iPhone 5 4200mAh Power Jacket Case Review
This is a Guest Post Review by Ethan Hunter, follow him on twitter here. Special thanks to Mobile Zap for providing us with the product to review.
It is suggested that when you buy a new iPhone, the battery life of the new one would outlast the older one – but still on an average day, moderate use gives you about 12 hours of battery life unless you have a charger nearby – which is a necessity these days, as you’ll likely be stuck somewhere with a waning battery which forces you to hurriedly turn off all the actual features that make a smartphone ‘smart’ to save battery life. Enter the Power Jacket Case from MobileZap; one of the many iPhone 5 cases available on their expansive website. The Power Jacket Case lives in the realm of Charger Case à la ‘Mophie’ that charges the iPhone 5, providing backup reserve power to the iPhone with just under three times more battery (than it’s inbuilt battery) at 4200mAh via the Polymer lithium ion battery, which is a ridiculous amount more than the standard and paltry 1440mAh that comes with the iPhone 5. While the top of the ladder in this category is Mophie, here is a case for consumers not wanting to pay a ludicrously absurd price for them (the Mophie Juice Pack Plus is $130 and only provides 2100mAh which is half the muscle of the Power Jacket). The 4200mAh battery will get anyone through their most demanding tasks and uses Smart Switching to turn itself off automatically when not in use.
The charging case is a bit bigger than the iPhone itself and has a chin-like protrusion at the bottom for the lightning connector port to charge the iPhone when switched and allowing for full iTunes sync with the case on unlike the Mophie series, which says that they do but actually only syncs via ‘wireless only’ mode. The port is a Lightning pass-through that allows keeping the same cable as before which is a nice touch. The Power Jacket comes with a built in stand which is convenient yes, but not necessarily needed. The angle that the stand sits the iPhone at is too low for a desk but would be OK for a tabletop or similar at near eye level and really only supports one side unevenly distributing weight. The case comes is available in black and white, solid colours to match the current generation of phones offered by Apple. There are 4 LED lights on the bottom chin end of the case which provide visual indications of charging time remaining in the inbuilt Polymer battery, from 100 to 75 to 50 to 25 as well as a push button power smart switch. The case itself is made of matte black soft to the touch, white hard plastic and has a felt lining inside to avoid scratches from foreign particles getting in between the phone and the back of the case that might arise from removing the phone or having it in your bag or at the beach with you. Also along the bottom are pass-through speaker and microphone grilles that do not muffle the iPhone sound at all.
The front screen sides and top of the phone has no such protection or any overlapping plastic covering, which is a huge misstep as there is absolutely no protection against damage if the phone falls or even somehow slides out of the case when at the bottom of a backpack or handbag. While no protection along the mute and volume toggles might be better for dexterity, it is simply unsatisfactory to not have the top at least protected somehow. To the bottom right there is a USB Output which really has me scratching my head, the teeny-tiny bite sized manual that comes with the case says it’s used for charging the case while the lightning connector port charges the phone itself, but why? Why would they include a full size USB port here? Myself, who has just about every bit of geekery out there, couldn’t find a full sized USB cable anywhere, whereas I had micro USB cables in every draw I opened. It seems this was a bad design choice here. Maybe if the company did include a cable in the boxed package then I could forgive them, but even that was nowhere to be found.
The soft touch coating does make the Power Jacket case slip resistant though and fingerprints and oily fingers seem to be OK here for the most part, but in the hand the case adds a tremendous amount of weight, and I’m not kidding here, it almost feels heavier than an iPad Mini and about just over half the weight of a full size iPad. An iPhone 5 is 112 grams, and the case adds another 112 grams, for a total for 224 grams! So in real world situations, it’s not exactly the most pocketable and people with small hands will find it hard to type properly if at all because of the thickness it creates in your hand. The earphone port on the bottom also only allows use of the official Apple earphones and any other branded or non-branded headphones will need an adapter which is sadly missing from the package and something that should have been added, another strange move in all honestly.
Annoyances aside, this thing is a powerhouse when it comes to longevity. With light use I could get an entire week out of this thing before it would even start begging for a re-juice. It consistently provided roughly over two and half times the battery charge. One week of battery use is amazing, something I have never experienced before and even under heavy use it then only took off about a day or two. You must be aware and prepared though to do the ‘top-up’ charge overnight when it eventually needs a top up as the case needs a full 9 hours to recharge and while this could be sped up with a model that sucks more juice from Power plug, it is the 0.5A here that lets the case down, although this is just a nit-pick and won’t really phase anyone that is in the regular habit of overnight charging as the ease of getting through an entire weekend of forgetting your charger at home negates the waiting time. The Power Jacket 4200 is available from MobileZap and is priced at $52.49, and all things considered – I think the cost per dollar value is fantastic not only because the case lasts a very long time but also because the capacity is double that of the Mophie case at less than half the price. When you think of it in those terms the purchase becomes a worthwhile one and while it may not suit me, there are people out there like travellers, on the road consultants, travel writers and photographers, the military, sales people, hikers and campers who will simply find it indispensable. I prefer to have a thin phone for one, but the choice at the end of the day is up to you.