I’ll be the first to admit that my initial knee-jerk reaction to the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case wasn’t good. The peripheral, which was basically the butt of jokes all morning on Twitter, seemingly came out of nowhere to the feigned horror of many.
You’d be hard-pressed to identify another company whose products are subject to such intense scrutiny like Apple. Even when you have a low key release like the Smart Battery Case, it’s bound to make a splashy first impression for better or for worse.
The good news is that the $99 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case isn’t half as bad as it looks. In fact, after a few hours of usage, I can say that I kind of like it.
Is the design peculiar? Indeed. Is it weird that Apple is jumping into the battery case game? Sort of. But overall, this is a product that I think many will like if they only give it a chance.
Unlike some of the existing offerings in this space, the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case does a lot of things right, despite its polarizing design. This is readily apparent upon unboxing.
The Smart Battery Case is made out of silicone, which lends it a premium feel that’s malleable enough to sort of melt in your hand. The protruding portion of the case that houses the battery is a little awkward looking, but it actually feels good in the hand, not unnatural in the least. It does make your iPhone bigger and heavier, but it’s done so with a keen balance that still feels very Apple-like.
Also, thanks to the silicone build, the Smart Battery Case fits around the iPhone 6s like a glove and doesn’t require multiple parts that snap together. This means that inserting and removing the iPhone 6s isn’t some elaborate chore, but it’s simple exercise involving bending the top portion of the case back, and sliding the iPhone into place. Removing it involves the same exercise, except in reverse.
The Smart Battery Case features a design that will protect your iPhone 6s from drops, from shock, and everyday usage. The edge of the device features a lip that goes all around the device, so your iPhone’s screen will be protected if resting face down.
I opted for the white version of the case since I have a rose gold iPhone 6s. It looks great, but it attracts lint like nobody’s business, so you’ll need to spend some time cleaning it on a regular basis. The Smart Battery Case is also available in Charcoal Grey, which doesn’t look nearly as cool if you ask me.
The iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case doesn’t have one singular knock-your-socks-off feature that places it above all of the other offerings in its class, but enough attention to detail was paid to several smaller areas so that it collectively outshines the competition.
Take the Lightning connector, for instance. Most battery cases that I’ve tried insist on making you charge with a separate Micro USB cable. Not only is Micro USB horrible to use when compared to Lightning’s reversible connector, but it means that you’re forced to carry around an additional cable.
With the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case, you can use the same Lightning cable that comes with your iPhone to charge. The case, when fully charged, can almost fully recharge a drained iPhone 6s; it’s basically like doubling your iPhone’s battery life.
Another benefit of using this case is that both it and the iPhone can be charged simultaneously without removing the iPhone 6s. in fact, your iPhone never has to come out of the Smart Battery Case unless you just want to remove it. It even plays nice with Apple’s official Lightning dock, and works well with some third-party docks as well.
Attention to detail
All of the necessary port openings and buttons were considered here, which means that Lightning cables and Apple’s official EarPods fit perfectly. Some of your favorite third-party headphones with larger footprints will require a headphone jack extension in order to work with the Smart Battery Case.
The speaker output and microphone input are managed in such a way that sound is routed through the front lip of the case. Volume buttons, the Sleep button, and the Mute switch are all easily accessible, and both cameras are unhindered by the silicone wrapping.
Inside of the case, you’ll find a soft microfiber surface that helps protect your iPhone and assist with scratch protection. It’s there where you’ll notice a small LED light, which serves as a charging indicator when charging the case without an iPhone inside.
Another thing that separates the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case from the competition is its iOS integration. Instead of having to rely on ambiguous LED lights on the actual case, users can simply swipe down from the top of the screen to invoke Notification Center and use the handy battery widget.
The battery widget shows the current battery level of both the iPhone and the Smart Battery Case. Apple has even designed a special Smart Battery Case icon that makes the experience feel all the more polished.
When you place your iPhone into the case, or when you plug in or unplug the Lightning cable used to charge the pair of devices, you’ll spot a special charging status indicator on the Lock screen itself. Not only do you get the status of your iPhone’s current battery level, but it shows the Smart Battery Case’s level at the same time.
The iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case is an interesting new addition to Apple’s iOS accessory lineup. Despite first impressions, I have a good feeling about this case, and I think that anyone who’s not satisfied with the iPhone 6s’ battery life will enjoy this case. Yes it adds bulk, and it is expensive at $99, but it features thoughtful design and is very good at what it does.
It even works with docks, a sign of thoughtful design
Not only will it do a good job of protecting your iPhone 6s (it also works for the iPhone 6), but it’s pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it affair. There’s not a lot of micromanaging required to implement this case into your daily routine, and that’s one of the main things that separates it from the rest of the pack. In other words, it just works.