The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus are undoubtedly some of the best smartphones available today. While the iPhone 7 plus touts 15 hour battery life, the iPhone 7 only advertises 14. This number is about halved in real day to day usage. Some may find this enough, but for those who want to be off the charger all day and night, the Apple Smart Battery Case might be a good option.
Yep, the first thing you see in this battery case is that awful hump. Tim Cook prefers you don’t call it that, but its definitely a noticeable bulge from the back of the case. Unlike most other battery cases, the Apple Smart Battery Case doesn’t try and contour around the battery. It looks like somebody took the normal Apple Silicone Case, slapped a battery on the back of it, and wrapped silicone around it. But hear me out. I like the hump. Thats right. I like the hump. It actually makes holding the iPhone grippier, and it means that the overall volume of the case is lowered. Also, when holding it in landscape mode, it’s much easier and nicer to hold than having a thick case. Thanks to the weird hump design, removing the phone from the case is even easier – just pull back the top flap, and slide your phone out. This makes it clear that Apple doesn’t really want you to use this case 24/7 on your phone, they’d prefer you use it only when you need it.
The Apple Smart Battery Case is definitely not the best looking accessories for your iPhone, but it definitely is the best feeling case. The grippy covering of the case is great, and it means you don’t have to grip your phone as hard. Initially, the case isn’t as grippy as I’d like it, but as it wears, it becomes more grippy, and eventually sticky. The sticky stage happens a few months down the road, and it definitely isn’t enjoyable. At the bottom right of the case, the speaker grill is rerouted to the front of the phone, making music or videos clearer and louder. This is an awesome feature, and if you’re using an iPhone 7 (with the appropriate iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case), the stereo effect is enhanced. My least favorite part of this case is just how badly it wears. Straight out of the box, it’s the best feeling accessory out of any cases, but a few months down the road and it’s in tatters. 6 months after initial unboxing, I noticed that it started peeling away. That isn’t great, and I wouldn’t recommend using this case every day if you are worried about aesthetics. Since I have Bluetooth earphones, this isn’t so much of a problem for me, but if you have the iPhone 6 or 6s, and you’re using anything with a jack thicker than the stock EarPods, Apple’s In-Ear Earphones, or urBeats, you’ll either need to use an adapter or take the phone out of the case to listen to music. I’d advise you to just keep the adapter on your set of earphones all the time.
What makes this case so “Smart”?
Battery cases traditionally house a battery, and directly charge your phone, like it was plugging into the wall. However, since the Apple Smart Battery Case is designed by Apple, there is much tighter integration between the case and iOS. The main selling point of the Apple Smart Battery case is that if your phone is fully charged, all power comes directly from the case, so you don’t use up precious battery cycles on your iPhone. This is the only case which can do this, as all other battery cases can use up charge/discharge cycles on your iPhone’s battery. Another standout feature of the Apple Smart Battery case is the tight integration into the notification centre and today panel on iOS.
Unlike other battery cases, swiping down into the battery widget on the today panel shows the battery percentage of both the iPhone and the case, so you know exactly how much charge is on the case. On most other battery cases, there is an LED indicator, usually with four or five LEDs to show the charge. Also, if you have an iPhone 6, the battery draining “Hey Siri” won’t be activated, as your phone will know it’s connected to the case, not the charger. This also applies to backups etc. As if all of that wasn’t enough to warrant the sky-high $99 price tag, the Apple Smart Battery Case also charges by lightning. The Apple Smart Battery Case really shines in this field, in that Apple is able to put nifty features into it by adding it right into iOS.
The Apple Smart Battery Case contains a relatively small 1877mAh battery, not enough to fully charge an iPhone 6s after voltage changes. According to Apple, the battery pack combined with a fully charged iPhone will get you 20 hours of video playback, 18 hours of internet browsing, and 25 hours of talk time. In my usage, I found that the case provides around an 80% bump to battery life, which is more than enough for me. In reality, I only need about 20% more than the iPhone has for a long day, so this case is perfect.
The good thing about having a smaller battery is that the overall case isn’t so thick. If you need a huge bump in battery life, battery cases by Mophie have capacities up to around 3000mAh, but if you don’t, it’s just a really thick battery case. The overall weight and volume of the Apple Smart Battery Case is lower, thanks to the smaller battery. Combined with the case, the iPhone weighs 245 grams, which is heavier than normal, but not too uncomfortable. This definitely isn’t a battery case for ultra heavy users wanting to use their phone without a charge for several days, but if you just need a top up to get you from 5pm to 10pm, then this case is perfect.
The Apple Smart battery case will protect your phone, but it’s nothing spectacular. It’s got a more rigid build than the Apple Silicone case, thanks to the battery, and the bottom lip of the case might provide better protection from bottom drops. However, it does protect the screen pretty well from drops, thanks to a raised lip around the side of the device. This case is a battery pack first, protective case second.
The Apple Smart Battery case is expensive. At $99, it’s one of the most expensive options out there, especially considering the low capacity. However, it’s got a few tricks up it’s sleeve making it an appealing option. Combine this with the ease of use, materials, and the price of the Apple brand, and $99 seems about the appropriate price for the case. You could probably get a battery case for around $20 on amazon, but without the nifty features, power passthrough, Apple quality, and 1 year warranty.
I really like the Apple Smart Battery Case. It’s perfect for me, since it gives me just a bit more battery life on the days I need it, and it can easily slip off for the days I don’t. However, it fits a smaller niche than most battery cases, since it only provides a 80% bump in battery life, and has a high price tag. If you need monster battery life or you’re on a budget, you might want to consider other cases from Amazon or Ebay. However, if you value the Apple brand, and all the nifty features it has, you’ll love this case. If you don’t, Apple provides a no questions asked 14 day money-back guarantee, something I didn’t use.