Winter’s been playing havoc with my iPhone, causing the battery to drain quicker or just outright die even when there’s a substantial charge left. And even in ideal conditions, I’m still working the battery like a rented mule with video, social media, and game playing. There’s no shortage of power solutions to keep your iPhone charged, but the Leaf case by Jackery is one of the better integrated battery cases out there.
The design may look familiar—a 2400 mAh battery attached to a Lightning adapter. The interesting part of the design is that the Leaf comes in two parts: the first is a slim, hard plastic shell that snaps onto the iPhone. The Leaf comes with two of these: one in black or white (which matches the battery) and one in orange. The shell attaches (via a keyhole slot) to the battery portion of the case, which charges the iPhone using the Lightning connector, but uses a micro-USB port to charge or connect to a computer.
The upside of this is that if you want to charge the battery while using the iPhone, you just snap the battery off and you still have a functional case for scratch protection. The battery case covers the headphone and Lightning port (obviously), but the Leaf comes with a headphone extender. Even when attached, both cases leave the volume, mute switch, and power button exposed, however they’re flush with the edge of the slim case, making them hard to operate with short fingernails or in a pocket.
The battery is switched on and off via a button the back, with an LED that indicates the charge level—solid green is fully charged, moving down to flashing green, flashing blue, and then red for dead. The battery takes about four hours to charge (assuming you’re not charging the iPhone at the same time), and the button—which is set flush to the case—requires you to push it for a few seconds before activating, which means that accidental activations/deactivations are unlikely.
The Leaf adds substantially to the weight and profile of the iPhone, but if you’re looking for a backup battery, you’re going to expect that. It gives the device a solid feel, although once detached it feels like it hardly weighs more than the iPhone itself. In practice, it takes a near-dead iPhone back to a full charge, and still has a little juice left for an emergency boost.
While I prefer the iPhone 5′s slim, understated design (I didn’t use a case for the first year I owned it), it doesn’t do me any good if the battery dies. The Leaf has become a necessity as bitter cold, travel, and extensive use have pushed the iPhone to the limits.
Buy the Jackery Leaf battery case for iPhone 5
Provides: iPhone protection, battery backup
Minimum System Requirements: iPhone 5/5s
Price: $99.95 (currently on sale for $79.95)