Phonesuit Elite Battery + Case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S
US$79.95 + shipping
PhoneSuit’s $80 Elite Battery + Case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in many ways emulates the Mophie Juice Pack Plus. And thatâ€™s not a bad thing, because the Juice Pack Plus is excellent. The Elite isnâ€™t quite as good, but itâ€™s close.
The Elite packs 2100mAh (milliamp hours) of power, which slightly improves upon the Juice Pack Plusâ€™s 2000mAh. PhoneSuit says the Elite should double your iPhone 4â€™s battery life, which seems reasonable.
The case consists of two parts. Your iPhone slides into the main black shell that houses the battery itself; a tiny plastic top caps it off. (The Elite ships with two such tops, in case you lose one.)
The case itself is black and rubbery, and it leaves cutouts for the phone’s Ring/Silent switch and volume buttons, Sleep/Wake button and headphone port and microphone. I personally prefer the Juice Pack Plusâ€™s approach, which adds its own buttons atop the iPhoneâ€™s â€“ itâ€™s not difficult to press the iPhoneâ€™s buttons through the Elite’s small holes, but it requires more effort than pressing those buttons on a naked iPhone. The case is available in white or black and ships with a microfibre cloth and two adhesive-film screen protectors.
The bottom edge of the Elite hosts a Micro-USB port. PhoneSuit includes a Micro-USB to USB cable; if you connect your Elite-clad iPhone to your Mac using this cable, you can sync the phone with iTunes as if youâ€™d connected the phone directly. While connected to power â€“ via a computer’s USB port or a USB charger â€“ five blinking blue LEDs on the rear of the case indicate charging status. When youâ€™re using the case, you can push and hold on a button next to those lights to see the current charge level.
As all good battery cases should, the Elite includes a power button, which lets you control exactly when the battery is and is not juicing your phone. The tiny switch sits on the bottom of the case, and sports a red dot when itâ€™s in the off position.
The Eliteâ€™s design gives it some sharp edges at the seams â€“ the Juice Pack Plus feels smooth all around, whereas the Elite feels a little less right in my hand. That said, it provides plenty of backup power, and it costs $20 less than the Juice Pack Plus to boot. If you donâ€™t mind a couple inferiorities in the caseâ€™s design, itâ€™s a solid alternative.