Over the years I've had quite a few different cases for my iPhones, all of which have been used and abused, but more importantly, have protected my hundreds of pound investment.
Having bought outright an iPhone 6s earlier last year, I again wanted to protect it, and Thule was the first company that sprung to mind for 2 reasons. The first being that I haven't used their case before, and secondly, I'm currently using their camera bag, laptop case and roof bar system, so I know exactly how good their gear is.
Due to the nature of The Mud Life, I’m out in all conditions, either walking, camping, off-roading and sometimes canoeing, so my requirements were simple, the case has to be tough and waterproof. The Thule Atmos X5 seemed like a no-brainer.
It arrived in smart packaging, and inside the box you have base, cover, lanyard, microfibre cloth and instructions.
Putting it together couldn't be easier.
- Give the phone a thorough wipe using the cloth provided
- Slot the phone into the base unit, making sure it 'clicks' into place
- Press to top screen piece into position
- Once you've done that, snap the 2 side pieces into position which basically clamps everything together - job done.
The Atmos X5 does add some bulk to you phone as it measures 7.8 x 1.7 x 15cm but only weights an extra 0.1kg. Once fitted it’s a bugger to get off again, which is a good thing I suppose.
After around 7 months of use I’ve found that along with all this protection, and peace of mind, comes compromises. For starters, the volume and off buttons are quite solid and need effort to use. Because of the shape of the top screen, the home button can be a little awkward to use and take several attempts for it to recognise your thumb print. Initially, typing was hit and miss too due to the minute gap between the cover and screen, though I soon get used to this.
When I’m speaking to someone I found it better to open the bottom latch that covers the charging hole and microphone as some people reported that my voice was muffled slightly. On a similar subject, I think the most frustrating aspect of the X5 was that I could no longer listen to the radio and music via the iPhones external speaker, the sound quality is quite tinny and poor. This doesn’t affect the sound quality when using the headphones though.
On the positive side, the X5 is waterproof and dust proof with an IP68 rating. It can handle being dropped from 2 metres, or in my case, down a flight of stairs at work! The StratoShield screen protector is designed to offer up to 5 times the protection of the original screen yet still maintains your iPhones touch-screen responsiveness.
The X5 comes with a lanyard that’s attached to a corner, this is incredibly useful, especially if like me you want to take photos whilst canoeing or in other dodgy situations. Add this to the X5’s rubber side inserts and you never feel like it will slip out of your hands, especially with its extra bulk that I mentioned earlier.
After 3 months of heavy use I removed my phone, stuffed the X5 with toilet paper, put it back together and submerged it in the sink for an hour or so - a little longer than I’m supposed to do I think, but it remained dry. I repeated this test around 6 times over the course of a week just to be sure, and each time I would take it apart and each time not one bit of water entered the case.