Review: Thule Atmos X4 phone case

Published 19 April 2016

What is it?

Thule may be better known for roofboxes, but the Swedish company has branched out with a range of phone and tablet cases along with laptop sleeves. The Atmos range isn't huge - but it covers the two most popular phones on sale - the iPhone (back to the 5) and a Samsung Galaxy, from the S3 onwards, but not the new Edge.

We're testing the Atmos X4 which isn't cheap at £49.99 but you can find it cheaper online - down to £36 on Amazon directly through the Thule shop.

Made out of polycarbonate, it's light at 45g and doesn't make the iPhone too chunky thanks to a slim profile. It's been drop tested at 2.0 metres and comes with shock-stop corners and textured panels on the back, plus there are metal buttons and access to all the ports.

Thule Atmos X4 (3)

What’s it like?

The Atmos X4 comes in several colours. The all-black version is a pretty dull and not easy to spot when left on a van dash, we prefer the more visible and grandly named Fiery Coral (that's red to you and me), which you're less likely to miss.

This is the middle of Thule's Atmos Range. The X3 is a lighter and slimmer case with plastic buttons while the X5 is better for tougher work as it's fully waterproof and a much chunkier case all round. However, like the X4 it's still only drop tested to 2.0 metres. Other cases like the Ballistic Hardcore Tactical are certified at 3.65 metres. 

Straight out of the box, it feels like a high quality product. The subtle Thule branding on the back is a nice touch and like other Thule products, this is a well finished item. There are no rough edges or shiny finished, instead you get a very sturdy one-piece shell that easily clips over your phone with a snug fit.

It comes with a screen protector - essentially a plastic film you stick onto the glass front. We're not big fans of these but it will help protect the screen from scratches, although not from being cracked. 

But even without the plastic protector, the Atmos X4 does an excellent job. The case curves around the edges of the phone and the raised bezel this creates means you can put it face down without the screen getting scratched. However, the slim design means it's still easy to use the phone as normal - in other words with one hand.

Thule Atmos X4 (1)

The metal buttons for the volume and on/button work very well and you still get the satisfying click feel when you press them. Similarly, the silent button remains easy to use, often not the case with bigger cases.

The Atmos X4 may not look as bulky or strong as other cases, but for it's still very strong and durable for everyday work. You wouldn't take it onto a building site, but it's ideal for couriers and the like, thanks to its slim design and grippy panels in the back.

The corners are strong too and stand up well when your phone slides off the dash or seat during some over enthusiastic cornering. Even when clattered down into the footwell of a large van, the phone and case were still in one piece with no visible damage.

Should I buy one?

The Atmos X4 is fairly pricey, although looking online you can certainly find for much less than the recommended retail price of £50. If you're phone is going to taking serious abuse, then the X5 is a better bet, or indeed one of the heftier cases on the market such as the Griffin Survivor Adventure.

Given the cost of replacing an iPhone - and indeed the inconvenience of not having your phone for several days - investing in a decent case is a worthwhile investment, even if you do have insurance. 

The Thule Atmos X4 is an excellent all-round case. While not the toughest on the market, it's very strong and given its slim design, plus it's a durable case you can use at all times, without having to turn your phone into a rubber brick. 

Thule Atmos X4 (4)


Price: £49.99

Weight: 45g

Material: Polycarbonate

Drop tested: 2 metres


Ballistic Hardcore Tactical £59.99

Griffin Survivor Adventure £49.99

Otterbox Defender £39.99


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