LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – The iPhone has many hardware advantages over the competition, but it sucks at LED alerts. Smartphones like the ones offered by RIM have a dedicated LED that flashes when you get a message; on Android, you can even dictate the pattern of the LED flashes per contact with a staccato rhythm applied on the touchscreen with your index finger.
Your iPhone? Nothing. The LED can flash if you get a message, but it’s messy and unrefined. But that’s where the Endliss Hybrid Battery Case for the iPhone 5 by uNu comes in. It gives the back of your iPhone just as much information to display as the front.
Here on Sunday night at CES Unveiled, we asked the reps at Endliss to show off their latest case. It’s an interesting prodict, albeit at a slightly bonkers price.
Here’s how it works. You slip your iPhone 5 into a two-tiered case, like the JuicePack. The first tier is a simple protective shell for the iPhone 5, good for protecting your smartphone from scratches. The second tier, however, is a snap-on battery pack replete with LED backlight.
The LED backlight is intriguing. It interfaces with your iPhone via Bluetooth, and can display incoming message alerts, Facebook or Twitter alerts, customizable LED alerts and even the time. Even better, since this element connects with the iPhone 5 via Bluetooth, you can detach it from your smartphone and it will still work, allowing you to, say, charge your iPhone across the room while still keeping a functional LED clock close at hand.
In addition, the Endliss has a 2000mAh battery pack that allows you to charge your iPhone 5 up a little. It won’t get you up to full charge: Endliss’s representatives said it would bring you back to about 60% of a charge. It’s a perk to the LED system, not the main selling point of the Endliss.
Theoretically, we were intrigued by the Endliss, but it’s too early to say. The representatives didn’t have a functional working unit, claiming that Apple’s stringent Lightning certification standards would keep the product off the market until April. And without seeing how well the LEDs actually work, the $130 MSRP the Endliss representatives floated seemed too rich for our blood.
Even so, right now, all the buzz at CES suggests that the battery iPhone 5 cases everyone wants will all be delayed a few months yet. That gives the Endliss case — which ups your charge while adding real functionality to your iPhone 5 — a pretty good chance to make an impression when it hits the market along with the crush of all the other Lightning battery cases. We will have a full review then.