I've reviewed hundreds of cases and turned down requests to review thousands more. But when the good folks at Prong pitched the PocketPlug case for iPhone 5 (US$69.95), I jumped on the opportunity to review it. Why? Well, I've seen cases and battery cases, but never have I seen a case that actually connects directly to a wall socket for charging your iPhone. Let's take a look, and then one TUAW reader is going to win a Prong PocketPlug in a giveaway.
If the Prong PocketPlug reminds of any other case, it's probably one of the Mophie Juice Packs. The case installs easily by pulling it apart and separating the top and bottom, and it's a little bit chunky. The front of the case has ports for the speakers and mic on the iPhone 5, and there's a port (and included audio port extender) for the headphone cord on the bottom.
The real difference -- and the innovative feature -- is on the back of the case. Folded flush to the back are two prongs (hence the name) for a plug that fits into a standard US power outlet. With a finger, you just flip up one of the two prongs and they both pop up. Plug the case into the wall, and your iPhone 5 is charging.
You can still choose to charge your iPhone 5 from a USB port or charge adapter if you'd like, as Prong includes a USB to micro-USB cable as well.
So what's so innovative about the PocketPlug? Well, for once you don't have to worry about losing a USB cable or charger. As long as you have the case on your iPhone 5 and you can find an open AC outlet, you can flip the plugs open and get a charge. The iPhone 5 also gains protection from accidental drops as well.
While the PocketPlus is a bit thicker than your iPhone 5 at 18 mm (a bare iPhone 5 is just 7.6 mm thick), it's still fairly light at 2.5 ounces (71 grams). It comes in both black and white finishes to match your favorite iPhone, and the matte finish has a good soft feel that's easy to grip.
Tired of carrying around a cable and charge adapter all the time to keep your iPhone 5 topped off? Protect and power your iPhone 5 with one case -- the Prong PocketPlug.
PocketPlus is very well-constructed
Innovative folding plug means there's always a charge adapter close at hand
Easy to install and remove
Grooved side panels provide a slip-proof grip
$69.95 price tag is a bit hard to swallow considering that for $10 more, one could purchase a Mophie Juice Pack Helium and do away with the need for an AC outlet ... at least for a while
Who is it for?
The person who always carries a charge adapter and cable around with his/her iPhone 5
Now it's your turn to get your hands on a Prong PocketPlug case for iPhone 5.
Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before September 10, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected and will receive a Prong PocketPlug case for iPhone 5 valued at $69.95