iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case review: Is this the battery case you’ve been looking for?
Modern smartphones pack an increasing amount of technological wizardry into their slim, light frames, but one aspect that hasn’t improved is battery life. That’s why there’s such a thriving market in battery accessories and cases – and now Apple has stepped into the ring with the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case.
The Smart Battery Case adds a secondary, 1,877mAh-capacity battery to the iPhone 6s’ own internal 1,715mAh battery, for a claimed total of 18 hours 4G web browsing. With the regular iPhone 6s’ battery claim of ten hours, that represents a boost of 80%.
Not bad, and in testing it appeared to do exactly that. I popped my test iPhone 6s into the case at 3.29pm with 10% capacity remaining. An hour and a half later, and with a video playing constantly from local storage in the interim, the battery had been topped up to 85%.
In the real world, with a little care and attention, I found the battery life of my iPhone 6s went from one day at most to nearly two days with the case attached.
This is lovely, but it isn’t rocket science. Strap a big secondary battery to the back of any phone and you’ll get results like this. The key question is: how does the Smart Battery Case compare with the competition?
iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case review: Features
There are three reasons you might use the Smart Battery case over and above a third-party case from Mophie or Anker. First, it comes with a Lightning port for charging, which means you can use the same cable you use for your phone. Most third-party cases employ a micro-USB input to charge the case.
Second, there’s proper iOS integration. Once you’ve popped your iPhone 6s into the Smart Battery Case, you can pull down the Notifications menu and see the remaining capacity of both batteries, side-by-side. Finally, the case is a one-piece design, which means there are no plastic clips to break or parts to lose. To slot your phone into the case, just bend back the top part, slide the phone in, then clip it home.
None of this, however, justifies the premium price. The official Apple case is £79 and gives you a 1,877mAh battery, but for less you can pick up a battery case with either the same or more capacity. The Mophie Juice Pack Reserve, for instance, with its 1,840mAh capacity, is £55, while the Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case for iPhone 6s is a mere £27, and adds a huge 2,850mAh battery.
Moreover, the official Apple Battery Case is hardly the most attractive thing. It’s made from the same nasty, grippy rubber material as the official Apple silicone cases, and it comes only in dull charcoal grey or boring white. It isn’t the finish or the colour that’s the biggest problem, though, it’s that lump on the back. Apple is famed for its design prowess, and rightly so, but this looks like it was designed by the work experience chap during his lunch break.
I’m also not keen on the headphone jack. If you use non-Apple headphones, it’s likely your plug won’t fit the Smart Battery Case’s deep, narrow recess, so you may need to add the cost of an adapter to the Smart Case’s already high price if you want to listen to your favourite Sennheisers or Beats. It won’t surprise you to find out that Apple doesn’t include an adapter in the box.
Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6s review: Verdict
As I mentioned, there are some reasons you might consider buying the official Apple battery case for your iPhone 6s, but none of them are particularly compelling, beyond the native Lightning cable connection.
The Smart Battery Case does work – and it works well. It will extend the battery life of your iPhone 6s to nigh-on two days, and that’s undoubtedly a good thing. However, it’s ugly and far from the best value battery case you can buy.