The case for iPhone battery cases

The Boostcase for iPhone 6 Plus consists of a snap case and modular battery sleeve. However, when slotted into Boostcase, the iPhone 6 Plus cannot be synced with a computer via the micro-USB connection.
The Boostcase for iPhone 6 Plus consists of a snap case and modular battery sleeve. However, when slotted into Boostcase, the iPhone 6 Plus cannot be synced with a computer via the micro-USB connection. PHOTO: BOOSTCASE

If your Apple iPhone 6 Plus is paired with an Apple Watch, even the improved iPhone battery may fade faster than you would like. A power bank that doubles as a phone case offers protection and power at the same time. Trevor Tan reviews four of these handy cases.

Boostcase

The Boostcase (pictured above) for iPhone 6 Plus consists of a nice-looking snap case and modular battery sleeve. It is available in black, gold and clear (the version tested).

The snap case has several holes at the back. The design looks chic and allows the case to be securely attached to the four small circular bumps on the battery sleeve.

It must be a geek thing: I really like the clear version, as it lets me marvel at the circuit boards and the 2,700mAh rechargeable battery built into the sleeve. The battery should give the iPhone 6 Plus about 92 per cent more battery life.

At the base of the sleeve is a micro-USB port for charging, a power switch and a touch-activated LED strip battery indicator.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $129

    BATTERY CAPACITY: 2,700mAh

    WEIGHT: 132g

  • RATING

  • DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5

    PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE FOR MONEY 1 2 3 4 5

    OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5

It is easy to snap the case on and remove the battery sleeve. On the left side of the base is a rather deep inlet for the smartphone's 3.5mm audio jack. No worries, a headphone adaptor is bundled.

With the snap case attached to the battery sleeve, the package is 18mm. The snap case itself adds only 2.7mm to the iPhone.

To charge the iPhone, just turn on the power switch. In my test, the Boostcase was able to charge my iPhone 6 Plus from 50 per cent to full power in 1hr 29min, exhausting half of its battery. This was done with the screen brightness set at 50 per cent, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched on, while I checked frequently for e-mail and social media updates.

When slotted into Boostcase, the iPhone 6 Plus cannot be synced with a computer via the micro-USB connection, but it is easy to remove the snap case from the battery sleeve for syncing.


iFans Slim Battery Case

The iFans Slim is made up of a battery case with a clear plastic bumper to protect the sides of the iPhone. It is available in gold, space grey (the version tested) and black.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $99

    BATTERY CAPACITY: 4,000mAh

    WEIGHT: 130g

  • RATING

  • DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5

    PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE FOR MONEY 1 2 3 4 5

    OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5

To fit the iPhone 6 Plus into this battery case, slide the smartphone onto the case and secure it with the plastic bumper. While it is easy to install the plastic bumper, some effort is required to remove it.

Of the four cases here, the iFans Slim Battery Case is not one you'll buy for its looks. Instead of a small opening for the iPhone 6 Plus camera, it has a long one stretching nearly the entire width of the phone. It looks weird.

It is quite slim at 15.2mm. The headphone jack opening at the base of the case easily accepts any straight headphone jack.

The iFans has the biggest battery capacity of the four, with an internal 4,000mAh rechargeable battery, which is supposed to provide up to 137 per cent extra power. It is also the cheapest of the four at just under $100.

To charge the iPhone, press the power button on the rear of the case. With the screen brightness set at 50 per cent, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on, and frequent checking of e-mail and social media updates, the iFans managed to boost the iPhone's battery from 50 per cent to full power in a mere 69 min. The iFans indicator still showed three LED lights.

It is not easy to remove the iPhone from this case, so it was a relief to find that you can sync the iPhone with a computer via the micro-USB connection.


Of the four cases, the Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus is the thinnest and lightest. It is only 14.5mm thick and weighs 111g. You can leave the iPhone in the case when syncing it with a computer.

Mophie Juice Pack

Of the four cases, the Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus is the thinnest and lightest. It is only 14.5mm thick and weighs 111g.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $139

    BATTERY CAPACITY: 2,600mAh

    WEIGHT: 111g

  • RATING

  • DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5

    PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE FOR MONEY 1 2 3 4 5

    OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5

It is available in black, gold and white (the version tested).

The white case has a smooth, plasticky feel, while the black version is rubber coated. I like the smooth feel better, as rubber-coated surfaces tend to pick up too much dirt.

The Mophie has one of the most elegant designs. It looks like a seamless one-piece case, but actually consists of two sections. The removable top is about one sixth of its length.

The bigger lower section holds the battery and has a four-LED battery indicator and power switch at the back, with the micro-USB port and headphone opening at the bottom. A headphone adaptor is included.

To install, remove the top section, slide the smartphone into the lower section and put the top section back. That's it.

On the downside, it has the lowest battery capacity of the four battery cases at only 2,600mAh. This offers just under 90 per cent more battery life for your iPhone 6 Plus. To charge the smartphone, just turn on the power switch.

With the screen brightness set at 50 per cent, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched on, and frequent checks of e-mail and social media updates, the Mophie Juice managed to charge the iPhone from 50 per cent to full power in 2hr 12min. The battery indicator showed only two LED lights by then.

You can leave the iPhone in the case when syncing it with a computer. This micro-USB connection does the job really well.


Tylt Energi Sliding Power Case

Like the Boostcase, the Tylt Energi Sliding Power Case consists of a snap case and a modular battery sleeve. Both are rubber coated and available only in black.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $139

    BATTERY CAPACITY: 3,500mAh

    WEIGHT: 150g

  • RATING

  • DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5

    PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE FOR MONEY 1 2 3 4 5

    OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5

The snap case provides all-round protection for your iPhone 6 Plus, while the battery sleeve contains a 3,500mAh rechargeable battery for an extra 120 per cent battery life. At the rear of the battery sleeve is a power button with a four-LED battery indicator. At its bottom is the micro-USB port and a headphone opening. This opening is a bit deep, and there is no adaptor included.

Although the entire package - with snap case attached to battery sleeve - is only 16mm thick, the Energi lacks the stylish and sophisticated look of the Boostcase.

This is probably because of the side "wings" of the battery sleeve that lock the snap case in place. The "wings" break the otherwise-seamless lines of the case.

While it is easy to slide the snap case into the sleeve, it takes effort to yank it out. Furthermore, I dislike the rubber exterior as it is a magnet for lint and dirt.

To charge the iPhone, press the power button. With the screen brightness set at 50 per cent, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched on, and frequent checks of e-mail and social media updates, the Tylt Energi managed to charge the iPhone from 50 per cent to full power in 1hr 56min. And the battery indicator still had three lights on.

Since the snap case is anything but a snap to remove, it is good at that the iPhone can be synced with a computer via Energi's micro-USB connection.

•Verdict: The best value for money is the iFans Slim. If aesthetics matter a lot to you, take the Mophie Juice Pack. The Tilt Energi Sliding Power Case has convenience and power, but lacks the looks. My pick is the clear Boostcase, as it strikes a good balance of looks, convenience and performance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'The case for battery cases'. Print Edition | Subscribe