We have toyed with the idea of getting an iPhone 4 case with battery for some time now, but until now we hadn’t done much beyond comparing the various iPhone 4 battery cases. But recently we found ourselves in need of an extended battery for the iPhone 4s (and thus an iPhone 4 extended battery case – or, as they are sometimes known, an iPhone 4 charger case). In fact, an iPhone 4 battery pack case, battery charger case, and battery case all refer to the same thing: an iPhone 4 rechargeable battery case. This is because a battery case for the iPhone 4 (and the iPhone 5, for that matter) contains an external battery pack which in turn feeds a charge to your native iPhone battery. This is our iPhone 4 battery case review with our pick for the best case, after looking at several types of iPhone charger cases (although we did not review the once-popular Exolife iPhone 4 battery case, as they are currenty not available).
What we looked at, in particular, was battery capacity (measured in milliamperes, or “mAh”), size, weight, how the case feels in the hand, and ease of use (i.e. how easy is it to get the case on and off, and to use the phone while its in the case, including charging, changing volume, etc.).
Our hands down (and hands-on) favourite is the iWALK Chameleon. This case is not so well-known as some others (for example the Mophie), but it stood out in all of the ways that mattered to us.
Most important to us was battery life. The more readily available extended battery cases range in battery capacity from anywhere from 1400 mAh up to 2000 mAh (you can also get external battery packs for your iPhone with capacities up to 12,000 mAh! But today we are talking about protective cases for your iPhone that also extend their battery life.)
We really liked that the iWalk Chameleon was at the upper end of battery life, packing a robust 2,000 mAh.
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That really meant that there was only one other readily-available battery case out there to which to compare it – the Mophie, as many if not most of the others (the uNu and the Skiva, for example) are in the 1400 – 1700 mAh range. The Mophie, however, also packs a 2000 mAh capacity.
Generally speaking, the lower the battery capacity the lower the weight – this makes sense, as much of the weight is in the add-on battery.
So, the next thing to compare is size and weight. Here too the Mophie and the iWalk Chameleon run neck and neck. The iWalk Chameleon measure 5 inches long, by 2.5 inches wide, by .7 inches thick, and weights 2.7 ounches. The Mophie is 5.1 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and .7 inches thick, and weighs 2.5 ounces. So a teensy bit longer and a teensy bit lighter than the iWalk.
So, here’s what it came down to for us – where the rubber really hit the road (or, rather, the plastic hit the iPhone):
First, the iWalk case feels great in our hand. Yes, you notice that it feels a bit bigger than your iPhone without the case, but not much (especially if you’re already using one of the bulkier cases – we had always used the slimmest of cases, and it still didn’t feel too much bigger).
Second, the iWalk case, thanks to the way it is designed, while very secure, is a snap to get on and off. And this becomes even more convenient when you consider that the iWalk comes, standard, with five different faceplates in different colours, including basic black, white, fuschia, bright green and yellow!
Charging the phone and battery case does involve using a micro usb cable, and so this means that unless you use an adapter cable, any peripherals you may have for your iPhone that require plugging in to the phone’s native charging port won’t work – this however is true for all of the battery cases. And, again, it seemed to be one of the easiest of the battery cases to take off and put back on, just in case you really have to access the iPhone’s native charging port.
There is no problem accessing the power and volume buttons, the headphone jack, and the camera. The case has cut-outs at all of those points, so that you have open access to each.
Finally, the price can’t be beat. You can get the iWalk Chameleon from Amazon for around just $40.00.
So, if you are looking to extend your iPhone battery, we highly recommend the iWalk Chameleon extended battery case.
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