Power, power every where,
And my battery levels did shrink;
Power, power, every where,
Nor any electricity to drink.
With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, how often have you been going about your days busily using your iPad, only to discover the battery is getting low, and it’s just not convenient or possible to plug it into a wall charger? Are there times when you are jetting across the land for business and want to work on those reports or just unwind on the flight and play a few games like one of the Alchemy Mystery variants, but you have little to no time to recharge your iPad before your meeting? Maybe you are going on a long road trip with the family, and you want to be able to extend the iPad’s use on the road to keep the kids entertained? Enter the Justin Case Rechargeable iPad Battery Case by Innovative Technologies for iPad generations 2, 3 and 4. The Justin Case iPad Battery Case is a case that not only helps protect your iPad, but it also offers a built-in battery to keep your iPad juiced.
I do a lot of software testing in my day job; depending on the requirements, I may use my iPad quite a lot in different configurations running special websites, apps or videos, and these can tax my iPad battery over the course of a day. As a result, I was only too happy to put the case through its paces.
Boasting an 11,600 mAh battery built right into the case where other folio-type cases merely have a protective screen flap, the Justin Case iPad Battery Case offers a slim compromise between size and capacity when adding an external battery into the mix.
The case I received was dark gray and is composed of a faux-leather, not quite rubbery, not quite plasticky material, and has a molded texture to provide a good gripping surface, for all the world reminding me of a giant thumbprint. To ensure the case remains closed when not in use, the Justin Case has a tab that can be slipped through a loop, and this kept the case well-secured.
When it is folded together, the Justin Case and iPad measure about 1.25″ thick, not terribly bulky at all, and weighs in about 2.10 pounds. Certainly this is a bit more than an iPad and a typical case, but then this is not a typical case, and for those wanting a lot of extra charging capacity, this is an eminently reasonable, functional compromise.
The Justin Case comes only with its charging micro-USB cable and wall plug, which may be a plus or minus depending on your perspective. On the one hand, it means you need to supply your own, but on the other it means there is no special proprietary cabling, making cable replacement concerns less onerous, and more importantly, it means you can charge different devices besides the iPad, like your iPhone or other rechargeable device, whether it be an android tablet, phone, Windows Phone or Blackberry device. That is a considerable plus, which I will touch on later. When unfolded the case resembles something of a laptop in overall form factor minus a keyboard.
To charge an iPad or other device, simply plug the appropriate USB plug-in and press the button on the lower right of the battery pad. Simply plugging in will not initiate a charge. This is a subtle, but useful feature as it allows users to set up their iPad, use it for as long as they need to, and when the iPad’s charge level begins to drop, need only press the button to initiate a charge when ready. Pressing the button also shows the relative charge level on the Justin Case. All blue means the Justin Case battery is fully charged, lower means less available capacity to tap into. Using the included charger for the Justin Case batter itself, a blue LED will blink indicating a charge is in progress, and when done, all four LEDs will be solid blue.
Regarding charge rate, I found the Justin Case charges around 10-15% per hour, so if you run your device down, it might take a while to return to full charge, depending on device state or usage at the time. With a full charge on the case, I was able to charge fully my iPad 2 nearly two times. That’s quite a lot of run time away from an outlet!
In terms of general day-to-day usage of the case aside from charging, I found the Justin Case did a good job of protecting the iPad, but for my iPad 2 the lock switch and volume rocker could occasionally be tricky to access if I didn’t make sure to push the iPad into the case more firmly.
One minor thing regarding the iPad position in the case is that the right side, or top of the case in landscape layout, is not quite centered. The right/top portion of the case covers a bit less than the right. This doesn’t affect functionality, but on casual glance makes it appear that the iPad isn’t properly positioned.
That said, the cutout ports were generous in size, and I did not notice any significant damping of audio, making the Justin Case otherwise unobtrusive in usage of the iPad itself. The Justin Case can also double as an iPad stand. Secured by a pair of magnets, the flap pops out to allow users to prop up their iPads. While great for viewing videos or casual device usage, it may be too large an angle for easy keyboard entry, though the user can keep the stand tab secured and fold the battery flap around to use the iPad as you would a standard case.
Now as I mentioned before, the Justin Case iPad Charger case charges not only the iPad, but can conveniently be used to charge other devices as well. This was an extremely convenient way to charge a number of my USB-charged gizmos.
With my iPad 2’s 30-pin cable, I was able to charge my iPhone and my son’s iPod, and for my compatibility testing at work, charge my HTC Sensation 4G.
Therein lies the genius of this case: not only can be used in a pinch to charge your iPad on the go, but it can also energize other mobile devices too, such that users can use the iPad for a presentation and charge their phone at the same time. This would make an excellent accessory for any iPad power-user or anyone needing backup charge capacity on long trips. While I was using it, it became my go-to charge source while working, almost indispensable. At about $70 given its 11,600 mAh capacity, integration into a protective iPad case, the Justin Case iPad Charger case is a great deal.
What I Like: Slim, not exceedingly heavy; Decent iPad protection; Cross-device compatibility; Large battery capacity
What Needs Improvement: Case alignment with top/right iPad buttons and screen alignment relative to the center of the case
Source: Manufacturer-supplied review sample