“ Brand: Tecknet / Model: iEP280 / Type: iPhone cover that doubles as a battery pack „
I've owned my iPhone around a year now. I only have two real complaints with it. The first being how ridiculously expensive these phones are, the second is the battery life. Therefore something I saw as essential is a good cover and, ideally, a way to charge it on the move.
A couple of months ago now I found this Tecknet charging cover for the iPhone and since it seemed to solve both problems I immediately bought it.
What Is It?
Well, it's a cover that doubles as a battery strangely enough!
The iPhone slides in the front of the case and attaches to a connector on the bottom. There is a switch on the bottom where I can turn the charger on or off but more on this later.
What Does It Look Like?
It appears to be made of a rubber like material. The inside part against where the iPhone sits is green but the rest is black. On the bottom of the case is a switch where you can turn the charger on or off and a plug for the micro USB. A USB to micro USB cable was provided.
On the back there are four blue LED lights. These are not continually lit in order to save battery life. Instead there is another button you can press which will light up the LEDs allowing you to see how much power is left.
Charging The Case
The case takes around three hours to fully recharge. It is possible to charge the case and phone together which is a bonus as many other external batteries do not seem to offer this.
If you do charge both together the charging switch needs to be set to on. The iPhone battery charges first. This charges at the same speed as if you had connected it directly to your computer or plug socket. Once the iPhone is full the case then charges. This takes around 3 hours to completely recharge.
While charging the lights on the back flash. When it is empty the first light flashes all other lights are off; when 25% full the first light stays on and the second light flashes etc. I've found this extremely useful as I have tried another external battery from Tecknet where the last light is on before the battery is fully charged. Having the lights light up like this combats that problem whilst allowing me to easily see how charged up it is.
Use As A Case
I think in general this works fairly well as a case. My coat has exceptionally large pockets, whilst this is useful in the sense that I can put a lot in them it also means there's a lot of room for things to fall out. Generally, the victim of this is my phone. It had gotten to the point where the back had actually split hence my desperate need for a case.
After a couple of months use (and several hundred times dropped!) there are a couple of scratches on the case but nothing that I would worry about and nothing on my phone itself; however I should say that there is nothing to protect the very top of the phone and nothing to protect the screen so a screen protector should be used as well.
There is also nothing besides a tight fit and the connector holding the phone in place so technically it could slip out, although I have never experienced this despite taking the phone in and out of the case several times.
Use As A Charger
As a charger I feel this works very well. I think the switch on the bottom is a nice touch since I don't always need it as a charger, just a case, the added switch allows me to have this option. I've found that this charges the phone by around 1% every minute so it's not too slow. I usually turn the charger on when my phone's battery is around 10% and the case will charge it to about 99% so not a complete recharge but close enough.
For some reason this will only charge the phone until there's 5% power left in the case itself, why it doesn't drain completely I don't know but this doesn't seem to affect the use. I also like the lights on the back. Not having them alight all the time is a good idea to conserve power but pressing the button allows me to easily see how much power is left and therefore how much more it is likely to charge my phone.
Overall I'm very pleased with this. I'm only going to give it four out of five stars as I do feel there could be a little more protection for the screen and top of the phone but otherwise this is a good case and charger. Despite me often taking the phone in and out there is no real need for this so you could leave it in if you wanted to. I've also found that me sliding it in and out hasn't loosened the fit of the phone at all; it fits just as tightly now as the first day I bought it meaning it's less likely to slip out when dropped.
Being a battery as well as a case it is very chunky. It's easily a couple of centimetres wide and when you consider that the iPhone itself isn't even a centimetre it does add a considerable amount of depth to it. This doesn't bother me, it's actually reassuring as it makes the phone feel less delicate. Also if you don't need this as a case you only really need it on when charging your phone but it is something to bear in mind if you like your phone being so slim.
Besides this there are several useful design features that someone has clearly thought about well. The sides are cut away to allow easy access to the silence and volume buttons, this design has been copied on the opposite side of the case so it looks symmetrical. The top of the case also reaches about half way up over the camera lens, however a semi-circle has been cut away around this lens so that the case doesn't interfere with the camera at all and you can use this, along with all other features, without removing the phone from the case.
Finally, when charging your phone at the same time as the case this not only charges the phone but also allows you to sync the phone with your computer so again removes the need for removing your phone from the case.
Overall it's a pretty good little case providing an adequate level of protection and that extra bit of charge on the go.
Price And Availability
I have only ever seen this on Amazon and that is where I bought my one from. It cost me £19 including postage and if I ever have a need for another I would happily pay that price again so am therefore also recommending it to you.