I’m going to state straight off that what I like best about the Spyder PowerShadow i5d battery case is the charging dock, as that’s what separates it from the competition and makes it a 24 hour case.
Battery charging cases have slimmed down as of late, but they’re often still too bulky to work with your third party docks, and have to be removed. As such, I’ve never used them for more than just emergency situations when I knew I’d need an extended charge—when traveling or covering expos, for example. For normal use, I dock my iPhone every night to use it as my alarm clock and to make sure it’s fully charged in the morning. With the included charge/sync dock, my iPhone 5 could stay inside the PowerShadow.
Of course, you may not have this problem; any battery case can be charged with a power cable. If you’re cool with that, what else does the PowerShadow i5d offer? To start, it has a slim, soft-touch polycarbonate construction that provides a smooth, balanced grip. The iPhones 5 and 5s are often more comfortable to hold when inside a rounded case, and that certainly applies here. The basic black design isn’t going to turn any heads, but if you’re seeking a battery case, chances are fashion is not your priority.
The added bulk at the bottom of the case means you’re not going to get easy access to your headphone jack. Spyder includes an audio port extender adapter to address this issue, but it’s not the most elegant of solutions, mainly because it’s easy to forget and/or lose. I’d prefer to see a pass-through built into the case itself. Aside from this, however, the i5d offers easy access to your iPhone’s buttons and switches, either through amply sized openings or exterior covers.
The 2,100 mAh comes close to doubling the charge of your standard iPhone battery. It’s a solid performer in that regard, but I found it takes a little longer to charge your phone and to reload its own charge compared to some other battery cases I’ve used.
Back to the charging dock, the PowerShadow i5d includes another feature that many battery cases for Apple’s Lightning devices seem to have dropped; you can sync with your computer while the phone is in the case. Using the included USB mini cable attached to the dock and your computer, simply rest your phone in it and you can sync up without having to take the phone out of the case to use your standard Lightning cable. Perhaps this is why Spyder sells the charge/sync dock separately for $29.99. Use one by your bed and for travel, and another on your desk or wherever else you may need it.
It’s the combination of the dock and the case, then, that allows me to heartily recommend the PowerShadow i5d. If you don’t need such funtionality, there are less expensive, more attractive options available. But if you hate having to take your phone out of its case in order to dock it, the PowerShadow i5d is the most convenient option I’ve tried yet.
Provides: Scuff/scratch and minor drop protection, built-in battery back up
Developer: Spyder Digital Research
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 5/5s