More Power to You: 6 Alternatives to Apple's iPhone Battery Case
Apple recently announced its first battery pack case for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. However, the product has left some longtime Apple fans less than impressed. In an effort to keep the edges slim, the battery is contained in a bulge that makes your phone look like it may be about to give birth to an iPod.
The case has some advantages. For example, its Lightning port will help it interface better with Apple users' existing cables, and you will get a brief display of case and phone battery life when plugging in or unplugging a cable.
But those advantages come tied to some less compelling features. The case offers only 1,877mAh of extra juice, less than many third-party cases, at a $99 price point that is higher than most. The protection offered by the case is decent but not standout. While you can find out the case's power by checking your phone, it lacks the external LED battery indicators that are standard on most third-party cases.
There Are Other Options to Choose From, Many of Which Are Cheaper
For those turned off by the iPhone case's shortcomings, we've rounded up six alternative battery extension options.
Anker Ultra Slim 2,850mAh Battery Case
Who Might Want This: Those who love a slim phone, but need more power
If you love your iPhone just the way it is, but need a little more battery, consider the Anker Ultra Slim Case. At 0.5" thick, it's one of the slimmest cases out there, while still offering 30% more charge than Apple's product for 40% of the price. If this seems like a great value to you, you'll find a lot of agreement: It's the No. 2 best-selling charger case on Amazon. As a downside, it's only available in black, and some reviewers have said the case shows fingerprints easily.
Approximate Price: $40
Pros: Thin, long battery life, external LED indicators
Cons: Not as much protection as some options, microUSB instead of Lightning port
LifeProof FRE Power Waterproof 2,600mAh Battery Case
Who Might Want This: Parents of toddlers, outdoor enthusiasts
If you're really hard on your phones, look here. While it's $31 more than Apple's offering, and a thick case at 0.66", it offers strong battery life and serious protection — it's waterproof, dirtproof, and offers military-spec drop protection.
Approximate Price: $130, or $100 for the older version which isn't compatible with the 6s
Pros: Very rugged (waterproof, dirtproof, drop protection), strong battery life, external LED battery indicators
Cons: Thick, expensive, microUSB instead of Lightning port
Otterbox Resurgence 2,600mAh Battery Case
Who Might Want This: People who drop their phones a lot, but don't use them around liquid
The popular Otterbox brand also offers a pretty tough case. While it's not waterproof, it does provide military-spec drop protection. If that's your concern, it's a much more affordable alternative to the LifeProof case.
Approximate Price: $55
Pros: Strong drop protection and battery life, external LED battery indicators
Cons: microUSB instead of Lightning port
Mophie Juice Pack Air 2,750mAh Battery Case
Who Might Want This: Fans of Mophie cases who need lots of power
While pricey, this case may be preferable for those looking for lots of battery life in a case that offers decent protection. With 2,750mAh of battery, it offers about 30% more than Apple's case, and features external LEDs to hint to you how much power the case has left. Although it's thicker than some battery cases at 0.61", it's still relatively slim, and the case's profile is smooth. (Too smooth, some users complain.) While there are other entries on this list that rate more highly, this case comes from a reliable brand and provides very high battery performance.
Approximate Price: $100
Pros: Battery life, external LED battery indicators
Cons: Price, somewhat thick, headphone adapter (included) necessary to use headphones, microUSB instead of Lightning port
Mophie Juice Pack Reserve 1,840mAh Battery Case
Who Might Want This: Fans of Mophie cases who need less power
Another Mophie case, the Reserve offers comparable battery life to Apple's option. It features a smaller battery than the above Mophie model, but that difference is reflected in the more affordable price.
Approximate Price: $60
Pros: External LED battery indicators
Cons: Somewhat thick, headphone adapter (not included) necessary to use headphones, microUSB instead of Lightning port
1byone 3,100mAh Battery Case
Who Might Want This: Those who like a slim phone and like to mix it up a little
The 1byone case is quite cheap — you can get it in black for $33 at the time of writing, and we saw it dip as low as $21 in mid-November. If black's too boring for you, 1byone offers cases with changeable frames in a variety of different colors. (While users report changing the bumpers is easy, it may be a little too easy — reviews suggest they pop off at even minor drops.) Even if that's not your thing, this is a very cheap case that offers a lot of power.
Approximate Price: $33
Pros: Thin, long battery life, external LED indicators
Cons: Not as much protection as some options, not as durable as some cases, microUSB instead of Lightning port
These aren't all the alternatives out there, but they are some of the most popular. So, before you invest in helping your iPhone cosplay a camel, look around at all your options.
Readers, what do you think of all these battery cases? Let us know in the comments!
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