The iPhone gets great battery life, but we no longer live in the era of simple cell phones with week long battery life. That smartphone in your pocket isn’t just a way to make calls, but a real humming along inside your pocket, checking email, playing music, keeping an eye on your location, accepting text messages, sucking up push notifications, running Skype and a million other uses beside. That all takes up precious charge, and the more you pull that iPhone out of your pocket, the more quickly you use your battery up.
Given the realities of smartphone power management, battery cases like the Mophie Juice Pack are a necessary evil. Sure, they double and sometimes triple your battery life, but they also double and sometimes triple the size of your iPhone in your pocket. Worse, they are all-or-nothing affairs: if you want to use one, you need to take your existing case off your phone and put the juice pack on instead.
Boostcase’s new Hybrid Case does away with all that. It’s really two cases in one: a lightweight plastic protective case that can snap onto a beefy battery upgrade pack as needed that can juice your iPhone back up. And it’s a pretty great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to juggle cases on the go.
The Hybrid Case comes in two parts. The first part is a slim fit snap-on case which fits snugly around your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. It’s a very light weight case, adding only 14 grams onto the iPhone’s bulk. It’s made of a hard plastic that feels great in the hand — the sort of soft, pleasant texture you might find from a My Little Pony doll, if that makes any snese — and comes in a wide array of colors, including red, blue, purple, gold, silver, pink, orange and so on.
On the back of the slim fit snap-on case is a pear shaped hole over the Apple logo on the back of your phone. That’s not a design consideration: it’s the omphalos through which the Hybrid case snaps-onto its external battery pack, like Optimus Prime hitching up to his trailer in cab form. When united, the 1900mAH extended battery pack (which comes in color choices of white or black) will become a single case of Mophie-like proportions, and juice up your iPhone on the go.
I’ve been playing with the Boostcase Hybrid for the last month or so, and I really like it. There are plenty of battery cases out there for the iPhone 4S, and I own half a dozen of them, but what the Hybrid affords is a customization usually sadly lacking in battery cases. Not only can I choose my own color combination by picking a separate color for both the slim fit and battery pack sections of the Hybrid, I can keep the bulky battery section of the case in a bag until its needed.
That’s a huge perk to me, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. I can keep my iPhone slim most of the time, break out the battery pack to juice my iPhone back up when it’s low, then disconnect the battery pack again when it’s no longer needed. Buy the likes of a Mophie Juice Pack and that’s not an option: you either need to keep your iPhone bulky the whole time, or take the entire case off when you don’t need it, leaving your device unprotected.
There’s really not a lot to criticize here. The cases themselves fit snugly and feel great in the hand. There’s loads of color combinations to choose from, all of which are complimentary between the extended battery pack and the slim fit case. Audio still sounds great and the iPhone still takes great images with LED flash even when the battery pack is attached (both trouble spots for most cases). Even the price is great: $79.95 for effectively two cases in one, which is competitive with the likes of the Mophie Juice Pack Air.
There’s only one caveat with the Boostcase Hybrid: because it’s two cases snapping onto one another instead of a single case made mostly of battery, I found the Hybrid could only re-juice my iPhone from 0% to about 85% on a full charge of the battery pack. That’s absolutely fine as far as I’m concerned, but if you have more extreme needs from a battery case — 24 hour battery life, say — the Boostcase Hybrid is likely not for you.
For the rest of us, though, the Boostcase Hybrid is the iPhone battery case to beat.
Product: Boostcase Hybrid
Pro: Lots of customization options. Competitive price. Modular design allows you to keep the extra bulk off of your iPhone when it doesn’t need charging without leaving your device unprotected.
Con: Slightly less battery life than some competitors.