Apple's Got A Solution For Your iPhone Battery Woes

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Battery life is one of the most important features of a smartphone. You could have the best phone in the world, but if a single charge won't last you a full day, it's just weight in your pocket. There are tricks and habits that can help your phone last longer, but if you live on your phone, that still may not be enough. That's when many turn to a charging case to suit their needs.

Mophie and Boostcase are some of the current leaders when it comes to battery charging smartphone cases. But now, Apple's entering the fray with a charging case of its own: the Smart Battery Case. This $100 case looks almost exactly the same as one of Apple's $35 silicon cases, but on the back, it has a rectangular lump where an extra battery is located. Like most all iPhone charging cases, it's slightly longer than your average case to accommodate for a Lightning connector at the bottom that you plug your phone into, as well as a port for charging the case itself.

You may wonder though: Why is Apple even making a battery case?

For starters, the iPhone accessory business is booming, so it makes good sense profitwise — Apple already controls production of both its silicon cases and iPhone batteries. Now it's just putting the two together in a different way, for even more monetary opportunities. Apple also noticed that a lot of people were buying the iPhone 6/6s Plus solely for the extra battery life. With a case, you can get that battery life, but with the smaller size phone you may prefer. Also, when Apple builds anything, the company has the added benefit of making it tightly integrated into the iOS ecosystem. In the case of this battery case, you can check both its battery life and your iPhone's by swiping down at the top of the screen to access the Notification Center. No app needed, and no LED notifications needed.

For more about this case and how it compares to other battery cases, click ahead.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
The rear of the $100 Smart Battery Case looks almost the same as Apple's $35 silicon case, except for a rectangular lump — which is an extra battery. The shape looks awkward, but it has a benefit. Because the edges and sides haven't been rounded out to hide its battery lump, when you hold your phone with this silicon case on, it still feels normal and not like a bulky charging case.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
The Smart Battery Case adds up to 25 hours of talk time, up to 20 hours of HD video watching, and up to 18 hours of LTE internet use to your standard iPhone 6 or 6s battery life. Normally on a 6s, it's specced at 14 hours of talk time, 10 hours of web browsing, and 11 hours of HD video. I was able to go a full weekend without charging my phone, with moderate usage.

When you plug the case in to charge, it can charge both the case and phone simultaneously. The little dot above the Lightning connector glows amber when it's being charged, then green when it's fully charged, before turning off entirely.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Another benefit of the case's lumpy design is that it leaves the top of the case flexible. If you've ever used a Mophie, or most any other charging case, it is rigid, and has to disassemble into two pieces for you to fit your phone inside. But with this case, all you have to do is bend the top portion past the edge of your iPhone, and then slip your phone out.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Removing your phone, or sliding it back in, is really easy to do, and much faster than with other cases. I'd slip the phone in and out of the case a couple times a day.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
The case weighs roughly the same as other third-party battery cases, which means that with it on, your phone is noticeably heavier. If you're heading to the gym, or going to have your phone in your pocket for a long time, it's probably better to slip it out of the case.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Overall, the Smart Battery Case (left) is slimmer than other battery cases such as the Mophie Juice Pack Air (right). While I'd say the Juice Pack has a more attractive design (a rounded shell-like shape), because Apple's case doesn't add any heft around its battery lump, it ends up feeling a lot less bulky. Mophie's option does pack in more battery life: a 2,750Ah battery compared to Apple's 1,877mAh battery. Both cases are priced at $100.
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