Apple still hasn’t built wireless charging into its devices, but a handful of companies are using different technologies to bring the feature into cases. Among them is BuQu Tech, developer of the Magnetyze line, which includes the Magnetyze Protective Case for iPhone 5 ($60). Built like a standard battery case but with a faux brushed metal finish, it surrounds the phone, with a Lightning plug that fits in the iPhone 5’s port, while including top and side button coverage for protection. This case works with a number of Magnetyze family accessories, including desktop, wall, and car chargers, each capable of magnetically supporting the iPhone 5 in portrait or landscape orientations, as well as the packed-in USB cable.
Although the need for a Lightning plug makes it roughly as tall as the many battery cases we’ve covered for the iPhone 5, Magnetyze is slimmer than most because there’s not much extra hardware inside. It’s actually not much thicker than a CandyShell or similar case, and we were quite surprised by how much we liked using it. Its hard plastic button covers are nice and clicky, and BuQu Tech is one of the few companies to have figured out how to integrate a properly-sliding vibrate switch protector, mimicking the functionality of what it covers.
The speaker and microphone are both ported out to the front, and the Lightning port is completely blocked by the integrated connector. Voice quality during phone calls was actually a bit sharper, in our tests. As for the headphone port, it’s deeply recessed inside the case, necessitating the included adapter.
Magnetyze Protective Case allows the iPhone to be charged in two ways. If there’s no magnetic charging accessory around, you can simply connect the micro-USB cable, and either plug it into a computer or wall charger; you can sync using the wire to your computer, or otherwise with iTunes Wi-Fi syncing. It’s the optional accessories that are the real stars here, though.
Included with the case is a USB cable with a magnetic disc on one end, which attaches to the concentric circular contact pad on the case’s back. Once it’s connected, it immediately starts charging the iPhone at full speed. The strength of the magnet means that it easily connects and lines up properly, but it’s not so much that the case is inseparable, or incapable of letting the iPhone’s compass features work properly. You can also use the aforementioned accessories, which must be purchased separately, for device charging.
BuQu Tech is the first company to impress us enough with a wireless charging system that we’d actually consider using it regularly. The case is about as good as it can get without inductive charging hardware actually being incorporated into the iPhone itself. It’s attractive and protective, and doesn’t add much bulk.