Apple Smart Battery Case: How does it compare?

Alex Kidman 9 December 2015

Apple-iPhone-6-Smart-Battery-Case-840x476Apple has launched a battery case to deal with the power woes of iPhone 6s owners. How does it compare to existing battery cases?

Apple rather quietly launched the Smart Battery Case overnight, making it available for order from its online store for $165. There’s a slight whiff of the Australia tax in that figure, as its US list price of $US99 should equate to around $150 once GST is taken into account.

The Smart Battery eschews the model favoured by many other battery cases that form a smooth back, instead opting for a very prominent "hunch" on the back of the iPhone 6s. The Smart Battery Case also omits an on/off switch, so it’s always powering a connected iPhone, although unlike most other cases, its connectivity is pure Lightning cable all the way through. Many other cases have Lightning connectors internally to plug into the iPhone 6s, but use microUSB connectivity externally for charging and data transfer.

The Smart Battery also has iOS integration built in allowing it to display battery status on both the notification and lock screens. It’s available only in Charcoal Grey or White colours.

iPhone battery life woes are nothing new, and we noted in our review of the iPhone 6s that battery life was a notably weak point. The poor battery life of the iPhone 6s means that the Smart Battery Case finds itself in a very competitive market. Leaving aside straight battery packs that could charge any smartphone, here’s how it stacks up against three other popular battery case models in capacity, weight and price terms:

iPhone 6s Battery Cases
ModelBattery CapacityWeightPrice
Apple Smart Battery Case1877mAh100g$165
Mophie Juice Pack Plus3300mAh110g$149.95
Incipio offGRID Backup Battery Case3000mAh99.7g$119.95
Lifeproof Fre Power2600mAh122g$179.99

While Apple may earn some style and integration points for the Smart Battery Case, on the surface it’s pretty clear that you’re likely to be better off with most other competing battery cases, simply because if you’re going to go to the trouble of a battery case, you may as well get a long-lasting model. The sole model that costs more than the official Apple model is the Lifeproof Fre, which has the added advantage of being a shockproof and waterproof ruggedised case.

If you're fighting battery woes more generally, our guide to improving your battery life will help you make the most of your phone's power.

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