, ha just saw a comment about the X5. Sorry, guess I should read a little closer next time.
October 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm
I’ll review the X5 when my review cases come in!
October 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm
Hey Aaron- love the reviews. Question, new iPhone 6s owner and trying to decide on buying an atmos x3 with a glass screen proctor or the atmos x4. I dont care for the screen proctors that are plastic in general and would probably end up putting a glass screen proctor on the x4 which would cost another $30 or so. Which would you recommend?
October 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm
The X4 has a pretty strong plastic screen protector but will get in the way a little bit (tiny amount). Comparing just the two case backs, the biggest difference are the buttons as the X4 has cleaner buttons than the X3. Durability wise, the X4 will last a little longer as readers/viewers generally comment on the bottom lip of the X3 snapping.
October 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm
Thanks Aaron. I’ll probably go with the x4 then. Just hard to pass up the X3 since its on clearance on Best Buy for $19.99. Appreciate the reviews. Being from northern MN, love and appreciate the Eh’s.
October 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm
Just received my X4 and cannot fit my new 6S into it. Case is too shallow. Can get about half under the lip and the remainder is above. Am returning it today. Anyone else have this problem? Only other case I’ve found that fits okay is the Otterbox.
October 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm
I’ve got my 6s in the X4 right now and it seems to fit.
November 16, 2015 at 3:29 am
Same problem with iphone 6s plus, with the x4 screen shield on the case really seems too shallow. I think this case is not deep enough
January 3, 2016 at 4:52 am
Hey Aaron, I’m also wondering about the fit of the X4 on the thicker 6s. I loved the X3 on my 5s and I’d like to buy the X4 but some say it doesn’t quite fit the 6s depth. You’re candid videos are awesome! I like that you retain the ‘human’ side of the process and don’t just become a boring reviewing machine. Thank you 🙂
October 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm
Is the Atmos X$ going to be as durable as my Otterbox Defender? I am getting the Iphone 6s Plus and want to keep it as thin as possible while protecting it as much as I can. I have had an Otterbox on my Iphone 5 and like the protection but hate the bulk and think it will be massive on the 6s Plus. I want to know if the Atmos will protect from drops, bangs, and hard use. My phone lives in my pocket and I don’t really care about being water proof but had looked at the Lifeproof Fre. I drop my phone often and want to keep it safe but would still like to use it. Or is there something else slim and durable you recommend?
October 26, 2015 at 1:26 pm
I’m not sure the 6S Plus will live in your pockets much…its a really big phone and any case just makes it that much bulkier. The Thule should do a decent job of protecting your device…feedback from readers/viewers is generally positive with the X4.
November 14, 2015 at 3:07 pm
I really appreciate your reviews. Thank you!
Now I’m trying to choose the best one case for my iPhone 6S. Drop protection and lips high enough to keep the screen with tempered glass screen protector off a flat surface are critical for me. And of course the case should has enough grip.
I like so much the Thule Atmos cases. Both of them (x3 and x4) are so nice to hold, so grippy and protective. But are their lips high enough to protect the screen?
May be you would recommend any other case which has all 3 critical features?
November 14, 2015 at 7:55 pm
The Thule’s fit with a glass screen protector. There is almost no clearance but the edges will keep them off a flat surface. Have you checked out the Speck Candyshell grip?http://www.mobilereviews-eh.ca/speck-candyshell-grip-review-iphone-6-6-plus/
November 14, 2015 at 8:24 pm
Actually yes I have. I used to have the Speck Candyshell Grip on my iPhone 5. It was a really great case – nice design, high protective lips, high level of grip. But there was one serious design problem which appeared after some period of usage (for me it was around 3 or 4 months) – those cool rubber strips began to wear off. And after half a year the case looked very untidy 🙁
My wife has had absolutely the same problem with her iPhone 5 and the Candyshell Grip.
Now I’m considering the Thule Atmos, Ballistic Urbanite and Magpul Bump Case.
By the way what do think about the Magpul Bump? Any chances you will review it?
Also please check new Performance series cases by Incipio (http://www.incipio.com/performance-series) – cases #3 and #4 look very promising.
November 15, 2015 at 10:11 pm
Got the X4 for both my wife’s 6S Plus and mine. On both phones, we notice there is a gap along both edges of the screen where the protector isn’t touching the screen (assuming due to the curve of the phone). Is this normal, or did we install it incorrectly?
November 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm
The wife and I got X4’s for our iPhone 6S Plus. On both cases, here seems to be a long bubble along the edge of the screen on both sides. If slight pressure is applied to the edge, the bubble will disappear but then more will appear further in on the screen. Simply putting it in your pocket will cause this. I’m assuming this is due to the curve glass, but is this normal for the case?
November 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm
I didn’t come across with that with my cases…it should be a pretty good fit. Can you warrenty it?
November 19, 2015 at 2:05 am
I’m not really sure, but will definitely look into it. Other than that it’s a great case
November 20, 2015 at 5:58 pm
Is the Atmos X4 screen protector re-useable? Thanks for the help.
November 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm
November 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm
Love the reviews, you are my go to man for all mobile related reviews.
Just got the x4 for my 6s plus and love it, great fit, great feel only minor issue is the slight gap all around the screen protector (I have the updated one) at the edges but for me it is more a visual issue than practical one as I haven’t had any issues with it catching as it goes in and out of my pockets! I’d recommend the case I switched from a tech 21 classic wallet to it!
Love the reviews, keep up the good work Aaron
November 23, 2015 at 9:00 pm
November 30, 2015 at 10:47 pm
My husband and I really like your reviews. We spent hours watching them before deciding on a case for both of our iPhone 6. However I do not like the Thule case. What drew us too it was it’s slim and you can stick in your pocket without it being hung up.that we liked. (If you do buy it do not buy the neon green/yellow my husbands was dirty in just few days and doesn’t Coke clean)
In the past 20 days I have had to have my iPhone 6 screen replaced completely twice. It has been very costly and I’m very upset about it. Both times the phone fell from pocket level on my tile floor. The second time the phone had tempered glass on it that I had installed after the first time my screen shattered. My iPhone screen still broke even under the tempered glass. I have had cell phones for the past 16 years and never broken one until now. Which leads me to believe the iPhone 6 is not a quality product.
December 8, 2015 at 8:45 am
Hi ! Aron i really like the Thule Atmos X4 case an was wondering if its gonna fit in my iPhone 6 s plus which i already ordered and also if i wana remove this factory provided screen protector that comes with the case & swap this with Cinder by cupert , Moshi i visor or i loome screen mate with curved edges which one do you recommend will provide better protection and case compatibility i.e for Thule Atmos x4 else reply ASAP.
December 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm
X4 and Cinder.
December 13, 2015 at 11:50 pm
Which would you prefer as a general everyday use case?
Atmos x4 without screen protector.
Rhino shield crash guard without screen protector.
Rhino shield ply proof without screen protector.
January 10, 2016 at 12:37 am
Thanks for all the great info Aaron!
Do you have any info/comparison for the Ghostek Cloak or the X-Doria Defense Shield?
January 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm
I haven’t reviewed the Cloak yet. The X-Doria Defense Shield is decent, the back scratches a little easier and is a little thicker than other cases.
March 23, 2016 at 8:59 am
Thanks so much for your thorough reviews! On Amazon I see only three color choices for the Thule x4 to fit my iPhone 6–the orange & black is “one size” and the black/black and white/black is “for 6.” What’s the difference, if any, between “6” and “one size?” I kind of like the bright fiery orange, but will be happy with the white if the size matters!
March 23, 2016 at 12:52 pm
I don’t think there is a difference. I’ve put both iPHone 6’s and 6s’s into the X4 and they both work.
March 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm
🙂 Thanks for the prompt reply! I was so happy to find your reviews last night–I am ordering my case this morning! Thanks again 🙂
April 7, 2016 at 7:52 pm
I just discovered this site.
Bought an iPhone 6s a couple of days ago & am looking for a case that will offer me great protection with minimum bulk. From experience with other iPhones, I prefer a big enough lip to protect the screen from falls and being scratched when mistakenly left upside down on a countertop.
Also bought an AT&T brand screen protector, which the salesman installed at the store. My question: if I purchase the Atmos X-4 should I remove the screen protector on my phone?
April 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm
You don’t have to. Keep using the one you have now, if it breaks or gets scratched up, you can use the X4’s.
May 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm
Where us the best place to get the Thule X4 for iPhone 6 in Canada?
May 2, 2016 at 7:11 pm
Either through Amazon.ca or a place in Edmonton. Google “thule edmonton” should bring you to the store.
October 19, 2016 at 6:39 am
Hey Aaron will you be reviewing the Atmos X4 for iPhone 7 plus? I see it is on Thule’s website now but it is kind of expensive and I don’t want to bite until I see a review from someone who reviews a LOT of phone cases like you. Thx in advance.
October 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm
I will be once I get the review units. I know that all they changed on the case is the camera cutout on the back so my iPhone 6 review is going still relevant.