Hands-on with the iKit NuCharge iPhone 5 Battery Pack and Case

Sections: Features, Hands On / First Looks, iDevice Accessories, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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Although battery pack cases for the iPhone have slimmed down over the years, a certain amount of bulk is unavoidable; they’ve got to have that battery, after all. The engineers of iKit have come up with a pretty slick solution to this with their NuCharge iPhone 5 Battery Pack and Case, for which they’re currently completing funding on Kickstarter.

iKit NuCharge

Their solution centers around the fact that you won’t always need the battery. In fact, most of the time you won’t. So, rather than force you to remove the entire case and purchase a second one, their battery pack is detachable from the case itself. When you don’t want it, simply slide it off and put on the much smaller “smart cover” plate, instead.

iKit NuCharge

With that, you’ve got a pretty standard looking plastic iPhone 5 case that doesn’t take up much more room than the iPhone itself. The covers will be available in aluminum (pictured above) and leather versions, and what color you’re able to pick will be determined by your pledge level. There’s even a custom color option, as well as chrome models for those who pledge $89 or more.

The battery pack comes in various colors as well, but that’s not the important part there. What matters is power and access, and the NuCharge’s 1,900mAh li-ion polymer battery looks to provide 8 hours of talk time, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of audio and 225 hours of standby. This essentially doubles your iPhone’s current capabilities. In addition, the SEIKO IC chip prevents overheating and provides eco-friendly charging. And LED meter on the bottom left of the battery indicates the currently level by 25%.

iKit NuCharge

The design of the battery allows for easy iPhone use, as it doesn’t protrude beyond the bottom of your phone. After snapping the battery onto the case, you simply pull out the built-in Apple connector and plug it into the Lightning port of your phone to use the extra juice. When you’re done, slide it back into place, although I found that it didn’t want to store flush in the battery after just a couple uses.

Finally, the battery pack features a kickstand for angled display of your iPhone in horizontal mode. The kickstand was plastic in my test model, but iKit says the shipping versions will use a stronger reinforced aluminum stand.

The actual case onto which all of this fits is of your basic plastic variety that offers just enough bend to go on and come off fairly easily. The interior is lined with a soft material to prevent scratches to the back of your iPhone, and all buttons and ports are easily accessible when the case is in place.

iKit NuCharge

The back of the case features the locking mechanism to hold the battery or cover in place. Getting them on was no problem; simply push them down and slide them into place. However, I found it quite difficult to remove the cover. The battery was no problem, either because the latches weren’t as tight or because there was more to push. But considering the NuCharge is designed to have the battery swapped out frequently, it needs to be extremely easy to get everything on and off. Hopefully, the difficulty was just a problem with my early test unit.

Those troubles aside, the NuCharge should be a great solution for those who frequently need additional power for their iPhone 5 but don’t want to sacrifice fashion and functionality to get it. Check out iKit’s Kickstarter campaign before it ends on the 28th to see if you’re interested, as you can pick up the NuCharge for $20 less than its retail price and take advantage of some pledge incentives that won’t be available when the campaign’s over.

Product [iKit NuCharge iPhone 5 Battery Pack and Case]

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