Review: Incipio OffGrid iPhone 4 Battery Case.

  • June 27, 2011 1:10 pm


As respectable as the iPhone 4′s battery life is, there’s always situations in which you wished you had just a little bit more battery life. For the seriously hard core mobile junkies there are larger 2,000+ mAh cases that are as expensive as they are thick. But what if you want something a bit more manageable? Two cases that come to mind right off the bat include the Mophie Juice Pack Air and PowerSkin 2000. We reviewed the PowerSkin several days back. While it is a very good battery case, it is on the further edge of what we’d call thin.

The Incipio OffGrid actually surprised us as well as disappointed us. Find out where and why after the break…

Appearance & Construction

The first thing we noticed about the Incipio OffGrid is that it’s incredibly light. Usually battery cases are weighed down by their ample carry-on baggage. In the OffGrid’s case there’s “only” a 1450 mAh battery tucked away, so we can understand lighter load.

For table texters, the OffGrid may not be your most favorite choice as it features a curved back design. While it spells trouble for the aforementioned task, it makes holding and actually using the phone much more comfortable. We’re torn. We do tend to text on flat surfaces quite a bit. At the same time, we’re paranoid that we’re going to drop our iPhone 4 whenever it’s naked in part to its extreme thinness as well as it’s un-contoured shape.

Cutouts for the necessary buttons and ports is all pretty average. We would have liked to see Incipio go above and beyond the competition here, but unfortunately they merely settled for “ok”. Users of higher-end headphones — generally the ones with larger, unsightly connectors — will have to remove the top piece of the case (more on that in a minute).

On the bottom of the case you’ll find a single speaker cutout with a mesh-like grill and a micro USB port for recharging the case. Similarly, at the bottom front part of the case you’ll find the on/off button for the built-in

Moving back to the offGrid’s top-sliding piece — it feels a tad cheap to us. Connecting it to the main body of the case isn’t the easiest operating as it involves multiple attempts to press it down and actually getting it to latch closed. Though even with a seemingly latched top there were still small gaps in the case. We think Incipio could have done a bit better in the QA department in this regard.

Performance

The most important feature of any battery case is of course how long the battery actually lasts. In the case of the Incipio offGrid we weren’t disappointed. Of course, we weren’t mightily impressed either. Starting with an iPhone 4 displaying 25% battery left, we plugged it into a fully charged offGrid and let it sit until the case ran out of juice at 85%.

A 60% gain in battery charge is easily 4-6 hours of light to medium use and should appease most people. On that note, most people who only need a minor boost by mid-afternoon are also likely favoring something thin and unobtrusive — the exact opposite of larger cases such as the Mophie Juice Pack and PowerSkin 2000.

But even with thinness and ultimate portability in mind, we still wish the offGrid provided a bit more oomp. The 1450 mAh rated battery certainly seems like it has a bit more packed in. But alas, 60% was as good as it got. A subsequent test from a completely dead iPhone yielded a lesser 56% charge.

Conclusion

Despite the sub-par recharge capacity, we still like the Incipio offGrid quite a lot chiefly for it’s super slim (as slim as a battery case can be) design. And while we wished we could regain more battery capacity from the fairly large built-in battery, we appreciate the added hours the offGrid is able to offer.

With that said, we find the retail price of $69.99 too high for the performance offered — ~$49.99 seems a bit fairer to us.

Now available from Incipio: offGrid iPhone 4 Case.

Gadgetsteria Rating: 8.0/10


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Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!