We’ve previously looked at iPhone 5S battery cases. We’ve also reviewed cordless charging solutions for the iPhone 5S. I do not, however, recall reviewing something like the UNU AERO Wireless Charging Battery Case and Mat for the iPhone 5S. It’s both a battery case and a cordless charging solution for under $100, and it has impressed me … a lot.
The UNU AERO Series Wireless Charging Battery for iPhone 5S is an unusual product. It combines two different product areas into one system and does so quite nicely. Often times products that try to do too much end up performing each individual function rather poorly. That is not the case with this particular product. It works quite nicely as a battery case, and it works equally well as a cordless charging solution. The fact that it does both functions for under $100 is actually rather impressive. As the company notes,
Wireless charging is here at last. The UNU AERO Series Wireless Charging Battery for iPhone 5S features the newest advancements in wireless charging technology. The AERO battery case charges wirelessly. Straight from the AERO charging pad. No wires necessary! Simply place the case on the charging mat and the phone will begin to charge.
UNU AERO Series Battery Case
We’ve looked at numerous iPhone battery cases and have always been a bit mixed about them. Sure, they offer the ability to increase the amount of time you can use your iPhone – often significantly – but they also add a tremendous amount of weight and bulk to a device that is designed to be thin and light. In addition, most of the battery cases are slider style cases that require you to push the iPhone into the case from one side. That not only opens the door to dust particles between the phone and case scratching the phone but it can, at times, have a negative impact on any screen protector that is in use.
The UNU case takes a different approach, and it is one I actually prefer. The case breaks into two different pieces. In this case there is an upper portion and a bottom portion.
To use it you place your iPhone into the bottom portion and push it into the lightning connector. This basically gives you a sled that covers the bottom and back of the iPhone.
You then place the upper portion around the phone and press it down into the bottom portion, so that the two become a single unit. This is not only a far more refined approach, but it also yields a case that feels less bulky.
The battery inside the case holds 2000 mAh, which is enough to double the charge of your iPhone 5 and offer 85% of extra runtime if you are using the iPhone 5S. Put differently, the battery case can add up to 10 hours of additional talk time or an additional 270 hours of additional standby time. The case is 5.43″ long x 2.5″ wide x 0.6″ thick (138 x 63.8 x 15.3 mm), and it weighs about 2.5 ounces (70 g) without the iPhone installed. The result is a battery case that is quite nice in the hand and doesn’t feel like a compromise.
The soft touch material is pleasant to hold when you are using the phone. Pass-throughs for the microphone and speaker on the bottom of the phone let you continue to enjoy audio. A properly sized cut out for the camera microphone and flash on the back means no loss in functionality.
The on off button for the battery is in the lower portion of the back of the case and is flanked by four LED lights – two on either side – which show how much charge is left. Finally the company name and product information is flanked by two metal dots. These are the conductors that allow the charge from the pad to flow through to the phone itself.
UNU AERO Series Wireless Charging Mat
The charging mat is a simple item. A light silver-colored mat, it ships with a micro USB cable so that you can plug it into a wall adapter. Perhaps the best aspect of this charging pad is the fact that it costs just $24.95. That means anyone adopting the UNU AERO Series Wireless Charging Battery for iPhone 5S system can easily purchase additional mats and place them in strategic locations throughout their home or work environment. From there, it’s as easy as placing your phone down to top it off.
I’m quite taken with the UNU AERO Series Wireless Charging Battery for iPhone 5S and its approach. Having now used a battery case that also offers wireless charging it strikes me that this is a brilliant combination and something that is long overdue. If you are going to do wireless charging with an iPhone you’ll need a specialized case so why not also have it and significant runtime to the device? Add in the fact that extra charging mats are relatively inexpensive and the fact that the case itself is quite nice and you have a great option if you are looking to get extra runtime from your phone and hate cables. You can learn more and order yours here.
MSRP: $99.95 for an iPhone starter kit
What I Like: Nice, slim, comfortable battery case; Wireless charging words flawlessly; Priced well
What Needs Improvement: You’ll need a headphone adapter for many corded headphones
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
A note from Judie: When we were offered the chance to review the UNU Aero, I was intrigued enough that I purchased my own. While the case does add some bulk to the iPhone, it’s no different from what might have been added by any other extended battery case. It’s the inclusion of a wireless charging system that makes the UNU such a perfect solution for me. Rather than fumbling for a cable, I just lay my phone down and listen for the tone telling me that charging has begun.
The UNU solves one of my biggest complaints about other inductive/conductive charging cases, namely that they are already so big the makers should have figured out a way to include an extended battery. Other than the need to use an adapter when using an auxiliary cable or headphones, which is common with larger cases like this, I haven’t run into any issues using the UNU. I do wish that it used Qi inductive charging, though, because then the case would work with some of the other charging mats that I already own. UNU calls the Aero a “conductive” charging case rather than an “inductive” charging case, and it does have the two contact pins on its back, so I guess that’s the difference. Even so, the UNU Aero has been one of the best extended battery cases I’ve ever purchased.
If you own a Samsung Galaxy S4, you can also buy a kit for your phone; an added bonus is that the charging mat will work with either case, so if you are a mixed household, you can both share charging mats. =)