Review: Duracell PowerCase and PowerMat Wireless Charging Pad for iPhone 5/5s
Duracell's PowerCase and PowerMat Wireless Charging Pad ($120) is a turnkey wireless charging solution for iPhone 5/5s. Unlike the company's earlier PowerSnap Kit, both the case and charging surface are included in the purchase. Instead of being able to separate the battery pack from the case based on your needs, this one has the components fused together, meaning there's no way to slim it down. Also included in the box are a headphone extender and the charging cord for the mat.
While Duracell also offers its PowerMats in two- and three-device sizes, it includes a one-phone charger in this kit. The mat is a 3.5” square with rounded corners, and it retails for $40 on its own. It’s about as minimal as possible, which is best for something that’s meant to simply hold the iPhone. Out of the box, plastic strips protect two semi-adhesive pads that do an impressive job of holding the PowerMat in place. Otherwise, the strong magnetic bond between the mat and the PowerCase would require you to hold it down when lifting your phone off. The power cord simply plugs into a port on the back.
Compared to many standard battery cases, PowerCase is actually a bit thicker, at 0.67”. It’s made out of matte black plastic, a common material for this kind of case. We’ve never seen one set up just the way this one is, though. Instead of a bottom piece that slides off, or a frame that snaps in place around the iPhone, this one has a thin plastic tray into which the handset fits. It’s like a snap-on shell-style case, and leaves the bottom edge exposed. That then slides into the main body of the case though, with a Lightning plug at the bottom fitting into the phone’s port. All the buttons are left unprotected, but there’s actually direct access to the speaker, microphone, and headphone port, which is somewhat rare. The power button and battery indicator lights are directly above a copper door that opens to reveal a Micro-USB port, a backup charging option. No cable is included.
We put the battery through our usual testing procedure by charging it fully, and then connecting a totally drained iPhone 5. The 2,000mAh cell was able to deliver a 92 percent charge, which is just a few points lower than the average. We also tested the wireless recharging capabilities of the PowerMat. Plopping PowerCase down, white lights underneath turn on and charging starts automatically. We found it will recharge an iPhone at full speed, and before providing power to the backup battery. That is to say, everything worked just as expected.
The combination of PowerCase and PowerMat is very comparable to PowerSnap Kit plus a standalone PowerMat, although the price is $20 lower. With both, you get approximately the same charging capabilities, and the ability to wirelessly recharge. PowerSnap Kit has the advantage of the detachable battery, and we can see the value in that. With that in mind, PowerCase and PowerMat earn the same strong general recommendation. It’s a very good solution in wireless charging, although it doesn’t quite measure up to uNu’s Aero.