First look: Apple's lightweight 3.6oz Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2015
Coming as a surprising hardware launch on Tuesday, the new Apple Smart Battery Case is a compelling new option for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s users looking to get more uptime out of their handset. AppleInsider offers a closer look at the new $99 accessory.




Right out of the box, the lightweight design of the Smart Battery Case makes an impression. We weighed the unit and found it's just 3.6 ounces, compared to 4.55 ounces for the iPhone 6, or 5.04 ounces for the iPhone 6s.

When held in the hand, the Smart Battery Case feels more like a protective case with an odd protrusion on the back. It's really unlike any other battery case on the market, the vast majority of which appear bulky and cumbersome.



The case itself is made of the same rubberized material Apple uses on its other protective cases for iPhone. We're thankful for that -- it's easy to grip with both your hands and on flat surfaces.

The inside of the battery case on our white model is a soft grey felt, and Apple has chosen to brand this area with the serial number and FCC stamp in order to maintain an exceptionally clean aesthetic on the outside.




Why does a battery case need an FCC logo? Because Apple cleverly included an integrated antenna to help ensure the case does not affect reception.

Wedged between the felt coating and the housing for the cavity holding the extended battery is a tiny LED that will illuminate through the felt lining when you're charging the case face up and without the iPhone inserted. Solid green indicates a full charge, while solid orange means it's charging.

As for the bulge on the back, we gave the Smart Battery Case an unofficial rear-jeans-pocket test, and found that the handset with accessory can still be concealed without issue.




When the two are paired together, the case adds about 1.5 centimeters to the overall length of the iPhone. Most of that -- about 1.25 centimeters -- is at the bottom to accommodate the integrated Lightning plug for recharging. Therefore, if you're someone who typically uses your iPhone 6 one-handed, you may find yourself stretching just a bit further to hit some strike zones and keys on the screen, as the added length and depth of the battery pack will slightly alter the way the iPhone rests in your hand.

The case itself feels robust and is not very pliable. The only truly flexible portion is the top 2.5 centimeters near the camera lens recess, where users must bend it back to insert the phone.

Inserting your iPhone is easy enough -- simply fold the top back, then push the handset down into the case. It can accommodate both the iPhone 6 and the slightly thicker iPhone 6s. Once it's pushed into place, just pull the top back so it covers the handset completely.




In our tests, the iPhone 6s fit snugly, so much so that you may not want to take the effort to separate the two units. Getting the phone out does require a little bit of effort -- peeling back the top of the case near the earpiece, holding it in place, then squeezing the iPhone to yank it out.

AppleInsider will have more on Apple's new Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, including our full review, in the coming days.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quite a clever little accessory. 
    brianprince1Prof_Peabodypmzigorsky
  • Reply 2 of 88
    I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth. Apart from adding bulk and looking far from Apple's usual high-standards, it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate. I'd sacrifice having a thinner iPhone for 50% increase in battery - and even that wouldn't last me a full day at least a couple of times per week
    allmypeoplejohnnyrocketbraderunner
  • Reply 3 of 88
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    berenz said:
    I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth. Apart from adding bulk and looking far from Apple's usual high-standards, it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate. I'd sacrifice having a thinner iPhone for 50% increase in battery - and even that wouldn't last me a full day at least a couple of times per week

    Nope its not. The battery lasts all day if you aren't some wanker who has to be on it all the damn time. Apple didn't design the iPhone to be practically attached to your face and most folks don't treat it like that. 

    If anything this is designed for those folks that can't put their phone away and want to cry and whine about how their phone only lasts 8 hours. Why shouldn't Apple make a bit more money off them. 
    tallest skilsog35badmonknolamacguybrianprince1idreyIanMC2Prof_Peabodyboredumbpmz
  • Reply 4 of 88
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    I would much prefer an extra millimetre or 2 of thickness on the actual phone than have to add a battery case. I don't find I run low on battery very often so this won't affect me, but it doesn't seem very "sleek" and "Apple-like". Just my 2 cents
    braderunnerjbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 88
    berenz said:
    it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate.
    Come off it.
    sambiraigorsky
  • Reply 6 of 88
    Nilay Payel thinks Apple may have designed around Mophie's patents.

    https://t.co/jGWh0bQsCD
    bdkennedy1002
  • Reply 7 of 88
    berenz said:
    I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth. Apart from adding bulk and looking far from Apple's usual high-standards, it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate. I'd sacrifice having a thinner iPhone for 50% increase in battery - and even that wouldn't last me a full day at least a couple of times per week

    Nope its not. The battery lasts all day if you aren't some wanker who has to be on it all the damn time. Apple didn't design the iPhone to be practically attached to your face and most folks don't treat it like that. 

    If anything this is designed for those folks that can't put their phone away and want to cry and whine about how their phone only lasts 8 hours. Why shouldn't Apple make a bit more money off them. 
    Apple gets knocked for creating this culture where everybody's got their face stuck looking at a phone all the time yet at the same time people bitch about battery life. Perhaps if people didn't spend 24/7 on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. their phone would get decent battery life.
    jfc1138mike1alexkhan2000dasanman69Prof_Peabodymr oigorskyphils
  • Reply 8 of 88
    This is probably the ugliest accessory Apple has ever designed. Glad I have a 6 Plus, no problems with battery life.
    calibraderunnerlatifbp1983trumptmanphils
  • Reply 9 of 88
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    berenz said:
    I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth. Apart from adding bulk and looking far from Apple's usual high-standards, it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate. I'd sacrifice having a thinner iPhone for 50% increase in battery - and even that wouldn't last me a full day at least a couple of times per week
    Nope, just APPLE acknowledging that there are some fraction of users who might benefit from this accessory. Rather than burden 100% of their customers with something so easily solved for the few.

    Though I think I'd still be more likely to choose one of the multiple charge carrying small battery packs for a simple external boost. Not that I've ever found that necessary with my 6/6s Plus.
    igorsky
  • Reply 10 of 88
    timbit said:
    I would much prefer an extra millimetre or 2 of thickness on the actual phone than have to add a battery case. I don't find I run low on battery very often so this won't affect me, but it doesn't seem very "sleek" and "Apple-like". Just my 2 cents
    There are no sleek battery cases. Mophie cases add quite a bit of thickness. If that's what people want perhaps they should go buy a Droid Maxx instead of an iPhone.
    igorsky
  • Reply 11 of 88
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    berenz said:
    I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth. Apart from adding bulk and looking far from Apple's usual high-standards, it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate. I'd sacrifice having a thinner iPhone for 50% increase in battery - and even that wouldn't last me a full day at least a couple of times per week

    Nope its not. The battery lasts all day if you aren't some wanker who has to be on it all the damn time. Apple didn't design the iPhone to be practically attached to your face and most folks don't treat it like that. 

    If anything this is designed for those folks that can't put their phone away and want to cry and whine about how their phone only lasts 8 hours. Why shouldn't Apple make a bit more money off them. 
    Apple gets knocked for creating this culture where everybody's got their face stuck looking at a phone all the time yet at the same time people bitch about battery life. Perhaps if people didn't spend 24/7 on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. their phone would get decent battery life.
    Indeed: when I see those posts I admit to being a little guilty that I have a job that, while preventing me from spending 10+ hours glued to my iPhone, does mean I have an income.....
  • Reply 12 of 88
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    berenz said:
    I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth. Apart from adding bulk and looking far from Apple's usual high-standards, it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate. I'd sacrifice having a thinner iPhone for 50% increase in battery - and even that wouldn't last me a full day at least a couple of times per week

    Nope its not. The battery lasts all day if you aren't some wanker who has to be on it all the damn time. Apple didn't design the iPhone to be practically attached to your face and most folks don't treat it like that. 

    If anything this is designed for those folks that can't put their phone away and want to cry and whine about how their phone only lasts 8 hours. Why shouldn't Apple make a bit more money off them. 
    Apple gets knocked for creating this culture where everybody's got their face stuck looking at a phone all the time yet at the same time people bitch about battery life. Perhaps if people didn't spend 24/7 on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. their phone would get decent battery life.
    The 6 and 6S have battery lives that are at the top range for phones with screens of that size. The 6+ and 6S+ have much better battery life, as do other phones with the larger screens. There's no point in complaining here. People, as a class, do seem to want thinner devices. And we're seeing fewer devices, particularly on the high end, from any manufacturer, with replaceable batteries. It seems that, despite the complaints from the geeks in tech sites, few people actually buy replaceable batteries.

    No matter what the battery life is, some people are always going to complain that they want more. There are two things that those peop,e can try.

    One is to contact the manufacturer and tell them that. If enough people do, maybe they'll listen.

    Two is to stop buying that manufacturers product. That will tell them something as well.
    rogifan_oldjax44
  • Reply 13 of 88
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    This is probably the ugliest accessory Apple has ever designed. Glad I have a 6 Plus, no problems with battery life.
    funny, I have a regular 6 and also don't have problems with battery life. 
    mike1
  • Reply 14 of 88
    berenz said:
    it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate.
    Come off it.

    You're right. It's surely a statement that the battery life is so great that Apple just wants it to be greater.

    It has nothing to do with people buying battery packs in increasing numbers. Or that battery chargers consistently rank in the best seller phone accessory sections on Amazon.

    Apple clearly wants to make just a few of these for the so few people who want them.



  • Reply 15 of 88
    Fanboys even get their feelings hurt by overpriced accessories that don't make a ton of sense. If that is considered sleek than having an overstuffed wallet in your pocket with monopoly money may be just as attractive as this.
  • Reply 16 of 88
    sog35 said:
    berenz said:
    it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate.
    Come off it.

    You're right. It's surely a statement that the battery life is so great that Apple just wants it to be greater.

    It has nothing to do with people buying battery packs in increasing numbers. Or that battery chargers consistently rank in the best seller phone accessory sections on Amazon.

    Apple clearly wants to make just a few of these for the so few people who want them.



    Tell me another sub 5 inch phone that has significantly better battery life than the iPhone6?

    Its simple physics. Smaller phones have smaller batteries.

    Just because a car company gives you the option of Sport tires does not mean the stock tires are not good enough. The world is about choice.  Apple is just adding another choice for iPhone users.
    There isn't. I'm being sarcastic only because every time someone makes a legitimate comment about the iPhone battery- they get attacked. Which is a bit sad, really.

    My iPhone is incredible but the battery isn't good enough. 

    It's my ONE complaint. One. Complaint. As in, NO other complaints. 

    I'm surrounded by non-techy iPhone owners. They all have the same complaint: battery life.

    Now, I could attack anyone who says this OR I could help push a great company to address it. As a shareholder, I'll take the latter, thanks.

    edited December 2015
  • Reply 17 of 88
    Fanboys even get their feelings hurt by overpriced accessories that don't make a ton of sense. If that is considered sleek than having an overstuffed wallet in your pocket with monopoly money may be just as attractive as this.
    Who said it was sleek?
  • Reply 18 of 88
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,799member
    Interesting what they've done with the speaker.  If downward facing is right for the unsheathed phone, why is forward-facing better for an encased phone?
  • Reply 19 of 88
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    berenz said:
    it's surely an admission that the battery on the 6 and 6S are still woefully inadequate.
    Come off it.

    You're right. It's surely a statement that the battery life is so great that Apple just wants it to be greater.

    It has nothing to do with people buying battery packs in increasing numbers. Or that battery chargers consistently rank in the best seller phone accessory sections on Amazon.

    Apple clearly wants to make just a few of these for the so few people who want them.



    The 6-6S have a battery life of about 8 hours, which is on the high end for phones of this size. There's nothing wrong with the battery life in comparison to competitive products. That doesn't mean that some people won't have a need for more, such as going away for a weekend without wanting to charge their phone during that time.

    And there will always be a few people who use their phone so heavily, that nothing short of several days of battery life will appease them.

    i remember when my Samsung i300 color Palm phone got 2.5 hours of battery life with the "standard" battery. That was bad, yet not that much worse than any other color smartphone of the day, that they included an extra life battery along with the phone. The charging stand would take an extra life battery in the front slot, and the standard one in the rear slot. The extra life battery lasted 4 hours, and that was considered to be pretty good.

    Somehow, we managed. 8 hours is not bad at all. But this case gives up to 25 hours, which is much more than any other phone actually is capable of.
  • Reply 20 of 88
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Fanboys even get their feelings hurt by overpriced accessories that don't make a ton of sense. If that is considered sleek than having an overstuffed wallet in your pocket with monopoly money may be just as attractive as this.
    From the side and rear, it certainly isn't attractive, and very un-Apple-like. I suppose they were going for the most battery life (up to 25) hours, rather than any design awards for look and feel. If you want an external battery case that looks better, you can buy a third party one that has less battery life.

    Life is a compromise, I suppose. People whine for more battery life, and say they don't care about the thickness, or feel, or even looks, and then, when Apple comes out with something that gives them that, yup, they complain about the thickness, the feel and the look.

    Why am I not surprised?
    edited December 2015 rogifan_oldnolamacguy
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