Review: Innovative Technology Justin Case Rechargeable Power Case for iPad 2, iPad (3rd/4th-Gen)
Battery cases for the iPad are still a relative rarity; it's much more common to see high capacity battery packs that offer charging support for Apple's tablets. Innovative Technology's Justin Case Rechargeable Power Case ($70) fits the second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPads, and is a truly impressive accessory, especially for its price. While the folio itself isn't the fanciest thing around, it's protective and functional, with a pretty huge 11,600mAh cell inside. This compares to Props Power Case from Digital Treasures, which houses a 12,000mAh cell for $50 more. Not only does this one come with a standard Micro-USB cable, but it also includes a wall charger that looks a lot like a black version of Apple's 5W USB Power Adapter.
Justin Case is a pretty standard soft folio, made of faux leather, with the your iPad fitting into a frame on the right side. There’s one nice touch we’ve never seen before: the flap that tucks in behind the tablet to hold it in place has magnets inside, preventing the flap from slipping out. We were a little surprised to find that the bezel coverage isn’t symmetrical, with the left edge covered more than the right. It’s not a huge deal though, as the screen isn’t obscured at all, and the Home Button and FaceTime camera are still totally accessible. Somewhat roughly cut holes are on the back for each of the ports and buttons; like the body as a whole, they’re not premium in feel, but they provide the access you’ll need.
Also found on the back of the case is a fold-out stand, which is held down with magnets when not in use, and easily lifted away thanks to a loop of ribbon at the bottom. Inside, there’s a strap of nylon that folds out, helping to create the stand. A tab holds the front cover shut, and can be tucked into a slot in the back for storage when the iPad is in use. This is a nice solution to a minor pet peeve we sometimes encounter.
Justin Case’s battery is located inside the front cover; naturally, this adds some bulk and weight, but not a crazy amount of either. The input and output ports—one Micro-USB input, one full-sized USB output—are located along the bottom edge. Innovative Technology doesn’t include a cable with its case, so you have to provide your own 30-pin or Lightning cable. While we’d prefer one to be included, this is pretty standard for battery packs, though not battery cases. Notably, the battery recharge at only a 1-Amp rate, so it takes about 14 hours to fill it back up from empty, way longer than some rivals we’ve tested.
In terms of recharging an iPad, Justin Case performed just a little bit better than expected in our testing with a totally depleted third-generation iPad. Based on cases we’ve tested in the past, 11,600mAh should be able to deliver a charge of around 67%. This one got to 69% before running dry, which is even better than what the slightly larger Props Power Case was able to do. The only real room for improvement on this side of the equation is the charging rate: Justin Case puts out 2.1A of power, while third- and fourth-generation iPads can take 2.4A, reducing their recharge time.
Were it not for the battery, Innovative Technology’s case would be rather forgettable. However, the battery’s and case’s aggregate performance make it a truly interesting product for the price, and worthy of our strong general recommendation. This is a shockingly low price to pay for such a high-capacity battery, let alone one inside a case. If the extra juice is important to you, it’s a smart choice, though not ideally polished in all regards.