Review: The Apple Smart Battery Case

Is Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the new iPhones worth $129?

The iPhone XS Smart Case Review for Hands On Tech

Do you suffer from FOROOB (Fear of Running Out of Battery)? You don’t have to.

Apple’s smart battery case for the iPhone XS features excellent protection for your iPhone while extending the battery life. It’s compatible with Qi chargers so you can set it down on a wireless charger and charge the phone and the case at the same time.

It comes in white and black with sizes for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. It costs $129.

cure battery anxiety disorder fast

I’ve had this case for around three months, and my initial thoughts are that it works as advertised, keeping my phone charged to the point where I no longer need to think about getting through the day, no matter how much I’m using my phone. I’ve invented a condition called Battery Anxiety Disorder or BAD, and I’ve diagnosed myself with it. And this case is the only medication I need.

The case isn’t what anyone would call pretty, but I’m of the “function over form” camp on this one. It’s surprisingly light for such a big battery, and I like the way the soft-touch silicone feels in my hand. Although when I want to keep my phone in my pocket, I usually slip it into a slimmer case. Some have called the way the battery protrudes in the back a “hump,” but I’m more partial to the term “muffin top.” And the good news is that although it’s still ugly, it’s not as ugly as the previous design as it extends all the way down to the edge of the phone.

According to Apple’s website, the case will boost the talk time of your iPhone XS up to 37 hours, internet use up to 20 hours, and video playback for up to 25 hours. Apple says they tested the talk time using a Voice over LTE network, Internet over LTE and Wi-Fi networks using a dedicated web server, and by browsing snapshot versions of 20 popular web pages and receiving mail once an hour. They tested the video playback with a movie purchased from the iTunes Store. I hope it was a good one if somebody had to watch it for 25 hours straight.

smart ios integration

The key feature of Apple’s smart battery case is the way it integrates with the phone to maximize charging. iOS uses the battery from the case first and then switches to the iPhone battery. In other words, it IS really smart. You can charge the case by itself or with the phone in the case. There is no power button on the case, and I would argue that you don’t really need one.

iOS Battery Widget
Battery Widget on the iPhone XS Screen

When charging, the phone is charged first, followed by the case. Turn on your battery widget and you can swipe to see the power level of the case AND the phone.

The phone features appropriately sized holes for all of the buttons, the camera hole, the speakers, and a hole for the lightning cable.

I have found that the case works exactly as described. It’s not super easy to get off and on and once the case didn’t fully connect to my phone and I didn’t notice it until I’d used my phone all day and saw that the case was nearly at full charge and my phone was only at 20%. The phone will tell you when it’s connected, but there’s really no way for it to notify you if it’s not connected, so it’s a good idea to check that if you’re taking the case off and on a lot. I’ve heard that the white version of the case picks up dirt quickly. I have the black case, and I haven’t had any trouble with that.

if you’re already in the market for a case

$129 might seem like a lot for a case, but many good cases with this kind of protection will cost you nearly this much. And if you factor in how much you pay for portable battery backs that can be easily lost or “borrowed” from family members, its a pretty good deal. This much battery life on a phone that already has a pretty decent battery can seem like overkill, but I’m the kind of person who loves overkill. It means I no longer have to consider the battery life on my phone and I can focus on other things, like why I am I using my phone so much anyway?

If you’re looking for a phone case and back-up power, I highly recommend the Apple Smart Battery case. If you have a case and you’ve already invested in backup phone power options that work for you, I would say you could wait for the next version of the case.

Got questions about the battery case? I’m always open to answering anything I can answer and finding answers to the questions I can’t answer myself. Leave your questions in the comments below.

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