iPhone 4S Battery Case Showdown: 6 Cases Battle For Power
The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are incredibly popular phones, but one of the biggest complaints for both devices is the lack of a removable battery and poor battery life.
While there are tricks you can use to fix bad iPhone 4S battery life, sometimes there’s nothing better than a bigger battery.
If you find your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S is running dead at 2:30 in the afternoon, don’t look for a 5 hour energy, but instead strap an iPhone battery case on the back to give you enough power to make it through the day, perhaps even a second day.
From thin batteries that add 1250 mAh of power to heavy duty batteries that pack a 3000 mAh punch, batteries that double as security tool or a game controller, and even a case with a battery capable of charging other phones and gadgets, we have an iPhone battery case for everyone.
Even if you only use your iPhone 4S battery case when you travel or plan on playing a lot of games, with prices between $59 and $99, you can add one to your bag without breaking the bank.
To test the charging capabilities we charged the iPhone 4S and the case to 100% and then used the phone and case until both were completely drained. Your time will vary depending on how you use the iPhone, but these numbers should help you get a better idea about which iPhone 4S battery case will meet your needs.
If you don’t want to leave your iPhone in the case all the time, you can also use the case when your battery gets low, and the cases will charge up your phone between 50% and 70%, depending on how you use your iPhone.
iPhone 4S Battery Case Showdown
iPhone 4S Battery Cases
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Stylishly extends your battery and adds a splash of color if you want it.
The most popular name in battery cases isn’t necessarily the best. The Mophie Juice Pack Air added the least amount of time at a total drain time of only 42 hours from the 1500 mAh battery. My iPhone typically lasts about 24-30 hours without a battery case. The Mophie added less than a full day.
What the Mophie lacks in power it gains in style and function. Slide the phone into the case and then put the top part of the case over the top part of the phone. The phone fits welland is easy to remove if you need to do so for docking purposes. Make sure you purchase the latest version, which has a new cutout for the iPhone 4S volume switch.
The case doesn’t add too much weight or thickness, compared with the others. The button on the bottom of the case gives you LED feedback for battery strength.
You will notice in the pictures above a ding in the lower right corner. That means the case did its job and protected the iPhone when my son dropped his from about 5 feet on pavement.
The Mophie Juice Pack Air is available for $68 and comes in black, red and white. Mophie also sells a higher capacity case for $99.95 and a rugged case for $119.95.
I recommend this case for those who want a nice case that adds enough power to get you through a busy day of heavy usage. Being the least expensive helps, but it still isn’t my favorite iPhone 4S battery case.
Offers long battery life with the same attractive style and no parts to lose.
The MiLi Power Spring comes with a higher capacity 2000 mAh battery than the Mophie Juice Pack Air and it shows lasting 48 hours. It has a similar feel, although it is slightly heavier and thicker than the Mophie case.
Instead of coming in two parts, you bend the top part of the case back to slide the phone in and out. The LED readout to gauge battery life comes on the side in blue lights instead of the bottom.
The case is cheaper than the Mophie and offers longer battery life. You can pick from the two-tone black and silver (seen above) or white and silver case. MiLi released a slightly newer model with no perceivable differences.
I like the MiLi Power Spring slightly more than the Mophie case because the battery lasted the longest and the case has only one piece instead of two. I’m not going to lose a piece when it isn’t on my phone unless I lose the whole case thing.
$58 @ Amazon
Power is the key with long battery life in this chunky stand case.
For those most concerned with long life, the MiLi Power Pack and its long-lasting 3000 mAh battery, fits the bill. That huge battery has a price in both dollars and girth. This thing feels like a brick in your pocket and your hand. The Power Pack is the thickest of the cases.
The case doesn’t cover the top part of the phone, so at least the case isn’t as big as it would be if it followed the same design pattern as the first two.
The Power Pack also adds a flip out metal stand so you can set your phone up on a plane or desk for viewing movies or picture slide shows. You can stand it up in both portrait and landscape mode.
Even though the Power Pack 4 lasted a whopping 56 hours I don’t recommend this case unless you absolutely need case that will power your iPhone for two and a half days.
$69.99 @ Amazon
Adds hours of fun to your iPhone and iPod Touch gaming life while also adding lots of bulk.
If you’re a gamer, this is the case for you. Everyone else should stick with one of the other iPhone 4S battery cases.
The PowerSkin Gaming case fits the iPhone 4 and 4S rather well. The 3GS and iPod Touch don’t work as well. You can use it with those devices, but you won’t be happy.
This 2o50 mAh battery adds plenty of gaming power lasting just an hour less than the MiLi Power Spring at 47 hours. I have to admit I used my phone for gaming more with this case than the others which might account for the difference despite having the same rated mAh capacity as the Power Spring.
Unfortunately, the case also extends the length of your phone making it about the same length as a game controller for a gaming console. It’s more comfortable to frag zombies with this case but it doesn’t fit your pocket as well.
As you can see in the image above, the mute button gets hidden slightly by the case, although I could toggle the switch without much difficulty.
Fitting the iPhone into the case gets a bit tricky. The docking connector swivels out just a few degrees so you can slide your iPhone onto the connector and then push it down into the case. They designed the case for the iPhone 4 and 4S but you can use it with older iPhones and the iPod Touch if you don’t mind it being loose in the case.
The PowerSkin has a built in speaker that increases the volume slightly, but sound poor compared to the iPhone’s speakers.
The back of the case has a textured grip to make holding the case easier.
The PowerSkin has a force feedback button that when turned on will vibrate the case. It vibrates when it senses louder sounds. You also get a power button that turns off the speakers and battery. Two volume buttons on either corner of the case increase or decrease the level.
If you are a gamer, you will love this case. It adds juice and comfort to your iPhone along with some force feedback vibration. If you aren’t a gamer, you will hate this case. It’s huge and makes slipping the phone in and out of your pocket a pain. If I was a gamer, I’d use the case only while playing games because of this bulk and I would use headphones because of the poor speaker quality.
$99.99 @ PowerSkin
Great fitting battery case that adds security to the mix.
The Kensington BungeeAir Power is an awesome battery case for the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4 that will sound an alert on the included keychain dongle if you leave your iPhone on a desk or in a cab, so you can go back and get it. The case will even sound an alert if it is removed without disarming the iPhone app. If you lose your keys, you can also use your iPhone to find them, by sounding the alarm on the keyfob.
I really like the look and feel of this case, even though it only has a 1500 mAh battery. This has proven more than enough to get through a day of very heavy usage. The battery and iPhone charge lasted 22 and a half hours during our test, and has lasted longer during average use.
The iPhone 4S normally lasts 12-15 hours during Josh’s average use.
$59 @ Amazon
Slim case with add on batteries and the ability to charge your other gear.
The Third Rail Slim Battery Case is a new take on iPhone 4S battery cases. Instead of adding a bulky battery case that always adds the bulk, this case has a removable battery that can even be stacked for extra juice.
When you don’t need the battery you just pop it off, and it can even charge other gadgets like a friend’s Android phone or a Bluetooth headset over Micro USB.
Because the battery pops on and off it isn’t as streamlined and curved as the competition, but it excels in other areas. For example, even when the battery is off you still have a slim case that protects your iPhone from damage.
This case lasted 27 hours under heavy usage, with a 1250mAh battery, which I easily removed when it was done charging my iPhone 4S, leaving it protected in a slim case.
$74 @ Amazon
While all of these iPhone battery cases will help your iPhone last longer there are three cases that stand out as better than the rest. The case with the most power isn’t always the best. We took into account battery life, usefulness, style and build quality before picking our winners.
The overall winner is the Kensington BungeeAir Power, which offers a great feel, good battery life and the bonus of security features. After going hands on with many cases, the BungeeAir Power is our favorite.
The Third Rail iPhone battery case takes home second place thanks to the design which allows you tot remove your battery when it isn’t needed and the ability to charge other gadgets with the smart battery. Add on the ability to buy extra batteries and the always on slim case are a nice touch as well.
The Mili Power Spring takes third place thanks to the great battery life and one piece case design that prevents you from accidentally losing the top of your case when switching between a bulky battery case and a slim case.
Which case is your favorite?
Additional reporting and testing performed by Josh Smith