Talking tech since 2003

Ever had your smartphone die on you when you are away from a charger? I am sure plenty of times is the answer, at least it is for me. So that is why having a backup-battery is very important, especially with everything we geeks do on our smartphones. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Email, SMS, Angry Birds, and even making a phone call every now and then. Battery life on our precious companions doesn’t last that long. That is where the PowerSkin comes in. PowerSkin makes cases with built-in batteries so you will always have enough juice in your phone to do whatever your heart may desire. They have these cases for almost every smart phone out there, so check out their site to see if a skin for your phone is available.

My unit was for the iPhone 4, and it runs $79.95 USD, but is currently on sale for $69.95 on their site or $59.99 on Amazon. It is a silicon case with a built-in 2000 mAh battery inside that they claim will give you 480 mins of talk time, 350 hours of standby time, and will double your iPhone’s battery life. In my testing, it lived up to their claims. I should note that while I didn’t test the talk time and standby time, it did certainly double my iPhone’s overall battery life, or at least come pretty darn close to doing so.

I was able to charge my phone from 0% to 100%, and the PowerSkin still had a little juice left in it. To determine how much charge your PowerSkin has you need to look at the 4 indicator lights on the bottom of the case. Next to the lights, there is a button which is used to show the lights as well as turn the case on/off. The case comes with a micro USB cable which plugs into the port on the bottom right of the case. This will allow you to charge the case, and charge (and sync) your iPhone if it is in the case. The iPhone sits very snuggly in the case, and is easy to get in and out. And because the case is made of silicon, it allows some bend to the case when taking the phone out, so you do not have to worry about snapping the 30-pin connector out of the case when prying your phone out.

While it’s impressive that the case is able to fully charge your phone, what’s even more impressive is its ability to charge it quite quickly. It is the same charge rate as a wall outlet, which is a huge step up from my previous battery-backup, the Technocel Powerpak. Case wise, all the buttons and switches are easily accessible. The sleep/wake and volume buttons are covered by the silicon, but are still very tactile and easy to press. The cutout for the vibrate switch is very spacious, as this case is compatible to the Verizon and AT&T iPhone, and there is no digging for the switch. The camera cutout gave me no problems, even though the camera is extremely recessed thanks to very thick silicon. The headphone jack is not recessed at all and was compatible with all my headphones. My only cons about the case is there is no lip around the screen, or ‘lay on the table design’, so you might not want to lay your phone, screen facing down, on a table as it could possibly get scratched by debris. My other con is that the case is anything but sleek. It is quite bulky and features very thick silicon. But you can’t expect a thin-and-sexy case when there is a 2000 mAh battery attached to it, so I learned to live with this.

Overall, this is an excellent tool to have. I didn’t rock this case everyday, but only when I was low on juice. I took it wherever I went, as I just threw it in my bag or car so it was always ready for use. For $80 ($70 if you buy it soon), it is very reasonably priced as far as battery-cases go.  It has no build-quality issues and charges your phone very effectively and it has some great features like being able to charge/sync the iPhone while it is in the case, and being able to turn off the case when not using the battery. 2000 mAh is a good size for a case, so it doesn’t make the case too bulky but still gives a decent charge.

My rating is a solid 8.5/10. The only dings are the lack of a lip, the slight bulk, and it gets dirty easily, as it is a silicon case. For the sale price of $70 though, I will increase my rating to a 9/10. Definitely a must have for you heavy smart phone users!

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