When it comes to battery-boosting cases for the iPhone we all know they are far from perfect and most of the time, too bulky. The iPhone battery has always been a concern for most people so companies are always looking at new ideas to create that perfect battery packed case. Well PowerSkin is at it again with its new PowerSkin battery case made for the iPhone 5. So what separates this from any other battery case for the iPhone? This sleek bad boy sports a one-piece silicone design instead of the rock solid slider style cases such as Mophie's Juice Pack Helium and Juice Pack Air iPhone 5 battery cases. So is the PowerSkin worth the $79.99 price tag and more importantly is it a reliable source of power for those road trips? Check out the full review next to see if the PowerSkin holds its own against the competition.
At first glance, when you take the PowerSkin out of the packaging, you are instantly impressed with the actual design and size of the case. To be honest we were quite shocked of the thickness because we have seen actual cases thicker than the PowerSkin. According to the specs, it’s right on par with the size of the Helium. Instant bonus point to the company for designing such a simple, thin battery case. Now that wasn’t too hard was it? Hopefully other companies will take note.
Now we all know the battery style case is designed for the ultimate power user on the go, but until now, many cases have come up short. We were hoping that the clean, simple design will bring top performance to the table as well. It is supposed to bring about a 70% increase in your battery life. The case was tested for a full two weeks in order to give it a proper, informative review.
Out of the packaging you are greeted with the case itself, the charging cable, and the earphone extender. The exterior of the PowerSkin is made out of a simple flexible silicon material and has the same size (1500mAh) battery inside the case as most battery packed cases. I was quite impressed with the one piece silicon design. Usually with a silicon designed case you would get tons of dust built up and impossible to pocket the phone. It’s safe to say the PowerSkin didn’t pick up too much lint, dust, or oily prints all over the case.
The inside of the PowerSkin has a wired Lightning connector that wasn't attached to the bottom and I wasn’t too sure if this was designed this way. The movement of the wire did not disrupt placing the iPhone into the case however. In fact the iPhone was very snug inside the case with no movement. The simple silicon design made for a pleasant user experience when taking the iPhone in and out of the case. The phone fits firm, but unfortunately the sides were a little too loose and worried me about dust collection on the inside. After about a week of solid usage and not taking off the case, there was no signs of damage on the iPhone.
On the left side of the PowerSkin you are blessed with covered volume buttons that are actually labeled plus and minus. Even though the buttons were a little too flat with the rest of the case, the buttons had outstanding tactile feedback. The cutout for the mute/silent switch is aligned precisely and a breeze to use. It is also worth noting the power button on the top gave the same outstanding tactile feedback. To be honest, the feedback was right up there with the Spigen Slim Armor, which is in a class of its own. Kudos to PowerSkin for taking the time during the design process to not overlook the importance of quality button feedback.
It was a treat to see that the cutout for the camera wasn’t an oversized eyesore. The cutout is a perfect rectangular shape, longer than most I’ve seen, but didn’t effect any photo quality from the two week review. It’s safe to say that PowerSkin did a fantastic job with the cutout and it was nice to see no exposed aluminum from the iPhone design.
Also on the left side of the case towards the bottom is the micro USB charging (not syncing) area. As you can see from the pictures, the charging area is tucked away nicely and was a breeze to plug in every time. I’ll give you a better breakdown on charging times once we get past the design part of the review and start to talk about the performance. Since the PowerSkin is thicker and deeper with longer chin, the headphone cutout needs an extender or adapter in order to use your personal headphones. I’m not the biggest fan of this, but it does what it is intended for and worked like a charm. I found it easier to leave the extender attached to my headphones because there was less chance of losing my headphones rather than the tiny extender all by itself.
The PowerSkin, like most battery cases, features 4 LED indicator lights that displays the charging status and the battery level on the case with the touch of a button. This feature was very easy on the eyes and could be read in any light settings. Also, it always seemed that these indicators were spot on in terms of battery power left.
But enough about the design of the case, let’s talk a little about the performance of the battery inside the case. That is the main reason why you would consider this case right? Long story short, I took the case with me on my daily travels for a few days straight that lasted 12-16 hours. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to worry about charging the phone because it does have only a 1500 mAh battery to remind you, which is hardly a powerhouse to begin with.
For testing purposes, I left LTE on, WiFi on, BT off, Notifications on, and screen brightness almost full blast. I’ve always gotten an easy 8 hours of usage with my iPhone all by itself so in terms of a battery case saving the day, I was sure this case would last all day and night. The feature I like the most about battery cases, which might sound ridiculous, is simply the power button. Since the PowerSkin felt great in the hand by itself, I sometimes liked to use the case by itself without the phone even charging. Unless you turn off the case, it will keep pumping juice to your iPhone and I found it best to micro manage the case throughout the day by charging every now and then.
The performance of charging the phone was surprising fast when I drained down the iPhone battery and needed that extra push towards the end of the day. It consistently took roughly just over an hour to charge the phone back up from 10% to 75%. I was estimated an extra 5-6 hours with the PowerSkin on a daily basis. It was great to see I didn't have to shut off settings on the phone just to squeeze more time out. You would seriously have to be an your phone ALL day to feel this case isn't doing that great of a job.
Now I understand not everyone's situation will be similar to my workdays, but the PowerSkin kept my long days a little less stressful knowing I didn’t have a dead phone by the end of the night. It’s not as attractive to the eye as the Helium, but some might disagree for the simple fact of liking silicon over plastic. I personally found the case design very clean, but bland at the same time. It felt great in the hand, but for a case that’s advertised as shock resistant I would of liked to seen at least a slim lay on table design. There is a lot to like about the PowerSkin, but the price isn’t one of them. It would have been more appealing if the case came with “a must” purchase price point.
However this can be easily overlooked because the performance of the case was outstanding. The battery lasted for many hours on a single charge and it’s worth noting again the insanely fast time it takes to charge your phone right back up. Less than an hour will get you out of the red and into that comfort battery zone. I’m talking 3/4 full. The superb battery juice this little monster drove out was very impressive and you would be hard pressed to find this battery case not worthy of a long days journey. The PowerSkin will definitely be one of my travel buddies this summer and will be thrilled to have it when needed.