Slim, stylish…and often dead. A glut of amazing apps, FaceTime-over-cellular, and the need to be on lots of conference calls for my day job all too often leave me with a dead iPhone by about 3 pm, and I’ve met plenty of my friends for happy hour where we pick a table based on its proximity to a power outlet. Seidio’s Innocell Plus case for iPhone 5/5S provides a slim but useful battery backup to keep your iPhone going through those long days, and it does it with only one compromise.
On normal days, I’m in the office long enough to plug in and top off my battery. But for days when I’m traveling, I often don’t have the luxury to keep my phone charged fully. On more than one occasion I’ve ended up in my hotel room charging my phone to see several missed calls, emails, and texts (some things I can do on my iPad/MacBook, but they’re not as usable on the go).
The Innocell adds a negligible bump to the back of your iPhone, which I actually found quite comfortable, and also adds a full 100% more power. Its 2,000 mAh battery is capable of fully charging an iPhone to 100%, and it will turn itself off once your phone is fully charged, thereby saving power. To use it, simply press the button on the back, and power flows to your iPhone. Seidio recommends charging your iPhone when it reaches 60% for maximum efficiency, and the amount of charge it can provide will depend on what you’re doing. I found that using Maps while also on a conference call prevented my iPhone from fully charging, but the Seidio did significantly extend the time until I had to find a power outlet.
Seidio’s design matches the curve found on the iPhone 3G/3Gs, and I have to admit I actually like it more than the entirely flat design we’ve had since the iPhone 4 (at the risk of being burned as a heretic). The curve provides a more comfortable grip, and the soft touch rubber provides just enough friction without feeling too rubbery. The Innocell takes over the iPhone’s Lightning connector, so you connect the case using a Micro USB, which lets you both charge and sync your phone.The case’s power circuitry will charge your iPhone’s battery before it charges itself.
In terms of protection, the Innocell’s got coverage for all four corners, sides, and the back of the phone. All ports are covered except the mute rocker and headphone port, which is recessed into the case. The battery itself is a single component where you slot your iPhone, then a snap-on bumper goes on top to hold the phone in place. It’s easy enough to snap back off, but it does take a little effort so you should stay protected even if you drop your phone.
Sound & Clips
The headphone port is my only gripe with the Innocell, as several of my headphones utilize either a cable whose connector bends 90º or that are slightly thicker than usual. The standard Apple EarPods and my Moshi Clarus worked just fine, but my Munition Nines and the SpeakEasy cable of my V-Moda XS wouldn’t fit. An adapter dongle is included with the case, but that’s one more cable you have to remember to bring, so my advice is make sure your headphones fit before you set off.
On the sound front, Seidio’s audio channel design points the sound output directly in front of the phone, and it actually works to make the iPhone a better speakerphone. Because there’s a solid battery behind the phone, the case redirects all sound to the front, passively amplifying it so FaceTime calls were especially clear, without the speaker accidentally getting covered by a finger when trying to hold the phone.
In the world of iPhone fashion, the lowly holster clip is often derided, but it does serve a purpose. The Innocell Plus Combo features a locking bumper case with waistband/belt holster; the vanilla Innocell Plus doesn’t have the case and retails for 10 bucks less. I personally always have a messenger bag on me so I didn’t find it useful, but I know plenty of on-call personnel like data center engineers who spend all day on their feet away from a plug, and need their hands free for a variety of tasks. If you need the convenience, the belt clip is well worth the $10.
Ultimately, Seidio’s serving a market that’s highly utilitarian; folks who are so busy they exceed their iPhone’s battery life. The Innocell is anything but utilitarian, however, and provides a great balance of extra power, protection, and comfort without sacrificing slimness or usability.
Buy the Innocel Plus Combo
Provides: Backup battery and protection for iPhone 5/5s
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 5 or 5S
Price: $79.95 ($69.95 for just the Innocell Plus without the belt clip)