We've seen and reviewed quite a few iPhone 4 battery cases, and while a battery case is the most comfortable and practical way of keeping your iPhone 4 from draining before you end your exciting day, some aren't exactly the best you can get for the asking price tag. Battery cases for the iPhone have been around for almost as long as regular cases without really evolving into what most of us look for in a battery integrated iPhone 4 case. Until now. PowerSkin's PowerSkin battery case for the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 isn't here to offer you just extra juice, it's here to protect. What's so different about this one you ask? Find out in the full review right after the jump!
What you get with the PowerSkin battery case is a micro-USB to USB power cable that you will use to charge up your PowerSkin via your computer. You could also use a USB wall adapter to charge, but unfortunately that isn't included. Charging the unit itself over a computer's USB port will take a good few hours until your PowerSkin battery case is fully charged. Once your iPhone 4 is incased inside the PowerSkin, you'll need to use the supplied USB cable to sync with iTunes and even charge both devices simultaneously. The downside when charging both devices at the same time is that it will take much longer to fully charge both devices as it would separately.
Let's cut to the chase. PowerSkin's PowerSkin for the iPhone 4 will set you back $69.99, and it only comes in black unlike most battery cases that are available in a few different colors. When you compare the PowerSkin to other popular battery cases like Mophie's Juice Pack line, the PowerSkin is much more affordable. But that doesn't mean it's under powered. On the contrary, the PowerSkin packs a 2000mAh internal battery with PowerSkin claiming it will double your iPhone 4's battery life on a single charge. Of course, this means we've got to put these claims to the test.
I've been sent a PowerSkin iPhone 4 battery case to review, and that also means I've got to put it thru its paces in real world situations to see if those glorious marketing claims are really what they say they are. I've been thoroughly testing the PowerSkin with my iPhone 4 for a while now, and I must say that I'm really happy with the results. In my testing, I've left on WiFi, push notifications and turned off the screen to recharge my iPhone 4 from a depleted state with the PowerSkin. Using the PowerSkin did in fact double my battery life from a depleted state to a fully recharged iPhone 4 ready to serve. Every recharging of my iPhone 4 has proven to be identical and left a steady pattern of the same results. Having that extra battery life in the palm of your hand couldn't be any more useful in many situations. The PowerSkin will be more than enough to get you thru a full day without ever seeing the dreaded low battery life message on pop up on your screen.
The bottom is where you'll find the PowerSkin's power control interface that is made up from 4 blue LED status indicators that will indicate the status of the remaining battery life inside the PowerSkin. The same button that is used to get that info is also used to power on the unit to start charging your iPhone 4, in at the same time it could also be used to power off itself. All you really need in a battery case can be found in the PowerSkin. It's effective and very convenient.
Many, if not all iPhone 4 battery cases have the same exact design and materials that include a hard plastic shell with some soft touch coating and a two-piece design that enables you to slide your iPhone 4 in while you slide the second half of the battery case to close it. This is where PowerSkin really shines above the rest of the competition. It's the first battery case to be made out of silicone. Now it isn't all pure silicone, the back is partially made out of hard plastic, but the rest of the case is flexible silicone. The biggest advantage of having a silicone battery case is drop and shock protection. The PowerSkin will protect your iPhone 4 unlike any other battery case with its silicone surrounding your iPhone 4. Think of it as a silicone case for all purposes. It covers up the volume and sleep/wake buttons yet they remain responsive.
As you would expect from any other silicone case, the PowerSkin offers an impressive amount of grip and it feels really comfortable to hold even though it adds a considerable amount of bulk. Expect the PowerSkin to nearly double the thickness and weight of your iPhone 4. After all, it does pack a massive 2000mAh battery inside of it so that you can enjoy using your iPhone 4 all day and all night. Despite having the added bulk, I don't really mind it because of how good it feels when you hold it. You'll find the combination of the rounded form factor and soft rubbery finish of the PowerSkin to be very tolerable bulky battery case. Something to take note of is the rubber exterior that can attract a bit of lint and show all of your oily fingerprints on the black finish.
I wish PowerSkin would have made the top headphone port cutout a little larger so that it will fit larger 3.5mm jacks. Right now it will only fit slim jacks.
Moving towards the front of the device, you'll notice that the PowerSkin has two cutouts that direct the speaker sound towards you rather than having the sound fire straight down. A similar "tunnel" cutouts it made for the mic. A minimalistic rounded lip will provide just enough screen protection so that you can lay your iPhone 4 front side down should you really want to.
Overall, there's really nothing to dislike and a whole lot to love about the PowerSkin iPhone 4 battery case. A sleek, drop protective battery case that doubles your iPhone 4's poor battery life is an absolute wonderful solution for those who need just that. It really doesn't get any better than this. This is the kind of step any battery case maker should take note of. Other than a few color options I would like to see PowerSkin release, I found a new favorite protective battery case for my iPhone 4. And I think you will too. Price $69.99.