A Hands on Look of the LifeCHARGE iBatteryCase for iPhone 6
The problem with most battery cases on the market is that they do not provide a full charge. Even if it states it can match your phone's battery life, chances are it only comes close. This is usually due to overstatement as the milliampere-hour depending on they are calculated. This battery case caught my attention due to its 3,000 mAh capacity.
At A Glance
I'm generally a fan of LifeCHARGE products because their packaging is very well thought out. Like I've said before, they make great storage boxes for when your case is not in use. I generally keep my power banks in these boxes as I only use two at a time and swap them accordingly. The same goes for me with the cases. I have a QuadLock (review up later) for biking and then a battery case for everyday use. I guess it doesn't matter too much if you only use one case.
As the front cover shows, this case has a 3,000 mAh capacity. Even with rounding and overstatement taken into consideration, you should be able to expect to double your battery life.
Packaging: Back Cover
This case still hasn't been perfected yet in terms of charging. Although this is an MFi or Made For iPhone case, it still requires micro-USB for recharging. File transfer and computer connections still require a lightning plug. This means you will have to remove the case. Furthermore, the earphone jack will no longer fit unless you use the built-in extension. This just means you need to carry around an extra ear-jack dongle with you.
Other than that, it offers a bumper and back protection. All you need now is just a screen protector for the front. The raised edges covering the bezels ensure that your phone's screen never touches a surface. This is pretty much a standard protection detail.
156 x 71 x 13.5 (mm)
Fast Charging with a Safe Adapter
I have given this warning quite a few times, but it's important to understand that you should not cheap out on a dollar store USB wall adapter. There was a story in the news in June, 2014 where a woman was electrocuted while using her iPhone while it was charging. As Ken Shirriff states over on his righto.com blog: "This seems technically plausible to me if she were using a cheap or counterfeit charger like I describe below. There's 340 volts DC inside the charger, which is enough to kill. In a cheap charger, there can be less than a millimeter separating this voltage from the output, a fraction of the recommended safe distance. These charger sometimes short out, which could send lethal voltage through the USB cable. If the user closes the circuit by standing on a damp floor or touching a grounded metal surface, electrocution is a possibility. If moisture condenses in the charger (e.g. in a humid bathroom), shorting becomes even more likely. Genuine Apple chargers (and other brand-name chargers) follow strict safety regulations so I would be surprised if this electrocution happened with a name-brand charger."
The danger escalates especially when working with tightly packed lithium batteries. Since this case uses a polymer battery, there are some advantages. However, overheating and circuitry still remains an issue with a battery of such high capacity especially when you are charging two separate batteries. Since I carry multiple power banks and battery cases, I generally go with one of those multi-device USB wall chargers. I personally recommend an Anker wall adapter. These are quality adapters at affordable prices and have developed quite an online reputation. The reason they are able to keep their prices down is because they retail online through their website and the Amazon web store.
I'm a huge fan of Anker products because of their PowerIQ chargers. This is because most chargers are hardwired to deliver one charging protocol. With the PowerIQ technology, it can dynamically determine your device's charging protocol and charge at the maximum speed. What does this mean for you? It means you can minimize the charge time and maximize your usage time. I actually use the Anker 5-port wall charger and so far it has been working perfectly charging multiple power banks at a time.
Inside The Box
Aside from the micro-USB cord, it is a bit of a nuisance carrying the ear-jack adapter. There's a couple of issues of course, You can leave it plugged in to your phone, but then you're pretty much letting it dangle. Plus, this might affect the ringer volume on your phone as it may think you're right beside it.
I'm personally note a fan of these type of designs with a bumper and a battery base. This is the only way to put the iPhone in. Your iPhone is connected to the battery case through the lightning port. However, the battery isn't turned on until you activate it. The reason why I do not like the bumper design is because they tend to come apart when you drop it on the ground. The teeth clicking the bumper and battery base together are tight, but it still makes me worry as to just how secure this design is. On the plus side, the bumper design does provide a much better grip.
Rather than using a smooth bumper, the case employs a patterned design. This is designed to increase your grip. This is especially important with a much bigger overall device now. Keep in mind that the battery case increases the overall thickness and just a bit more in overall size. As you can see from this image, there are three sets of teeth on either side and then two more on the ends. This locks up the two pieces quite nicely, but I still worry about the drop impact. Another issue I have with this case is the buttons. It feels rather flimsy to me. I admit they haven't broken yet and there seems to be no sign of wear and tear.
Closer Buttons Look
Those silver buttons are not actually metal. They are painted silver with partial plastic connector so they move in the spot, but also remain intact. I would rather have a hardened silicone or TPU button cover. In my opinion, it just feels more durable than the current plastic button toggle. I finally put the bumper and the battery base together for this case. As you can see it is a perfect fit. There is actually no wiggle room. Nevertheless, the materials used still give me the impression of a flimsy feel.
On the plus side, this battery case provides a more accurate battery level indicator. Rather than using the standard 4 LED lights, the LifeCHARGE iBatteryCase deploys 5 LED lights. Naturally, this would mean 20% for each LED light. This provides greater accuracy. For example, you would normally look to recharge your phone with the case as it dips below the 25% mark. Now you can do the recharging as it dips below the 20% mark. The 5% may not seem much like a difference, but I assure you it is especially as you deal with power banks on an even higher capacity. The closer you can get to the near-zero capacity, the better.
There's a power toggle on the side, but it's a bit more complicated than a single press of the button. The toggle serves to both check status and to turn the case on and off. A single press does not charge your iPhone. Instead, it flashes the 5 LED lights to show the current battery status. To actually turn the case on and off, you need to press and hold the toggle for at least three seconds.
Depending on your usage patterns, you may be using this power bank to fully recharge your iPhone or just get you through the day. Since this is a lithium-polymer battery, you will want to demonstrate proper battery care. Aside from calibrations, it is best to recharge the case and your phone only after a full discharge. Once you near the critical level, then fully recharge your phone full into one go. While it has been proven that the memory effect on lithium batteries is so minimal that it drains more from normal usage than recharging, it is still best to follow the full drainage procedure.
This case is affordable so if you want a budget solution to get through the day, then this is for you. However, I still doubt that it will stand up protection wise. The drop protection definitely seems like a stretch. It will provide the necessary scratch protection. The rubberized back protects against sliding and also prevents skidding, but that is about it. The case just can't stand drops nor absorb shock. The bumper and battery back will most likely snap in half when dropped.