This is the uNu Ex-Era battery case for iPhone 4 and 4S. It offers a degree of flexibility you won’t find in most other battery cases, although that flexibility comes with a drawback – namely that the case doesn’t feel as robust as some of its less flexible rivals. But you can’t have everything, all the time.
The case comes in no less than four sections. You don’t have to carry all of them around with you all the time, and only three of them are actually in use at any one time. Let’s take a closer look at them.
First, there’s the primary connector plate. This is the essential core of the case. Your phone slides into it from the top, and attaches to the dock connector at the bottom.
This core plate is functional but not decorative. Over the front of your phone, you can clip on a bumper. These come in a range of eight colors to suit your style.
Finally, there’s a back plate that attaches over the rear of the phone. In fact there are two – one is a very slim plastic cover. The second is battery pack, which you can slide on at any time to give your phone’s built-in battery a boost. You should end up with about double your normal battery life.
Even the battery itself is replaceable inside the pack, so if you want to carry extra batteries around and replace them very quickly, you can do that.
This case is all about choice. If you’re just going out for a few hours and won’t need an extra battery, slide on the slim back plate and leave it behind. It only takes a few seconds to make the switch.
The next day, if you’ll be traveling and expecting to use a lot of mobile data, you can slide on the battery pack and activate it when the need arises (there’s an on/off button for this).
The core plate is excellent. The phone is held tightly and solidly here. You have to pull quite hard to remove it, in fact. The rear battery pack as a nice smooth texture and curved form, making it feel comfortable to hold in your hand despite the extra size. Even with this attached, I was still able to put the phone in my front jeans pocket without any discomfort.
There’s not a lot to find fault with. The colored edge bands feel flimsy in the hand, but once they’re clipped on to the phone they fairly securely attached. But they’re also brittle to the touch – if I dropped my phone on a hard surface, I worry about how much protection they’d actually provide.
I was initially concerned that the rear plates were not attached firmly enough – the connection doesn’t feel that strong. But during the days I tested the unit, neither the decorative plate nor the battery pack came off without my wanting them to.
The battery unit’s on/off switch is poorly positioned, in my opinion. It’s easy to activate by accident. Twice, I had the phone in my back pocket and heard it switch into charging mode as I sat down.
Overall this is a nice little case for anyone who wants freedom to use a battery when they need to, or to leave it behind when they don’t.
Of course the upshot is that you might end up carrying the battery around with you nonetheless, because life’s busy and you never really know when you’re going to need that extra power boost.
The case looks smart, but I’m concerned that in the long term it might show scratches. Like all rigid plastic cases, it doesn’t provide the same sort of drop protection that you get from the rubberized variety – but then those are much bulkier.
For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend this case for people with an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. But for general use, it offers a decent balance between security, flexibility and style. The price is reasonable too: $79.95.