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Should you keep your phone in a thermal case this winter?

The Phoozy is ready for space, but are we ready for the Phoozy?
By
January 2, 2023
phoozy thermal phone pouch truck
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Mother Nature doesn’t care about your smartphone. It doesn’t matter whether you spend $200 or $1,200, the elements are going to have their way. IP ratings help keep moisture and dust at bay, but they have little effect on the ravages of temperature. That’s where a thermal phone case — the Phoozy Apollo II — hopes to make its name. It looks and feels like a space suit for your phone, but does it deliver on some bold claims? We picked one up to find out.

About this article: I tested the Phoozy Apollo II for two weeks. The unit was bought by Android Authority for the purpose of this article.

Fly me to the moon

phoozy thermal phone pouch iphone
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If space is the final frontier, this is the phone case meant to go there. It’s designed with a Chromium Thermal Barrier, which sounds like it fell off of a space shuttle because it kind of did. The material is adapted from what NASA uses in space suits and NASCAR in racing safety suits. It boasts protection against both extreme heat and extreme cold. It’s unlike any other phone case I’ve used, and it’s probably more realistic to call it a pouch than a case.

Phoozy’s design — or at least the silver version I tried — still feels like it belongs on the namesake space mission. Neil Armstrong could have smuggled an Apollo II thermal phone case to record his one small step, and nobody, not even Stanley Kubrick behind the camera, would have noticed. It has a few convenient design features, but as far as I can tell, the waffle stitching is purely aesthetic. More useful is the keyring attachment so that you can strap the Phoozy to your winter coat or backpack. It also closes with a strip of hook-and-loop, which is easy to open and close.

The Phoozy Apollo II looks and feels space-age, but it might just be the NASA-adapted fabric.

The Phoozy Apollo II thermal phone case comes in two sizes right now — medium and large. I tested the medium version, designed for the Samsung Galaxy S22 or Apple iPhone 14. The large size, on the other hand, is a better fit for most Plus, Ultra, and Pro devices and the Pixel 7.

Before we get into how well the Phoozy Apollo II tackles the elements, here is some advice. If you’re considering the thermal phone case, size up. I fit an iPhone 14 Pro into the medium-sized pouch, but barely. It was a tight squeeze, and it’s just as tricky to jimmy the phone back out. I had to reach deep into the Apollo II to pull my iPhone out, and that was without gloves on. With anything that makes your hands thicker, you’ll start to feel like one of these guys trying to free a gold bar from a box.

Summer me, winter me

phoozy thermal phone pouch float
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Phoozy Apollo II makes some pretty bold claims. It’s designed to be SinkProof, ClimateProof, DropProof, and GermProof — like a cockroach if it was a phone case. I took the collection of claims with a pretty big grain of salt and set out to see how each one stood up. Up first, SinkProof — the easiest claim to test.

Phoozy declares that its Apollo II is both IP66 water-resistant and will float if dropped in water. IP66, for those unsure, should cover protection against heavy seas, meaning it will keep out powerful jets of water. I don’t have powerful jets handy, so I took the thermal phone case down to my local park, where there’s a gentle stream, and popped it in the water. Instead of floating vertically to keep the hook-and-loop strip safe from water, the Apollo II leveled out almost immediately. This let water pour in, which I had to dump when I retrieved it. Thankfully, the iPhone 14 Pro is water-resistant, but the leak could spell trouble for budget-friendly devices. On the bright side, try as I might, I couldn’t get the Phoozy to sink. Even when pushed below the water, the Apollo II sprang back to the surface like a whale coming up for air.

Don't sweat the drop protection, but water resistance might just sink this ship.

Next on the list was DropProof. The Apollo II utilizes Phoozy’s ImpactorCore 1.5, which exceeds the US military standard for eight feet of drop protection. There aren’t many great ways to test this outdoors right now since I live on the third floor of a building (higher than eight feet), so I took the Phoozy to my local climbing wall. The bouldering setup is about 10 feet tall, so it was easy to scamper up and drop the Apollo II a few feet before the top. Unlike the SinkProof claim, it held up pretty well. I didn’t notice any shifting inside the pouch, and the closure stayed tight.

The ClimateProof and GermProof claims proved a little tougher to test. Phoozy says that the Apollo II is designed for temperatures from 0°F to 120°F, neither of which is too common in Pennsylvania. It can also allegedly extend your battery life by up to four times in the cold, though it’s not designed to be left in a vehicle — hot or cold — for more than three hours.

To test Phoozy’s chilly claims, I popped the Apollo II and my iPhone 14 Pro in the freezer for about 90 minutes. In the end, the deep freeze took 11% of the remaining battery, dropping it from 52% to 41%. I let the iPhone warm up for half an hour before it was time for a second chill — this time sans Phoozy. Unfortunately (for Phoozy), I didn’t notice much difference in battery drain. The second ice age sapped 10% of the battery, and the only real difference is that the iPhone was much colder to the touch when I pulled it from the freezer.

While you probably won’t drop your phone from above eight feet too often and won’t spend too much time in extreme temperatures, the underwhelming SinkProof test might be the Apollo II’s undoing. My thermal phone case stayed wet for hours after I dropped it in the stream, which meant that my phone stayed wet, too. If you were to get water into the Phoozy at the beginning of a day-long or days-long winter hike, it might start to work against your phone by locking the cold in rather than out.

Let me try again

phoozy thermal phone pouch display
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Phoozy Apollo II might not be a great submarine, but I don’t think I can rule it out as a thermal phone case. It covers most of the other bases pretty well as long as you can keep it dry. My phone did stay decently warm when I removed it from the case shortly after it got wet, and I didn’t notice any extra battery drain.

This is a phone case for the adventurer who doesn’t want to use their phone too much. The tight design and incompatibility with gloves mean that you probably won’t be reaching in and trying to check notifications very often, and the lack of a viewing window means you have to get your phone all the way out when you want to use it. You could check notifications if you have a durable smartwatch or GPS watch or save the notifications for later.

This is a phone case for the adventurer — just not the adventurer who wants to check notifications.

The Phoozy Apollo II could also work well for skiers or snowboarders. The keyring is easy to attach to the inside of a jacket, and the impact resistance offers enough peace of mind when you take a tumble. It’s more protected than if you were to keep your phone in a pocket, and it doesn’t interfere with Bluetooth signal if you want to listen to music while you hit the slopes.

Ultimately, I’m not sure that most people need a thermal phone case, but it could be a lifesaver for adventurers and those who live in extreme weather conditions. Just like the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t for the average user, the Phoozy Apollo II is for someone who needs a little extra protection from the elements.

Phoozy Apollo IIPhoozy Apollo II
Phoozy Apollo II
Impact-resistant • Insulated • Anti-microbial coating
Like a space suit for your phone, the Phoozy Apollo II keeps the elements -- hot and cold -- at bay.
The Phoozy Apollo II is a thermal phone case that draws inspiration from space suits to protect your phone. It comes in two sizes and boasts impact resistance, as well as an anti-microbial layer and the ability to float.

What do you think? Would you try a thermal phone case? Let us know in the poll below.

Would you buy a thermal phone case?

83 votes