Everybody makes an iPad case, it seems, but how well the features have been thought out is normally another matter. I’ve tested numerous cases over the years, and there have certainly been plenty of pretty good ones. With each one, however, quibbles and frustrations have arisen – too heavy, too bulky, a complicated or insecure lid latch, or what to do with a separate or floppy lid when the case is open, among others. There have been enough that I’ve continued my search for that one case to become my go-to, my favorite in all but wet conditions for my iPad Air. And I’ve finally found it – the Thule Atmos X3 iPad Air case ($70).

Thule Atmos X3 iPad Air Case

Thule Atmos X3 iPad Air case.

Made of polycarbonate, the dual-density case provides an amazing level of anti-shock drop protection with minimal added bulk and weight (approximately 3/4 of a pound). A sleek and light case is important because, after all, what’s the point of owning a tablet if your case makes it feel like a brick?

Even with the Thule’s outer shells nested together flat, either for use or storage, the engineers thought through the design very well. In either state, it remains a sleek packet that still allows full access to the camera as well as the power and earphone ports. Control buttons on the Thule Atmos X3 are precise and a dream to use – unlike other cases I have tested where rubberized covers for buttons made it hard to turn it on or off or adjust the sound levels.

I especially love the rubberized inlay around the entire case. Even with sweaty palms, I never feel as if I might lose my grip. A secure hold is important when I am trying to quickly check an email or sketch a scene — and need to focus less on a slippery case than on the action. The rubberized inlay also ensures the case will stay put on smooth surfaces such as train or airplane tables.

There are several features I absolutely love about the Thule Atmos X3. A rubber tab makes it supremely easy to flip from closed to open and ready to use in one quick motion. It is also easy to adjust viewing angles, which also don’t slip about once placed. Perhaps best of all, the cover quickly folds around and nests onto the back of the iPad, creating an absolutely flat, secure, yet still protective case. No more flopping lids that just get in the way that make taking photos or, in my case, drawing and painting, an absolute dream. Just like holding a sketchpad – or camera.

Thule Atmos X3 iPad Air case

The Thule Atmos X3 iPad Air case folds completely flat making it a dream to hold when reading, sketching or taking photos … no more wrestling with a floppy cover that keeps getting in the way.

My only quibble — and it is a small one — is that there is no built-in feature that will put the iPad to sleep with the lid shut. You must push the on-off button. This is not a must-have, but certainly would be a nice-to-have. There have been several times I forgot to push the button to put my iPad into sleep mode, meaning it continues to draw down the battery.

Thule feels so strongly about the quality and durability of its Atmos X3 iPad Air case that it also comes with a 25-year warranty. Even with my small quibble, I feel so strongly about how good this case is it simply has to receive our HITT Seal of Approval for product excellence.

Thule Atmos X3 Smartphone Case

Thule Atmos X3 smartphone case.

HITT Tip: If you are like the HI Travel Tales team, you’ll be so impressed with the Atmos X3 line, you’ll want a similarly sleek, lightweight (.64 ounce) smartphone case. These cases are just as grippy in the palm, but lack the stickiness of some cases. Thus, you can still slip it easily into pockets and sleeves. Plus, the buttons are ideally designed for super feel – no fumbling about to push just right. They integrate with the phone perfectly for outstanding control and also have a 25-year warranty. A small, clever feature is a minutely raised edge on the screen side so when you place your phone screen down there is no chance of a scratch. I also have an Atmos X3 case for my iPhone 5s ($40), and she has one for her Samsung S4 ($40). She simply adores the phone case – as I do – and they too are worthy of the HITT Seal of Approval.

HITT Seal of Approval Thule Atmos Air 2014

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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business (www.NewNormalConsulting.com) built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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