Everyone loves using their iPhone for apps, gaming, taking pictures, and shooting videos. And oh yeah, they still make calls too! Of course, the more features a phone has, the quicker its battery will drain. And even though Apple claims the iPhone 4S has a better battery life than its older cousins, reports from users (including myself) say quite the opposite. As you can see, the market for extra batteries is significant. However, in the past they have been quite bulky or just impractical (like an extension add-on battery that makes the length of your iPhone plus battery pack almost 8 inches long – try fitting that in your jeans pocket).
Enter iPowerUp. This California-based company has been around for a little over 4 years and has focused (at least until very recently) exclusively on battery cases for smartphones. I met with the company’s founders this past CES 2012, and they were kind enough to let me review their base battery case model, the iPower Charging Case for iPhone 4/4S
The iPower Charging Case is very strong and offers great protection for your iPhone. Despite being a battery case, it actually is pretty light, which is definitely a plus. The back of the case has a gripped rubber texture to prevent your phone from sliding off the table. It works really well on glass (which is what they tested it on while demoing for me out at CES), though to be honest it has been a bit sporadic in its performance on other surfaces. The rubber backing works great on my home desk, but only decently on my lab desk. Nevertheless, no matter the surface it’s certainly better at keeping your iPhone from sliding off the table than the original glass backing.
The Charging Case allows easy access to all of the iPhone’s buttons and connector jacks. The volume and vibrate buttons are very accessible, which is quite rare on a lot of cases. The case is also beveled on the edges to allow for a tight and comfortable grip while using your iPhone. Overall, even if the iPower Charging Case didn’t have the battery pack in it at all, it would rate as a far above-average case by itself.
Of course, the iPower Charging Case does so much more. Its battery rates at 1700 mAh, which should double your iPhone’s battery life. I twice drained my iPhone 4S to 2% and tested how much the Charging Case would charge my phone. Both times I got to 85%, which is almost a full charge. And considering my phone was on, connected to a wireless network, and being used periodically during the charging, I’d say charging to 85% is very good.
Another great, and in my opinion, essential feature of the Charging Case is the ability to toggle between charging and dormant status. Hold down the oval button for 3 seconds to turn charging on or off. This way, you can save the case’s battery life until when your iPhone’s own battery is drained. Press this same oval button and you can see how much charge is left in the case, indicated by the number of blue LEDs that light up.
The Charging Case connects to your mini iPhone power brick via a USB-to-Micro USB cable that is included with the case. Additionally, you can sync your iPhone to your computer using the same USB-to-Micro USB cable, another great feature of the case. I wasn’t able to test the case with other third-party USB-to-Micro USB cables, but hopefully they do work because iPowerUp only gives you one and as of now doesn’t sell extras on their website. So make sure you don’t lose the one you get with the case.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the iPowerUp iPower Charging Case for iPhone 4/4S. It’s a strong case that will almost double your battery life with your phone in use, and you can tell its design and features were carefully planned out. I would definitely recommend it to our readers.