We’ve looked at a few battery cases for the iPhone 5 in the past few weeks and today we’re putting the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 to the test. The very fact that so many battery cases are available for the iPhone 5 is a good indication of the ongoing issue created by battery technology not keeping pace with the power and screens on today’s smartphones. Yes, for any of us who make serious use of our smartphones an external battery or battery case is a must. So lets jump in and take a look at the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5.
In the box you will find the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5, a USB to microUSB charging cable, an Instruction Manual and a 3.5mm headphone adapter/extender. We’ll get back to this last item in a bit!
The PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 is PowerSkin’s “thinnest design ever”. The case adds just 0.3″ of thickness to the phone and weighs just .18 lbs yet adds 1500mAh of battery to the iPhone. The battery adds up to 6.5 Hrs of talk time, 8 hours of WiFi usage and it has over 180 hours of standby time. This is probably sufficient for a full day of use but your mileage may vary.
Inside the case is a Lighting adapter on a short cable that leads to the battery itself. In other words, the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 is basically a 1500mAh battery with an attached cable and Lighting connector that are all wrapped in a soft silicone case. It is a rather simple but effective approach to adding battery life to the iPhone although it is a bit less refined than some other options.
As you can see the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 isn’t much longer or wider than the iPhone itself. That’s the idea.
Getting the iPhone 5 into the PowerSkin Battery Case is simple. You first pull out the Lightning adapter’s cable a bit, plug the Lightning adapter into the iPhone and then slowly and carefully place it back into the case. You then push the iPhone into the PowerSkin Battery Case until it is seated inside. It takes just a few seconds and, before you know it, you’ll see up to 70% more battery life on your iPhone 5.
The camera cutout on the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 is sufficient to allow you to take pictures without the battery case obscuring the lens or flash. The microphone is also left unobstructed.
The volume up/down buttons are covered but easy enough to activate. The design of the case also lets you adjust the volume by feel. That’s helpful if your iPhone is in your pocket. As is often the situation with cases like this the mute toggle is a bit recessed into the case. It is easy enough to activate but you will have to “dig in” a bit more than usual with your finger to actually change its position.
The PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 may be PowerCase’s thinnest battery case yet but that doesn’t mean it is a refined accessory. It is not. The square are on the back of the case is the actual 1500mAh battery. It is recessed into the case a bit. This difference in height and material completely disrupts the clean lines of the iPhone 5. It is anything but aesthetically pleasing. Still, if you like a silicone case and need extra battery life the tradeoff may be one worth making.
Unfortunately th lack of refinement is only one of my issues with the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5. The bigger issue for me is the access- or lack there-of- to the 3.5mm headphone jack. Like the mophie Helium battery case we recently reviewed (and the mophie juice pack air we will review in the next few days) the PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 leaves the 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the iPhone 5 open but hidden beneath the case itself.
Yes, you’ll need to rely upon the included 3.5mm adapter with most every pair of wired headphones you might want to use. It is as unrefined (I’m using that word quite a bit in this review aren’t I?) an approach as I can imagine and, worse yet, when you lose the adapter you’ll most likely use the ability to use your favorite headphones. I will often used wireless headphones with my iPhone so this isn’t as big an issue as it might have been a year or two ago but it is still an annoyance.
The PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 5 is an interesting idea whose execution is okay but not great. It only adds a 1500mAh battery for 70% more battery life per charge. It covers over the clean lines of the iPhone 5 and buries them beneath a silicone shell. and it will most likely require you to use the included 3.5mm headphone adapter if you are using a pair of wired headphones. On the plus side it is easy to get the iPhone 5 in and out of the case, the silicone shell is protective and it does give you 70% more battery life. Add in the fact that its MSRP is under $80 and it might be worth checking out if your iPhone is close to dead by mid-afternoon each day.
What I Like: Adds 70% more battery life; Silicone case is protective of the sides and back of the iPhone; Easy to turn on and off
What Needs Improvement: Takes clean lines of the iPhone 5 and buries them beneath a mix of silicone and battery; Just a 1500mAh battery; Included headphone adapter likely needed when using wired headphones
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample