This is the Sandberg Battery Case for iPhone 4. Designed in Italy, it’s a low-cost backup power supply and case with svelte good looks. It provides a good balance between size and power storage, but isn’t without some flaws. Overall, it’s a good deal but let down by what look like lapses in manufacturing quality control.
The rubberized texture on the outer surface has a lovely feel to it. Soft, yet grippable. This, combined with the gently curved edges, means you can slip the Sandberg plus iPhone into your jeans pocket, without any noticeable discomfort. It achieves the feat of adding plenty of battery support without adding too much unwanted bulk.
The base of the Sandberg includes molded plastic holes to enhance and project your iPhone’s built-in speakers, and these work very well, providing a slightly boosted sound without sacrificing any clarity.
I like the twin-section design. The lower section protects most of your phone and contains all the electronics. This is the part you slide your phone into. The upper section then clips over the top, completely enclosing the device and providing protection to the uppermost buttons, while still allowing good access to them.
There’s a recessed button on the base. Click it once to see how much charge the spare battery contains. Click and hold it for a couple of seconds to activate the charger and give your phone a boost.
Unfortunately, the build quality isn’t as perfect as it could be.
The most disappointing flaw is that the two sections of the case don’t meet, or grip, as tightly as they should.
Looking at the top section, I expected it to fit to its counterpart with a comforting “click”, but no such click is heard. The two sections seem to simply meet, rather than lock together. Very little effort is required to pull them apart. It feels flimsier than it looks, and less secure than it should be.
Furthermore, one side of the lower section is slightly bent outwards. It doesn’t hug the body of the phone as closely as I expect it to.
The case does get quite warm while charging your phone. This won’t be a problem for most usage, but if you’ve got the phone in your hands while you’re playing a game, it might get a little uncomfortable on the fingers.
I really like this battery case. I love the simple, sleek design, the simplicity of the one-button control, and the way it fits into my jeans pocket without any fuss. I can see it being seriously useful.
But there is a flaw. Those two sections need to connect together properly and securely. When I click them home, I want to have complete confidence that they’re going to stay that way until I decide to take the case off again. Right now, I don’t have that confidence. The result is I end up treating the whole thing with kid gloves, handling it with more care than I do when the iPhone is wrapped in a standard case. The point of a case is that it removes some of that worry, but the Sandberg only adds to it.
This is the only problem in what is, in all other respects, a good-looking and very attractively priced battery case. There are no direct sales to the US (yet), but the Sandberg will cost you £33 in the UK (roughly $52 USD), and about €38 elsewhere in Europe.