Review: BoostCase Hybrid 1900 mAh iPhone 4/4S Battery Case.

  • January 24, 2012 8:19 am

The iPhone 4/4S is still one of the best designed phones around. The sleek metallic antenna band that wraps around the dual-sided glass panels is a sight to behold. Of course, that design also does two things that aren’t so great. For starters, it’s fragile as hell. The smallest drops can cause the iPhone 4/4S to crack and/or shatter. The second, due to the small size, is poor battery life. That’s where external battery packs come in. Though, if you’d like to kill two birds with one stone you can look for a 1-2 punch in battery cases.

We’ve reviewed a couple battery cases here at Gadgetsteria (Incipio offGrid and Powerskin 2000 mAh) and are proud to announce a newcomer: The BoostCase Hybrid.

Design & Features

From a physical perspective, we love the new BoostCase Hybrid. The number of colored cases that can be swapped out is a nice perk as is the simple ability to use different colored cases with the two different battery pack colors of black and white.

We also really like how slim and sleek the BoostCase Hybrid is despite packing a larger than normal 1900 mAh battery inside.

Moving away from physical looks, we’ll note the standard silence/volume button cuts on the left and open top to allow unfettered access to the headphone port and sleep/wake button. On the bottom you’ll find a small button and 4 blue LEDs that can be used to display the level of charge left in the case.

Performance

Here’s where it gets a bit disappointing. Now, we’ve always had better battery life with battery cases if we left them off until the phone was crying out for juice, turning it on, and then letting it do its thing. It’s a given that no battery or battery charging process is 100% efficient. That said, we expected the robust 1900 mAh battery in the BoostCase Hybrid to bring our iPhone 4S back to at least 100% (and perhaps a spare 10-15% after the fact). In actuality, running our phone all the way down to 1% and then activating the case and letting it sit saw it only climb back to 88% in the best test. Following tests saw 81% and 83% respectively.

Changing tactics we decided to go the “top-off” route and leave the case activated so that it trickled charged the phone as needed. Going this method seemed more satisfying as we saw the case keeping our iPhone at 100% for almost 10 hours before we saw the charge go down.

Here’s where it gets weird. The case (in either charging scenario) would sometimes show 2-3 charging lights still indicating ample reserve, and the iPhone itself would still have the charging indicator displayed, but the actual battery percentage on the phone would drop. We watched it go all the way down to 60% over the course of several hours with the BoostCase Hybrid still reporting 2-3 charging lights. Odd to say the least as every battery case we’ve ever dealt with before looses all charging LED indicators (if they have them) when it is out of reserve power. We let the case sit for a couple days, re-charged it again, and re-ran a 1-100 test as well as a top-off test and saw more normal operation — that is, the lights went off as normal.

Be it a defect in our case or some other unseen force we’re unsure but it is worth highlighting.

Conclusion

Capacity and LED issues aside, we still really like the BoostCase Hybrid. It’s an awesome looking battery case (one of, if not the best) and does provide ample additional runtime for your iPhone. The interchangeable, standalone case colors are a nice touch that goes above and beyond pretty much all other battery cases.

What leaves us a bit perturbed is the fact that the BoostCase Hybrid’s 500 mAh larger 1900 mAh battery is not able to get the iPhone to 100%. Still, at $79.95 it’s a worthy competitor to Mophie’s Juice Pack Air (more power) as well as pretty close to a several 2,000 mAh battery cases by other competitors as well. We just wish it were more consistant.

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 7.5 (Average)

  • Design: 8
  • Performance: 6.5
  • Value: 7.5

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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!