XtremeMac InCharge Mobile: The Genteel Bruiser [Review, Battery Case Week]

XtremeMac InCharge Mobile: The Genteel Bruiser [Review, Battery Case Week]

Let’s face it: If you have an iPhone 4, you need a battery case. Unless all you’re doing with your iPhone is using it as a $600 mirror.
Luckily there’s no shortage of choice — so we’ve assembled a collection of promising candidates and put them through their paces, the results of which we’ll be revealing in the next few days.

First up is the XtremeMac InCharge Mobile ($80), selected from XtremeMac’s deep line of charging solutions (all of which have been given the “InCharge” moniker).

The Good:

Like the PowerSkin reviewed later this week, the InCharge Mobile almost completely encloses the back and sides of the iPhone, with power and volume buttons actually a part of the case, in theory making them easier to access. In practice, the volume buttons were very easy to use but the power button took more force to activate, sometimes needing more than one try. The upshot is that the setup works well for the fat-fingered (because access on the surface of the case instead of through holes on the case), but perhaps not so well for the weak-fingered.

The battery’s control center is neatly designed. The power switch, tastefully small five-LED fuel gauge, status button (to activate the LEDs on the gauge) and micro-USB port are all in the same place. As with most other battery cases, the micro-USB port allows for syncing. The power switch and status button were small enough to prevent accidental activation, yet not to small that they were overly difficult to use.

Both the speaker and the microphone worked perfectly through the cases ports. Protection from the InCharge Mobile seemed pretty good — the case did its job the one time I dropped it accidentally.

Its 2300 mAh cell — one of the biggest in this class of battery, though not by much — provided one full iPhone 4 charge and a little to spare. Charging times for the iPhone were decent: 1:15 to a half-charge and 2:45 to fully top the iPhone off. Juicing the InCharge Mobile itself was fast: halfway came at about 1:15, while a full charge took four hours.

The Bad:

It’s a hulk of a case; it’s not light nor lithe. Compared to other battery cases, this one felt like a brick in my pocket, thanks to not only its girth but also its angular design.

The kickstand is a great idea, but the top needs to be removed in order to use it and put it back, enough of a pain that I ended up using the feature extremely rarely — and when I did, I’d almost always simply leave the top off.

Verdict:

A big hawg of a battery case with a lot of angles and bulk; decent controls, a slightly larger battery and a semi-useful stand don’t quite make up for the extra girth.

Rating: ★★★½☆

This is Battery Case Week, and we’ll be evaluating the performance of a selection of iPhone 4 battery cases. 

XtremeMac InCharge Mobile: The Genteel Bruiser [Review, Battery Case Week]

XtremeMac InCharge Mobile: The Genteel Bruiser [Review, Battery Case Week]

XtremeMac InCharge Mobile: The Genteel Bruiser [Review, Battery Case Week]

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  • Timothy Gregoire

    wheres the article?

  • Jonathan Traynor

    I’m convinced, you made a great argument.

  • Chris Killen

    I don’t know if I can trust these cases anymore. I used a RocketFish battery case for my iPhone 3Gs and it FRIED the phone’s battery. It SHUTS OFF at around 70% without fail and it’ll even shut off at 100% if I’m using Safari for too long or an app and forget location services. can’t use it for more than a few minutes without it dying. I was eligible for my upgrade in March so I figured I’d wait for the iPhone 5 that summer and NOPE. Still waiting. Meanwhile, I carry my MacBook Pro around with me to keep it charged :( C’mon Apple, I need the iPhone 5 NOW! 

  • Chris Killen

    I don’t know if I can trust these cases anymore. I used a RocketFish battery case for my iPhone 3Gs and it FRIED the phone’s battery. It SHUTS OFF at around 70% without fail and it’ll even shut off at 100% if I’m using Safari for too long or an app and forget location services. can’t use it for more than a few minutes without it dying. I was eligible for my upgrade in March so I figured I’d wait for the iPhone 5 that summer and NOPE. Still waiting. Meanwhile, I carry my MacBook Pro around with me to keep it charged :( C’mon Apple, I need the iPhone 5 NOW! 

  • elimilchman

    There was a posting error, try refreshing your browser.

  • elimilchman

    Not long now…

  • gareth edwards

    bit on the Lego® side of things, looks wise.

  • elimilchman

    Agree!

  • Anonymous

    If you haven’t replaced your battery in over 2 years, then you’re long overdue.  It’s relatively straightforward to do it yourself — there are videos everywhere — and costs about $15 (don’t cheap out and get a lesser battery or you’ll soon regret it) to DIY, or $30 to pay someone else for the 5 minutes of work.  (Maybe 30 minutes the first time if you’re overly cautious).  I’ve replaced mine twice so far, and it’s really time to replace it again, though I’m just going to wait for the iPhone 5.

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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