Battery life is an increasing concern in the mobile world. With as many hardware features that are being crammed into our ever increasingly smaller phones as well as the expanding complexity of the tasks we ask of them, batteries are under the most violent assault, ever. The best way to fix this, developing a completely new, modern battery technology is currently in the works. Sadly, we’re still many years off from any type of publicly available solution. Solution #2: finding ways to attach bigger batteries to our devices. That’s where battery cases like Phonesuit’s “Elite” battery come into play.
The 2,100 mAh mini power plant crammed inside the Phonesuit Elite’s casing is the biggest we’ve seen inside an iPhone case to date. That said, can it actually perform, too? Raw specs aren’t everything. We’ve seen lower mAh-rated batteries/cases perform better than higher-mAh rated ones before.
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Most battery cases are pretty brickish in style and shape, especially the higher mAh rated ones like the PhoneSuit and its 2,100 mAh energy source. But true to their claims, Phonesuit has managed to pull of some magic as the 2,100 mAh case is actually quite thin and relatively light (all things considered of course).
On the back and bottom of the device you’ll find your standard power/charge checking button as well as 4 blue LEDs that indicate said charge. Rotating slightly, the actual bottom edge of the case features the micro-USB charging/syncing port as well as the switch to push electrons from outlet to case or outlet to phone (more on this later). Finally, all buttons feature simple cutouts. The headphone port in particular is too small for our liking. Users of higher-end earphones or headphones that make use of thicker, beefier 3.5mm plugs will either need to take their iPhone out of the Phonesuit or use a small 3.5mm male-to-female extender.
Initially, we were kind of disappointed with the performance of the Phonesuit’s 2,100 mAh battery. Even considering inefficiencies and the typical electron loss you have when recharging batteries, the initial re-charge of our phone saw the Phonesuit barely able to get us from 1%-100%. Speaking of which, Phonesuit claims 2 hours or less for a full charge. We noticed an average 1-100% recharge time of ~1:30-1:50.
After a first, initially disappointing experience in which the Phonesuit Elite barely made it to 100% after 2:25, subsequent testing (and charging) quickly reassured us that this is a beast of a battery case. After doing a complete 1-100% recharge in ~1:50, we let our phone drain down to 75% and flipped the case back on. The reward: ~20% additional recharge power left. So, in essence, the Phonesuit has the ability to completely charge your iPhone from start to finish and then some.
Recharging the phone is a pretty great experience but what about the case? Having a case that takes 5 hours to recharge itself kind of defeats the purpose of living a mobile lifestyle in the first place. Thankfully, the Phonesuit Elite is a brisk recharger itself, taking about two and a half to three hours.
Choose Your Source
Phonesuit bucked the trend as far as battery cases go. Instead of making it so the phone is charged first, and then afterwards filling the case back up. The tried and true pattern makes sense to us, and apparently many other manufacturers too as it is pretty much the go-to standard way of doing things. Phonesuit on the other hand implemented a switch on the bottom of the case that allows the user to immediately charge the phone or the case. This is both bad and good. The plus to being able to choose your charging destination is that you have control over where the power goes. While their are certain instances where we can see charging the case before the phone would be warranted, we think such scenarios are a pretty rare occurrence. The negative, and it’s a biggie, is that there is no automatic overflow to the Phonesuit’s built-in battery. Once your phone is full, it will continue to trickle charge for as long as it’s connected to the charging source while a potential dead Phonesuit battery will sit there…all types of dead…not getting charged at all. While the option and unique twist on the charging cycle is a note worthy positive feature, the inability for the case to automatically and smartly handle charging two batteries is a huge negative in our book. We don’t want to have to babysit our charging phone for the right moment to manually change charging from the Phone to the case (or vice versa).
***Update: We regret to admit that we made an error in the charging section. Above, we mentioned that the Phonesuit Elite would only charge the itself or the iPhone depending on the switch’s position on the bottom of the phone. This is not the case. When switched on, the iPhone is charged first and then the Phonesuit Elite battery case. When the case is switched off, only the case charges.
Somehow we missed the rollover charging working in our testing. We’d like to apologize to Phonesuit and you, our readers.
We have also updated the rating based on our error to an 8.5. In our opinion, the issue now cleared makes this an even more compelling case.
There’s a lot to like about the Phonesuit Elite. It’s cheaper than most competing battery cases while also packing in the largest battery available in said cases and on top of it all, keeping a svelte waistline that challenges small mAh rated cases that should be thinner.
The Phonesuit Elite might not be for you, however, if you’re constantly using higher-end headphones with thick connector plugs (and don’t have/want an extender).
or hate the idea of babysitting your phone to manually alternate between phone/case charging.
For us, we can overlook the inconveniences given all the checkmarks in the “Pro” category.
Phonesuit Elite: $79.99