PhoneSuit Elite: The Honed Athlete [Review, Battery Case Week]

PhoneSuit Elite: The Honed Athlete [Review, Battery Case Week]

The problem with battery cases is that they’re so big. Wrapping one around the iPhone 4 turns it from slim-and-sleek into a thick brick of a phone; and if you wanted fat and ugly, heck, you would have bought an Android phone.

But the PhoneSuit Elite iPhone 4 battery case ($80) changes everything. It’s the first case I’ve really felt comfortable carrying around in a jeans pocket, and it’s powerful and fast to boot.

The Good:

It’s slim — really slim. I was pretty amazed that PhoneSuit was able to wedge a fairly large 2100 mAh battery into a case this slim and light. As a comparison, even with its substantially larger battery, it’s thinner than the Mophie Juice Pack Air for the 3GS — a case heralded as the battery-case-on-a-diet.

It’s fast. PhoneSuit claims the Elite will fully charge an iPhone 4 in under two hours, and we were surprised to find that claim spot-on: We clocked a full charge at 1:57, just a hair under two hours.  That’s really fast. The case took about 45 minutes to charge the iPhone halfway.

The Elite’s sleek character is aided by its smooth surface and rounded contours, which make it easy in the hand and on the eye. Another example of its clean design is the row of hidden status LEDs — you’re only aware they’re there when you press the large, flush power-level button. The iPhone’s controls are easy enough to access through portholes in the case’s shell. A micro-USB port near the somewhat-difficult to flip power switch handles charging and syncing duties.

PhoneSuit actually has a warning sticker on the case to expect a little heat while it’s charging (due to its quick-charge nature), but if there was a difference in the heat emission between this case and any other, I didn’t notice it.

The Bad:

Charging the Elite itself was a different story. The case was rather lazy when it came to filling up again, reaching half in about two hours and topping off in 5:15, making it one of the slower cases to recharge in our test.

The only other real gripe I had was with the case’s top cap, which, while light, was somewhat difficult to attach and easy to accidentally pop off when trying to slide an Elite-equipped iPhone out of a pants pocket; seems PhoneSuit realize this is a problem, because they’ve included a spare cap in the box.

Verdict:

Sleeker, faster and cleanly designed, the PhoneSuit Elite might be the next evolution of battery case; a finnicky top cap and somewhat slow refill time are its only (small) weak spots, and take very little gloss off this excellent battery case.

Rating: ★★★★½

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

PhoneSuit Elite: The Honed Athlete [Review, Battery Case Week]

PhoneSuit Elite: The Honed Athlete [Review, Battery Case Week]

PhoneSuit Elite: The Honed Athlete [Review, Battery Case Week]

  • Robert Norris Hills

    LMAO!!! Fat and ugly? Android? 

    Last I checked the iphone had timtam dimensions compared to android devices! 

  • elimilchman

    When I Googled “timtam” all I got was a bunch of links for Aussie biscuits. 

  • Robert Norris Hills

    Yep that’s it………With the same dimensions of an iphone4 ^^ 

    http://www.google.com.au/imgre

  • anuran

    ” if you wanted fat and ugly, heck, you would have bought an Android phone”

    U made my day.

  • Michel

    I’ve never understood these battery packs. This seems huge and clunky to me, and besides: when is one ever not near an outlet? I charge my iPhone every night, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

  • elimilchman

    Dunno, I’ve always found these battery cases indispensable. Here’re a few scenarios where I wouldn’t want to be without one:

    - Going on day hike or overnighter out in the boonies; the GPS receiver is a hungry beast.
    - At a conference where I’m moving around all day and don’t really have time to stop, look for an outlet and juice up.
    - I wake up one morning, have to rush out for work and realize I flat-out forgot to charge my iPhone after a long night of boozing and/or CoD.

  • Zazou999

    I’d like very much to have one, to replace my Mophie Juce pack Air… Have you a promo code for Phonesuit, or could send me the battery of th test, please? (joking of course, I don’t think you can do that, but I hope)

  • 4gGeek

    Great review, I’ve been hesitating between the PhoneSuit Elite and the Mophie Juive pack for a few days, but I keep reading reviews saying that the Elite is the better choice. I guess I’ll follow the universe’s advice ;). $79.99 sounds like a rather good price for this anyway, found it at these guys: Quantum-Wireless

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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