Apple releases a $100 battery case for the iPhone 6 and 6S

There are better alternatives out there.

When we finally thought Apple had launched everything it possibly could for 2015, here comes the Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6 and 6S. Every iPhone user knows that their smartphone is exceptional at many things, however, battery performance isn’t one of them, thanks to a wafer-thin design. Sure, the bigger Plus variant doesn’t suffer from that issue, and that’s because of its huge footprint which allows for it to be equipped with a significantly larger internal battery.

We are looking at a 60% increase in capacity, when compared with the one found in the iPhone 6S.

In spite of that, there are people out there who aren’t big fans of the Plus’ big size and prefer the smaller 6/6S instead. Hence, have to settle for poor battery life. And, Apple is aware of that. That’s why it specifically released the Smart Battery Case only for the iPhone 6 and 6S, and not their Plus counterparts.

How smart is Apple’s new case, you may ask? Well, it has a built-in 1,877mAh battery, a passive antenna, a charging status indicator, a lightning port, and iOS support.

Now let me explain these features in detail. The 1,877mAh battery will increase the iPhone’s talk time up to 25 hours and internet use up to 18 hours on LTE. However, according to initial reviews, the battery won’t completely charge the phone to 100%, due to it being similar in size to the internal iPhone battery — 1715mAh.

It’s also the only battery case which features Apple’s lighting port instead of a MicroUSB cable, and it includes a passthrough for other accessories which make use of the lighting port —  for example the iPhone Lighting Dock; advantages of being a first party case.

As soon as the device is plugged into the case, the device starts charging automatically and there’s no way to turn the charging on or off.

The case itself doesn’t sport a battery level indicator, it only shows a 3-level charging status — amber, green, or off — with an LED, which is actually inside the case. Yes, you read that right. The LED is inside the case and is only visible when the case is not attached to the iPhone. Nonetheless, thanks to tight software integration, the battery level is displayed inside the notification centre. Furthermore, Apple thinks the battery in the case would interfere with the radios of the phone, so it built a passive antenna which reroutes radio frequencies and helps reduce interference.

Design-wise, let me put it this way: it’s one of the worst designed products of 2015. It’s like Apple’s standard Silicone Case for the iPhone 6/6S, but now with a hump at the back for the built-in battery. Most battery-equipped cases are quite thick and significantly affect the thickness of a device, and this one is too, but only from the middle; which is awkward. It does have a cutout for the headphone port, but you’re more than likely to have issues with bigger headphone plugs, so keep that in mind. Other third party cases come with some sort of an adapter, but Apple doesn’t ship one with its own accessory.

Moreover, for the microphone and speaker, there are openings on the bottom front of the case to redirect sound.

Unlike the company’s Silicone case range, the Smart Battery Case only comes in two colours: White and Charcoal Grey, and comes with a hefty price tag of $100.

Yes, $100 for a battery case which doesn’t event fully charge your iPhone. I would say, if you really want more juice out of your iPhone and are willing to pay $100 for it, buy a mophie battery case instead. The mophie Juice Pack Air comes with a way larger built-in battery — 2,750mAh, has a better design, comes in eight different colours and a headphone adapter, provides better protection, and is also priced at $100. Additionally, if you're not too fond of bulky cases, you might want to consider buying a battery pack which will cost you less and will have a much, much higher battery capacity, so you’ll get more charges out of it.

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