Despite the already solid battery life of the Apple iPhone 4S ($199.99, 4 stars), nearly every aftermarket case manufacturer seems compelled to take it to the next level. The PhoneSuit Elite Battery Case ($79.95 direct) is no exception. It offers excellent battery life and a solid array of useful features, all in one of the slimmest and most attractive cases we’ve tested.
Design and Features
Make no mistake: All serious battery cases are going to add significant bulk to the sleek iPhone 4S . However, at 4.90 by 2.40 by 0.67 inches (HWD), the PhoneSuit Elite is one of the most compact options out there. We’re only talking tenths of an inch here, at least between the difference cases. The Mophie Juice Pack Plus ($99, 4 stars), our current Editors’ Choice, measures 5.10 by 2.57 by 0.71 inches, but the difference is noticeable in the hand. The PhoneSuit Elite is a bit heavier at 2.78 ounces, as opposed to the Juice Pack Plus’s 2.5 ounces, though the extra weight gives the former a solid and substantial feel to it. It’s still not the thinnest case we’ve tested; that honor belongs to the Exogear Exolife Battery Case ($89.99, 4 stars), but that case didn’t quite match up battery-wise—more on that later.
Like many other cases, such as the Kensington BungeeAir Power ($99, 4 stars), the PhoneSuit Elite is made of soft-touch, rubberized plastic and comes in either black or white. The edges are nicely tapered, and various cutouts along the sides and top make the volume rocker, lock switch, headphone jack, and power button easily accessible. It shares a similar two-part design as the Juice Pack Air, with the iPhone sliding in easily and docking with the 30-pin Apple connector. The fit is precise and secure, though getting the top on right takes some concerted effort. Along the bottom are a power toggle switch and micro USB port, which connects the case to a computer with an included cable for simultaneous charging and syncing. The back is smooth, save for an etched logo towards the top and a glossy bar at the bottom, which contains a battery status button and five blue status LEDs.
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Performance and Conclusions
Despite its smaller-than-average footprint, the PhoneSuit Elite added an impressive amount of battery life. The iPhone 4S alone lasted 9 hours, 22 minutes on a continuous 3G call. The PhoneSuit Elite added 10 hours, 39 minutes, which is about the same as the Juice Pack Plus’s 10 hours, 43 minutes. Both cases will double the life of your iPhone 4S, while the slimmer Exolife only added an 80% increase. The PhoneSuit Elite also features a 5-watt/1-amp output, which makes for fast charging times—providing a full charge to a completely drained iPhone in less than 2 hours in my tests.
The PhoneSuit Elite may not be the thinnest iPhone case, but it matches the longest battery life of any case we’ve tested, and does so in a relatively slim and classy package. The makers of the PhoneSuit Elite also included a thoughtful replacement for the top part of the case and some screen protectors in the package. The Juice Pack Plus is a solid case, with great battery life, but the PhoneSuit Elite delivers equal battery life, a more compact design, and costs $20 less, making it the better option and our new Editors’ Choice for iPhone battery cases.
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