The best looking wraparound battery case for an iPhone 5s is friendly to earphones and a great protector, too
Thought it was just Mophie doing battery cases? This two-piece, 90g, white and black battery case for an iPhone 5/5s is relatively easy to get on and off, and has easily the most functional and attractive design of all.
The highlight has to be the wraparound bumper, a perforated black silicon strip that is both easy to grip and also acts as a shock resistant layer if the phone is dropped. That’s great thinking, and a second reason to buy such a case.
The first reason is the battery. It’s rated at 2,000mAh, which is pretty standard (even a tad small) for a case of this type and size. Inside is an Apple Lightning connector, and when the iPhone was in situ during our review, it charged up from 10% to 100% in exactly 90 minutes, which is precisely at the rate of 1% per minute. That’s exactly what we expected. After that test, only one of the four green LED lights on the rear of the battery was lit up. However, we were only able to pump a few more percent into the phone. So for the sake of argument, we’ll say that this case provides one full charge for an iPhone 5s, and no more. On the box, it says ‘extends battery up to 2x’. The key words there are ‘up to’; AKA marketing get-out speak for ‘doesn’t’.
Easy on earphones
However, we do like the Belkin Grip Power. A lot. The on/off switch on the top is a little too sturdy, but the volume rockers on the opposite side work fine. There’s a cut-out for the camera and the flash (with no glare from the flash during use, happily), and – best of all – there are two huge holes at the bottom over the speakers. These serve two very important purposes. Firstly, they give more volume to audio, and secondly, the left-hand speaker also lets you attach absolutely any kind of headphones adapter, whether it’s Apple’s rubbish EarPods, slim fit earphones or a jack with an L-shape like the wonderful Bose QC20i noise-cancelling earphones. This is a unique feature that will attract owners of headphones with the latter. However, having shoved-in an L-shaped connector, it’s quite hard to get it out again without snapping the case off.
Removing the Belkin Grip Power is a cinch. On the right-hand upper side of the case there is a small protruding plastic tab that only has to be inched towards you before the entire thing splits apart and comes away easily. There is another unique aspect about this case in that the micro-USB slot for recharging it is on the side rather than on the bottom, as with similar cases. It makes little difference to how the case works, but it’s a much sleeker look. When charging, four green LEDs light-up one at a time according to how full the battery is. As it charges-up, it first powers-up an phone, if in situ, which is sensible. However, that micro USB cable doesn’t sync the phone with a computer; to do that, you would have to take the phone out of the case and link it up to a computer via an Apple Lightning cable.
Sleek & refined
It’s not completely perfect, but the Belkin is one of the most refined, good-looking and most functional battery cases available for the iPhone 5/5s, and perfect for long trips, though judged purely on battery power, it’s no different to any of the other – often far (far) cheaper – options on the market.