Battery case user, battery case user, pants on fire

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…and other adventures from the iPhone 5 energy frontier

When it comes to mobile battery life, I’ve been hurt before. For two years I owned an HTC Droid Incredible, which was a great phone but also had what I’m guessing (hoping, actually) was the worst battery life in the history of smartphones. After getting a supersized battery for it, I was often, but still not always, able to make it through the day without recharging. One of the reasons I was excited about finally getting an iPhone was anecdotal evidence of family and friends who owned iPhones and rarely if ever had to recharge their phones during the day. So I pre-ordered the iPhone 5 and made the transition from Droid rage to Apple of my ear.

Yet, apparently I’m such a power user that even the iPhone’s improved battery life is not enough to satisfy my mobile appetite. That, and having had the HTC’s battery constantly run dry, led to what I am calling Phone Trek 2012-13: The Search For More Pow’r.*

[UPDATE: see reference to this post on Mashable]

Lenmar Meridian: can’t quite put my finger on it

Our voyage begins with my new iPhone 5 in November 2012. I found multiple companies offering battery cases for it and placed my order with one on Amazon.com…then another…and another. All three had to cancel for what they stated in their cancellation emails were delays in Apple’s Made For iPhone (MFI) certification process. In April 2013 I received an email from Lenmar, which sells its Meridian cases for smartphones, that the Meridian for iPhone 5 was now available, and those of us who had ordered in the Fall had first dibs. That is, the Meridian, Henry Ford/Model T-style, was available as long as you wanted it in black. I had ordered it in white to match my phone, and Lenmar said red and white cases would be coming along soon. Finally, after some dialogue with those who run Lenmar’s Twitter page, in May 2013 an email hit my inbox that the red and white cases were available, and I snapped mine up.

iPhone 5 Meridian_red-white-black

The Meridian is a good case at a good price: the highest additional charging capacity of the battery cases I’ve found in the market, 2,300 milliampere-hour, or millamp hour (mAh),**  $89.99 at press time. Yet after about a week I found it was, literally, a pain to use. The Meridian has cutouts. All of these battery cases have some thickness to them–that’s where the added battery life, well, lives–and with the Meridian and some others, you have to “reach through” the case to use the iPhone’s own power button, sound on/off switch, and volume controls. Casually turning the screen on and off or adjusting the volume became a two-hand operation, which I didn’t like. More to the (pain) point, after jamming my fingers a number of times turning the power button on and off, I decided it was simply time to stop getting jammed up.

The Meridian came with an accessory that appears to come as standard issue with most of these cases: a headphone extension connector. That is required equipment because all of these cases add extra length at the bottom of the iPhone, such that headphones with a right-angle connector, and even some with straight connectors, cannot reach the iPhone’s headphone jack when it is inside the battery case.

Mophie Juicepack: getting a WiFi-syncing feeling

After the Meridian, I ordered the battery case widely regarded as the leader of the pack, the Mophie Juicepack Plus, $119.95 at press time. Mophie, which like Lenmar makes cases for the iPhone and other smartphones, appears to have “heard the market”: Mophie Continue reading

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