I’m always up for reconsidering the “best accessory” in a given category when something new arrives, and after every year’s CES, the “best iPhone battery case” tends to change thanks to new arrivals. But even though many new options were shown at CES this month, none impressed us enough to take the crown away from Incipio’s $80 offGRID Express (review).
uNu’s new DX-6 ($80 MSRP, street price $70) is the latest to arrive for testing, and despite the company’s strength with multi-device USB battery packs, its iPhone 6 battery case doesn’t stand out in any way except pricing. The pitch is simple: if you want an inexpensive, Apple-certified 3000mAh battery case, DX-6 is your option. But you’ll give up some frills to get it …
From the front, DX-6 looks much like other iPhone 6 battery cases I’ve tested, though it notably detaches into two pieces with a nice top cap rather than a wraparound bumper. There are black, white, or red versions, and the black version I received for testing uses the same soft-touch rubber coating most other companies have chosen, albeit here with no second material as an accent.
Rather than covering the iPhone’s buttons like offGRID Express, uNu leaves holes in the left and right sides for the buttons and ringer switch, and the holes aren’t particularly soft–something you’ll notice when hitting the sleep/wake button. But they do feel sturdy enough not to snap during normal use, which can be a challenge when molding holes to fit ever-shrinking devices. DX-6 is also a few millimeters shorter than offGRID Express–a difference that’s obvious when the cases are next to one another, though not in isolation.
The key way DX-6 manages to keep from feeling entirely like a budget battery case is through a decent assortment of pack-ins. uNu includes not only the expected case and micro-USB recharging cable, but also a headphone port extender – seen in some but not all iPhone 6 battery cases – plus two screen protectors and a cleaning cloth. While the screen film suffers from the same issue as others we’ve seen for the new iPhone, stopping well short of the edges of the screen, at least it’s included. The cleaning cloth is basically a single-use disposable piece of paper and not particularly nice.
From a performance standpoint, DX-6 is in the same general performance category as offGRID Express and Tylt’s Energi Sliding Power Case for iPhone 6 (review). uNu pitches DX-6’s 3000mAh cell as delivering “125% more power” for the iPhone 6, which if accurate would have been 4-5% higher than the other 3000mAh battery cases I’ve tested. But DX-6 actually fell a little short of both that claim and its rivals, delivering a full recharge plus an additional 16%, or 116% total.
It also has one of the most basic power indicators I’ve seen–a single light that switches from green to blue to red–though it does have an (off-center) bottom micro-USB port for recharging, which may be compatible with some micro-USB recharging docks. The rear power switch is deliberately designed to activate only after two seconds of being held down, a safeguard against accidental presses.
If you look at DX-6 as a budget-priced, Apple-certified battery case with 3000mAh of power, it’s worth considering. There’s no question that it doesn’t feel ultra-premium or deliver amazing performance by comparison with rivals, but the street price is more aggressive, and the basic performance as a battery case is there. You can decide whether to pay a bit less than the offGRID Express and skip the frills, or pay more for something with full button protection and slightly better battery performance. Regardless of the battery case you select, it’s great to have a variety of options to choose from.