Up for review today is an iPhone 4S battery case and charge/sync dock from Spyder. The model is the PowerShadow i4, which is priced at $89.99 and available by way of the Spyder Digital Research website. This battery case not only brings a 2000 mAh battery, but ships with a charging dock. That included dock was certainly a nice perk, but read on to see whether or not the battery and case portions measure up.
Disclaimer: The Spyder PowerShadow i4 battery case and charge/sync dock was provided to GadgeTell for the purpose of this review.
2200 mAh battery promising 8 hours of extra talk time, up to 11 hours of video playback or up to 44 hours of music playback
Recharge and sync without removing your iPhone from the i4 case
Impact-resistant polycarbonate body with satin rubber finish
4-LED battery level indicator
Certified “Made for iPhone”
Dimensions: 5.01 x 2.4 x 0.79 inches
Weight: 2.6 ounces
Being what some would consider a power-user I rarely if ever make it through even a half-a-day without my iPhone needing a charge. At this point the days of having my phone capable of staying unplugged all day seemed a thing of the past. Granted, this is my fault as I use some serious battery draining apps. I stream music, I stream video, I track my runs and I even track my daily steps. In short, my iPhone is constantly being used.
Fortunately, as someone who works at home I am often next to a power outlet. But despite that comfort, it does not help me for those times when I want to venture out and work somewhere else. That could be a local coffee shop or even on the back deck — these places often do not have power handy and a few hour work session would mean a battery drain that could bring me down to critical levels. Thankfully though, there are lots of options when it comes to iPhone 4S battery solutions.
But on that note, having lots of options available means the ones that are available really need to stand out. Enter the PowerShadow i4 battery case from Spyder. And honestly speaking, this is one that I had not heard of, or seen before. Nonetheless, this is one that has since become my favorite for a few reasons. First, the case is sporting a 2,000 mAh battery which means you have more than doubled your battery life (the iPhone 4S has a 1440 mAh battery on the inside). Taking that a step further and the PowerShadow i4 also ships with a charging dock, which means you can easily recharge your iPhone without having to pull out another cable or remove the case. And just in case you are on the go and away from the dock, Spyder ships a USB cable in the box.
Otherwise, I have to say that the soft-touch finish was rather nice. In my use (a few weeks) I can say that it appears as if it will hold up well. The one that I have been testing does not have any scratches or scuffs and only gets the odd fingerprint. The case also has an on/off button so you can choose when to use it, and when to use the internal iPhone battery. Keeping track of the charge in the PowerShadow i4 is fairly simple, on the back next to the power button are 4 LED indicator lights with full power obviously being 4 lights.
The case does add some weight to the iPhone, an extra 2.6 ounces and while the iPhone will feel super light when you remove the case — it does not feel all that heavy when it is on. Alternatively, the added size does not add any serious amount of bulk. In other words, it should still be able to slide into a front jeans pocket with relative ease. Another point worth mentioning, though I am not sure it is all that surprising — the PowerShadow i4 has openings for everything except the dock connector. You can still flip the ringer switch, adjust the volume, press the power button, use the headphone jack and even snap a picture. The case even has openings for the speakers. The one catch with this case, it does take some effort to get it off. But on that note, being difficult to get off just means a secure fit when on.
The bottom line
This is a battery case that I really like and would certainly recommend. The perks include a decent sized battery, a secure fit, the matte black soft-touch finish and perhaps most important for me — the dock. Seriously, for $90 you can get a 2000 mAh battery and a dock. For me that seals the deal and the PowerShadow i4 battery case will likely be my go to option when it comes to needing extra power.