Review: OtterBox Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 5/5s
The last time we saw a battery case from OtterBox was at the 2013 CES, where the company showed off its massive Defender Ion Series for iPhone 4/4S — despite a suggestion that development was underway, that case seems to have never been made available for iPhone 5/5s. Now Otter is taking another stab at the market with Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 5/5s ($100), which combines a 2000mAh battery with military-rated drop protection. Unlike Defender Ion, which was made to match OtterBox's signature Defender Series Case in terms of its rubber and plastic construction, this one is all plastic, separating into two pieces. Without seeing the OtterBox logo on the back, there's a good chance one wouldn't know it's from the company. One of the key features of the battery is the auto-stop technology, which is supposed to stop the the power flow when the iPhone's battery gets to 100 percent; we have more on that below. A Micro-USB cable and a headphone extender are included with the case.
Resurgence’s dimensions are similar to many other battery cases. It’s as wide as a random collection of other cases we grabbed, but just a bit taller than some at 5.6”, and a little thicker, too, measuring 0.66”. Thankfully, despite the measurable differences, it doesn’t feel much larger. The rear sled comes in black, silver, teal, or rose colors, and while the back of it is all plastic, a thin pad of foam inside helps absorb shocks. Once the iPhone is atop the Lightning plug, the front frame snaps into place. Either black or white, depending on which color scheme you choose, it’s a light piece of plastic that fits very securely, and has built-in button protection that works well.
The case’s power and battery indicator functions are combined into one button, found at the lower left corner of the frame. Four LEDs each indicate a quarter of the total battery life, and flash to indicate when the battery is charging. A 2000mAh cell like the one found in Resurgence should be expected to fully recharge a depleted iPhone 5; in recent tests, we’ve found many models to be even more efficient, coming in at over 100 percent. OtterBox’s case fell just a little under that number, though, delivering a 95 percent charge to a fully depleted iPhone in two separate tests. For many, this is close enough to a full charge to be very useful, but it does suggest some inefficiencies in the charging circuitry.
As for the auto-stop function, we found that the results fell a hint short of their promise. In our testing, Resurgence shut off at 98 or 99 percent, rather than when the battery indicator on the iPhone hit 100 percent. There are a number of factors that could come into play here, including potential differences between the on-screen power reading and the iPhone sensor that measures battery life. That said, it’s still a pretty cool feature, helping to make sure the battery is only charging when necessary.
It’s easy to compare Resurgence to Incipio’s most recent battery case, offGRID Rugged. For $10 less, offGRID Rugged offers a similar level of protection, plus the same stated capacity battery, and charges 113 percent. Clearly, OtterBox falls behind a bit here, but it’s case is still a good one, worthy of our general recommendation. The auto-stop feature pushes it over the edge of a B-, as it provides something no other battery we’ve tested does. Overall, users won’t be disappointed with this case, but there are more efficient, less expensive options available.